I'll review your webcomic.

Think your comic can improve? Whether it's art or writing, composition or colouring, feel free to ask here! Critique and commentary welcome.

Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:29 am

LibertyCabbage wrote: Tumblr isn't really meant for hosting webcomics.


Yeah hosting a comic on a blog is difficult to pull off at the best of times. It can kind of work when it's non-continuity based comics - stand alone stuff like "The Far Side" (I can't think of a webcomic equivalent at the moment) - so it's just a random joke/comment/whatever each strip.

All that said I host my comic on my blog but I've at least taken the effort to put navigation links at the bottom of each page (and have a sub-page for the comic).
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:45 pm

Tumblr's meant more for, like, "Hey, check out this new thing I posted" than for an archive. To read John the Sketch from the beginning, for example, you have to scroll-scroll-scroll-scroll-scroll all the way to the bottom of the page so that everything can load, and then you have to start slowly scrolling back up as you read the comic. It's awkward.

Tumblr could possibly work okay with some modifications, but, generally, if you see that a webcomic's hosted on a social media site (other than WordPress with a webcomics plugin), you can assume that they put the absolute bare minimum of effort into their website. Blüdnekk the BaraBarian is another recent example, and the crappy Blogger website is the reason it got a 4 instead of a 4.5.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:51 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:Tumblr's meant more for, like, "Hey, check out this new thing I posted" than for an archive. To read John the Sketch from the beginning, for example, you have to scroll-scroll-scroll-scroll-scroll all the way to the bottom of the page so that everything can load, and then you have to start slowly scrolling back up as you read the comic. It's awkward.

Tumblr could possibly work okay with some modifications, but, generally, if you see that a webcomic's hosted on a social media site (other than WordPress with a webcomics plugin), you can assume that they put the absolute bare minimum of effort into their website. Blüdnekk the BaraBarian is another recent example, and the crappy Blogger website is the reason it got a 4 instead of a 4.5.


I'm not completely sure with tumblr (I've got one but I barely use it anymore) but most of the blog sites available are at least partly customizable, usually with the ability to add extra pages as well, so I think it's less indicative of the platform than it is of the creator themselves putting in zero effort. A few simple nav links in each post (which they can copy-paste if lazy) and a small play with customizing and it could do...well not wonders but it would be an improvement.


All of this however reminds me I've got to do some housekeeping on my site. A new banner at the very least...
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:57 pm

Webcomic: Ruin-Nation
URL: http://zack-cafferykerr.squarespace.com
Creator/s: Zack Caffery-Kerr
Run: ?
Schedule: ?

Website: It has Facebook and Twitter pages, but the creator hasn't updated the Facebook page in more than two months, and he hasn't tweeted about the webcomic in more than four months. Other than that, the site's pretty basic, as it has a blank background and a few text navigation buttons. The "About" page could also some work, as it's currently just a few sentences about the creator and the comic's plot.

Writing: It's a bad sign that the creator misspelled "to" in the first line of the first panel, and having a tombstone in the fourth panel incorrectly say "Beloveved Mother" is another indication that this isn't going to be a quality webcomic. However, this is actually the most coherent, well-written page of a comic that quickly devolves into unreadable nonsense.

Imagine attempting to read a webcomic with dialogue like this:

"Kennidy Assination" "Bin Laide" (Page 2)

"If you fuck this up the only job anyone with the last name 'Tion' is working in a Chinese sweet shop!" (Page 2)

"Yeah, a masked man belongs who to a terriost orginasation brke in stole some files, killed Dregg and assulted three others while escaping" "Wait Im confussed" (Page 5)

"Yes, and it's some pretty good reefer too, and no I'm not crazy because of this, you see time travel can make people go 'loopy' especially if if you have been the mind is not equipt for it, it's kinda of like trying to run the Internet through a strand of fishing line weed and a little phycadelics make it like running through fibro optics" (Page 7)

"[...] because use two are the ones who have come close to saving the world from nucalur ennilation" (Page 8)

"What the fuck is the 'Corporation', Jesus you guys leave me with more questions then when I finished watching Inception, and wa I havent agreed to anything yet so how about you stop time traveling or what evaer the fuck your doing me around and let me get my sea legs" (Page 11)

"I dont know Frank, to be honest I dont think it exist and maybe it's not a trait your born with. [...] but the truth is it's always been here, waiting behind the curtin waiting for another encore, another civiliastion to dystroy" (Page 18)

"This is one out of thousands of abondoned homes located in Detriot." (Page 18)

"[...] it's this unknown that fills me like water in a fishbowl, but without a goldfist" (Page 18)

"[...] I could see solidiers running,... runiing for there lives" (Page 19)

"Im not hat person anymore I dont even know what type of person he was, Im happy now. But atleast with the new infomation I've learnt today it probably wont matter the person I am" (Page 19)

"[...] kill them all in the most brutal manor you can conceive, I'm quiet confident in your abilitys" (Page 20)

"Yes there probally going to die over a long period of time and probally screaming with there last breath ha ha" (Page 20)

"Good question, maybe that would of been to easy, but I think the writing on the wall suggest he has a different stratergy" (Page 22)

"We all know thats gotta be a trap right, we walk threw them doors there gonna have a firin' squad ready to shoot like fish in a barrel" (Page 22)

"[...] they think they are fighting from a postion of strengh" (Page 22)

"Well they are bigger, but they aren't smarter then us and if we can use that against them we can bring them to there knees and and in the words of a great man 'put a shotgun in their mouth like a big black cock of death'" "And plus we called in the calvary" "What's up cocksukers" (Page 22)

"The gas disapated into the air going from mustards yellow to clear like an assisin disapears into the night" (Page 23)

"[...] for a momemnt there was a sigh of relief, I heard someone priase there god. [...] My mouth tasted metalic and my skin was melting like wax under a hot flame. Moments like this I wounder about my gods plan, if even has one" (Page 23)

It's obvious that the Australian creator struggles with the English language, but another problem is that the webcomic's extremely text-heavy, putting an overwhelming amount of strain on the creator's limited writing ability. It would make more sense for him to start off doing simplistic pages with fewer panels and only two or three sentences of dialogue. And plus, having a ton of dialogue is generally a bad idea anyways, as it messes up the pacing and takes up page space.

