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Postby DennisP on Sat Jun 04, 2005 4:54 am

My thoughts on Lint

Story
The story, I felt had a nice, loose cohesion to it. There was definately a plot there but, it remained loose enough for all his jokes to fit in nicely. Also, I like the jokes. They can come out of left field but, I think those are the funniest. I enjoyed the creativity of the odd joke such as 'the killer chipmunks' I did not feel that the characters strayed from their set character type. Meaning the sarcastic one was always the sarcastic one, ect.

I do also want to throw in that you have added a great sense of tension at the appropriate times between the characters. I really enjoyed that

Art
I always like seeing art progression in a webcomic. This comic is no exception. Each chapter is a different, more defined style. The art started off as a simple line art. By the second chapter shading stepped in and added a nice depth. The fourth chapter added color. I personally feel that this adds alot to reading a webcomic and in the long run I think it will pay off for the artist when he finally finds the style that he feels will work well for him.

I would like to add here two points. A) Personally I would like to see a more consistant use of gutters. I am not a fan of just a line seperating two panels. B) Some panels it seemed that you took your time on and they looked wonderful. Great shading, great detail. Others the details and shadings were sparse. I would really like to see it become more consistant.

Site
I am a huge fan of the Keep It Simple line of thought. Websites are something I feel we do because we have to, in order to get our strip seen. Not because we're great at webdesign and just need content. This website is not flashy, it's not overly pretty but, it's extremely functional. The Links are very visible and very up front. You don't have to click around to find what you're looking for. i.e. He may not be flipping bottles every which way but, he's still pouring a nice, smooth drink.

Overall
In all honesty, at first I wasn't that excited to review this strip. I am not a huge fan of...i dunno what you'd call it....'elf comics'? save a few exceptions (i'm a big fan of Cat Legend) So, I start flipping through the characters and I see 'Stump' being a midget dwarf. And I'm thinking "what did I get myself into" I read it and I liked it. More often than not, it made me laugh. I have a new comic strip in My Favorites list and I plan on checking it out regularly.

Thank you for the great read.
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Postby McDuffies on Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:29 am

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Postby Phalanx on Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:43 pm

Ping reviews Sanity Free:

First Impressions:
While the art isn't attention grabbing but it's adequate, and it wouldn't be too bad if the first strip hadn't been a self-depreciating one. There's one thing about saying in retrospect: "hahaha, my art wasn't very good here, was it?" and an entirely different putting a "You are about to read a poorly drawn comic of limited imagination" disclaimer at the very beginning of your archive. It is NOT funny, and it does not make any bad comics any less bad by saying it. It only gives me a bad impression, and a pessimistic view of what's about to come. I haven't read the comic already and I have a feeling I'm goign to hate it, all because of the first strip.

Art:
For a humour strip, the art is passable and actually suits the nature of the content. Objects although not drawn in high detail, are instantly recognisable. Always a good thing. A plus point is that the art has its own style, and even if there is a lack of perspective, depth, and viewpoint variation, it actually works with the art style and I don't think about it that much.

There are some nasty jaggies in the font, but I see them straightened out later, also good to see the improvement.

Writing:

This is supposed to be a humour strip, but I'm sorry to report this brand of humour leaves me cold. I hate to be crushing, but to be honest, most of the jokes were of a rather random nature, and I did not find them funny at all. There was ONE strip that I laughed at (tech support one), I think, but that was it.

One other thing that irked me was the lack of set-up and introduction. I had no idea who the main character was called until much later in the story, and I never found out what the woman and the kid were called. It seems to plunge headlong into gags without giving the audiences any reason to care about the characters.


Overall:

I can see a lot of good effort and honest attempts at making a good comic, but I think you've a long way to go. The art isn't that bad, but I think the writing will be your weakest link. I know I have an unusual sense of humour in things, but to have so little of the 'humour' appeal at all indicates a problem with writing. I'd advise looking more into jokes beyond random Harry Potter/Tech Support jokes. Those jokes are often old and worn threadbare.

Keep at it though. You'll definitely get better.
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Postby Ryuko on Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:01 pm

First Impressions:
The idea of a collaborative webcomic, a jam comic, as it were, intrigued (and still intrigues) me. It's tough enough to keep the arguing factors in one's own mind happy, how tough would it be to keep a plot coherent between a number of people? In reading Golden, I realized that it was not quite as tough as I thought it'd be. However, the story does have a few of the kinds of problems that come from a collaborative work that's not stringently monitored. But it does have the strengths of such a collaborative work as well.

