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 LibertyCabbage on Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:22 am

Uh...

P.S. I'm not coming back. This website isn't worth a second visit. I only came because you emailed me, as if begging to have me see your hate speech. So sad.


1 week later:

My response wasn't a "hurt" or "mad" response...which is such a simple way of looking at it.

I gave a little while and there were some points that I didn't make.
It wasn't just the things the guy says he didn't like. He attacked me for trying to make money off Nintendo's designs. Check out http://www.levelupstudios.com/runaway-entei just one of a billion places. Also how do you explain the billion videos on Youtube DIRECTLY making money off Nintendo from ads? There's nothing recreated or redone...just exact music and images owned by Nintendo. So taking a shot at me, or the pretend copyright I did as an homage was not correct. And just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it right, isn't fair, because you're not attacking everyone. You attacked me so I responded with cases where it is allowed. Also, I've made shirts in the past on spreadshirt (that included titles or character names), but they refused them due to copyright, so they are checked and mine must be fine.
Also, tons of animations, SouthPark and comics have characters in roughly same poses that don't even change clothes. Hell a lot anime has a single pose and just the mouth moves. Seems like the only comics that would be good to this person are super action crazy lines, mega poses! I wanted it to be stifled. I wanted it to be static. Like the other comment that I am okay with setting my standard low for my comic. I never said it was "good". I said it was my style and I wanted it that way.
About asking if my comic could be on the list, yes, I asked. I never said I didn't. (and I knew someone would try to be clever and involve me asking and turn it into a "I asked to be raped" challenge.) But to be turned into a Nintendo trademark thief, that wants to be super cutting edge funny, and action packed but fails at my goals. Nope. Sorry. Those are made up goals and accusations, not a "review".
And to get an email saying the review is posted, was like a "Hey come see all the mean things I said about you." You might not see it that way, doesn't mean I didn't.


The last part kinda moved me, though:

In the end, these were attacks. They weren't true. It's easy to walk away and let someone walk all over you or watch as someone is being put down for doing the same thing as everyone else, but they're the one being attacked out of everyone. Everyone has seen how a bully works. There will always be people to back up the oppressors, the gang of bullies...just like the other comments here. But people will always fight back. Sometimes they're emotional and sometimes not...that's how it is. That's okay if standing up to someone for false claims makes me unpopular here or in life. At least I know I don't let it go by unnoticed. And I will stand up for myself and others around me when something is not right. No matter how much it shouldn't matter.
Truth matters. This review was a libelous creation. So I stood up for myself.
After all this, comments will follow with "Good for you" or "No one cares." or some other stupid remark. But like I said about the last comment, it matters to me and people have thanked me for standing up for them when no one else would. This time it was for me.


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I'm not even sure if it's worth bothering to respond at this point.

Anyways, I made some good progress on my review blog article yesterday, but it's getting long enough that I'm thinking of splitting it into two parts. I'll see if I can get Part 1 done today, and then I can finish Part 2 next week.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:04 pm

How Not to Run a Webcomic Review Blog, Part 1

2013 hasn't been a great year for webcomic reviews. Of the review sites mentioned on The Webcomic Police in 2012, Webcomic Reviews Every Monday! and Your Webcomics! stopped updating, WebcomicZ was replaced, and El Santo of The Webcomic Overlook has only reviewed half as many webcomics this year as he did last year. A couple of other sites have had their share of problems as well, as Comic Booked's Tatiana Christian stopped writing reviews, and The Bad Webcomics Wiki was shut down against their will. Now, as the year draws to a close, the webcomics community's left with a bunch of second-rate reviewers that serve as examples of what not to do.

(This post is partly inspired by How Not to Run a Webcomic, a defunct tutorial site about the don'ts of making webcomics.)

Be a webcomics cheerleader
Offender: Sara Zimmerman of Unearthed Comics

The worst way someone can start a review is by writing, "This is one of my favorite webcomics." Not only do these words guarantee that the review will be terrible and uninteresting, but it also ruins any sense of mystery about what the review will be like. You can expect glowing statements of how "amazing," "hilarious," or "beautiful" the webcomic is, and it comes across more as cheerleading than actually reviewing or critiquing anything. It's okay to be impressed by a new webcomic once in a while, but if you're a huge fan of a particular comic, then just don't review it. Pick something else to write about.

Zimmerman's repeatedly guilty here, introducing Lunarbaboon and Victims of Circumsolar as some of her favorite webcomics and declaring herself a fan of Formal Sweatpants and Safely Endangered. And right away, she calls Rain Dogs "great" and The Awkward Yeti "wonderful," and writes that she "fell over laughing" when she found The Gentleman's Armchair. To be fair, though, she has a couple points in her defense: One, all of the reviews have "Best of Webcomics" in their titles, and two, it's really more of an interview blog even though it's labeled as "webcomic reviews." However, in my defense, blogs like this tend to die out, and Unearthed Comics is an example of one that's still updating since it's fairly new.

Praise everything
Offenders: Heather Antos, Máiréad Casey, Jessica Maybury, Elaine Tipping, & Alice Vernon of Girls Like Comics

This one's the older brother (or, in this case, older sister) of the previous offense. The blog even pokes fun at its younger sibling, as Maybury jokes, "Dust Piggies is one of my favourite web comics, so you know right now that this is going to be a highly unbiased and balanced review." You'd think that, with five writers, the blog would have some variety, but... not really. Antos calls Pumpkin Spiced "very cute, fun, and enjoyable," Casey writes that Fall On Me is "very lovely," Tipping says that Plume is a "brilliant comic" that she "was blown away by," and Vernon labels Cereals for Lunch as "very enjoyable" and Ava's Demon as "pretty much a perfect webcomic." Of these five, Casey's review stands out as being the most critical, as she complains that "as a narrative there is still a little to be desired" and has a few minor issues with the writing, but her critiques are still too timid to make her an exception.

I'm not trying to suggest that it's wrong for a reviewer to write in a positive way about webcomics they like, and I don't consider sites that are negative about everything to be ideal, either. What I'm saying is that a review blog should have a mix of comics that are good, comics that are bad, and comics that are so-so. It might be a little trickier to coordinate this sort of balance with five contributors, but it's definitely not impossible.

Get distracted by the little stuff
Offender: Fes Works of The Webcast Beacon

This guy must be really into web design, because he goes on and on about it in every review before he finally gets to the comic's art and writing. I did the math on it, and he's averaging about 450 words just on web design while only spending about 500 words on the entire rest of the review. In his review of Flycoren Kausim, he actually devotes 980 words to describing the web design while only spending 450 words writing about the comic. In that review, the website section has 17 paragraphs that seem to be individually analyzing every graphic and button on the site, and he gives separate grades to the background image, the header, and the overall website, and yet, Fes Works doesn't even bother to say what the comic's about. His entire description of the plot is that it's "set in a fantasy environment" and "starts off innocent enough but soon adds a foriener [sic] that gets wash [sic] upon shore." Oh, and it also has characters that "almost look like cow people... kinda." That's all there is from a review that's nearly 1,500 words long. I mean, I recognize that web design's an important aspect of webcomics that's often overlooked, but I just don't care that much about it, and I come to a site like this looking to read about webcomics, not to see an in-depth critique of the site's URL. And if Fes Works doesn't have much to say about a particular comic, then he should just keep the review short rather than fill it with commentary on the site's menu bar or whatever.