Art: The Chapter 1 cover looks great, but the artwork in the actual pages is much worse. A big issue in particular is that faces are very cartoony while the anatomy and clothing are more detailed and realistic, resulting in confusing, unappealing style. In fact, I think the main reason the cover looks so much better is that the character in it is wearing a mask.

Still, it's clear that the creator's at least trying, which is more than I can say for some other webcomics. There's some variety with perspectives and poses, the anatomy of male characters is somewhat tolerable, the inking's okay, and there are some decent action sequences. Still, while the art could be worse, it's too ugly for a general audience, and I expect that most readers would close their browser tab in disinterest after seeing one or two pages. A step in the right direction would be to have fewer panels with larger, more detailed illustrations.

Overall: Ruin-Nation is way too ambitious of a project for someone of the creator's skill level. At this point in his creative development, he should be reading beginner-level books and/or taking classes. If he likes the concept, then the best thing he could do would be to set it aside for a few years, and then start fresh from Page 1 when he's finally ready to work on it. For now, though, the comic's awful to the point of being unintentionally funny.

1.5/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:27 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:"If you fuck this up the only job anyone with the last name 'Tion' is working in a Chinese sweet shop!" (Page 2)

:o

I think one of the spambots finally made a comic
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:11 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:
LibertyCabbage wrote:"If you fuck this up the only job anyone with the last name 'Tion' is working in a Chinese sweet shop!" (Page 2)

:o

I think one of the spambots finally made a comic


About time they started participating a little *hmpf*
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:04 pm

Webcomic: Furry Experience
URL: http://furryexperience.smackjeeves.com
Creator/s: "Ellen_Natalie"
Run: 8/09-current
Schedule: M/F
Section: Pp. 300-331

Website: The first thing readers should notice is that it's on a gray background on top of a gray background on top of another gray background. It's boring to look at and doesn't reflect any sense of creativity.

The Archives page is just a list of hundreds of page numbers, and it'd be useful if the list was separated into chapters or stories. Having read a section, I get the impression that filler pages are inserted to mark where one story ends and next begins, but I haven't seen this technique used before and it wasn't immediately obvious at all. Personally, I initially clicked on Page 301 because it's the first page of the "Pages 301-350" section, and I discovered later that it isn't the beginning of the story.

The features are generally pretty good, with the forum being surprisingly active. And the comic's posted on at least five different sites, so readers have no excuse to miss the latest update.

Writing: I wrote in my review of Insert Image, another Christian webcomic, that the focus on religious topics limits the comic's ability to appeal to a wide audience. Christians make up about 76 percent of the U.S. population, according to surveys by the American Religious Identification Survey, the Association of Religion Data Archives, and Pew Research; in comparison, the Mormon Church, which is the basis of Furry Experience, is only around 1.5 to 2 percent of the U.S. Further, the comic's setting, Utah, is about 68 percent Mormon, and accounts for around one-third of the country's Mormons. In other words, this might be a great comic for a Mormon living in Utah, but for everyone else, not so much.

The story focuses on the Church's expectation for young men and women to volunteer as foreign missionaries, and even most Christians would probably have a difficult time relating to this situation. It's common for people to feel pressured by family and friends to do something they don't particularly want to, but pressure from a religious institution to spread the religion is a very unique situation. The creator fails to present the Mormons' predicament in a way that would be interesting to most readers, instead focusing on the difficulties the characters face trying to please Church authorities.

The reality of the situation's that most people outside of Utah essentially see Mormons as cult-like weirdos. When Rhonda loses her friend on Page 308 because he considers her a "temptation," readers aren't going to feel sorry for Rhonda, they're going to think that Mormonism is a dumb religion that ruined their friendship. Reading this section actually made me feel more negatively about Mormonism because of how much control the Church is shown having over the characters' lives, and the cutesy way this is presented makes it unclear if the negativity is intentional or not.

The current story's about an unpopular girl trying to one-up a clique of mean, popular girls, and, so far, it seems very juvenile, like one of those shows on Disney or Nickelodeon that are aimed at preteens. It's really predictable so far: The unpopular girl's pretty, smart, talented, and unique, so the popular girls get jealous and try to sabotage her at school. Judging from the previous story, I assume that the comic's target audience is college students, and I don't see how something like this is going to appeal to them.

Art: The backgrounds in this comic are terrible, and they ruin most of the appeal of the character illustrations, which are actually pretty good. To start off, the scene in pages 300-306, this living room, is depicted as being a huge room that only has two couches, a curtain, a small whiteboard, and a TV on a TV stand. Not only is this a ridiculously basic portrayal of an interior setting, but the whiteboard and one of the couches disappear and reappear throughout the pages. See for yourself:

Page 300 - Two couches, no whiteboard
Page 301 - One couch, one whiteboard
Page 302, Panel 1 - One couch, no whiteboard
Page 302, Panel 5 - One couch, one whiteboard
Page 304 - One couch, no whiteboard
Page 306, Panel 1 - Two couches, no whiteboard
Page 306, Panel 2 - One couch, no whiteboard

In addition, pay attention to space between the living room, which has carpet, and the kitchen, which is tiled. In Page 302, in the first panel, the couch is clearly right at the edge of the kitchen; then, in the fifth panel of the same page, the couch is suddenly in the middle of the room, at least four or five feet from where it just was. In Page 304 and the first panel of Page 306, the couch is at least 10 to 15 feet into the living room, and then the second panel of Page 306 has it right next to the kitchen again, like in the start of Page 302.

