What is it they say, be careful what you ask for?
First off, and foremost, thank you for reviewing my comic and website, LC. I was actually rather surprised and impressed that you went through things to the extent you evidently did. I won't lie, however, and say your assessment didn't hurt, not am I proud enough to admit that it's been an excrucinatingly long workday for me thus far. Regardless, tho, I did in fact ask for it, so regardless of what I think of your literary critiquing method, kind or unkind, this is what I asked for.
On the matter of my schedule, I update the last weekend of every month, or the first weekend of the following month if I'm running behind. The dates listed on each cartoon's release should all be about that time. Those months where you see two cartoons listed in the archives are indicative of where I was running late from the previous month, but running on time for the current month. I used to announce that in the home page intro, but I dropped it as part of the ongoing changes I'm currently making, as I stated in my intitial invitation. As much as I would LOVE to have the free time to update more frequently, I simply can't, due to the fact that I work full time, have a wife and a house that we're currently working on, and other hobbies and clubs that I'm a member of. With my limited free time I alternate between working on the house and working on the strip. Somewhere in there I'm trying to find time to work on the website as well. Still, with everything I have going on, nine times out of twelve for 2010 and 2011 isn't too bad for me, and we're only three months into 2012, and I'm hoping to release the next ep of Critters this weekend. As you might imagine, I'm hard-pressed to agree that I update "once in a blue moon," "virtually never," and is "in a state of permanent hiatus." To avoid confusion, however, I can certainly add a release schedule to my list of changes currently underway. Additionally, I didn't know about the 2010-2012 mislabel, so thank you for bringing that to my attention. I will fix as soon as I'm able (or, rather, my wife since she's my webmistress and holder of HTML).
My blog is merely just a vehicle to let my fans know what I have going on. Sometimes I have something noteworthy and I don't feel like waiting until the end of the month, sometimes not. Thus the blog entries aren't necessarily tied to a release, nor had I ever intented it to be. So it could very well happen that I have more entries than I do cartoon releases.
Regarding the writing, I've always had the belief that a comic is a world of your own making. You set the rules, and in my case, there are none. I grew up on Warner Bros. fare, and I suppose that influence isn't just reflected in my character designs; it's also present in the the kind of world I've built for myself, where silly, off-the-wall scenarios can happen which may conflict with preconceived notions that the reader may have. It's like, "Ah HA! You thought things were like this. No, they're actually like that!" A very cartoony notion, IMO, and I believe that's one of the things my fans like about the cartoon. As you rightly point out, mine is not a political cartoon. But I still reserve the right to get political if I feel like it (in fact, once this election year kicks into high gear, I'll probably be doing more such cartoons). Again, I like to set up rules so I can break them.
To answer your specific questions, LC, the screen names you refer to in my current serial do have origins. April's name, pinkbun2k, refers to, simply, that she's a bun who loves the color pink. Unfortunately, since mine is primarily a B&W strip, she isn't shown with enough pink stuff to really drive home the point. Not much I can do about that one, unfortunately, since color is too time-consuming a process for me to do at this time. April's galpal, Ronnie, Nellie Mortensen's character from her strip "The Furry Experience," chose her name as "honeybun" is her father's pet name for her, according to Nellie. What can I say? I like to keep such things consistent out of respect for Nellie and her character. Regarding humans in the strip, regular readers will tell you that I have frequently used them throughout my comic's run. In my world, like that of WB, humans and anthros live side by side. April's human co-worker at her student placement has appeared twice now, and human toddlers are frequent in the BG of their daycare. Frieda's gyno in the story "And Baby Makes Three" is human and appears in I believe two or three eps. Humans are also in crowd scenes although they're fewer in number and harder to spot.
Of this review in general, I found but drops of positivity out of a sea negativity. But I did get:
- The art stands on its own, and I do a good job of varying emotions and perspectives.
- I get kudos for including some new element in the artwork of each strip, as well as my use of pointilism.
On the first point, I thank you as trying to capture an emotion effectively and trying out new perspectives are second only to detailed BGs as far as percentage of drawing time goes. I can get by with minimal BG, but a facial expression can make or break a mood.