Art:
Since the art is done by a number of different people, the skill level varies. However, all of the people who participate in Golden are excellent at what they do, and the character designs are largely maintained throughout. This makes it easy to tell who are the characters from strip to strip, and easy to tell them apart.

Writing:
As a collaborative strip, Golden has that special brand of humor that only groups of people can put together. Seemingly-random garden path twists, challenges to your expectations... PUNS EVERYWHERE, and foxes with outdated and terrible hairdos? Golden is pretty random, all right, but much less random and odd than could be expected for a comic that has so many different writers. It reads like a folk tale or fairy story, and if you think about it, that's just how it should be. Just as fairy tales were repeated verbally and changed subtly by each person who told them, Golden is changed by each person who works on it.

Overall:
Golden is a great example of what a group of comic artists can do together, having fun with a story. Golden, to me, just screams "fun!" from every angle. I'm eager to see how much farther it can go.
Last edited by Ryuko on Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ida on Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:06 pm

MWAHAHAHA! The Greeny is all mine! :D

Story: The Green Avenger is an autobiographical superhero comic, so the story so far has been a mixture of ordinary superhero stuff (rescue people, fly around, displaying amazing powers, etc) and scenes of the main character's everyday life. I can't say for sure whether or not there will eventually be a greater story, because so far, we've only seen her perform unrelated tasks and goof around, but the story is not episodic (like Mindmistress, for example) - all that has happened so far has been happening in one streak of events without any breaks or jumps in time, it seems. We also haven't heard much about the world the comic takes place in so far, which would probably be a good thing to elaborate on if Ryuko hasn't already planned to do so; It does feel like we've been dumped right into the middle of things without explanation, and while this is good, eventually you'll have to tell something. :wink:

Humor: Okay, I'm biased on this because I think TGA is ridiculously funny, but I still think the humor is one of this comic's strongest points. The humor is mostly centered around the main character's quirky personality and her sometimes odd behavior in everyday superhero situations (like the first comic), though there is a bit of plain old bizarre situation humor as well. There are hardly any punchline jokes or puns (thank god), though the non-story 'gag' comics that pop up once in a while do have more of the first - but it's still not so much the punchline as the character and the set-up. I can't really describe what makes the humor work so well - it just does. :D

Characters: This is two-sided, actually. In the case of the main character, Ryuko has done a wonderful work of characterizing Abby/The Green Avenger so far. After reading the archives, I had a strong feeling of who this character was and what made her tick, and that was without Ryuko ever reducing her to a simple stereotype. On the other hand: Other characters. I'm not even sure there ARE other staying characters than The Green Avenger and her friend, and even this friend we hardly know anything about yet. Things have been said about her having a storyline of her own, so I have faith that we'll get to know her soon, but there's still the problem that the world around the Green Avenger is not very defined. Aside from these two characters, there's nobody who isn't just a bystander (well, maybe that guy...). I think you're going to introduce the police later, which would be a good idea - but doesn't Abby interact with anyone in 'real life'? (If she doesn't, that's fine - but we don't really know that yet) In a similiar veein, we haven't been told much about the superhero side of things yet either. As was mentioned in a recent strip, what is The Green Avenger avenging? Where does her power come from? Are there any other heroes? Inquiring minds want to know!

Art: One of the first things I noted about the comic is how quickly the art develops. In the first few strips the art is crude; though it's still above the level of most webcomics, it is not exactly impressive either. After the chicken van episode, however, the art takes an impressive leap in quality and has continued to improve rapidly ever since. The rendering of the characters is definately the art's greatest forte; Ryuko has a very distinct, eye-pleasing style that is realistic enough to fit the traditional superhero setting, yet is not just a carbon copy of the Marvel/DC style. I really love the lips. :D Ryuko seems to have a considerably harder time drawing backgrounds and objects (like the ambulance in the latest story comic), which makes these things stand out from the characters a bit. Working more with perspective would probably be a good idea, but I have faith enough in Ryuko's rapidly evolving drawing abilities to say that the backgrounds will most likely look perfect a year from now.

Overall: TGA is a great comic with well-done humor, good art and a likeable, 3-dimensional main character, but it is clearly still in the introductory phase and lots of things are left unexplained.