Then, when the story changes to a different residence, the same problems occur. In Page 310, Panel 4 has a large poster, which vanishes in Panel 5, and there's only one door at the end of the hallway. The poster comes back in Page 312, and then disappears again in Page 313, and there are suddenly four doors in the same hallway that was just shown as having one door.

I could keep going on with examples... and I will, because I'm still shocked that someone could be this careless about their artwork. In Page 318, there's a large room where the whole thing is just one chair and a small table. In the first panel, the room has red carpet, and then in the fifth panel, the area shown by the entrance suddenly has yellow tile. In Page 319, the exterior of the house is shown, and it doesn't have any windows. In Page 327, a character is shown standing in front of a wall, and in Page 330, she's shown in the same spot from the same angle, and the wall's gone and replaced with a large, open area.

Another issue with the backgrounds is that they're obviously quickly made with a computer program. For some background scenery, like the kitchen, the training center, the apartments, and the school, the perfectly straight, uniformly wide lines and copy-pasted details make the scenes look sterile, and the style clashes with the soft, cartoony style of the characters. (I complained about the same thing in my review of Moon Crest 24.) The outdoor scenery looks like it was just scribbled on at the last minute, with the foliage in Page 307 being a good example. The comic also suffers from relying on simplistic mountain backgrounds, which is a "trick" I've seen several other webcomics try to get away with. Obviously, Utah really does have a lot of mountains, but when the creator chose it as her setting, she should've put more thought into how to present the scenery in a more appealing manner. Finally, there are way too many abstract backgrounds, and the lack of visual context prevents the comic from functioning as a realistic, slice-of-life story. These abstract backgrounds are also poorly executed, and Pages 319-324, as well as Page 313, are filled with yellow backgrounds that are so bright, it actually makes them difficult to look at.

Also: weeaboo cheek-mouths. Don't do it.

For a little bit of positivity to conclude the section, the characters are well-drawn in terms of anatomy and poses, and their clothing is reasonably modest for religious characters. It's also easy to tell the characters apart and identify what species they're supposed to be, and the coloring's alright, although it's somewhat bland and overly bright, and the characters are sometimes left unshaded. I also really like the background in Page 315, and it stood out to me as being a much better illustration than anything else in the comic.

Overall: In the latest thread on Furry Experience's forum, out of the 14 fans with avatars, 12 of the avatars are of animals. And in the Off-Topic section, the discussion's dominated by furry webcomics, furry games, furry music, furry clubs, furry conventions, fursonas, and a four-page thread on My Little Pony. In addition, the comic pages are posted to Fur Affinity, giving it extra exposure to the furry community, and comic's a part of Top Furry Comics, Jade's Top Anthro Webcomics, and the Anthro-Writers DeviantArt group. The comic's title is also a little weird, giving no indication of what the comic's about other than that it has furries in it. (The comic's banner also says "furries" on it just to make extra sure that visitors realize it's a furry comic.) Furries are probably the most rabid fanbase in webcomics, and any webcomic that has furries, updates consistently, and has passable artwork is guaranteed to be fairly popular. Because of this, the creator doesn't have a strong incentive to improve the quality of her comic, and she has the freedom to write about any subject as long as the tails of the dialogue balloons are pointing to bunnygirls and catgirls. It's a pretty good situation to be in if a creator doesn't mind pandering to furries with extremely low standards; however, readers with higher expectations will be disappointed with this comic.

2/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:12 pm

Webcomic: UnCONventional
URL: http://www.unconventional-comic.com
Creator/s: Trae Dorn
Run: 12/09-current
Schedule: Tu/Th
Section: 2013-2014

Website: It's pretty underwhelming in terms of content. The Characters page is pointless because the characters are so bland, the Conventions page still has dates for last year's conventions, the Buy Stuff! page is merch, and the forums averaged only about 1.5 reader posts per month last year. The convention-themed background's a cool idea, but it's mostly covered up, particularly since the site has six sections devoted to ads.

My favorite part of the site's that the creator made Twitter accounts for two of the main characters. However, between the two accounts, there's only been one tweet in the last nine months. It's a great idea that got ruined by lousy execution.

Also, it isn't related to the webcomic, but I'd like to mention that the creator's a self-described "Witch" who gained some notoriety after writing a series of articles exposing witchcraft-based scams. Some bizarre stuff happened after the first articles were posted, and I think the posts are a pretty good read if you want to learn more about the situation. (Part 1 of the series is here.)

Writing: Conventions seem like a great subject to make comics about, as they're attended by all sorts of artists, cosplayers, eccentrics, nerds, and oddballs. Plus, comic conventions are getting increasingly popular, meaning that webcomic readers are likely to have attended a convention at sometime or another. However, the creator of UnCONventional completely ignores everything that makes conventions appealing or interesting, instead presenting the subject in the most banal way possible.

The comic has colorful, simplistic illustrations and a loose plot, which suggests to new readers that it's a humorous gag comic. In reality, there aren't any jokes, as the whole thing is just the cast being mildly irritated. In addition, there's strip after strip of the characters in boring meetings that they seem to dislike being in, with only a small portion of the strips actually involving conventions or convention attendees. It seems like the creator's less interested in entertaining readers than he is in venting about the bad experiences he's had organizing No Brand Con. However, while it's understandable that running an event can be stressful and unpleasant, the characters should express some positive feelings about their jobs as well, or else they're just being masochistic. It feels like the characters are permanently stuck in their jobs because the webcomic wouldn't be able to continue if they quit.