On the second point, thank you again. Given the visual limitations of B&W I try to compensate by adding visual elements to catch the eye. Pointilism is another way. I think in color, but ink in B&W. Yes, the manual shading is much more labor intensive and adds time onto each strip, but the end result is worth it, IMO. And anyway, I don't have GIMP to experiment with.
Otherwise, there's nothing more I can take away from this, which, sadly and unfortunately, appears little more than an unbridled orgasm of hatred, mockery and contempt. I can't even begin to fathom any other ways I can improve this abomintion of a cartoon, which is probably LC's intent; as I read it, there's absolutely nothing salvageable or redeeming about the strip whatsoever, so the only option left for me is to take it out back and shoot it between its pixelly eyes, and thereupon promise never to pick up a pencil for another cartoon again.
This will have been my fourth formal, in depth critique (using the term loosely) that I've had done of Critters. This on top of a handful of other, lesser and more informal critiques by different people. Coming out of this execise I'm beginning to see a larger picture forming for my humble cartoon. I'm beginning to think I have a polarizing cartoon. Reactions from reviewers have varied, but in general, they either liked it or hated it; there was next to no in-between at all. It was the same story when I was in an indie alt rock band back in the day. Its existance was short-lived, but we did play a few gigs and from what we could determine, people either really loved us or really hated us.
Like any polarizing TV show or band, I would argue that whether you like it or not depends on whether you "get it" or not. You get the kind of humor, or get the kind of action, or get the kind of sound, or something like that. It gels with you, and resonates with you, and you...just...like it. If not, you hate it. Reading LC's indictment of my strip's writing, somewhere I have to wonder if that's the case with him, as well as a (fortunately) small number of others who panned my work. Yet among my fans, they like what I do - and have told me as much. Unfortunately, in a polarizing situation I don't think there's anything I can do except stay true to myself and stay the course. I can continue to work on drawing people into my cartoon to boost visibilty and popularity, but ultimately, whether or not they get me will determine whether or not they'll stay.
Anyway, to wrap up, I'm sorry you didn't like my cartoon, LC. You may have left me with next to nothing in the way of tips to improve my stuff - or even encouragement to keep drawing - but nevertheless I'm chosing to wear this scarlet letter as a badge of honor. It is so completely over-the-top in its boundless venom and limitless hate that I simply must share it with my fan base. Even as you use my cartoon as a horrible example of what not to do with a webcomic, you may forgive me, sir, for using your review in the same manner.
Thanks, Robbo. Keep in mind, though, that peter's been making Critters
strips for 22 years
, so he isn't exactly a newbie. (Really -- here's a strip from Nov. 30, 1990: http://www.crittersonline.org/november1990.htm
It's true that I've been drawing Critters since 1990, but you have to consider my timeline. Back then my cartoons were little more than doodles to pass the time, and they probably took maybe ten minutes to do. That should be painfully evident in the cartoon you just quoted. In 1995 I discovered the Internet, and a close friend helped me build the CrittersOnline website. There followed an attempt by me to take my cartoon more seriously, and I started to dream of making a living from it. By the late '90s I discovered the furry genre, and, having an anthro strip myself, saw a potential to break things wide open. My dream of syndication had all but faded by the early '00s, but I still thought I had a chance to make it big in a more indirect way. By the mid-'00s, however, even that was becoming tempered as I came to realize the difference between furry art and anthro art, and the respective potential of each. By the late '00s, I left furry and turned my focus back to the mainsteam where I started - and, as I see it, where I belong. When I joined CG three years ago, I became even more serious about my art - in spite of the fact that it was becoming much harder to find free time to do it - and started actively seeking out advice and reviews, and instituting changes accordingly, to both the cartoon and its website. Did you notice that it wasn't until two years ago that I started tweaking my character designs and strip format? There you go. So yes, although I've been drawing Critters since 1990, I haven't really had any guidance to improve things until just a few years ago. So it would be a mischaracterization to say that longevity equals continuous improvement in my case.