Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:48 am

Hugs for you LC!
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby McDuffies on Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:08 pm

Bugs for you LC!
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:37 pm

LC, I should be able to get your review done Thursday.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:10 pm

McDuffies wrote:Bugs for you LC!

You're a bug!

RobboAKAscooby wrote:LC, I should be able to get your review done Thursday.

Cool!
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:41 pm

My review of LC's was (including code for links etc) exactly 666 words...

...freaky...
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby McDuffies on Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:29 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:You're a bug!

Says you!
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:21 pm

666? How appropriate! :D

Thanks for taking the time to read OR and weigh in on it. I think you're spot on about all of your points, and they're consistent with what others have written about the comic. It's possible I may eventually try to write another story set in the FF/OR universe (aside from "A Pretty Thing That Flew"), so while both comics are "dead," your input's still relevant to me to an extent.

Also, my Loud Era essay's posted here.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:45 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:666? How appropriate! :D

Thanks for taking the time to read OR and weigh in on it. I think you're spot on about all of your points, and they're consistent with what others have written about the comic. It's possible I may eventually try to write another story set in the FF/OR universe (aside from "A Pretty Thing That Flew"), so while both comics are "dead," your input's still relevant to me to an extent.

Also, my Loud Era essay's posted here.

WOW, LC, I am absolutely floored. That was brilliant and rather spot-on, you really did pick up on a lot of the things I'm aiming to convey with Marie. Just wow, I really appreciate that you took so much time to write such an in depth piece.

It's really neat to see your interpretations of certain aspects to her character- I won't nitpick or spoil because I feel like that kind of ruins the fun, and it'd be more enjoyable for you as a reader to theoretically in the future see your interpretations either proven or disproven. A lot of the things you picked up on are things I kind of had there subtly but didn't think would really be noticed, so that's really cool that maybe it's not as cryptic as I thought it was. The reasons behind her haircut and the nature of her family life will be delved into as the story carries on, hopefully it will live up to however you envision it.

Man, I am just really blown away by this. I can't thank you enough, dude, this is really cool. I always liked literary criticism, I never thought my own work would be the subject of such a terrific and in-depth analysis. :)

I was in such a bad mood earlier, and now I feel so happy!
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:10 pm

Alright peoples only four out of thirteen reviews remain undone...

...no pressure...just saying...
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:54 pm

Two of those are mine. Creatorz is almost done, still gotta do yours Schoob!!

C'MON MORE PARTICIPANTS I KNOW YOU'RE LURKING ABOUT YOU LITTLE WEASENS


ps, LC, do you mind if I link to what you wrote/to your blog from my site?
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:48 am

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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:28 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:WOW, LC, I am absolutely floored. That was brilliant and rather spot-on, you really did pick up on a lot of the things I'm aiming to convey with Marie. Just wow, I really appreciate that you took so much time to write such an in depth piece.

I'm glad you like it. It was definitely a new experience to approach a webcomic this way, and I'm relieved I was able to write this much despite not having a lot to go off of. It was also nice that I got to work on it at my own pace -- I've written a lot of literary papers for college, but with them I was always rushing to meet a deadline.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:It's really neat to see your interpretations of certain aspects to her character- I won't nitpick or spoil because I feel like that kind of ruins the fun, and it'd be more enjoyable for you as a reader to theoretically in the future see your interpretations either proven or disproven. A lot of the things you picked up on are things I kind of had there subtly but didn't think would really be noticed, so that's really cool that maybe it's not as cryptic as I thought it was. The reasons behind her haircut and the nature of her family life will be delved into as the story carries on, hopefully it will live up to however you envision it.

I viewed Marie as just a goofball the first time I read Loud Era, so it was cool picking up on these connections and subtleties the second time around. It's possible that she's really just a goofball after all, and that I'm looking into things too much, but my intent was just to make a reasonable argument that's backed up by scenes and quotes from the comic, which I think I accomplished.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Man, I am just really blown away by this. I can't thank you enough, dude, this is really cool. I always liked literary criticism, I never thought my own work would be the subject of such a terrific and in-depth analysis. :)

I see comics as being on the same artistic level as other creative mediums that are considered to be more "high-brow," so applying this sort of academic perspective seems pretty natural to me.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I was in such a bad mood earlier, and now I feel so happy!

That's great! And I got to write about a webcomic without having to be judgmental about it!

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:ps, LC, do you mind if I link to what you wrote/to your blog from my site?

Sure, that'd be great.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:56 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:
VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:It's really neat to see your interpretations of certain aspects to her character- I won't nitpick or spoil because I feel like that kind of ruins the fun, and it'd be more enjoyable for you as a reader to theoretically in the future see your interpretations either proven or disproven. A lot of the things you picked up on are things I kind of had there subtly but didn't think would really be noticed, so that's really cool that maybe it's not as cryptic as I thought it was. The reasons behind her haircut and the nature of her family life will be delved into as the story carries on, hopefully it will live up to however you envision it.