None of the characters have any personality, aside from Awesome Roy, a minor character who, obviously, is a narcissist. I thought they were supposed to be generic, replaceable stick people, like in Cyanide & Happiness and xkcd, but then, in April, the comic suddenly turns into a full-on drama, as two of the characters have a bitter breakup. There's really no buildup or context to this event happening, and I wasn't aware that the characters were in a relationship until it was mentioned only one strip before the arguing started. If the creator wants to have drama in the comic, then he needs to set it up properly by having likable characters that readers care about.

For the comic to be more appealing, it's going to need to focus more on things readers would be interested in, like cosplaying. The strips making fun of Homestuck cosplayers, for example, are easily the best in the section. I only saw a few strips about cosplaying; in comparison, 21 strips were used showing the process of electing a new convention director. Some of the most notable parts of conventions, like artist alleys and vendors, aren't covered at all. The comic needs to show a lot less behind-the-scenes planning, and a lot more of the cast interacting with and observing convention attendees. And even if some readers want to learn about what it's like to organize a convention, the comic doesn't offer them anything because all the characters do is announce that they're irritated.

Art: The extreme minimalism and obnoxious copy-pasting make this comic even worse. Not only are the characters only ever shown standing or sitting in place, but their facial expressions and mouths rarely change, which is something even a lazy webcartoonist would usually not be guilty of. And not only do the characters look static and overly simplistic, but all of the backgrounds are either pulled from Google Image Search, or they're very basic and are copy-pasted endlessly. It should be common sense that digital illustrations don't go well with photographed or computer-generated backgrounds, but the creator constantly does it anyways.

The creator does another webcomic, The Chronicles of Crosarth, that has more realistic figures, is more detailed, and has more complex angles and poses. Comparing the two webcomics, Crosarth looks like the creator's putting some effort into it, while UnCONventional looks like the creator's completely disinterested. The schedule between these two projects is four updates a week, and I'm skeptical that the creator has the energy, skill, and time to produce quality content at such a prolific rate.

Overall: UnCONventional conveys a sense of apathy in every facet. The gags are tepid, the characters are underdeveloped, and the artwork's simple and repetitive. And unlike some other bad webcomics I've reviewed, it doesn't even have that "neurotic creator" vibe going on to make it a little interesting. It's just boring. Boring, boring, boring. I feel confident saying that this is the most boring comic I've ever read, and I feel bored even trying to write about it. This webcomic is just a bunch of soulless, uninspired nothingness.

1.5/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:35 pm

Webcomic: Get Milked
URL: http://www.getmilked.com
Creator/s: Ed Womack
Run: 2001-current
Schedule: Every three days
Section: 12/13-2/14

Webcomic: Mandatory Roller Coaster
URL: http://www.mandatoryrollercoaster.com
Creator/s: Aram French
Run: 6/11-current
Schedule: Mondays
Section: 7/13-2/14

Website: Both sites are basic, with Mandatory Roller Coaster having the better one. Get Milked hasn't updated its blog since 2012, hasn't updated its Toons section in nine years, and has no information about the creator, meaning that the site's just the comics and an archives page. Y'know, the kind of site you can make on Smack Jeeves in five minutes.

Mandatory Roller Coaster's essentially a Tumblr page with ads, but it has an About page, a photo of the creator, and an FAQ, and that makes the site feel more personal than most webcomic sites I've come across. The highlight is a bunch of photos of fans holding print versions of the webcomic, which I haven't seen done before. I dunno if seeing other people with books makes people more likely to buy books themselves, but, if it does, then that's a really smart business move.

Writing: Whenever I see a one-panel comic, I can't help but think of The Far Side. It's strange, it's smart, and it's one of the most popular newspaper comics of all time. Unfortunately, though, Larson's mastery of this bizarre method of storytelling has led to crude imitations by the comic's fans.

You can call me biased, but when I find out about a one-panel webcomic I haven't read yet, I'm 100 percent confident that it's going to be terrible. The reason for that is because one-panel comics are, by far, the most difficult kind of comics to execute well, and anyone with a decent understanding of the medium will recognize this and deem themselves unworthy of such an impossible task. So, ironically, it ends up being the most clueless creators who try to tackle this highly demanding art form. Two of these creators are the forces behind the webcomics Get Milked and Mandatory Roller Coaster.

Like The Far Side, Get Milked portrays unrealistic situations; however, The Far Side does this in a much more absurd, surrealistic way. For example, The Far Side will often feature talking animals, science fiction-like scenarios, or other wild concepts. With Get Milked, the characters are regular people, and the content's overtly sociopolitical, making it very grounded in reality. But, wait; if I just called the comic "unrealistic," then how I can say that it's "grounded in reality" two sentences later?

My answer's that the comic's trying to be both realistic and unrealistic at the same time, and it's a huge problem. This is most evident in the strips related to gender (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), as there's a fierce, misanthropic negativity towards both men and women, but the comics whimsically avoid the underlying gender issues. This comic has none of the depth or intelligence that The Far Side's known for, instead repeating its shallow mantra of "men and women are both selfish, stupid assholes" endlessly. Take a look at these two strips (1, 2), for instance, which show a man and a woman each behaving obnoxiously in a relationship. It's a real problem presented in a real context, but the characters' actions are unlike anything a real person would do. It's certainly not funny, and it doesn't help people think about or understand gender issues. It's just anger, bitterness, and depression, and, personally, I think that's a repulsive formula for a comic.

As for Mandatory Roller Coaster, it's more like The Far Side in the sense that it presents wild situations that seem to come out of nowhere. For example, just out of the several newest strips, there's a goofy kraken, a talking deer, and a robot at a bar. However, the comic lacks the cleverness and depth of The Far Side, as a lot of the gags are either poking fun at pop culture or pointing out basic, obvious stuff (e.g., that men get nervous around attractive women). It reads like a lame standup act to me, especially when the comic makes references to celebrities and fads. One of the great things about The Far Side is that its jokes are timeless and universal, which means that the comic's just as relevant today as it was in the '80s and '90s.