(Sorry if this review sounded harsh. I am still deeply in love with the comic, but I've told you that several times... This is supposed to be constructive criticism :wink: )

...I'm so going to regret this.
Last edited by Ida on Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Levi-chan on Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:10 pm

I did a long review, but Moz crashed. Errrk.

Anyway, on to the meat:

Now there are a few webcomics that are in the "Magical Girl" category - some of them pull it off well, most of them just suck. Fortunately, ANT is in the former group.

Story: What can I say? It's a magical girl story. Lonely outcast girl who is a fan of magical girl stories meets a weird-cute character that grants the lonely-outcast girl with superpowaa. Weird-cute sidekick is at first skeptic about the abilities of the protagonist - but they eventually see the good in each other and become inseparable. Protagonist gains mega superpowaa. Hilarity, adventure, romance ensues.

The odd thing is, while it follows the template of all magical girl stories, it manages to stay fresh. I really can't explain it - you have to read it to understand. Oh yes!

Kinda like Valkyrie Yuuki - yes it's a bit cliched, yes it's been done a hundred times before, but yes it has a few bits here and there that differentiate it from the rest.

Art: The art is awesome. Simply awesome. Nice clean lines, expressive faces, lovely palette - what else could you want?

My only niggle with it is at times, there are a lot of things happening in one panel at once - that it's pretty hard to focus on one scene. The details detract from the main focus of the panel, and it ends up looking cluttered (sometimes, mind). Other people may like this though....so yeah.

Website: The layout's pretty clean, and easy to navigate. I had some problems accessing the index via Mozilla though - so a look at it would be great.

Overall: While there are a few flaws here and there, A.N.T. is sure to satisfy. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read - so much so that I forgot that I had a job for 20 minutes. ;)


4.5/5

-Levi

Thanks for the head's up, Col. Will keep your words in my head. ;)
Last edited by Levi-chan on Thu Jun 09, 2005 4:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Col on Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:00 pm

Hopscotch is a comic that's only just recently started up in the last few months, but it shows promise with what the author has already put up.

This comic is a story-based one as opposed to a gag-a-day comic. It follows the recountings of a young man named Mike. He narrates the story as if it has already happened. There is a bitter sadness to the narration that suggests this is something of a painful story for Mike. It also seems as if he is recounting this to someone else involved in the story, specifically the woman that he comes in contact with near the beginning. We don't know her name yet, or where their relationship leads to. But from the tone of the story, it seems that we have some major ups and major downs to look forward to.

The unique thing about this comic is its format. Each update consists of one drawing with the text written around it. The story is written in book format. There are no speech bubbles. This enhances the feeling of it being a real story greatly, as opposed to your regular panel by panel comic. I like the choice of not really using any color except for the sepia tones, making it more like a memory, reminding us that these events have already taken place. The text is done in the regular text book style font, which is both good and bad. Again, with the font it adds to this being more like a story than a comic, but at the same time, it's kind of a dull font. I wonder if maybe there's a different font that could be used to bring the style of the text and the drawings together? An example would be another storytelling comic called "Scarecrow" by Corgan Dane. The font there is softer and fits nicely with the way the comic is drawn, and I think there might be something out there that could fit Levi's drawing style as well. Just some food for thought.

The art is very nicely done. The faces hold real emotion on them and convey what the characters are thinking very nicely. My only problem is that the hands and feet are sometimes drawn too small. For the most part, the proportions are pretty good, but the most repetitive flaw is the size of the hands. Also, for tricky body poses, it's best to use a model or a photo reference. This stuck out as being really awkwardly done. Having someone pose, or getting a photo of that pose will help out next time.

At the same time, there are panels of absolute wonderfulness, such as this one. Great work on the perspective there. As long as Levi keeps up with the drawing, it should only get better and better.

In terms of the site, it's still in progress. Some pages like the Character page and About page aren't finished yet, but they're on his to-do list. I'd also like to suggest throwing a calendar or archive page on there, because once a lot of comics are up there, it's going to be pretty frustrating trying to find a specific comic.

Hopscotch is still in it's early stages, but it shows a lot of promise. The writing's well done, and the presentation is something different from a lot of what's out there. One more suggestion I'd like to make is to get a strong buffer going so the comic can be updated regularly. The update schedule was pretty sporadic right now, and considering the slow-pace this story will be taking, people may get impatient with the lack of updates. Three days a week should hold people's interest pretty well though. A more spread out schedule might not bring them back that often, because this comic reads very well in one sitting, but only getting one picture and a little bit of text every so often makes it seem a lot more plodding.

