Webcomic profile: Virtrena Virtrena
Hosting Virtual Arena Battles Since 2023
Last update: 2nd Apr 2023, 3:35 PM
Violent Content Occasional Strong Language


I'm Asian, I wear glasses and draw stuff.

Most recent comments left on Virtrena

Oh boy, this is gonna be a long one.

If you're reading this, you most likely got into this site because you felt nostalgic for that one dumb and somewhat edgy sci-fi comic about virtual arenas from 2014 and wanted to see how it's doing, or just randomly saw this comic on ComicFury's front page due to me updating this, or you know me and wanted to dig up the comic because you know it's an old shame of mine, or you're reading because I posted this on socials.

Either way — hi.

I just archived the original Virtrena comic site because I wanted to officially register it as being completed/discontinued as of writing. It ended at 10 chapters (not counting the prologue) and was one or two chapters away from wrapping up the first arc of two planned. I have drawn around 270+ pages from 2014 to the first half of 2020. It was already 40%-45% into the entire planned plotline. The original site is still intact, just in a different url and set to be hidden even if someone guesses the replacement url. As you can see, this site is a placeholder meant to announce this in case anyone was curious about the comic's state.

The biggest reason for me stopping the comic? I just stopped being proud of it. I don't find creating the comic as fun anymore.

As I mentioned before, I started the comic nearly ten years ago when I barely new how to make "good" art and how to properly make a "good" comic. It was originally just for me and a group of friends I had back then for us to read. I tried to emulate what Eddsworld did where the late Edd Gould, and his friends had characters in the series that were named and modeled after them, but you could tell they exist in their own contexts and not necessarily as self-inserts. I named several characters after real-life people I knew, including myself, and they knew and wanted it to be in the comic. If you could already see what's wrong with this, then you officially have more insight than me in Junior High. Virtrena was obviously far from what Eddsworld was, and it didn't have the same effect now that I'm looking back at it in hindsight.

My aim for the comic somewhere down the line went from something made just for me and my friends to something I wanted a lot more people online to read. I failed to see how the comic, being as self-referential as it was, would oftentimes be a hard read for others. I haven't got any real confirmation, but it's safe to assume that people in school may have caught wind of it and the comic started getting passed around through gossip. It's easy to see the main character and certain other characters as self-inserts, and it was harder to take the comic seriously, especially with my later goal of having it be aimed at a broader audience and attempting more serious themes. It just doesn't sit right with me anymore. Sometimes I named characters after friends after I excitedly ask them "Do you want a character in the comic?", and in the cruel reality of life, it's not always guaranteed that those friends would stay friends for years to come. Seeing certain characters in the comic that I named/modeled after those people just bums me out and I started to see the dumb reality of the situation even more.

The way the "virtual arena" setting came to be was me coming across Sins-of-Angels' Law of Talos OC tournament on deviantArt, where different artists pit their own characters against other artists' characters. Shout-out to Unknown-person's animated entries to the contest for solidifying the idea in my head that I could create a tournament between characters based on me and several other friends who like the idea. The very first idea was to have the characters actually have abilities, full Shounen. But I figured setting it in a futuristic setting and framing it as a virtual-slash-augmented reality e-sports game would be a more unique idea (plus I remember deciding that futuristic-looking buildings are easier to draw because them looking minimalist still makes them look futuristic). It's all fine and good, until like I said prior, a couple of chapters in I wanted to appeal to a larger audience and started adding more lore and heavier (than initially planned) plot points and themes. I feel like they won't be out of place if a large portion of the characters weren't from that "just for fun phase" of the comic where it's all based on me and several other friends.

I'm sure the serious tone of the story is fine to outsiders who don't know the irl people who are related to the comic in any way, but once you know there's borderline self-inserts in a serious story that way more fit for totally fictional characters instead, you can see the tonal mismatch it created that I feel icky about. With all these different variables combined, younger me genuinely thought the whole naming thing was harmless fun, until I slowly and painfully saw the big picture over the years. I just hate how dumb and cringe it all is. Hell, the entire comic's existence in its current state constantly remind me of how dumb and cringe I was during the time I was making it.