I viewed Marie as just a goofball the first time I read Loud Era, so it was cool picking up on these connections and subtleties the second time around. It's possible that she's really just a goofball after all, and that I'm looking into things too much, but my intent was just to make a reasonable argument that's backed up by scenes and quotes from the comic, which I think I accomplished.


That's really awesome, because that's really what I was hoping for. I mean, on some level she is just a strange individual, but there are some underlying things that contribute to why she is the way she is, and it's really encouraging to hear that her character works both at face value and at a deeper, "psychological" level, if that makes any sense.

Again, thanks so much. This is probably the coolest comic-related thing I've ever had happen :lol:
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby Terotrous on Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:22 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:And here is my Creatorz review!

Oh hooray, it's up.

To be honest, I kind of get the impression that you may not have gotten the main "joke" with Comic Creatorz. Basically the entire premise of the comic is multi-level humour, everything that can be said about Fantastacy also applies to Comic Creatorz itself in some way. I realize that this has the potential to be incredibly subtle, so there are a lot of more overt jokes in there as well, but that's really the underlying theme behind most of the humour.

For example, this is probably one of the most complex comics in the strip, so for the sake of illustration I'm going to break down the joke.

Panel 1 is just a very simple comeback gag.

Panel 2 and the first 2 text bubbles of Panel 3 are intended to be highly ironic. Dave mentions that if they did an amnesia plotline in Fantastacy, they could introduce new characters and reuse old jokes. The Amnesia plotline in Comic Creatorz does both of these. Of course, Kevin points out that this is a lousy writing technique that they would not use to drive the irony home.

The rest of Panel 3-5 deal with Dave's ridiculous original storyline, which I think is kind of funny in and of itself (I particularly like the awful "peeps" pun) but the point is that it's even worse than any amnesia storyline could possibly be.

Panel 6 contains the first "punchline" from Kevin, but the real punchline is what the other two characters say. Kevin agrees to compromise his artistic standards, and Dave and Andrew immediately refer to the Cafeteria and Online Gaming types of strips, which are essentially filler from the point of view of Comic Creatorz because they have nothing to do with making comics, they're just easy jokes to write that you could put in any comic.

Can anyone realistically be expected to get all of that? Maybe not. I don't deny that Comic Creatorz is extremely insular. For example, only four people could truly understand the full significance behind this comic. However, I do think the writing is a bit more crafty and deliberate than you're giving it credit for.


As for the rest of it, I do agree about the art, but I think it's gotten a touch better since it came back. The personalities of the "real world" characters are all deliberately left somewhat vague because they're not really the focus of the comic (though you should be getting the impression that Dave and Dirk are very similar, and it's possible that Dave may have written Kevin into the comic in some way...). This is also something of a practical measure because I'm trying to keep the plotline of Fantastacy moving along to some degree - I try not to spend too much time in the real world away from the comic.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:02 am

No, you're right, I really did miss a lot of the connections I was supposed to make. Looking back on it now it makes a lot more sense. I think part of the issue on my end is that I was having a really difficult time immersing myself in the comic, it was hard for me to sort of grip onto it for some reason- it just never really "clicked" for me, I guess. On the bright side, you are now the last entrant in the WAY thread, so hopefully your next reviewer will be less tunnel-minded than I was, and can give you a better, more evaluative review. :)

I'll give myself some time and hopefully in the future I can do a reread of your comic and a rewrite of my review, now that I know a little more what I was missing.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby Terotrous on Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:58 pm

It's a valid point that that type of humour probably makes the comic somewhat inaccessible for newer readers. They often say that it's important to start off strong because the average reader doesn't have a lot of patience, you have to hook them fast to keep them reading. Looking back at 8:1, I think it did this well (perhaps inadvertently?), it starts off as a fairly decent gag-a-day comic for a short while before transitioning into a more story-based approach, by that time you're invested in it enough that you'll keep reading long enough for the slower pace of the later storylines to reach their payoffs. That's smart storytelling structure. I did make an effort to do this in Creatorz as well, but looking back at some of the earlier strips I see some missed opportunities to work the concept in more gradually. Oh well, it was 8 years ago.