Keep up the good work, otherwise! I'll be checking back for sure.

Geoduck, thanks for the review. It's something I've been needing for a while. You helped out a lot!
Last edited by Col on Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby [geoduck] on Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:25 pm

Strange Happenings depicts the adventures of three roommates, Wade, a cantankerous ghost, Norman, an (very) short alien, and Abner, a.. well.. tall skinny guy with who sports a set of antenna.

The art is solid, if not particularly earth-shattering in its beauty. The dialogue's a little hard to read at times; not using premade fonts can be both a blessing and a curse. In the more recent archives, Col's been doing some effective work with panel useage and placement.

The site layout is practically a textbook definition of "bare-boned", but it's functional and not bad to look at. As Col hinted in his note, the update schedule has been highly erratic.

As for the story.. the strip started off with lots of random humor and overt fourth-wall breeching. The former was generally amusing, but not gut-bustingly funny (I did like the cow-in-a-tree joke and the bits with "Captain Coffee Bean"), while the latter I personally find annoying. That's of course just a personal preference.
In the second half or so of the archives, this area has shown a definite improvement, with the introduction of an on-going plot involving a mysterious Woman in Black involved in some kind of covert operation aimed at Abner. Also we've started getting a little background on the three main characters, which is very welcome. Hearing how the three of them came to be living together would be interesting. (Or at least Wade and Abner; Norman was introduced during one of the previously-mentioned fourth wall breeches.) If Col can keep some kind of plot running along in between the short jokes and the asides to the audience, I'll keep reading.


Thanx to Jops for the suggestion about shading; I tried a quick-n-dirty method with an upcoming strip and it turned out pretty well..
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Postby Ryuko on Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:52 pm

:) Thanks for your review, Ida. I really appreciate the constructive criticism. I'm glad to say that at least storywise, most of the things that you felt the world was lacking will be coming together. I'm just happy that for at least half of the complaints you have, the answer is in my future scripts. (dances)
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Postby Jops on Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:53 pm

The Mansion of E

At first, The Mansion of E looks like nothing more than a gag-a-day comic of 3 people living in a big and weird house with not much of a plot (you actually get a lot less this feeling now that geoduck changed the intro: good move man). But this is not it, soon you realize that something as simple as getting a pot turns out to be an adventure of of epic proportions trough the mazes under the Mansion inhabitated by strange cretures, many of which become main characters.
The story is divided in several arcs that keep crossing paths, this makes the plot more intricate and, at least for me, more interesting. Thought, there are so many arcs that sometimes you lose track of some characters you haven't seen for a while (for example, i almost forgot of that rock with legs). It's also a lil annoying to be put "on hold": like switching to see what Sylvester is doing, when you really want to see what's gonna happen next to Comsaw. That said, normally the new arc catches you quickly enough, so you end up being as curious about Sylvester as you are about Comsaw.
Anyway, the real strong point of MoE is the mansion itself. It's always so full of entretaining surprises and fantabulous artifacs that makes you want the characters to show you every single corner of it.

The humor is always good, mostly resorting to the very out of ordinary explanations of how things work in MoE. You'd think they would get boring after a while, but Geoduck always manages to surprise you. He also manages to put about a joke per page without falling into the actual punchline sort of things, which, considering the ongoning plot, gives him a lot of "+ points"

It's weak point is the art, the lack of shading makes most of the characters look flat and the lineart is often quite rough. The style fits perfectly with the Mansion of E, it's plot and an all the weirdness in it, but it can be improved. I suggest Geoduck to try to add some shading, at least to the foreground characters and to try to make the lineart smoother (especially the motion lines, the way they are they're a lil confusing: the 1st time i saw a character shaken i thought it had fleas or something. I had to look twice to figure out what they were exactly).
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Postby Ida on Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:58 pm

Ryuko wrote::) Thanks for your review, Ida. I really appreciate the constructive criticism. I'm glad to say that at least storywise, most of the things that you felt the world was lacking will be coming together. I'm just happy that for at least half of the complaints you have, the answer is in my future scripts. (dances)


Phew, I'm so happy you aren't offended. :D And as for the answers to the questions: *Looks forward to future GA comics*
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Postby Ryuko on Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:11 pm

Ida wrote:
Ryuko wrote::) Thanks for your review, Ida. I really appreciate the constructive criticism. I'm glad to say that at least storywise, most of the things that you felt the world was lacking will be coming together. I'm just happy that for at least half of the complaints you have, the answer is in my future scripts. (dances)


Phew, I'm so happy you aren't offended. :D And as for the answers to the questions: *Looks forward to future GA comics*


:D Oh, and I'm also going to take a 2-D design class in the fall. So look out world, I'm gonna draw you!!
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Postby MrEff on Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:45 pm

Placeholder for Ded End!

