Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

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Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby keithfrommalawi on Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:02 am

Hello all, just thought that I should get some quick feedback for my new-ish comic http://wellslife.comicgenesis.com/... Any pointers are most welcome.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby McDuffies on Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:45 am

Well, by rules, pitches and requests for feedback should be posted in this subforum but granted that forum has close to zero visits. I'll leave it to forumers to decide whether they want to check you out or not.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby TheOggman on Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:18 pm

Ehrm...I'll bite.

Not entirely sure if I should, since it has been about two weeks since the original post and I don't know if Keith will read this. I'm also hesitant because this is my first post, and losing one's forum virginity often involves much fanfare, 'Introduction' forums, 'ohaidere' and whatnot - and I'd rather not start off on the wrong foot with people for this review.

It's caveat scriptor (beware, writer), I suppose, nevertheless I'll bugger on.


Wells Life (a review)
Creator: Johann Wells
Link: http://wellslife.comicgenesis.com/

The first point I want to make is that if you're serious about getting some feedback, go to LibertyCabbage's "I'll review your webcomic" thread. We're both unfamiliar with the Comic Genesis forum community, but from what I've read in the feedback forum LC is the grandpappy of webcomic reviews and you'd have someone far more experienced than I am to look at your work. But then, I'm thinking that as a newb my first impressions of your webcomic may have some valid points as well, since people define good webcomics from their reading experiences, which doesn't need much skill to begin with.

  • The Site. It's simple, clean, and I like it. The nice, cartoony font and the warm-colour gradient used in the banner doesn't burn my eyeballs out, and the title shows what the webcomic is about; that is, a slice-of-life story about, well, Wells. (Captain Obvious? But I've seen comics where the title or the logo has nothing to do with the comic itself, and it's a minor put-down.)

    The links and comments below the comic; I like the shape of the icons, they tell me what they're for without distracting me from the site or the comic too much.

    Some bones I do have to pick: the text and style used in the banner is the same as the title of the cartoon. The clipped image of the main character on the banner, while it's effective on its own, is the same as the image used on the background. I feel that reusing these elements distracts the reader somewhat, and takes away from what could be a very simplistic, but well laid-out webcomic. Another problem is that all the images used are png's - while I don't have a problem with that, it might cut of some readers on dial-up. I'm thinking these small problems might make the difference between getting a committed reader and not.
     
  • The Comic. This, I don't like as much.

    The similar font and how it distracts the reader, I've mentioned. Another point is that the title cuts into the first actual panel of the comic, but doesn't contribute much. It just looks like it's butting in.

    But the major problem I have with your comic is with the story. 'Just a Piss Shake' - already you're starting off on the wrong foot with some readers, myself included. The gag - 'anything more than two shakes is a wank' - isn't terribly PG-friendly, is it? What's more, the way you decided to execute it isn't ideal - a giant write-up, and four panels of splashing sound effects, two of which reuse the same artwork with no inherent purpose than to be filler does not a good gag comic make, especially with your choice of topic material. That, and I don't find the joke funny. I'm pretty sure some people may disagree with me on that, but as it stands, as a reader I don't like the comic on the site you've shown me, and if readers don't like the first comic they have no obligation to stay on your site, scroll down and click for the next one.

    This brings me to my second point with your story: you've only put one comic on this site. If a poorly-written dirty joke happened once in, say, 40 pages of solid and fun-to-read comics, I wouldn't mind. As it stands, however, the comic only has one page, which is badly written, not funny and frankly disgusting in terms of the topic.
I'm going to wrap this feedback session up by saying that your actual comic (which can be found by clicking on the WordPress button at the bottom of the newmic) is interesting, well-written, and funny. Although your new site looks more like a webcomic than a blog, the comic you've chosen to upload is a single-shot and quite crass. I think slice-of-life comics can be fun reads, but only if they're well-executed; stay clear of penis jokes unless you know that you have a reader base, know that your reader base wouldn't mind such content, and know that you can pull off a funny penis joke.

At this point I'm going to give the Oscar award for best award. To myself. Because to me, the positive hype and cleanliness of your layout is counterpoised by the actual comic. Since you wanted some pointers, here's what I feel you could do to improve (my) reading experience (although I'm sure other potential readers wouldn't mind if you made these changes as well):

  1. Use a different font for the comic title.
  2. Don't reuse part of the background image for your banner.
  3. Make sure your comic title doesn't poke into a panel for no reason.
  4. Choose a different joke, or get a writer.
  5. Don't reuse the same artwork for two panels for no reason.
  6. If you want to stick with this penis joke, cut out 2~3 panels in the middle.
  7. Upload some of your old content from your WordPress? It's great stuff.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:44 pm

Perhaps he's changed his site since you read it, but the comic navigation buttons are the << < > >> above and below the comic (or they are now). My trouble is there's nowhere to go to look at a full archive (for instance if one wanted to see how many pages there were in total, or something like that).
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby Bustertheclown on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:05 pm

Several of your strips did make me chuckle. When your timing's on, it's on. Just remember not to belabor your jokes. Exposition is the gag writer's worst enemy.