A lot of the comics deal with the characters' struggle with loneliness and relating to other people, and it handles these issues in a much more coherent manner than Get Milked handles gender issues. For instance, several of the comics portray smartphones in a negative manner, and while it's a well-treaded subject by now, there's a clear connection made between obsession with the Internet and technology, and a sense of isolation and narcissism. The comics are also only slightly exaggerated glimpses into humanity, which makes them both a little funny and a little true. By contrast, in Get Milked, the situations are exaggerated so much that they don't resemble humanity anymore, making them neither funny nor true. I'd like Mandatory Roller Coaster a better if it was a lot more edgy, innovative, and unique, though, as a lot of the gags feel like they've been recycled from older stuff.

Art: The Far Side has a weird dynamic going on, where the visuals overtly have a pedestrian, deliberately ugly look, but in a more subtle manner, the underlying compositions and perspectives are brilliant. These two webcomics have adopted the ugliness of The Far Side, but they don't have the same kind of structural foundation that makes the ugliness appealing.

Get Milked is a "talking heads" comic, and the characters are almost always shown chest- or waist-up and in the same three-fourths perspective. Because of this, there's a heavy focus on the characters' facial expressions, as they're the main thing that changes between each strip. In other words, the point of the strips is that the characters feel a certain way, which is usually angry or blissfully ignorant. By contrast, The Far Side is about concepts and situations, with the feelings of the characters being unimportant unless they're essential to conveying the concept. Get Milked shares The Far Side's concept-driven writing style, but it pairs that with a character-driven art style, and the incompatibility of these two styles makes the comic abrasive and unpleasant to read.

Mandatory Roller Coaster is more successful in the sense that it correctly pairs concept-driven writing with concept-driven artwork. The characters all have serene facial expressions, which goes with the comic's focus on depression and loneliness. Where the comic falls short is that the illustrations are too boring, plain, and simple. The compositions are uninteresting, the perspectives are botched to a distracting extent, and the backgrounds are either nonexistent or overly minimalistic. The Far Side owes its popularity to having excellent writing and excellent artwork, and I don't see how trying to do a "bad art" version of it would be a good idea.

Overall: I'd like it if people would stop making one-panel webcomics and, instead, just respect The Far Side as being an incredible accomplishment by a master cartoonist. Get Milked and Mandatory Roller Coaster are both half-assed imitations by unskilled creators that don't seem to get what makes The Far Side so great. And that's fine with me. While these (and other) Larson wannabes are flailing about aimlessly, I'll just open up a collection of The Far Side comics and re-read the good stuff.

Get Milked
1.5/5

Mandatory Roller Coaster
2/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby djracodex on Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:25 pm

Now that a year and the first chapter are behind it, I'm ready to request that Masadjra be put up on the stand to be reviewed. LC, your call when you wish to do this, if you want to wait til after W.A.Y, that is toooooootally cool. I've got some notions of what is wrong/going wrong/not going right with it, and have written in some changes, but I'm going to leave it to the nearly-here onslaught of critiques that are in store to really pick those apart, sooooo, I am totally ready for this pain train!
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:28 am

djracodex wrote:Now that a year and the first chapter are behind it, I'm ready to request that Masadjra be put up on the stand to be reviewed. LC, your call when you wish to do this, if you want to wait til after W.A.Y, that is toooooootally cool.
Neat! I don't plan this stuff out in advance. I'll start working on it today.

djracodex wrote:I've got some notions of what is wrong/going wrong/not going right with it, and have written in some changes, but I'm going to leave it to the nearly-here onslaught of critiques that are in store to really pick those apart
I'll re-read VCC's review and try not to be unnecessarily redundant. I was gonna re-read robotthepirate's review, too, but then I did a double-triple-quadruple-take and realized he peaced out without writing it.

djracodex wrote:sooooo, I am totally ready for this pain train!
Yay!
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby djracodex on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:21 am

LibertyCabbage wrote:Neat! I don't plan this stuff out in advance. I'll start working on it today.


I would be remiss not to mention that chapter 1 is scheduled to be complete/posted Feb 21st, just fyi

Also, Yay!
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:31 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:I was gonna re-read robotthepirate's review, too, but then I did a double-triple-quadruple-take and realized he peaced out without writing it.


Careful, you'll end up needing a neck brace.

I wonder what happened to him. It's strange to have someone participate here so heavily and then suddenly vanish.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:52 pm

Webcomic: Masadjra
URL: http://djracodex.comicgenesis.com
Creator/s: Kat Olson
Run: 5/12-current
Schedule: Fridays

Website: The Aztec theme is really unique and creates a great first impression on new readers. The color scheme isn't ideal, though, because the light colors of the text and navigation buttons make them difficult to see, and the dark-colored links make the Archives page difficult to use. The Terminology section is so tough to read against the stylized background that I have to highlight the text to avoid straining my eyes, so I skipped it.

The Aztec-style illustrations on the Cast page are great, and I like them better than the actual illustrations in the comic. Having Lightbox-style pop-ups is a cool idea, although, again, there's a readability issue, as the bolded text clashes with the multicolored background.

Lastly, it might be a trivial complaint, but if the webcomic hypothetically ever got popular, I imagine that the title's awkward spelling might make it difficult to present the webcomic in person. "Massage-drah" isn't an evocative or memorable word, and spelling it out is a hassle.

Writing: Right from the start, it's a style explosion, with a dramatic ritual conducted upon abstract, grim backgrounds. It's an okay introduction, but things start to go downhill with this page, a mish-mash of edgy close-ups that marks the protagonist's entrance. The comic ends up being a high-speed extravaganza with no substance.