Try to review too many webcomics
Offender: Helen of Narrative Investigations

The Webcomic Police has a whole review just criticizing Helen and her mass-review style, and I don't know if she's ever read it, but if she has, it doesn't seem to have had any effect on the quality of her reviews. In March, she did "Webcomic Review Month 2013," in which she reviewed 21 webcomics in one month. (That's about one review every one-and-a-half days, and it's an average of one-and-a-half reviews per post.) As always, her idea of a "review" is to briefly summarize the concept, make a couple comments about it, and then recommend the webcomic without really bothering to critique the art or writing. (Helen has stated in the past that she'll recommend any webcomic as long as it "has already established a conflict and has introduced a number of characters.")

The problem with mass-reviewing is that a review isn't interesting unless it goes into depth about the webcomic, and five 200-word reviews aren't nearly as interesting as one 1,000-word review. Balancing quality and quantity is essential for a review blog, and it isn't clear what the source of Helen's focus on quantity is. I mean, it's not like the reviewer who reviews the most webcomics in a certain time span gets a trophy for it. One appeal of mini-reviews like these, though, is that they're easy to write, and there isn't any chance the reviewer will upset anyone or say something that someone might disagree with. However, if someone doesn't feel comfortable expressing their opinions online, then writing webcomic reviews probably isn't the right hobby for them.

Promote your own work
Offender: David Herbert of The Webcomic Overlook

The first time Herbert brought up his webcomic Living With Insanity was in his review of So... You’re A Cartoonist? where it made some sense because his comic was very similar to the one he was reviewing. He didn't make a big deal of it at the time, and he didn't mention his webcomic again for a while until he wrote "Picking a Path," which is when his integrity started to go downhill. In the first sentence of that article, he links to his webcomic and starts talking about it even though it wasn't related to the topic, and then he goes on to link to his other webcomic at the end of the article, writing, "[Comparing] someone popular to your own comic [...] can also make you obsessed with gaining more hits. Speaking of which, Domain Tremrot could use some love (hah)." "Obsessed with gaining more hits," huh? That might partly explain why three of the articles that soon followed are full of images from Herbert's projects. "Fighting Writer's Block" and "Taking Criticism" both show multiple strips from Living With Insanity, and "Self-Managing Quality" has a large image of Herbert's book that links to a site where readers can buy it, as well as a link to Gemini Storm, which is another comic he's selling. Now, it's true that these articles are about his own experiences as a webcartoonist, but it's possible to talk about that subject without explicitly advertising a product. And in "Tarquin and General Villainy," he advertises his book in the first line even though it has nothing to do with the content of the article.

I'm aware that it isn't easy for someone to sell books and improve their web presence, but a review blog isn't the right outlet for accomplishing that, and it makes the articles seem annoying and unprofessional. Webcomic reviews and articles should focus on the comics, creators, and medium, not on the person who's writing them. And if a reviewer wants to provide an expert's perspective on a subject, why not ask another creator about it instead of showing off a comic the reviewer himself made? That said, I don't have a problem if a reviewer wants to include a link to their book or website, but if they do it, it should be small and below the writing, in a place where it won't draw attention to itself.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week, where five more review sites will get chewed out.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:00 pm

How Not to Run a Webcomic Review Blog, Part 2

Ramble incoherently
Offender: Bones McKay-Fleming of her YouTube channel

In her latest video, a review of Hazy Daze, McKay-Fleming rambles nervously for the first two minutes, struggling to talk about the webcomic until she regains her composure enough to say, "I'm just very happy right now because this comic is pretty good... with the whole plot... thing. Oh, wow, I am so happy." Then, she giggles for a few minutes while repeating how "happy" she is, which is followed by her staring at the ceiling while she tries to convey the webcomic's "dialogeyness." In her comments, she offers an explanation for her weak commentary, writing, "I really went with the flow on this one, I just read it and went right into the review," which should be pretty obvious to anyone who watches the video. It gets better, though, once McKay-Fleming starts to feel a little more comfortable, and the stuff from about 15 minutes onwards actually isn't all that bad.

Video reviews are an interesting alternative to regular ol' writing, but doing them right takes some charisma and the ability to speak clearly and confidently. However, even if someone isn't great at speaking in front of a camera, they can always practice reading from a script until they get better at it, and mistakes can be corrected by redoing the scene. In this case, McKay-Fleming was clearly unprepared to improvise a 25-minute video review.

Go way off-topic
Offender: Eishtmo of Wild Webcomic Review

My introduction to "the fast and furious webcomic reviewer" was "The Eishtmo vs Neverwinter," a 2,800-word review of the latest Neverwinter computer game. Since then, he's written about novels, criticism, writing, webcomics, and, lately, a story he's working on, but barely any actual webcomic reviews have been posted to the blog in 2013. Eishtmo's clearly aware of the problem, as he jokes about it in his "Not Comic Review" post, writing, "You know, for a webcomic review site, I should review webcomics once in a while," but I don't think it's funny that he can't present his blog properly.

There are a million-bajillion websites out there, and it's essential for a reader to be able to quickly identify what a website's about as soon as they visit it. People who come to this blog will see the words "webcomic review" and "webcomic reviewer" at the top of the page, and they'll expect to see webcomic reviews. Posting stuff that mostly isn't webcomic reviews, then, is false advertising, and it's both confusing and disappointing. It's okay if Eishtmo wants to take an eclectic approach and write about a myriad of subjects, but if he continues to do so, then he should redesign the blog so that its nature is a little more obvious.

Don't write enough
Offenders: Bob Bretall & Stephen Bretall of ComicSpectrum

This father-son duo averages only about 200 words per review, with four out of their last 10 reviews being 170 words or less. (Their shortest in that span, a review of Kill Six Billion Demons, has fewer than 150 words.) That's a lower average than Helen of Narrative Investigations had when she cranked out 21 reviews in one month. (See Part 1 for more info on that.) It's good that the team actually criticizes the webcomics it reviews and doles out a variety of scores, but the analysis is weak because the reviews are practically just an introduction. In-depth discussion is where the best content is, and this blog isn't thorough enough to ever get to that stage.

A review's a review, and even just writing a little bit about a webcomic can be enough for them to link back to your blog (1, 2, 3). However, the goal of a review blog shouldn't just be to post stuff, but, rather, to post stuff that's substantial, interesting, and noteworthy. It also doesn't help that this blog covers well-known, long-running webcomics such as Ctrl+Alt+Del, Cyanide and Happiness, and The Order of the Stick, which have already been written about in more detail by other review blogs.

Write too much
Offenders: Max-Vader & Alex Barry of Project A.F.T.E.R.

In last year's reviewers article, El Santo of The Webcomic Overlook had the longest reviews, averaging more than 1,300 words in his main posts. Max-Vader's average word count is about three times longer than that, and his posts are accompanied by Barry's "AFTER Thoughts" (get it?), which are another 700 words or so. These guys have some smart commentary, but readers have to dig through all the unfocused rambling and overly detailed analysis to get to it, which makes the blog not very enjoyable to read. Also, Barry's commentary, which is long enough to be its own review, doesn't add much to the blog, as it mainly just echoes stuff that Max-Vader already explained at length.