My new secret project involves the concept of multi-level storytelling as well (it's no secret that I find it interesting), but I'm trying to make sure that it still works even just on one level because this time the second level is even more subtle than in Comic Creatorz.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby Yeahduff on Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:03 pm

I appreciate the effort and will actually read it in a few weeks when I finally get this latest installment up. I really don't need to be fucking with my mindgrapes right now.
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:17 pm

I need to write Schoob's review. I'm so sorry Schoob!! It melted off my to-do list and I didn't even realize it! D:


ev'ry summer i gotta write a review for some aussie dude... :P
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:53 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I need to write Schoob's review. I'm so sorry Schoob!! It melted off my to-do list and I didn't even realize it! D:

:( D: :cry: D: :( D: :( D: :cry: :cry:
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Re: Webcomic Above You 2012 - Discussion Thread

Postby peterabnny on Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:05 pm

Now to deal this albatross so I can move on to other things...

RobboAKAscooby wrote: First Impressions:
The website is very primitive, it looks like something from the 90s like a geocities website or similar, an impression not helped the big "under construction banner" with the spinning gifs that were pretty prominent on 90s free sites.


Not surprising, since my website was, in fact, originally built in the early 90s and was moved to Geocities where I keep it maintained. I threw the "under construction" banner together quickly and completely ad hoc as an emergency measure after Liberty Cabbage's mildly-disapproving review. I figured it was better than taking the site completely offline until I could completely rebuild and relaunch it. So, lacking both the money to have CrittersOnline professionally-designed and the interwebs edumacation to make it look current, this is what you get.

RobboAKAscooby wrote: Also the lack of buttons/graphics for the links and navigation bugs me, it would take no more than a few minutes to make some simple graphics for the site and they would do wonders for the accessibility of the site.


That's on my list of changes to make, right after replacing my ugly-ass banner. I'm hoping to take a week's vacation from work in the next week or so (my first in two years), and I'm likewise hoping to spend part of that devoted solely to a complete rebuild of the main page.

RobboAKAscooby wrote: Taking a look at the comic itself my first thought is that it looks like a cheap Looney Toons knock-off, this isn't necessarily a bad thing as the vast majority of webcomics out there have taken their styles from existing properties (especially prominent in manga-wannabes) so long as it's done well. The linework is tidy but a little boring, there seems to be a lack of width variation and although I like the various forms of shading you've used (pointilism, hatching, scribble-fill) they don't completely mesh with each other and can be occasionally jarring.


One of the things I'm doing now that I didn't do before is that I'm not as concerned with making nice, neat, tight lines. I call them anime lines, as you see that kind of consistency in that genre of animation. And I used to use a lot of Liquid Paper to get them that tight, too. Now, however, I've loosened up on that. For the past two or three comics I've pretty much forgone the LP and instead will work out an errant line until it's smoothed out. Have you noticed? Am I at least pointed in the right direction?

It's interesting that you should mention LT, as I used to draw them when I was young. When I first started getting interested in drawing comics and coming up with characters, I settled on animal characters I guess out of the WB influence. At some point someone had mentioned how similar they look to WB characters, so I tried evolving my designs away from that style, and have been trying to further it ever since, but nowhere near at the rate as I have since the middle of 2010. Too subtle a changes, I guess...

RobboAKAscooby wrote: The Readthrough:
The first few pages dialogue and events had me thinking that the characters were much older than they actually are, if not for the comic on the front page it would have been a bit of a shock to find they were school students, in fact I still had to check the cast page to make sure these were the same characters and not their children.

So it becomes apparent that Critters is a highschool/college tale, a genre I have mixed feelings about mostly because in the webcomic world there are a few common ways to do it poorly based mostly around the age of the creator - eg the younger artist fantasizing or the older artist writing like an older artist - and I can't help but apply that second one here, too often the character seem to feel like older people because of the way they talk, both word and subject choices don't sound like teens, which isn't helped by scenes where the cast are at a bar, then it's juxtaposed with scenes like this where the characters seem about 12 years old.


It's an interesting point. All of my cast are in their fourth year of college, or in the case of Frieda and Fred, post-graduate. With the exception of the post-graduate part, that has always been the case, all the way from when I came up with my characters in the very late 90s. At the time, my characters were older than me. Now, they're younger. I wouldn't rule out that as I got older and (supposedly) more educated, I wrote accordingly. Not sure what I can do to make my college students talk and act like college students, but it does seem to me that people in college can alternately act like adults and teenagers depending on the situation (and alcohol intake).

RobboAKAscooby wrote: For the most part it's a typical gag-a-day set up with only the loosest continuity until the eight page "kamasutra" storyline (that incidently took the entire 2002 updates), the kamasutra storyline sets up for the "prim and proper" Belle to discover Frieda's book and spaz out but the joke just doesn't pay-off the effort of its setup.

There's a few other multi-page storylines after that but none of them really work that well, as a reader there is an investment in attention and an expectation that investment will be repaid. Although the pay-off for "girls night out" got a chuckle out of me.


Well, I'm glad you got at least something out of my mess.