Oh wait.... you have to do someone elses comic.....


I'll be back.....

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Postby Phalanx on Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:42 pm

I call Menagerie!


Art:
I've always liked Jops' chibi art style, so seeing that Menagerie isin full colour was a definite bonus! Particularly admirable is Jops' skill in drawing machinery. I'd have never thought you could chibi-fy vehicles, but apparently you can, and Jops even makes them look good.

The only beef I have with the characters is that they're a little hard to tell apart because of the art style. It's more of the stylistic thing, and Jops has taken pains to make the characters distinctive, but I still have a bit of a problem keepign track of who is who.

There's a lot of lovely details in the backgrounds. A lot of effort has gone into making them look right... from little things like signs and logos in the background to the many cameos in the comic (the one with the cats is genius! I didn't even realise what they were until I read the rant and laughed my head off) I also should mention that Jops' comic is a rare instance where a lens flare actually looks non-cheesy. *salutes* Not many people can carry that off.

Writing:
The story is right up my alley, with an X-files type mystery, plenty of action with the promise of more to come, and good atmosphere. The pacing is quick and lively, and you really get pulled into the excitement.

Unfortunately part of it is spoiled by the awkward flow of language and multiple language/spelling mistakes. (eg: phenomenon). At some points I'm almost confused to what is going on because of it. It might be a good idea to get a proofreader for the comic. It'd make all the difference in the world.

Overall:
*adds to Bookmarks*
I really did enjoy reading Menagerie, and I can't wait to see what happens next. There are some flaws, but they're mainly the language errors which are easily rectified.
Last edited by Phalanx on Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ryuko on Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:46 pm

Question: Is it against the rules somehow to do many reviews? I like doing reviews, but I don't want to push anyone else out.
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Postby Phalanx on Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:54 pm

Ryuko wrote:Question: Is it against the rules somehow to do many reviews? I like doing reviews, but I don't want to push anyone else out.


Nope. You can review as many times as you like. After all ,the only prerequisite to getting reviewed is to give a review, and if you give a review, another person is getting a review, so the more times the merrier! Without repeats the thread would die.
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Postby Ryuko on Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:00 pm

K. :) Good to know. :D
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Postby Christwriter on Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:23 pm

*Tries to figure out who's next-up...*

Ok. I call Longest Sojourn. :)

Goody goody goody I get an excuse to re-read one of my favs. :)

Edit: Ok, here we go

Ok: Here we go

Artwork: Given that the first strips were made in 2000, and the latest made sometime within the last twelve months (six month buffer????) the difference in the artwork, and the poorer quality of the earlier work can be ignored. The latest work, from the beginning of the latest chapter on up till now, is very nice. The sepia tones used in the shading give it a gritty feel, like an old photograph, and an interesting atmosphere. Most fantasy comics (and stories) for that matter are extreamly lush, rich enviroments, primeval Lord-of-the-Rings forest kind of feel. The sepia tones, combined with the odd animals and a feeling of dislocation I can't pin down to any single cause give it a very dry, minimalist feel that's very refreshing.

However, there are a few problems. The current art has lapses in anatomy and perspective, not glaring but nagging. Close ups on faces--especially faces in half-profile shots--have a tendancy to look flat, as if the features have been unrolled a bit. Also, the shading is a bit messy. Some of the latest strips look unfinished.

The one annoying factor of the current art is the jagged word bubbles. I have them associated with loud, violent or abrasive speach. Seeing them with presumably natural speech is very odd. However, looking back, the rounded bubbles go with the artwork even less.

Writing: At the beginning the story is slightly stilted. The inexperiance of the author (at the time) shines through. There's an attempt once in a while to be funny at the end of the pages when funny is not only unnatural but inapproprete. The dialogue, especially that of Jager, is too forced, and the characters, especially Jager, start out as either cacuratures or steriotypes.