I'd rather read a review that's too long than one that's too short, but a reviewer only has so much interesting stuff to say about a certain subject. If Max-Vader cut the most expendable two-thirds of his reviews and kept the rest, his blog would be better and more readable. In addition, Barry's capable of writing his own reviews, and covering more webcomics would be of greater benefit to the blog than making Max-Vader's super-long posts even longer.

Summarize the premise
Offender: Lauren Davis of io9

You know how, on the back of a book or movie cover, there'll be a little description of who the protagonists are and what the story's about? That's what this blog does, and it's boring. I'm aware that the blog's called Saturday Webcomics and not Lauren Davis Writes Webcomics Reviews, but if the point of the blog isn't to review webcomics, then, well, what is the point of it? All these posts accomplish is that they prove Davis reads webcomics, and "I read something" is more suitable for a Tweet or Facebook post than a blog on a major website.

When it comes to writing reviews, merely summarizing the plot is doing the bare minimum. A reviewer isn't required to be an expert in their field, but they do need to be an expert on the particular piece they're reviewing, and that means going beyond general familiarity. Here are a few topics a webcomic reviewer can address that demonstrate expertise:

-- Are the characters original and interesting?
-- Does the dialogue seem natural and realistic?
-- If there are jokes, are they funny?
-- Is the plot moving at a good pace?
-- Does the story make sense?
-- Is the art style unique, or is it like some other things you've seen?
-- Are there any obvious flaws with the artwork, like anatomical problems, repetitive shots, or a lack of backgrounds?
-- Are there any specific techniques the creator likes to use?
-- Is the lettering stylistically appropriate and easy to read?
-- Are any of the individual pages or strips particularly noteworthy?

Closing Thoughts: I'm not optimistic about where webcomic reviews are headed in general, and I wouldn't be surprised if, by this time next year, all of the blogs I covered in this series are either dying out or have stopped updating completely. (Well, except for Narrative Investigations. Helen's like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to reviewing stuff.) Too many reviewers see their blogs as low-effort projects where boldness and controversy should be avoided, and all they're doing is dooming themselves to obscurity. There are tons of smart, insightful people in the webcomics community, but I think most of them are more interested in making webcomics than writing about them. And that's understandable; after all, critiques are often followed by whining and personal attacks, and telling stories or jokes is a more tolerable alternative. But I think there's also a bit of potential for webcomic reviews, and that's if writing them gradually becomes a more respectable hobby, which is a necessary step if the field's going to attracted talented individuals. The webcomics community's social dynamics aren't conducive for that right now, but there's always the possibility for growth in that area as webcomics continue to mature as a medium.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby Peripheral Descent on Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:53 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:
Too many reviewers see their blogs as low-effort projects where boldness and controversy should be avoided, and all they're doing is dooming themselves to obscurity. There are tons of smart, insightful people in the webcomics community, but I think most of them are more interested in making webcomics than writing about them. And that's understandable; after all, critiques are often followed by whining and personal attacks, and telling stories or jokes is a more tolerable alternative. But I think there's also a bit of potential for webcomic reviews, and that's if writing them gradually becomes a more respectable hobby, which is a necessary step if the field's going to attracted talented individuals. The webcomics community's social dynamics aren't conducive for that right now, but there's always the possibility for growth in that area as webcomics continue to mature as a medium.


I think one of the issues with writing a review has to do with the social "shitstorm" a bad review can grudge up.

There seems to be a "with me" or "against me" mentality when it comes to criticism. The two biggest review categories are "glowing and fake" (where people heap all sorts of false praise on a comic because they're afraid to make valid criticisms), or "controversy-inducing" (where people go out of their way to say entirely cruel and unnecessary things about the artist/author to get a rise). It's not really surprising that a lot of people, after seeing a criticism aimed at their work, immediately lump that reviewer into the second category without a second thought. It's also unfortunate.

I get stressed out over confrontations. Even if the confrontations are over the internet. That's part of the reason I've never reviewed a web comic, though I certainly have strong opinions on quite a few of them, haha. And you don't only have to worry about confrontations with the author/artist - OMG, I didn't realize there was such a thing as rabid webcomic fans, but there totally are!!

The second issue, and the biggest reason I think more comic artists don't review others' work, has to do with vengeance. If you try and find a review about a web comic that says the comic is terrible, you often find the comments underneath (from fans, usually) asking where the reviewer's comic is. The underlying threat is a rage-review, where the reviewer's comic is torn apart harshly and shown to be just as bad, or worse, then the original review.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:33 pm

If someone was so hurt by a review I did that they posted a teeth-gritted, pedantic, hyper-negative review that absolutely destroyed my own comic, I dunno, I think that'd be pretty transparent and obvious to any passers by.

A lot of people, as they grow up, realize that you don't have to be a great "doer" to be a great "understander." There are things I know I suck at as an artist/writer. That doesn't mean I'm not qualified to call those same things out when I see them done in other people's comics. If anything, I'm even MORE of an expert on badness!

I can understand not wanting to deal with controversy, though. The recent incident LC had with the Link comic dude was a small little bubble, but when you get that with a comic that actually has somehow acquired a rabid and devoted fanbase (and it seems like if a "bad" comic has any considerable fanbase, it *will* be rabid and devoted), that can evolve into harassment even beyond comics- personal emails, stalking on various sites, etc. Usually not enough to really cause that much harm in the long run, and I don't think it goes on for any prolonged period of time after the initial incident, but it could be unpleasant.

Actually, I'm wondering, what is the rate of incidence for reviewers actually getting that kind of harassment? I wonder if it's one of those things that we all sort of worry about but isn't statistically likely to happen. I suppose it happens more often with fetish comics and their fanbases, but in situations where the comic is mostly "vanilla," the most stringent defender is the creator themself, and therefore the attack is on a much smaller scale.

But like I said, I get wanting to avoid that kettle of fish entirely. I think I've found a pretty good balance in terms of being able to deliver negative news in a non-incendiary fashion. No reviewer *has* to do that, but I usually can, so when I need to, I do. It does make it less fun to read from a reader's perspective :P but I tend to write more for the creator's benefit than for my own or for the benefit of a potential reader.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:47 pm

Peripheral Descent wrote:I think one of the issues with writing a review has to do with the social "shitstorm" a bad review can grudge up.

There seems to be a "with me" or "against me" mentality when it comes to criticism. The two biggest review categories are "glowing and fake" (where people heap all sorts of false praise on a comic because they're afraid to make valid criticisms), or "controversy-inducing" (where people go out of their way to say entirely cruel and unnecessary things about the artist/author to get a rise). It's not really surprising that a lot of people, after seeing a criticism aimed at their work, immediately lump that reviewer into the second category without a second thought. It's also unfortunate.

I get stressed out over confrontations. Even if the confrontations are over the internet. That's part of the reason I've never reviewed a web comic, though I certainly have strong opinions on quite a few of them, haha. And you don't only have to worry about confrontations with the author/artist - OMG, I didn't realize there was such a thing as rabid webcomic fans, but there totally are!!
A lot of people are just losers who desperately cling to some vague notion of victimhood.

