After having garnered a spot as one of Tapas’s top webcomics of 2020, DPS Only! has wrapped up it’s run. Totaling 30 episodes, the series chronicles the story of main protagonist Vicky as she enters the world of competitive esports. With a controlling brother looking over her shoulder, and an often less than friendly to women crowd in front of her, Vicky decides to don a mask to disguise herself from the options she cannot yet deal with. But sneaking around, and hiding only works for so long. And once the truth comes out, what will it mean for Vicky and those around her?
With this series completed, creator Velinxi was able to spare me a few minutes to answer some questions about DPS Only!, its themes, juggling two webcomics at once, and give some quick pointers for those who may want to follow in her footsteps. Enjoy!
BUT WHY THO: Firstly, congratulations on completing DPS Only! How does it feel to have this story wrapped up?
VELINXI: Thank you! I feel really, REALLY happy. And very tired. I learned a lot about storytelling and pacing during the DPS Only, and I definitely had fun telling this story- but it was definitely like I was running a marathon. I’m elated I managed to finish!
BUT WHY THO: When you set out to write DPS Only! was there a particular thematic goal you had in mind? Something you particularly wanted the reader to walk away with? If so, do you think you achieved it?
VELINXI: In the beginning I just wanted to write a esports story in the format of a sports anime, but when Tapas come to me with the opportunity to bring it to life, I wanted to put a spin on the genre. I also wanted to write a story that I could personal relate to and bring my own experiences in for a more raw storytelling style. Thus, the story became what it is today- about a girl in competitive gaming, trying to find her way in the scene. I wanted readers to understand the struggles that Vicky faces- and understand that this is a very real experience for many women out there in the gaming sphere. I think I achieved it, at least. Many readers seem to empathize with her, and even relate their own experiences with hers.
BUT WHY THO: You already had your original webcomic Countdown to Countdown running when you began DPS Only!, did balancing the workload of having the two books running simultaneously prove to be more/less difficult than you expected at the start?
VELINXI: I didn’t expect it to be easy, and it certainly wasn’t! I already knew what I was getting into when I signed with Tapas while still having Countdown to Countdown. But I think because I knew how difficult it was going to be, it ended up being easier for me to balance the two projects. I had a schedule mapped out for the entire two years I worked on DPS Only so that I could work on both at a reasonable pace!
BUT WHY THO: DPS Only!’s main character Vicky shares something in common with Countdown to Countdown’s main protagonist Iris. At the beginning of their stories they both have to hide important pieces of themselves from many of those around them. Is there a reason why you continue to return to this theme in your writing?
VELINXI: Honestly I never noticed this common theme! It definitely says something more about my personality and writing style, maybe. I’ve always been a very secretive person growing up and only came out of my shell more in recent years. This personal growth of mine definitely reflected in my protagonists. I think it’s natural to have some aspect of yourself reflected in your own musings!
BUT WHY THO: Seeing as DPS Only! was named one of Tapas’ top comics of 2020 the reader response has clearly been great. Has there been any aspects of the story that the response to has surprised you? People feeling a given way about a certain character or aspect of the book?
VELINXI: Oh yes, I was shocked that many people seemed to hate Virgil for the majority of the comic’s runtime! I actually was nervous before launch that people would like Virgil too much and think Vicky to be the spoiled, ungrateful one. With this (now painfully inaccurate) prediction in mind, I probably made him seem much more “villainous” and gloss over his more positive aspects in the story…
Virgil was definitely deserving of the criticism he received, but for a while it seemed like people treated him like Satan, haha. If I could go back to change some aspects to DPS Only!, I would have shown him being a better brother at some points. Vicky may be annoyed with Virgil half the time, but she loves him and knows he’s trying his best.
BUT WHY THO: It feels like you tried to walk a very fine line with him. He definitely is an antagonist for Vicky, due to how he controls her life, but at the same time it feels like you didn’t want him to come off completely villainous. He cares for her, and seems to want what is best. How difficult was it to balance him in this story?
VELINXI: As I said, it was pretty difficult, and I definitely made some miscalculations with how the audience would perceive him. The readers nor Vicky are supposed to forgive him for his rashness and controlling nature, but still understand where he’s coming from. Writing characters that aren’t the best versions of themselves due to a difficult upbringing is never easy, especially when they’re not supposed to be a villain. I’m not sure how well I succeeded, but I hope that by the end of season, people can see why he is the way he is.
BUT WHY THO: With the series wrapped up now do you have any thoughts you can share on what might be coming up next from you?
VELINXI: I hopefully plan to do more with Tapas in the future, any potential projects with them is a secret! But in the meantime, I plan to work on Countdown to Countdown full-time!
BUT WHY THO: Lastly, any thoughts or recommendations for any aspiring creatives out there who may want to make their own webcomics?
VELINXI: Definitely keep your ideas simple as possible when you’re conceptualizing. I had so many ideas for DPS Only that couldn’t come to fruition due to time and episode restraints. My editor, Gabby, definitely helped me trim out the fat and I’m so happy for that. When we were left with what we had now during the draft stage- I thought it would be too simple of a story. looking back at it now, If we kept everything in, I would have died trying to draw it all! No matter how simple your story may seem at first, it will inevitably expand in ways you don’t expect as you write and draw it. So keep things simple, I think that’s what most webcomic creators can agree on.
There you have it. That’s all the time we had with Velinxi. We appreciate her shaking loose the time right around the holiday to answer our questions. If you want to see what all the buzz is about you can check out DPS Only!’s full run here. And if you enjoy that, be sure to check out her original series Countdown to Countdown, which is still ongoing, here.