The most important part of storytelling is convincing readers that they should care about what happens to the characters. The creator skips this part, seemingly overeager to get to the comic's extended action sequence, which is currently nearing 40 pages in length. Who's Whini, the badass hero who's killing all these people? I still don't know, because the plot that this whole thing revolves around was info-dumped on me in two pages (1, 2). The scene immediately before the action sequence is spent introducing Whini's friend, Rat, who the creator seems to be much more interested in. I can tell that I'm supposed to be rooting for Whini to succeed, but it's only because the story's being presented from her perspective. When she's in danger, there's no tension, because I'm not concerned about her fate. The creator needs to slow things way down and gives readers a chance to actually get to know Whini before throwing her in the midst of an battle thorough enough to be the climax of an epic tale.

The fusion of fantasy with real-life Aztec stuff is the coolest and most unique part of the comic, and the opening scene handles that alright by giving a fantasy context to the infamous human sacrifices. After that, though, it quickly turns into a dumb action comic, and I'm surprised at how disinterested the creator seems to be in the fantasy and historical aspects of the premise. It would've been great if I could've learned something new about Aztec culture and society. If the creator has done research for the comic (which I assume she has), then she should have incorporated some of that in the story by now. As for the fantasy parts, there's some vague notion of transformation that's been hinted at, but that's about it. It's a shame that there isn't more creativity present in this regard, as a non-Tolkienesque fantasy story would be a nice change of pace. The xolobos are kind of cool, but they're basically just cool-looking mounts for the characters to ride.

Art: It's clearly influenced by action manga, with crazy hair, edgy close-ups, and speed lines everywhere. The anatomy and poses are decent for an action comic. Things start to break down in the slower pages, as the creator's weaknesses for character and environmental details are exposed.

For the characters, the biggest issue is the lack of consistency. Every character's drawn in a different style, and it seem as if the creator still hasn't committed to an Eastern style, a Western style, or a hybrid. The most noticeable victim of this problem is Whini, whose broad shoulders, rectangular jaw, and small eyes make her look like a man when she's next to Rat's big-eyed, mangaesque figure. The characters' faces change from Eastern to Western to back to Eastern from page to page, and I've noticed that Whini's gone from having a Western nose with cheek-mouths to having an Eastern snout-nose with anatomical mouths. It's the normal growing pains of an inexperienced artist, sure, but in the meantime, it harms the sense of immersion.

With the environment, the creator either does big, empty expository shots (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), or character-based action shots, with not much in-between. What the comic's missing is the human element. This page is an example of the problem, where two-thirds of it is an extreme wide shot of a chasm, and the background characters and buildings are small doodles squeezed into the bottom. In other pages, background characters are portrayed as shadowy crowds (1, 2). I get the impression that the setting is a bustling Aztec civilization, but the comic does a poor job of actually showing it. For another example, here's this page of Rat and Whini walking through the streets, and it has three abstract backgrounds with a vague outline of a generic building at the bottom. Similarly, here, there are gradients and patterns, but as little is shown of the actual city as possible.

Overall: Masadjra's creator displays a clear sense of enthusiasm in her work, but that's all the comic has going for it at this point. The interesting concept is ruined by a crippling lack of experience, and there's so little substance that it barely qualifies as a story. I doubt that the creator would've bothered to launch the project if she hadn't put some serious thought into the characters and setting, and those thoughts need to be brought to the front and center as soon as possible if the comic's going to get on the right track.

2.5/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby djracodex on Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:12 pm

Thanks so much for the V-Day review :shucks: Onward!

Website: Oh yeah, all these things are in the oven for change precisely for these reasons. Also, if my comic ever gets remotely popular (just celebrated my first 2 months of non-0 visitors per day, booyah) at least its name is more digestible than something like Huitzilopochtli, Tlacochcalcatl, or Chimalhuacán?

Writing: My intentions were to introduce my readers to Whini as a capable, albeit rash and prideful warrior, and I thought "Ah ha! Show-not-tell: let's have her mow down some racers, get her ass kicked, then end up at the arena. That will accomplish Whini's capabilities, establish the relative terrain, give an example of what Djra's 'take form' as, and show the ceremony of which our (NOT EVEN MENTIONED YET) plot revolves around. Ha ha, now THAT's what I call story-telling". It was like I didn't look at my page numbers until 32 and was like "oh shit. I'm still in this damn race", then at 40-something, and still in the race and no plot. Oh God, what have I written myself into, that didn't need to be 40-some pages. Writing chapter 2, I'm paying WAY more attention to pacing, ugh.

As far as integrating meso/south-american culture into my fantasy, I find myself second-guessing how much to cram in there without looking like I just wiki'd this shit and smeared a legit culture all over my story. Judging by this review: más.

Art: After VCC's comment on Whini looking like a man, I took a hard look at her anatomy and lifestyle, and what I wanted her to be. She's meant to be more androgynous, she doesn't regard herself as any sex. Her shoulders and arms are rather broad because her primary weapon is a 15 lb club made of solid iron. I have toned down her Dragon Ball Z shoulders a bit though...from what they used to be...
I definitely feel like I'm getting more comfortable with the style I want, and I'd like you to know that the first couple reviews I read of yours, I was like "what are cheek-mouths and snout-noses?...oh..OH." They never really made sense to me, but because of the style I did, I just did them. But after that little realization that "those look pretty stupid and make no sense anatomically-wise" I've started moving away from them. SO thanks, lol

Chapter 2 deals a lot less with action and way more setting (don't forget the plot, Kat), ah yes, and plot. I'm excited to explore the architecture, habitat and inhabitants of The Crown.

Overall
LibertyCabbage wrote: Masadjra's creator displays a clear sense of enthusiasm in her work, but that's all the comic has going for it at this point.

Image If nothing else, I have enthusiasm and research going for me. I just need to whip those suckers up with more story-structure ingredients, put that in the oven for baby and me, and try to make some fucking delicious comic cookies instead of salty hockey pucks.