Peripheral Descent wrote:The second issue, and the biggest reason I think more comic artists don't review others' work, has to do with vengeance. If you try and find a review about a web comic that says the comic is terrible, you often find the comments underneath (from fans, usually) asking where the reviewer's comic is. The underlying threat is a rage-review, where the reviewer's comic is torn apart harshly and shown to be just as bad, or worse, then the original review.
It's all just the same canned responses, though.

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As far as I'm aware, though, nobody's tried to trash any of my webcomics yet.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:If someone was so hurt by a review I did that they posted a teeth-gritted, pedantic, hyper-negative review that absolutely destroyed my own comic, I dunno, I think that'd be pretty transparent and obvious to any passers by.
Self-destruction.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:A lot of people, as they grow up, realize that you don't have to be a great "doer" to be a great "understander." There are things I know I suck at as an artist/writer. That doesn't mean I'm not qualified to call those same things out when I see them done in other people's comics. If anything, I'm even MORE of an expert on badness!
Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn't see anything, because there was nothing to see. "Heaven have mercy," he thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I can understand not wanting to deal with controversy, though. The recent incident LC had with the Link comic dude was a small little bubble, but when you get that with a comic that actually has somehow acquired a rabid and devoted fanbase (and it seems like if a "bad" comic has any considerable fanbase, it *will* be rabid and devoted), that can evolve into harassment even beyond comics- personal emails, stalking on various sites, etc. Usually not enough to really cause that much harm in the long run, and I don't think it goes on for any prolonged period of time after the initial incident, but it could be unpleasant.

Actually, I'm wondering, what is the rate of incidence for reviewers actually getting that kind of harassment? I wonder if it's one of those things that we all sort of worry about but isn't statistically likely to happen. I suppose it happens more often with fetish comics and their fanbases, but in situations where the comic is mostly "vanilla," the most stringent defender is the creator themself, and therefore the attack is on a much smaller scale.
I was a little concerned about getting harassed when I started writing reviews, but, now, I think it's actually a pretty rare phenomenon. People seem to be more likely to respond by seeking sympathy from their social circle than by bothering the reviewer. But, I think can probably handle a nasty e-mail or two if I ever get any.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:But like I said, I get wanting to avoid that kettle of fish entirely. I think I've found a pretty good balance in terms of being able to deliver negative news in a non-incendiary fashion. No reviewer *has* to do that, but I usually can, so when I need to, I do. It does make it less fun to read from a reader's perspective :P but I tend to write more for the creator's benefit than for my own or for the benefit of a potential reader.
The main thing is just being professional about it.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby Peripheral Descent on Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:14 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Actually, I'm wondering, what is the rate of incidence for reviewers actually getting that kind of harassment? I wonder if it's one of those things that we all sort of worry about but isn't statistically likely to happen. I suppose it happens more often with fetish comics and their fanbases, but in situations where the comic is mostly "vanilla," the most stringent defender is the creator themself, and therefore the attack is on a much smaller scale.


You know, I never considered that?

This being the internet and all, I've come across some massive shit-fits from creators/fans reacting to criticism. And because the internet loves drama, links always get posted to the latest crazy argument, so if you're in a comic community, you probably end up hearing about it. But statistically, now that I think about it, there really haven't been a lot of these giant fights in comparison to the number of web comics that have bad reviews. And a lot of these fights actually sort of come from the same artists/fan bases reacting to criticism from different sources.

Huh. Whelp, now that I've actually given thought to it, making a review wouldn't be as stressful as I previously thought.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:47 pm

Yeah, I mean, the webcomics community is pretty tenuous (relative to other media), the reviewing community is even weaker. If you are able to contribute to the world of webcomic reviews, I have only encouragement and support for that.

But like I said, it seems like unless you attack something super gross (because it seems like the "worst" fans seem to flock to the disturbing fetish type comics and rip-off fan comics), fans in general are chiller than you'd expect, and will just bitch to the creator, or at best leave a message in a publicly viewable space like on a comment section on your review, as opposed to taking it to a more personal level.

Kind of a weird irony where the more someone should be ashamed of liking something, the more embarrassing the lengths they will go to to defend it :P

And it's usually the creator writing back, and it tends to fizzle out FAST.

[gossip voice]you can always read some of the locked threads over here for some good examples of how bad-reactions-to-reviews tends to go[/xoxo you know you love me gossip girl] It tends to be a very short game of badminton, and the creator realizes they can't get anywhere and either crawl away to a hugbox (unseen to us lookers-on) or put on their sports bra and take the criticism smartly.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:43 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Yeah, I mean, the webcomics community is pretty tenuous (relative to other media), the reviewing community is even weaker. If you are able to contribute to the world of webcomic reviews, I have only encouragement and support for that.

I think another thing that hurts the webcomics community is that it is almost entirely comic fans / amateurs (who have generally gotten all their feedback from friends, family and members of whatever fandom they draw fan art for) and therefore it lacks any uniform professional etiquette.
All other media requires a bit of learning the ropes to become a productive member of the community so that by the time you're in any sort of public position you're able to handle yourself with some maturity (unless you're Kanye in which case you keep attacking my Swifty four years later. A**hole, Beyonce did not make the greatest video of all time, "dancin' in heels an' shit" is not that impressive you @&%*#*@!!!.... sorry got off track there).
The greatest positive of webcomics - that anyone can make them - is also the biggest weakness, I'm not saying that there should be controls in place (let's face it most of us wouldn't have comics if there was) but if anyone can do something then anyone will.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Kind of a weird irony where the more someone should be ashamed of liking something, the more embarrassing the lengths they will go to to defend it :P

With the weird fetish stuff - especially the taboo stuff - there's the fact that on the internet you can find an accepting community for just about anything so people inevitably forget they're fapping over something that is generally unappealing. So when they're confronted with the reality from outside their community they can't handle it.

And it doesn't help that more often than not the "artists" involved aren't very good.

On a side note, the amount of bizarre fetishes I've stumbled upon on dA is mind-boggling D:


VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:put on their sports bra and take the criticism smartly.

I have never required a sports bra to take criticism well.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby Peripheral Descent on Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:12 am

RobboAKAscooby wrote:I think another thing that hurts the webcomics community is that it is almost entirely comic fans / amateurs (who have generally gotten all their feedback from friends, family and members of whatever fandom they draw fan art for) and therefore it lacks any uniform professional etiquette.
All other media requires a bit of learning the ropes to become a productive member of the community so that by the time you're in any sort of public position you're able to handle yourself with some maturity


It's so true. I've actually weaned myself off showing my art to family members, because they always say it's great, haha! I'll show them some if they ask, or if I'm especially proud of a piece, but otherwise I keep it to myself, because I can't get any honest criticism from them (unless I point out a flaw beforehand, lol).

RobboAKAscooby wrote:...(unless you're Kanye in which case you keep attacking my Swifty four years later. A**hole, Beyonce did not make the greatest video of all time, "dancin' in heels an' shit" is not that impressive you @&%*#*@!!!.... sorry got off track there).