This is a "fixing the bugs of a new site with scary automation code" thing, but check your archives. You're having some content load issues, where strips are either too big, too small, repeating themselves, or not loading at all.

Overall, though, I think you're off to a strong start. The site looks good, and the comics aren't bad.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby TheOggman on Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:19 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Perhaps he's changed his site since you read it, but the comic navigation buttons are the << < > >> above and below the comic (or they are now). My trouble is there's nowhere to go to look at a full archive (for instance if one wanted to see how many pages there were in total, or something like that).

Somehow the << < buttons derped out when I was writing my previous post and I was left with the idea that there was only one page...
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:35 am

Well, first of all, I'm flattered, Oggman, that you like my reviews, although I consider them as just my own personal style rather than any sort of ideal model. Hypothetically, if I could put together a sort of review Frankenstein, I'd wanna splice together elements from different reviewers, such as Cuddly's geniality, McDuffies' experience, and Serge's wittiness. The main reason my reviews are the most prominent is 'cause I get paid to goof off.

Second, since you requested some feedback on your review from the PM you sent me, here it is. As an aside, I'm kinda amused that I just reviewed a review blog on Friday as a joke, and now I'm reviewing a review again, 'cept this time "fo' realz."

1. Reviewing an (apparently) one-strip webcomic isn't smart, because not only is it an inadequate amount of material, but the creator hasn't gotten a chance to demonstrate any commitment to their project. Every day, some random jackass thinks to themselves, "I'm bored. I'll make a webcomic!", posts two or three strips, then gives up on their project -- and that's without having someone tell them their comic sucks. That's why it's more worthwhile to review webcomics that've already established themselves a bit. The "Comic Pitching" forum has a minimum of 20 strips or pages, for instance, which is a more reasonable amount to go off of. In addition, it's always an option to leave a few sentences of feedback (like Buster did) as opposed to writing a full-blown review.

2. Aside from commenting on the copy-pasting, you didn't try to cover the style or quality of the artwork at all. It's essential for a webcomic review to consider the artwork to an extent, even if the writing's the review's main focus. For instance, your review doesn't mention that the characters lack a neck and pupils, which is an unusual style.

3. Your review doesn't take the creator's intent into consideration, which cause some problems. To elaborate, calling the webcomic things like, "[not] terribly PG-friendly," "frankly disgusting," and "quite crass" ignores the fundamental question: What if the creator made the comic that way on purpose? When reviewing, you have to ask yourself things like, "What's the creator trying to do? Is he/she executing it successfully? And how does their creative decisions affect how potential readers will react to their comic?" You write from the perspective of someone who doesn't like toilet humor, but what about the people who do like toilet humor -- the audience this webcomic's apparently intended for? Your critique of the copy-pasting makes a similar mistake -- you evaluate it has "no inherent purpose," but what if the creator did have a purpose in mind, like timing or a particular dramatic effect? That's a better way of approaching it than just disregarding the technique as merely "filler."

4. You throw in generalities that don't add anything. This line -- "I think slice-of-life comics can be fun reads, but only if they're well-executed" -- is obvious and applies to everything. And this generality -- "stay clear of penis jokes unless you know that you have a reader base, know that your reader base wouldn't mind such content, and know that you can pull off a funny penis joke" -- is wrong. If you've managed to attract an audience that prefers sophisticated humor, suddenly changing to toilet humor would mostly likely just irritate them. And this one -- "and if readers don't like the first comic they have no obligation to stay on your site" -- is only half-right; first impressions are important, sure, but I don't think any one strip or page is that important -- it's more accurate to say that a new reader picks up on various cues and tries to categorize the comic.

5. You basically say, "Your old stuff's better," without going into detail why, and that isn't a good approach. Maybe the creator wanted to experiment and try out a new genre or writing style. I get that you wanted to end the review on a positive note, but at the same time, you're essentially criticizing the creator for taking a risk, when risk-taking should be probably be encouraged instead.

6. Your "site" section's generally pretty good, but I feel like the "png" part's a stretch. Not that many people are on dial-up anymore, and even if they are, the image files are pretty ordinary in file size. Don't feel like you're obligated to be insightful; a review can be however brief or detailed you want it to be.

7. I feel like a lot of your criticism has the gist of, "I don't like it because I don't like toilet humor," but bias is a tricky concept. Admitting no bias is dishonest, because everyone's biased to some extent, but admitting too much bias sort of invalidates your criticism. That's why, when you're reviewing, you need to approach the subject as objectively as possible, doing your best to explain thoroughly why you like or dislike certain things beyond fickle personal preferences. Although, I understand that humor's a particularly subjective subject, and certainly what's hilarious to one person can be boring, stupid, or even offensive to someone else. And speaking of humor, I don't get the inclusion of the "Oscar" part, other than awkwardly trying to balance the negativity of the review with an upbeat joke. But sometimes you just gotta tell it like it is -- being on the receiving end of a negative review sucks, but as an aspiring webcartoonist, that's just something they need to learn how to deal with.