I could just edit the dialogue of the entire comic and rename characters, but it still doesn't feel like a comic I'm proud of with my current standards. Over the years of the comic's run, there have been media that have come out, or I have been exposed to and gotten into, that I think has already tackled different aspects of the comic way better than I ever handled it.

A reboot for Virtrena is certainly in the cards, however. But I'll only lock-on to it if I feel like I figured out that extra "kick" I want it to have, if you get me. I want to have fun doing it. I want to tackle what Junior High me wanted to do but was too immature to do it properly and lacked the life experience to do so. I want it to be more than just a retread of events. I want a less generic main character that isn't just a reskin of Mark Gunnrow. I want to balance all of those things I listed and somehow make a competent comic out of it. However, that'll be all for another time as there's not much plans for the reboot other than basic ideas on how to overhaul the story and characters. Meanwhile, I uploaded a test teaser of sorts for the planned reboot that you already saw above. Don't trust the 2023 date. It'll happen when it'll happen.

And I guess this is how Virtrena 2014 ends — with a whimper. But I don't mind it. It somehow feels just right rather than make something grand out of something I'm not too proud of.

To those who've stuck by the comic over the years, thank you. To those who gave feedback on the art and story, thank you, and I will keep careful note if ever the reboot comes to be. To those who've drawn and sent me fanart, thank you, as it motivates me and reminds me that there are actually people who care enough about my work and be excited about it that they'd make art for it. I'm sorry it had to end abruptly and at such a cliffhanger too, but I hope you all understand. You guys are the reason that a reboot is even a consideration since you let me know that despite the flaws that can be quite hard to overlook, there's still a story that's enjoyable enough to get through ten chapters of it. You all know who you guys are. Thank you, one last time.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for a new webcomic I'm still a few scenes and redraws away from wrapping up as of writing called Alchia. I consider it as my actual first attempt at a comic, as I consider Virtrena to be a hobby comic that I tried and failed horribly to turn into a "serious" attempt at a comic. Alchia is built upon a lot of the critiques and feedback on my work over the years of Virtrena as well. It is a completely different world altogether and has zero relation to Virtrena in any capacity, outside of me showing an early version of the Alchia logo as a Virtrena in-universe armor pack for the players.

Shameless plug, but if you're curious how Alchia looks like, and the progress I'm making with it, you can see WIP posts for it on my social media (links below), but I much more frequently do Alchia updates on my Facebook page.

I'd still attribute Virtrena 2014 as a big gateway for me to make massive leaps with my art as easily evidenced by the art style jump from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10's end. If I ever go full steam with a Virtrena reboot, I want it to be something I could be proud of this time, and showcase how far I've developed as an artist and writer.

Once Alchia is up and ready, you can read it at: alchia.webcomic.ws
If it comes up a blank page, don't worry about it, it just means it's still being worked on. I plan to release the comic all in one go as soon as all pages are finalized. As of writing, Alchia is now around 170+ pages. Around a hundred pages short of Virtrena's final page count in only two years now that I think about it. Kinda crazy.

It was certainly tough to decide if I should either continue making Chapter 11 despite all through the glaring faults it had as a whole, or if I should only remake the first five chapters from ground up like what Mary Cagle did with Kiwi Blitz, or if I should remake/reboot the story from the ground up altogether. The latter is the one I ended up choosing, as I've mentioned countless times here already, but even that decision is tentative. These three years choosing between those options (and at one point, even attempting the five-chapter-remake route and going as far as sending out the scripts to be beta-read by few trustworthy friends) was tricky, but here we are.

In any case, here's where to find me for any future updates:
My Facebook page

Cheers, and hope you enjoyed the comic while it lasted. I still kinda consider it a good run and learning experience.
- MrElementron, 2023
Author Note