Oh, but you must have loved the crap he collected for that, no? Several comics I read took a break from regular stories to make fun of him, most major celebrities made fun of him or psycho-analyzed him as a bully or sealed his fate with the label of "asshole". I thought it was awesome. You don't take a mic away from a 17 year old girl and tell her she doesn't deserve a reward, and that another more popular celebrity deserves it more. (Beyonce was amazing, she gave the mic back to Taylor when her speech came up so Taylor could finish talking, that was so sweet. :)

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:[gossip voice]you can always read some of the locked threads over here for some good examples of how bad-reactions-to-reviews tends to go[/xoxo you know you love me gossip girl] It tends to be a very short game of badminton, and the creator realizes they can't get anywhere and either crawl away to a hugbox (unseen to us lookers-on) or put on their sports bra and take the criticism smartly.


Oh...why, hello treasure trove...*locks door and turns off lights and proceeds to read every one*
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:31 am

Peripheral Descent wrote:You know, I never considered that?
I kinda want to review more porn webcomics just to see what wacky-ass excuses the fetishists will come up with next.

Peripheral Descent wrote:This being the internet and all, I've come across some massive shit-fits from creators/fans reacting to criticism. And because the internet loves drama, links always get posted to the latest crazy argument, so if you're in a comic community, you probably end up hearing about it. But statistically, now that I think about it, there really haven't been a lot of these giant fights in comparison to the number of web comics that have bad reviews. And a lot of these fights actually sort of come from the same artists/fan bases reacting to criticism from different sources.
Roby Bang has a good point about this in a recent article of his:

Roby Bang wrote:And even the bad webcomics have some value, even if it's at their expense showing them off because they're so bad they're hilarious. And even though they're awful, the authors at least try to do something different, making them memorable in their own right. Same goes for the crackpot comic artists. They barely can contain all that crazy for long, and watching their inevitable meltdowns is often just as fun as the comics that result from it, significantly reducing their negative influence.


Angry creators or fans going "argh argh argh" online is entertaining, probably moreso than the actual reviews.

Peripheral Descent wrote:Huh. Whelp, now that I've actually given thought to it, making a review wouldn't be as stressful as I previously thought.
Do it! Somebody's gotta review this stuff, anyways. (There's also a li'l review contest that's still going on for a couple weeks.)

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Yeah, I mean, the webcomics community is pretty tenuous (relative to other media), the reviewing community is even weaker. If you are able to contribute to the world of webcomic reviews, I have only encouragement and support for that.
Yeah, I mean, there has to be new people coming in to replace all the quitters, right? I'm curious if, five or 10 years from now, webcomic reviews will either be extinct or, like, a real thing.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:But like I said, it seems like unless you attack something super gross (because it seems like the "worst" fans seem to flock to the disturbing fetish type comics and rip-off fan comics), fans in general are chiller than you'd expect, and will just bitch to the creator, or at best leave a message in a publicly viewable space like on a comment section on your review, as opposed to taking it to a more personal level.
One of my reviewing tips is to write about sexual stuff 'cause it's such an interesting subject. If people nerd-rage about it, then it means you've touched on something that people care about, which means you're in the right direction. Pissing people off is a better scenario to me than any safe, non-offensive reviews that are boring and mindless.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Kind of a weird irony where the more someone should be ashamed of liking something, the more embarrassing the lengths they will go to to defend it :P
It touches nerves like it does 'cause it's true. But the mature reaction there would be, "Yeah, I like reading webcomics about furry T&A or whatever. So what?"

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:[gossip voice]you can always read some of the locked threads over here for some good examples of how bad-reactions-to-reviews tends to go[/xoxo you know you love me gossip girl] It tends to be a very short game of badminton, and the creator realizes they can't get anywhere and either crawl away to a hugbox (unseen to us lookers-on) or put on their sports bra and take the criticism smartly.
SJ's pretty bad, and it's another source of reviews that went downhill in 2013. I just counted 'em up, and 2013 had 28 reviews, while 2012 had 42 reviews, for a decrease of 33 percent. And more than half of those 28 reviews were either by me, Roby Bang, or McKay-Fleming. I imagine that the toxic responses aren't helping, and, for example, Cannetella wrote a pretty good review, got some nasty responses that got the thread locked, and she hasn't posted a review since.

Also, speaking of sports bras and criticism, there are only two smart responses to a review. One of 'em is, "This reviewer's a shithead. I'm ignoring him/her," and the other's, "Okay, I learned some stuff from this." It's surprising how often people fail to realize this and pick a response from the Bingo card instead.

RobboAKAScooby wrote:I think another thing that hurts the webcomics community is that it is almost entirely comic fans / amateurs (who have generally gotten all their feedback from friends, family and members of whatever fandom they draw fan art for) and therefore it lacks any uniform professional etiquette.
Back in the day, being "published" was sort of proof that a creator was pretty good, 'cause it meant that a publisher liked their work enough to risk money on it. Then the Internet happened, and anyone who can draw a stick-figure can get "published," and there hasn't really been enough time for the cultural significance of "being published" to really wear off. It's the same deal with people who are, like, "I ate a cheeseburger today" on Twitter or whatever, 'cause the idea of celebrityhood's so ingrained in our culture that we haven't really had time to adjust to all this brand-new Internet stuff.

RobboAKAScooby wrote:All other media requires a bit of learning the ropes to become a productive member of the community so that by the time you're in any sort of public position you're able to handle yourself with some maturity (unless you're Kanye in which case you keep attacking my Swifty four years later. A**hole, Beyonce did not make the greatest video of all time, "dancin' in heels an' shit" is not that impressive you @&%*#*@!!!.... sorry got off track there).
It's a good thing West doesn't read webcomics. Well, I hope he doesn't, anyways...

RobboAKAScooby wrote:The greatest positive of webcomics - that anyone can make them - is also the biggest weakness, I'm not saying that there should be controls in place (let's face it most of us wouldn't have comics if there was) but if anyone can do something then anyone will.
The best us webcomic fans can really hope for in this regard is a better way to find good webcomics amidst the big pile of bad ones.

RobboAKAScooby wrote:With the weird fetish stuff - especially the taboo stuff - there's the fact that on the internet you can find an accepting community for just about anything so people inevitably forget they're fapping over something that is generally unappealing. So when they're confronted with the reality from outside their community they can't handle it.
Especially with furry porn, there's a sense that criticizing a certain fetish comic is equivalent to criticizing the entire fetish community. It's like everything's part of a narrative that they're a tight-knit minority being oppressed by intolerant outsiders.

RobboAKAScooby wrote:And it doesn't help that more often than not the "artists" involved aren't very good.
And it's these bad artists who are the most attracted to fetish communities because it lets them be part of a "team" or "tribe." And once a creator joins a fetish community, they become too dependent on it to ever leave. Look at Bleedman or Dave Cheung, for example; all they've done for the past 10 years is make one fetish comic after the next.

RobboAKAScooby wrote:On a side note, the amount of bizarre fetishes I've stumbled upon on dA is mind-boggling
My understanding's that the freakier a fetish is, the more money people are willing to pay for a commission of it. So, it sounds like kind of a lucrative business. Places like dA are also where stuff ends up if it's too graphic for the actual webcomic.