All in all, it's only my first chapter, and still less than 100 pages. I've got a lot of room to pull up and fly straight, and that's exactly why I needed this review.

LibertyCabbage wrote:2.5/5

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I feel like that was pretty generous so WE'LL TAKE IT

Than you very much, LC. I look forward to more punishment in April from the rest of the peers
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:09 am

Oh, cool, you took the review really well. *thumbs up*

djracodex wrote:at least its name is more digestible than something like Huitzilopochtli, Tlacochcalcatl, or Chimalhuacán?
Or "none of the above," and have a title that's in the same language as the comic.

djracodex wrote:Oh God, what have I written myself into, that didn't need to be 40-some pages. Writing chapter 2, I'm paying WAY more attention to pacing, ugh.
Yeah, you're getting it. That's one-and-a-half years in without even introducing the plot yet. How long is this comic going to run before it reaches its conclusion, at this rate? 10 years? 15? 20? I'd be very surprised if you were still interested in working on this story that far down the road. So, it's important to have realistic expectations and not get overly ambitious right away.

djracodex wrote:As far as integrating meso/south-american culture into my fantasy, I find myself second-guessing how much to cram in there without looking like I just wiki'd this shit and smeared a legit culture all over my story. Judging by this review: más.
It's up to you if you want the comic to be more fantasy-based or reality-based, but the comic currently isn't either. If it's reality-based, then I would look at research as a way to help your story stand out.

djracodex wrote:Art: After VCC's comment on Whini looking like a man, I took a hard look at her anatomy and lifestyle, and what I wanted her to be. She's meant to be more androgynous, she doesn't regard herself as any sex. Her shoulders and arms are rather broad because her primary weapon is a 15 lb club made of solid iron. I have toned down her Dragon Ball Z shoulders a bit though...from what they used to be...
You should look at photos of real-life female athletes and bodybuilders as a reference.

djracodex wrote:I definitely feel like I'm getting more comfortable with the style I want, and I'd like you to know that the first couple reviews I read of yours, I was like "what are cheek-mouths and snout-noses?...oh..OH." They never really made sense to me, but because of the style I did, I just did them. But after that little realization that "those look pretty stupid and make no sense anatomically-wise" I've started moving away from them. SO thanks, lol
The "animu" stuff's prevalent enough that I've sort of accepted it in a general sense, but I'm more interested in how these features aren't consistently portrayed throughout the story. It shows that you're still developing your style, which is healthy and normal for an inexperienced cartoonist even if it messes up the story's aesthetic appeal. You'll eventually figure out what style's right for you as an individual.

djracodex wrote:Chapter 2 deals a lot less with action and way more setting (don't forget the plot, Kat), ah yes, and plot. I'm excited to explore the architecture, habitat and inhabitants of The Crown.
Yeah, just keep it in the back of your mind that webcomics need to have quicker pacing than normal since they update so slowly. And also, fantasy's a really popular genre, so anything you can do to help stand out from the crowd of knights-and-orc-and-wizards fantasy would be a wise move.

djracodex wrote:If nothing else, I have enthusiasm and research going for me. I just need to whip those suckers up with more story-structure ingredients, put that in the oven for baby and me, and try to make some fucking delicious comic cookies instead of salty hockey pucks.
...and just get some more experience (and failure) to give you a better perspective. Nobody's born being great at making comics.

djracodex wrote:All in all, it's only my first chapter, and still less than 100 pages. I've got a lot of room to pull up and fly straight, and that's exactly why I needed this review.
For sure, and the fact that you're both actively seeking out criticism and reacting maturely to negative criticism puts you way ahead of a lot of the other creators out there. You have the ability to advance quickly as a cartoonist, whereas less mature creators are going to improve slowly, or not improve at all.

djracodex wrote:I feel like that was pretty generous so WE'LL TAKE IT
A 2.5/5 is pretty good for someone who's on the first chapter of their first webcomic.

djracodex wrote:Than you very much, LC. I look forward to more punishment in April from the rest of the peers.
No problem. And who knows, maybe other people will like the comic more than I did.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby djracodex on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:51 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:Oh, cool, you took the review really well. *thumbs up*

I keep getting that. It makes me feel awkward because I would like to believe this is what would be expected and yet apparently people assume otherwise (whether it's of people in general or me specifically, I don't know), and sad for you that you (or other critique-ers) must not encounter this a lot. I feel like everyone currently on this forum receives criticism quite well (maybe y'all kicked out all the punks, lol)

LibertyCabbage wrote:...but I'm more interested in how these features aren't consistently portrayed throughout the story. It shows that you're still developing your style, which is healthy and normal for an inexperienced cartoonist even if it messes up the story's aesthetic appeal. You'll eventually figure out what style's right for you as an individual.

On the note of style and the comments I've been getting back of embracing the general style of the meso-american hieroglyphics/illustrations: I like the idea, and I want to move more towards that sort of influence. Architecturally should be easy enough, character design might get a little hiccuppy. This means more art-style-puberty but I feel like if I accomplish this, it would definitely give my comic the cohesiveness and uniqueness it needs.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:54 pm

djracodex wrote:I keep getting that. It makes me feel awkward because I would like to believe this is what would be expected and yet apparently people assume otherwise (whether it's of people in general or me specifically, I don't know), and sad for you that you (or other critique-ers) must not encounter this a lot. I feel like everyone currently on this forum receives criticism quite well (maybe y'all kicked out all the punks, lol)
Every community has a different culture. What's considered legitimate criticism in one place might be regarded as a personal attack in another. I'm not that concerned about it, though, and I really find it more amusing than sad, as people put such little thought into their complaints. It helps when people can have a sense of humor about criticism, too, because making webcomics is generally a pretty terrible hobby.

djracodex wrote:On the note of style and the comments I've been getting back of embracing the general style of the meso-american hieroglyphics/illustrations: I like the idea, and I want to move more towards that sort of influence. Architecturally should be easy enough, character design might get a little hiccuppy. This means more art-style-puberty but I feel like if I accomplish this, it would definitely give my comic the cohesiveness and uniqueness it needs.
I'd endorse any changes that help your webcomic stand out from the bazillions of other webcomics out there.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:37 pm

Webcomic: Flight of the Binturong
URL: http://www.flightofthebinturong.com
Creator/s: Sal Crivelli, Nicolás R. Giacondino, Pedro Figue
Run: 8/13-current
Schedule: Tuesdays

Website: The grayish-brown, purple, and yellow color scheme is very unique and reflects a metallic, sci-fi feel. It's simple, but at the same time, it's pleasant to look at, especially since the yellows are kept to a minimum.