However, the akwardness fades as the story continues. The first
chapter advances slowly, but from where I sit it's a case of damned
if you do, damned if you don't--the rest of the story will make no
sense without it. Once into the second chapter, the story advances
a bit faster, and about halfway through I became totally immersed.
The world is unique and enveloping, the plotting and pacing excelent,
and the characters are, in their own ways, sympathetic enough to make
you love them, yet caustic enough to make you want to kick them
through the wall. It has an edge-of-your seat quality best discribed
as the "gotta" as in, "I gotta read just one more chapter".

All-in-all: Longest Sojourn is defenately a must-read. It's well-written, well drawn and very entertaining. I highly recommend it.

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Postby Radewagon on Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:46 pm

placeholdin'

hmmm.... seems someone reviewed blue skunk already... even after i posted my clever little placeholder. things will be getting messy very soon, i think.

nut-bunnies! (old freakazoid saying)
i'll just do a review for blue skund AND school spirit (i've been looking for an excuse to go through school spirit's daunting archives)
CORRECTION: it's not daunting... it's... what's the word... organized. which is scary and different for me.

Blue Skunk:

Against my better judgement, i'm listening to "Kid A" while writing this review.

ART: Okay. The Art... It seems to have gone through three distinct styles. The first was a little "dirty;" with light sketch work and computer coloring. The second was plagued by an over-abundance dark shading. The third, and current, style completely omits any visible pencil or ink work, with the whole thing being presented in a photoshopish all-paint look. I always enjoy seeing an artist experiment with different styles. It is for this reason that I am hesitant to give a final score to the art. What I can say, is that I am not completely happy with any of the above styles. They all show room for improvement. I would like to see a mixture of all three, actually. Coloring from the third, sketch-look from the first, and dark line work from the second (sans the over-inking). A few other things of note are: the anatomy work seems very "aeon flux" inspired (fits the story content), the overall appearence would be greatly improved if the pictures didn't have so much jpeg compression, and the font work is sometimes outside of the bubble (little pet peeve of mine). All in all, the art, i assume, from what i've seen, will steadily improve. But for now...
GRADE: C+

STORY/WRITING: I've always hated reading comic-book-style strips. The need to keep coming back every day in hopes of closure that may never come is enough to drive me stark raving buggo. Luckily, there is at least one completely finished story arc in the archives! On the whole, I was driven to keep reading in a "what the hell is going on?" sort of way. Which is cool. Means it kept my interest. I like the world that has been created in this comic and I am muchly curious to find answers to questions that have been asked. I am also quite pleased with the characters. But, like with all stories that pull their climax punches, I'm still not sure whether or not the plot developements will justify the crafty set-ups. (i.e. god, i hope it doesn't turn out like Shymalan's "The Village.")
GRADE: A-

SITE: It's a site. There's a tagboard. News posts. It is not terribly exciting to look at. There are some neat wallpapers (i love wallpapers!). The "cast" and "archives" links don't work. Ummm... fix that. Or remove the unclickable buttons.
GRADE: C

OVERALL: Good stuff that shows promise. What else can I say. The art needs help, the writing needs to stay good.
GRADE: B-


SCHOOL SPIRIT:

Like I said, i've been looking for a good excuse to read the work (in it's current entirety) of Keenspace's famed aussie writer. Seeing as how he ended his review of my strip with a favorite strip, i'll start mine with my favorite strip: http://schoolspirit.keenspace.com/d/20040822.html
It took me a bit of time to get it (noticing the sign in the last panel). At first I was like, "what's the joke, yo?" and then I was like, "that's awesome." Because, well, it is.

ART: Honestly, the little kids scare me in places that i wish i didn't have. After about twenty strips I had convinced myself that all children have giant ears. After that, it was smooth sailing. It has a very distinct look to it and could never be confused for any other strip. This is a good thing. I've always thought that being able to create iconic styles that suit the subject matter of the writing were of the utmost importance in creating a strip. In that sense, the work is a good fusion of this medium that I like to call, "sequential art (thanks scott mcloud!)." I would like to say one very important thing, though. The grayscale gradients are something that i'm not particularly used to. Maybe it's a "down-under" thing. Anyway. In the end, it's not the best art i've ever seen and it's certainly not the worst. Does it do the trick, though? Yessum.
GRADE: A