Peripheral Descent wrote:It's so true. I've actually weaned myself off showing my art to family members, because they always say it's great, haha! I'll show them some if they ask, or if I'm especially proud of a piece, but otherwise I keep it to myself, because I can't get any honest criticism from them (unless I point out a flaw beforehand, lol).
That's why peer reviews are so important. Otherwise, creators are left asking their mom for feedback.

Peripheral Descent wrote:Oh, but you must have loved the crap he collected for that, no? Several comics I read took a break from regular stories to make fun of him, most major celebrities made fun of him or psycho-analyzed him as a bully or sealed his fate with the label of "asshole". I thought it was awesome. You don't take a mic away from a 17 year old girl and tell her she doesn't deserve a reward, and that another more popular celebrity deserves it more. (Beyonce was amazing, she gave the mic back to Taylor when her speech came up so Taylor could finish talking, that was so sweet. :)
More self-destruction. People have a tendency to do that, don't they?

Peripheral Descent wrote:Oh...why, hello treasure trove...*locks door and turns off lights and proceeds to read every one*
And when you're done with that, try this one.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:02 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:
VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:[gossip voice]you can always read some of the locked threads over here for some good examples of how bad-reactions-to-reviews tends to go[/xoxo you know you love me gossip girl] It tends to be a very short game of badminton, and the creator realizes they can't get anywhere and either crawl away to a hugbox (unseen to us lookers-on) or put on their sports bra and take the criticism smartly.
SJ's pretty bad, and it's another source of reviews that went downhill in 2013. I just counted 'em up, and 2013 had 28 reviews, while 2012 had 42 reviews, for a decrease of 33 percent. And more than half of those 28 reviews were either by me, Roby Bang, or McKay-Fleming. I imagine that the toxic responses aren't helping, and, for example, Cannetella wrote a pretty good review, got some nasty responses that got the thread locked, and she hasn't posted a review since.


I don't think that's why Cannetella hasn't posted a review. She started college a year or two ago and hasn't been as active at all since that point.

Which just feeds back to reviewers coming and going and not really continuing to, you know, review.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:45 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I don't think that's why Cannetella hasn't posted a review. She started college a year or two ago and hasn't been as active at all since that point.
I didn't really intend to make a hypothesis. I was just saying that people seem to be less interested in writing reviews on SJ now than they were last year, and, clearly, bad responses is a factor that discourages reviewers. I mentioned Cannetella 'cause her review got a particularly immature response.

Also, I just noticed that the thread "Mature Content" is a question and not a review, so I counted wrong, and it was actually 27 reviews this year instead of 28.

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Which just feeds back to reviewers coming and going and not really continuing to, you know, review.
That's where I was trying to go with it. You want people to keep writing more reviews so that they get better at it and more comfortable with giving criticism. In 2013, more than half of the people who posted a review on SJ didn't do a second one.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby Peripheral Descent on Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:42 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:
Peripheral Descent wrote:You know, I never considered that?
I kinda want to review more porn webcomics just to see what wacky-ass excuses the fetishists will come up with next.


I wanna nominate one! I wanna nominate one!!

"Oglaf". It's so much fun, but it's so NSFW. It's a comic set in a word with a bunch of different characters, sometimes one-shot characters, and other times the characters come back. Here's two links towards pages that are funny and safe for work:
http://oglaf.com/fountain-of-doubt/
http://oglaf.com/ornithology/

Hmm. As far as I know, I don't read any other porn / fetish web comics.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:12 am

Peripheral Descent wrote:I wanna nominate one! I wanna nominate one!!
Thanks for the suggestion! I know that Oglaf's considered to be a good porn webcomic, though, and I was mainly referring to the bad, "super gross" ones (as VCC put it). Kiddie porn, torture porn, inflation porn, beastiality, vore, you name it. If someone out there gets off to something, there's probably a webcomic about it.

Peripheral Descent wrote:Hmm. As far as I know, I don't read any other porn / fetish web comics.
Most webcomic readers stay away from 'em. These webcomics tend to get sort of infamous, though, 'cause of their rabid fanbases and a complete lack of concern for quality.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:42 pm

Note: I added the images as hyperlinks 'cause I didn't wanna image dump all over the thread. The blog version has regular ol' img tags.

Webcomic: 13 Coins
URL: http://www.13coinscomic.com
Creator/s: Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson, Simon Bisley, Ryan Brown, David Withers
Run: 10/13-current
Schedule: Monthly issues

Presentation: The comic's available in an iOS app that boasts interactive 3D covers, but, unfortunately, the app crashes on my iPhone every time I get to the main screen. I was able to get my hands on some PDFs from the comic's publicist, though, which is how I was able to write this review.

Writing: One of the webcomic's main selling points is that its creators wrote the game Hitman: Absolution, which is essentially a euphemism for saying that they don't have any experience making comics. However, their work at Square Enix doesn't seem to be something to be particularly proud of, as PC Gamer criticizes the game's "embarrassingly bad story," The Guardian bashes the "awful" plot that "descends into a farcical mess," and Giant Bomb complains about "the general stupidity of the plot." It'd be nice to be able to say that the creators learned from their mistakes and managed to come up with a better story this time around, but that just isn't the case at all.

My main problem with the plot is how unoriginal it is. I'll start with the main character, John, whose backstory is as follows: He grew up thinking that his parents were killed in a car crash, but he finds out that they were actually superhumans who were murdered by a villain, and that he's a superhuman as well who needs be taught how to utilize his powers. If that description sounds really familiar, it's because it's the exact same backstory as the one in the Harry Potter series. Other key elements of the plot are similar to popular video games. The idea of there being superhumans who are descendents of a fallen angel is the same premise as in Diablo 3, and the scene where the bad guys break into John's house and kill his girlfriend is similar to the beginning of Max Payne, where the bad guys break into Max's house and kill his wife. Also, the scene in Issue 3 where John's easily defeated when training with Samuel, the leader of the good guys, reminds me a lot of the dojo scene in The Matrix where Neo gets beaten by Morpheus. The strangest similarity, though, is when Samuel says to John in Issue 2, "If you want to live, you've got to come with me," which sounds just like the iconic line "Come with me if you want to live" from the Terminator movies. It's alright for creators to include homages to other stuff here and there, but there just isn't enough original material in this story.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RepGYWG0YgM/U ... xpayne.jpg

The characterization's underwhelming, as John's just a tough, angry, foul-mouthed badass with a tragic backstory who's neither interesting or likable. He's also repetitive, as his lines include, "You need your fuckin' meds, man," "This is crazy," "A house full of fucking lunatics," "You're insane," "You're all fucking crazy," and, again, "This is crazy." It makes sense that John's hesitant to accept the existence of nephilim, but having him respond to everything he learns in such a dismissive manner gets boring quickly. The villains are even worse, being ridiculously cartoony even though one of the creators said in an interview that a theme in the comic is that "no-one is all good and no-one is all evil." The Fallen kidnap, torture, kill, and threaten to eat innocent people, brag about how they don't value human life, and say lines like, "The Fallen cannot be stopped. Evil always finds a way." The worst writing goes to Senator Graham, though, who's supposed to be a sleazy politican but is written in an unrealistic and over-the-top manner.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qrR-U8kl324/U ... graham.jpg