My favorite part of the site's the Javascript Cast page, and I had fun scrolling through the profiles and clicking on each one. It's a simple feature, but I like that the creators went the extra mile to make their Cast page appealing. The worst part's the blog, which hasn't been updated since seven months before the comic launched, and hasn't been updated in more than a year. What's up with that? In general, the site's decent in terms of extra content, but it's still a little basic, and some material about the setting or technology would be a nice addition.

Also, the About page is a little disorganized in Firefox, although it displays correctly in Chrome. I suspect that the inconsistent placement of the span tags is to blame.

Lastly, readers with a slower Internet connection may have some trouble using the site, as the pages are 1 to 2 MB in size, which is much larger than normal. The pages appear to be scaled-down versions of larger files, so the bloated file sizes shouldn't affect the quality anyways.

Writing: Compared to the webcomic I reviewed last week, Masadjra, this webcomic's quickly paced, with a lot of stuff already happening within the first 22 pages. In about one-third of the amount of pages, Flight of the Binturong's characters, plot, and setting are much more developed than Masadjra's. However, the impatient manner in which the story progresses makes it somewhat tedious, as not enough space is allocated for details and style.

Updating a webcomic only once a week is a really slow way to tell a story, and the creator's clearly cognizant of this problem. It's kind of like the scene in The Two Towers with Treebeard and the hobbits, where Treebeard (the storyteller) is speaking reeeeeaaaaaaallllllyyyyyyy ssssslllllooooowwwwwlllllyyyyyy, and the hobbits (the audience) are about half-asleep waiting for Treebeard to eventually finish his sentence. That's just how it is for an amateur creator trying to fit a time-consuming hobby into their busy schedule. So, the creator (who's worked on a couple other projects in the past) deals with this by being very economical with the pages, making sure that every single page accomplishes some goal necessary to moving the story forward. A lot of webcomics just sort of meander around aimlessly for long periods of time, so I'm impressed that Flight of the Binturong manages to introduce its ensemble cast and establish their objective by Page 9.

On the other hand, though, there's an overemphasis on page economy to the point that the story often feels cookie-cutter or generic. I'm somewhat interested in the fate of the characters and the missing ship they're searching for, but I'm also somewhat bored in the sense that, in some ways, the comic's just another sci-fi story with a quirky ensemble cast on a ship. What's missing are the stylistic nuances that reflect the creator's personality and give the writing style a sense of individualistic flair. Some ways this flavor could be added are dialogue-light pages, lighter backstory and character interaction, or more in-depth world-building, all of which require a slower pace than how the story's been delivered so far. The writing isn't bad by any means, but the creator still needs to find the ideal pace for the story if it's going to live up to its full potential.

Art: I'm a big fan of what the artistic duo's come up with, and the abundant stylishness makes up for the writing's plainness. The measured sloppiness and quiet confidence give the comic a charmingly unprofessional look that I haven't seen before. The creators seem to be striving for simplicity, reserving the blocky coloring and thick lines for the minimum amount of details necessary, and the characters somehow seem full of intensity and motion because of it.

The backgrounds -- a constant peeve of mine in fantasy and science-fiction stories -- are rendered excellently, with every page full of technology or outer space stuff. In contrast with the characters, the backgrounds are colored in gradients, are more detailed, and have straight lines, making the ship seem cold and impersonal when juxtaposed with the vivacious protagonists. Ships are so important in sci-fi stories that it's ideal for creators to put some T.L.C. into presenting them, as it's almost like the ship is one of the main characters. I mean, think of how integral the Enterprise is to Star Trek, or the Millennium Falcon is to Star Wars. Anyone doing a sci-fi webcomic set in space really just has to accept that they'll be putting a lot of energy and time into drawing the interiors and exteriors of spaceships.

Overall: Flight of the Binturong's a fun and visually appealing space adventure that's somewhat bland and unoriginal. Like with fantasy webcomics, science fiction's been done a lot, and I'd prefer to see someone take the genre in a fresh, new direction rather than iterating what's been established to work well. Still, it's an unsually high-quality comic by a team of competent creators, and their project's probably one of the best new sci-fi webcomics around.

4/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby JSConner800 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:39 pm

Since you've already gone through djra's first chapter, I'd like Steel Salvation to board the pain train as well. We just finished our first chapter and I'd like to know how we're doing. My artists are taking the week off, and then it's back to the grindstone, so it'll be good to go back to it with some feedback in hand. We know we have some website updates to do (like arrow key navigation, cleaning up some glitches in the commentary, getting rid of the RSS button, making the under construction page conform to the site template, and adding a character bio in the about page), but I thought I'd ask before we do the update because it could be awhile until the changes are live, considering all the other issues on our collective plate.

Anyway, hope the read and review process isn't too painful. Last time we were reviewed for WAY, we had 16 strips or less, and we now have 48, so a lot has changed comic-wise. Even the site is quite different. Still, if you want to take a peek at VCC's review or Humbug's review to make sure you're not retreading any old ground, here they are.
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