8. The summary list at the end's kinda neat. I haven't seen other reviewers wrap up their reviews that way.

And that's all I got. Does this count as an actual review? I was gonna post another old one today, but I guess this'll do.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby TheOggman on Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:30 am

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Yes, ehrm, where was I going with this...thanks very much!

Somehow I had the feeling that maybe I shouldn't be writing a review when I lack experience to do so in the first place, but thanks for nevertheless taking the time to review the review. I suppose it was a first-impressions kind of post, and probs didn't help much in a meaningful way but still. I'll improve and put generalities aside for the next one. So in the end the Oscar award for best award goes to LC, roflcopter.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:40 am

Just as it takes time to get better at making comics, it also takes time to get better at review-writing. In my first reviews I was so afraid of hurting the reviewer's feelings that I might as well not have said anything at all :lol: I didn't really know what to look for or how to get my message across. I tried to co-opt the style of others I'd read, but it was like trying to write out a letter to someone without having been taught how to hold a pen.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:32 am

What Cuddly said. If you continue to write reviews, you're almost certainly gonna get better at it. And you've already shown you can handle the hardest part -- telling someone you don't like their comic. I feel like a lot of people avoid writing reviews 'cause they don't wanna be "the bad guy."

Here are a few reviewing resources you can check out:
Webcomic Above VI & discussion
Webcomic Above V & discussion
Smack Jeeves reviews subforum
The Webcomic Overlook

And an amusing example of how not to do negative reviews:
Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad
Last edited by LibertyCabbage on Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:40 am

LibertyCabbage wrote:What Cuddly said. If you continue to write reviews, you're almost certainly gonna get better at it. And you've already shown you can handle the hardest part -- telling someone you don't like their comic. I feel like a lot of people avoid writing reviews 'cause they don't wanna be "the bad guy."

Here are a few reviewing resources you can check out:
Webcomic Above VI & discussion
Webcomic Above V & discussion
Smack Jeeves reviews subforum
The Webcomic Overlook
Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad


Webcomic Overlook is a delight. He's so chill, and I love it when defenders flock to the commentary to tell him he's a troll or just jealous or whatever excuse they come up with, because to any non-partisan reader, he's clearly being neutral and is almost always really good about saying "Well, this part is just my opinion, so take with a grain of salt."
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby McDuffies on Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:11 am


Yeeeah... don't mention that as example to people who want to get better at reviewing. Unless you make it clear it's example of what not to do.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:59 am

McDuffies wrote:

Yeeeah... don't mention that as example to people who want to get better at reviewing. Unless you make it clear it's example of what not to do.

Good point. I edited my post to clarify what I meant.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:14 pm

Another one not to emulate: The Bad Webcomics Wiki. In the vein of YWIBAYSFB, but with people who often have not even a hair of the writing ability of John Solomon. Great read if you want a laugh, but in terms of seeking out well-written, well-thought out reviews, it is so lacking.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby Bustertheclown on Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:53 pm

Wanna hear something weird? The times that I become most inspired to take up the comicking again are almost always sparked by stumbling upon Solomon's reviews or the Bad Comic Wiki. I guess seeing people bitch about comics makes me excited to make comics.

That can't be a good sign, can it? Feels like either narcissism or masochism, but I can't figure out which.
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Re: Newbie with a "newmic"? (A new comic)

Postby McDuffies on Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:49 pm

They have the opposite effect on me. Noone can argue that most of comics on bad webcomic wiki aren't bad*. But due to losing of the struggle with question of "why is this comic bad", articles often criticize things that are rather ambivalent, or even stronger suits of comics in question. Everything can be construed as a flaw, and everything can be turned upside down. It makes even reviews of comics I hate the most problematic because I go - hey dude, you missed the point.

It's not depressing because I'm afraid someone will criticize me. Hell, I've been through that many times. It's depressing because those places make it seem like quality is irrelevant: you just can't win with them. Everything seems to be a viable target, and everything seems to warrant a vitriolic speak that is usually reserved for people who do you bodily harm.

It's not even done in malice. It's done because people want to "contribute", to see their words on the screen. BWWiki specifically is akin to gangbang the issue, where everyone will want to add something to the article, even if it's a passing thought, and article will end up more malicious than original writer probably intended.

*though I would like to propose to whoever edited Nobody Scores in that is was an intelligence test and he failed.
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YWiB would be the Crtl-Alt-Del.

Postby Cope on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:39 am

The thing I like most about the Bad Webcomics Wiki is the manner in which their incisive observations strike at the criticism-averse heart of the webcomics community and its constituents of self-congratulatory sheep. I mean, look at how they exposed this flagrant example of copy and pasting.

Of course, you might realise those faces aren't copied and pasted if you look at them for more than three seconds.

BWW is the Sonichu of webcomics criticism.
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Re: YWiB would be the Crtl-Alt-Del.

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:56 am

Cope wrote:BWW is the Sonichu of webcomics criticism.


ouch
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