When he's introduced in Issue 2, he grins evilly while basically admitting to a group of reporters that he's racist and hates poor people, and then, in his next scene, he's shown naked in bed insulting some black prostitutes he hired. And later, when he visits Râmêêl's mansion, he thinks about stealing a valuable antique that Râmêêl says he's "very fond of." But not only is he despicable, he's really dumb as well. For instance, he has a stash of photographs of himself having sex with prostitutes that he leaves around for some reason, conveniently advancing the plot by giving the bad guys material to blackmail him with. What's really bad, though, is when, in Issue 3, Graham goes from scared to delighted in just a few panels, making a vague deal with the creepy, Gollum-like Râmêêl without hesitation. I don't think the creators could have made villains that are more "all evil" if they tried to.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DOSA35JB6cA/U ... peaker.jpg

One somewhat original idea the creators play with is that all the mythological creatures are angel-animal hybrids. I get how they might think it's a cool idea to incorporate different stories like that, but having horny angels that "mated with anything" is really stupid. The comic does a poor job explaining it, too, as all Samuel says about it is, "Werewolves, vampires, cyclops -- are all monsters fathered by the Fallen who mated with beast." Okay, so, werewolves must come from angels having sex with wolves, but what animal resulted in vampires? Am I supposed to imagine that an angel got it on with a vampire bat somehow and had Dracula babies? And I couldn't think of an animal that's like a cyclops, but I did some research and found out that there's a tiny crustacean called a water flea that only has one eye, so that must be it. As dumb as this concept is, it's easily the most interesting part of the comic, and it's bizarre that the creators just threw that bit out there and moved on, leaving readers like myself confused, grossed out, and a little disappointed.

Art: This part's excellent, as the creators brought on an Eisner winner who's worked on Batman, making him a perfect fit to illustrate a gritty action comic. The artwork's appealing and solid all-around, with the action and gore being particularly noteworthy.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wamw5e3hrCY/U ... 0/gore.jpg

An unusual technique is used in which the characters' faces are sometimes digitally painted while the rest of the panel is colored traditionally, and while I liked it at first for the abstract feel it gives, now I'm on the fence about it. It's great how much detail the faces have, but they can sometimes look doll-like, especially with the female characters, and the contrast between the styles is jarring for a serious, realistic story like this.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-N9ibA9H9z1Q/U ... inting.jpg

My main complaint about the art is that sometimes it's oversexualized in a trashy manner. The biggest offense is when Graham and the prostitutes are shown fully nude in Issue 2, which is followed by several illustrated photographs of Graham having sex with women and ejaculating on them. I understand that the comic's rated "17+" and is intended for mature audiences, but these graphic drawings don't benefit the story at all except to make it even more blatantly obvious that Graham's a scumbag that the audience should dislike. I was also put off by the portrayal of Helena in Issue 3, who's wearing a skin-tight outfit and has multiple close-ups of her butt and crotch, and there are several instances where Rachel's butt is the focus of the panel. As a reader, it feels condescending when a comic tries to hold my attention with sexy images, as if throwing in some cheesecake was enough to make me overlook the glaring flaws with the characterization and plot.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6twXYBq3mgI/U ... 0/butt.jpg

Overall: 13 Coins' flashy artwork is highly appealing, but the writing's so amateur that I don't see how putting a price tag on this comic can be justified. The publisher seems to agree, too, as while Issues 2 and 3 were originally each $2.99, Issue 2 was dropped to $0.99 after a month, and then, recently, both issues were made free to download, which suggests to me a bit of desperation. $2.99 is about what I'd expect to pay for a print comic from DC or Marvel, and it just doesn't make sense for a digital download from a brand-new publisher to be valued at the same amount. And on the webcomics side, there are plenty of comics much better than this that I can already read for free. The App Store's certainly interesting as a business model for webcomics, but I don't see how it's supposed to work unless the creators already have a well-established fanbase. All these guys have to go off of is their failed attempt at writing a video game, and their new project's just as "stupid," "farcical," and "embarrassingly bad" as their last one. 13 Coins is ultimately just a below-average webcomic with a publisher that coughed up dough for professional artwork, publicity, and technology.

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

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:08 pm

Webcomic: Oglaf
URL: http://www.oglaf.com (totally Not Safe For Work)
Creator/s: Trudy Cooper, Doug Bayne
Run: 2009(?)-current
Schedule: Sundays

Website: Like Widdershins, this comic has horizontal pages, which means that a reader can go through the whole thing without ever having to scroll. It's a fun format that makes archive-binging a breeze.

The Archive page is the site's main feature, and it offers convenient indicators for readers, such as which pages contain cursing or nudity. Some of the notes are also kind of funny, which makes the site another source of humor instead of merely an index.

Lastly, the comic has its own Wiki, which is "an effort of fans and Oglaf enthusiasts." A webcartoonist has it pretty good when other people go out of their way to work on their website stuff.

Writing: Oglaf's the No. 3 most popular webcomic, behind xkcd and Gunnerkrigg Court, according to Piperka, and while it's mainly known as a sexy webcomic, it has terrific writing to go along with its boobs and dicks. Here are three of the main reasons why this webcomic's so fun to read.

Originality. Combining fantasy with sex jokes is a refreshingly novel concept. While the creators don't have a particularly great sense of humor, I was eager to keep clicking on the "Next Page" button because the jokes and situations are unlike anything I've seen in a comic before. For example, a notable amount of gags revolve around enchanted penises, and while it's more gross than sexy, it's a wild alternative to the Dungeons & Dragons-style magic usually found in fantasy webcomics. The creators also find ways to add a perverted twist to famous Disney/fantasy characters, such as Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and the Snow Queen, and mythological creatures, like centaurs, gorgons, and nymphs, and while these gags aren't ever all that funny, they're always at least a little clever and thoughtful. Another thing I'd like to point out is that while a lot of pornographic webcomics try to milk sexual situations for as much drama as possible, all of the rape and sex in this comic is portrayed as purely based on lust. It's a fun and entertaining approach, as webcartoonists are often very clumsy when they try to incorporate drama and romance into a sex scene.

Diversity. A lot of the porn webcomics out there only focus on man-on-man sex (aka yaoi), but Oglaf offers a surprising amount of variety, making it sexually appealing to different demographics. I'd estimate that the material's 40 percent heterosexual, 40 percent man-on-man, 10 percent woman-on-woman, and 10 percent whatever else (such as bestiality), and it feels like everyone's turn-ons are covered to an extent. The racial diversity's notable as well, as there are several black characters that appear in the comic. As fantasy stories are stereotypically based on medieval Europe, usually either everybody is white, or there will only be one "token" black character thrown in to diversify the cast a little.

World-building. This comic provides a coherent fantasy setting where its inhabitants are brazenly comfortable with nudity and sexuality. There's also an unusual social structure present in which a group of aggressive, dominatrix-type women have power over the surrounding territories. Despite Oglaf being a gag comic, the setting receives more attention than in a lot of serious fantasy webcomics, which can sometimes get too wrapped up in their action and drama to establish a proper context. The presentation of the comic's perverse environments also makes the section with the secret town of virgins that much more appealing since the contrast is so severe. I credit the creators' strong storytelling abilities that they're able to work these fantasy elements into their comic without detracting from the humor and pacing.