RobboAKAscooby wrote: With the "And Baby Makes Three" storyline there's obviously an aim for an emotional impact on the reader but it really feels forced and fake melodramatic, it's the kind of storyline that has appeared in almost every sitcom created and as such the revelation that Frieda wasn't pregnant after all was predictable. In fact the impact would have been better if she actually was pregnant since by this point Critters could really use a change to the status quo.


I have always been of the opinion that to effectively write about something personal, you must first have experienced it first. Otherwise, the story comes across as being fake and superficial. In this case, I chose the ending I did because I have no experience with the whole pregnancy and birth thing, and so I didn't believe that I could really write a pregnancy story with any amount of heart and authority. THAT would have been forced and fake melodramatic for me.

Some people correctly called me out on the ending, others were taken completely by surprise. True, the whole not-pregnant-after-all storyline is a common one, my hope was that, if nothing else, those who suspected it would have enjoyed seeing how things went down nevertheless.

RobboAKAscooby wrote: Artwise, as I mentioned earlier, the inking is done reasonably well but the mix of different shading styles in later strips is a little jarring.

But, and this is a problem I have with most black and white webcomics, after a while looking at b&w pages gets dull, especially since the blacks aren't as strong as they should be leaving it a washed out dark grey instead. A bit of line variation, even if just a bolder outline to the characters, would also help prevent the dullness.


How varied the line variation? Varied as in VinnieD's artwork? That's one of the things I'm working on now. I'm trying to use less Liquid Paper to fix mistakes and more ink, as well as using different line thicknesses with different things like panel borders and text bubbles and so on.

RobboAKAscooby wrote: The "Tooni-Color" pages, which are just recolours of previous pages, are more visually appealing. On a few of these such as a Valentine's strip there's a decent grasp of lighting and colour mixing that it seems a pity the rest of the strips are in black and white.


Believe me, brother, if I had the time to color more artwork like that, I would!

RobboAKAscooby wrote: Mostly the anatomy is passable, more so when the characters are clothed, but there is a problem with the heads not quite sitting right on the bodies. It's a problem that's common to anthro artists, I can only assume due to the blending of animal heads with human bodies, in the case of Critters it's most obvious on the foxes where the neck seems to go up the center of the head like a doll.

I will say however, it's clear that plenty of effort has gone into making a wide range of poses and camera angles to break up the monotomy.


A backhanded compliment is still a compliment, I guess.

RobboAKAscooby wrote:The Extras:
Here we have the standard extras - cast page, bonus art, etc - and they're all reasonably well presented.

As with a lot of webcomics however the cast page paints a far more interesting view of the characters than is ever presented in the comic itself.


Another change I'm trying to institute is a better placing my characters in situations that bring out their personalities (this current story being one of them). I still believe I have a solid cast of characters. I just need to do a better job of showing them off.

RobboAKAscooby wrote:The Final Thoughts:
Okay this has to be said, 184 pages (including many pointless holiday strips) in 17 years just doesn't cut it for a simple, black and white, gag-a-day comic. That's less than once a month, which wouldn't be such a bad thing if not for the fact that the comic is dull.

That's the major impression I came away from Critters with, it's very dull - dull to look at, dull to read and the jokes rarely work.


I'm sorry to have so disappointed you, Scoob. But if it means anything, I've since given up on both building an audience and the idea of taking my comic anywhere, and am now focused on just keeping it off peoples' "worst of" lists as I try to learn by feedback as to what a proper comic is supposed to be.

RobboAKAscooby wrote:But dullness is something that can be fixed by improving the quality of the art and writing - even just going full colour would help a lot in preventing a reader's eyes glazing over - a more pressing issue is that its mood/feel is confusing to define.

As I touched upon earlier I spent a good deal of the early comics trying to figure out how old these characters are supposed to be, one moment they seem late teens/early 20s the next they seem pre-teen then they speak like 30-somethings out of a bad soapie, and that comes down to the wild jumps in story tone.


I consider my early work rotting garbage anyway. I only showed my really early cartoons after being pestered enough by a best friend who's a big fan of the strip. Early Critters is a period of me trying to figure out what I'm doing, and find a voice. I consider my most recent stuff my most polished. Or, at least I did until getting GC reviews on it...

RobboAKAscooby wrote: There's cute, innocent misadventures wedged between sexually motivated stories and punctuated with the occasional serious moment that seems written from the point of view of someone approaching 40 - in short it doesn't seem as if the story knows what it wants to be.

While many of its parts work well they don't fit together to make a cohesive whole. Critters is muddled, confusing and very dull but it does have potential if only it could find direction.


Again, sorry to have wasted your time.

Would some of the problems you experienced have come from my mixing serialized stories and independent, gag-a-day comics? Would separating them into two divisions of the website help? I do like switching between the two formats, as I enjoy doing both. However, it sounds like I'm at at crossroads and I need to decide what format I want to do and only do that.
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