WRITING/STORY: Here's the kicker, i guess. Many people (including the author i'm reviewing) have said that my comic lacks a story. And it does. Why? Because anyone who does comics knows that creating a story brings up many many too many problems. When a regular ol writer wants to tell a story, there are certain comic-specific problems that he/she will never encounter. The most important of these is that people like Kurt Vonnegut never have to worry about whether or not joe-reader has read chapters 1-6 before he/she moves onto chapter 7. It is because of this, that every once in a while (not too often, though), the comic has to waste 1 to 2 panels (half the strip!) to explain what has happened in the previous strips because that imformation will be needed for the all-important punchline. So, what's a comic writer to do? Should caution be thrown to the wind (assume that your readers know what's going on in the story), or should you hold the hand of all new readers so that they can still get the joke (so as to not alienate the ever-important new fans)? I don't really know the answer (i have avoided story arcs until very recently to avoid this problem). What I do know, is that the obligatory recaps are sparse in this strip and probably only noticable to people who are reading them in a row (i.e. me).
But what about the quality? Yes. yes. . . the quality. What can I say. It's very well written. It may not be my cup of tea (the humor seems to be constrained at times by the necessity to follow plot), but it is always an endearing strip. It also has a distinct character driven (huge fan of things being character driven) story that it is telling. And, thankfully, the characters are all very likable in their own unique ways. If I had to describe the writing in one sentance, i'd say that "it's cute and warm and fuzzy in all the right ways."
GRADE: B+/A- (leans more towards the A- though)

SITE: It's awesome. Not so much in a visual flair sort of way, but in a "has everything I could want" sort of way. The site resembles an elementary school desk. And has links to art, cast, forum, etc. etc. etc. It even has a page that defines those wacky aussie words for us damn yanks.
GRADE: A

OVERALL: Well, it didn't have me burst out into fits of laughter too often, but I very much respect the work. It shows quality, class, and (this last one's important because it's rarely done right), heart.
GRADE: B+/A- (leaning towards the A-)

(artists who were reviewed, feel free to contact me. i'm always happy to talk to fellow comic-ers)

that's it! i'm done! FREE TIBET!
Last edited by Radewagon on Thu Jun 09, 2005 2:35 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Dutch! on Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:03 am

Aw, I'll jump in and keep this show on the road...


Okay. First impressions...the style was definitely distinct from what I usually expect. I got to rather enjoy the heavy outlines and the way most of the human characters were drawn. Sort of a modern, noir looking cartoonish style if that makes any sense whatsoever. I didn't mind the face made only of features, but I felt it ended up a little out of place with the rest of the characters. I saw the martian as little more than a simple gag device that had little do with anything in the comic that kept me interested. Except when he told the guy to apologise to the plant. For some reason that made me chuckle.

Storywise there's very little story there at all. It's mainly just random humour and ideas popping up all over the place like a dog's breakfast. Not down my alley as a reader, so for me the humour was hard to find. Jesus popped up for some unexplained reason, and other events appeared that had no reason really to be there. It just came across as a hodge podge of whatever was in his head at the time. I'm not saying this doesn't work, but for me it didn't.

As I said, the humour didn't catch me. Most of the time I thought, yeah, fair enough, on to the next one. That said, there were a few that I was glad I read, even if only for a minute and then felt dirty. The strip about getting drunk and thinking his wife was the toaster had so many levels of wrong I hated myself for laughing.

The site looks pretty good, especially when taken alongside the style of the artwork. As I said, the artwork isn't all that bad once you get used to it. It all fits together pretty well. Heavy lines and contrast between black and white makes most of the site look really effective and actually helped me get through the strip, so it's a bonus there. Pretty good design, I thought. The header and footer with the comic wedged between them worked well, but the header made me think there was a story involved and that doesn't seem to be the case. It did work to get me interested in first reading the strip though.

Now...for the crowning glory...if this sounds like a rough old review, take into account I am one insignificant bugger in a wooden house in the middle of a country paddock outside of a little Australian town and have no real influence on the webcomic world. Don't take my advice as the be all and end all, cos then the world might as well stop right now and knock off early. But THIS...

THIS made reading the whole strip worthwhile! This is a strip I would have loved to have made myself, even if the situation couldn't have fit into my own comic...I have rarely laughed so well at a webcomic strip before, so for this excellent strip you have my everlasting respect! It was brilliant!

So yeah, take from this what you will, but for that strip alone I'm glad I at least gave it a shot!

Cheers.


(Oh, and how we gonna get this thread all sorted out now that it's been twisted by the bloke ahead of us?)


EDIT: Oh. After reading your new edit just above, I hope you don't take this too far to heart! :) Remember, I LOVED that particular strip!! ;) )
Last edited by Dutch! on Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
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