A lot of reviewers have chosen to approach Oglaf as a porn comic, but I think it's somewhat underappreciated as a great fantasy comic as well. The creators had a novel idea to blend several genres together, and they executed it brilliantly, creating a unique and remarkable webcomic as a result.

Art: The creator's perfect at drawing pornography, and she's had plenty of practice at it, as she started working on Platinum Grit in the mid-90s, a series that's "noted for sexy drawings of girls," according to the comic's Wikipedia page. While Oglaf has an introduction page clarifying that it's intended as "sex comedy" rather than pornography, it's safe to assume that the comic's sex appeal has contributed to its popularity.

I'm impressed by how realistic and anatomically correct the illustrations are, as the comic avoids the cliché of having women with impossibly big boobs and tiny waists. The most prominent female characters actually all have relatively small boobs, with the minor characters being the more conventionally attractive ones. And despite the heavy focus on anatomy, the creator never shows any sign of struggle at drawing men, women, animals, and monsters in a variety of positions and perspectives.

Similar to Insert Image, the creators chose to only update their comic once a week, while gives them time to make longer, more detailed pages. The backgrounds and coloring are excellent, and the story-like jokes that result are more elaborate and visual than those in webcomics with three- or four-panel strips.

Overall: Oglaf has earned its reputation of being one of the best webcomics. The creators have a knack for telling stories and coming up with ridiculous characters, and while the gags aren't great, there's more than enough boldness and creativity here to keep the comic from ever getting boring. And when it comes to the pornography -- the comic's most notable aspect -- I can't think of any other webcomics that handle it with more diligence and skill than this one. If you haven't had a chance to read Oglaf yet, you're missing out.

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

Postby Peripheral Descent on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:25 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:Writing: Oglaf's the No. 3 most popular webcomic, behind xkcd and Gunnerkrigg Court, according to Piperka, and while it's mainly known as a sexy webcomic, it has terrific writing to go along with its boobs and dicks. Here are three of the main reasons why this webcomic's so fun to read.


Wow, I never would have guessed Oglaf was so popular. Everyone I talk to about it (outside the internet) has never heard of it, and I started reading it back when it had less than 15 stories, I think. The two really cool things I found about Oglaf was the (1) nod to fantasy tropes and grimm fairy tales (which are usually inverted or have the genders switched around for giggles), and (2) the recurring characters. One character will appear in one page, then 40 pages later they'll appear again. The fact that this entire world is made of characters who go about their lives and sometimes encounter each other is so much fun, especially when the personalities clash.
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:34 pm

Webcomic: John the Sketch
URL: http://johnthesketch.tumblr.com
Creator/s: Marc Blanco
Run: 3/10-9/10, 9/13-current
Schedule: Usually daily

Website: Tumblr isn't really meant for hosting webcomics. The comic has a better Smack Jeeves site, but only a few strips have been added to it. In any case, both sites are just boring, generic templates.

Writing: I argued in my review of Wayward Nonsense that the creator's whiny avatar was too immature, narcissistic, and neurotic for readers to relate to him. However, that character occasionally had some positive experiences, particularly when he was alone playing video games or watching TV. John the Sketch presents a similarly dysfunctional creator-avatar, but, here, pleasant moments are almost nonexistent.

The creator's idea of telling jokes is whining about how unhappy he is. He whines about living in Britain, living in the Netherlands, being homesick, the bad weather, not getting to ride his bicycle enough, not having a job, being poor, his house being too small, his house being dirty, having bugs in his house, not getting to sleep in enough, not spending enough time with his girlfriend, feeling awkward around tall people, not being able to speak or understand Dutch, technology, tourists, getting spam e-mail, not feeling creative enough, people not understanding his comics, feeling depressed, feeling lonely, having suicidal thoughts, his soup being too hot, his soup being too cold, pressure to conform in society, being out of shape, and whatever else I didn't mention here. Not only are these strips boring, repetitive, and unfunny, but they're so overwhelmingly negative that I felt depressed and irritated reading them. If the creator's goal is to entertain people, then he's failed completely, and if he's just trying to cope with his depression, then he should be getting professional help instead of using his webcomic as self-therapy.

In addition to the strips about the creator's misery, there are some that barely make any sense, and the creator seems to lack basic storytelling abilities. Instead of a standard setup-to-punchline structure, the strips' formula is what I would describe as "something happens." A good example is this strip, where there's no context or joke; the "something happens" is "John rides his bike in the rain." And in this one, the "something happens" is "John punches some dude with wings." And for another example, here's one where the "something happens" is "John flies." Then, you have the one-panel strips, where the "something happens" is stuff like "people are standing" (here), "John is depressed" (here), and "someone is yawning" (here). And, for some reason, there are a couple political strips written in Spanish, which should have been translated. The panels aren't being used efficiently at all, killing any potential that some of the gags may have had.

Art: The success of Cyanide & Happiness, Dinosaur Comics, and xkcd is one of the worst things that's happened in the webcomics world, as droves of inexperienced webcartoonists have been drawn to minimalism without understanding how it works. In the webcomics I listed, blank backgrounds and simple non-characters are used to place emphasis on the dialogue and text. In John the Sketch, though, there's usually little to no text, which means that it's the comic's crude artwork that's the emphasis of the strips.

I'd be a little sympathetic if the creator couldn't draw, but strips like this, this, and this show that he's actually a capable artist. These strips are all from 2010, though, and the quality's only gotten worse and worse since that point, with the most recent strips being some of the ugliest inked work on the site.

Overall: John the Sketch is a terrible comic strip, and it's only been getting more incomprehensible and minimalistic as the creator's depression seems to worsen. The relentless displays of misery have no clear purpose, making this comic a complete waste of time for both the creator and anyone who tries to make sense of it. Considering that all of the strips involving art are negative, does the creator even like making his webcomic?

1/5
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Re: I'll review your webcomic.

Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:05 pm

Peripheral Descent wrote:Wow, I never would have guessed Oglaf was so popular.
Its popularity was actually sort of a problem for me, 'cause there are already a bunch of reviews out there saying how good the comic is, and I didn't wanna just be another reviewer praising it. So, that's why I used that weird format of focusing on a few particular things I liked about it.

Peripheral Descent wrote:Everyone I talk to about it (outside the internet) has never heard of it, and I started reading it back when it had less than 15 stories, I think.
I think people generally don't talk about webcomics outside of the Internet unless maybe it's, like, really big, like Penny Arcade or xkcd. Maybe Megatokyo when it was more popular. On the other hand, though, Cooper's print comic seems to be fairly well-known, and I'm sure her work on it gave Oglaf some extra notoriety.

Peripheral Descent wrote:The two really cool things I found about Oglaf was the (1) nod to fantasy tropes and grimm fairy tales (which are usually inverted or have the genders switched around for giggles), and (2) the recurring characters. One character will appear in one page, then 40 pages later they'll appear again. The fact that this entire world is made of characters who go about their lives and sometimes encounter each other is so much fun, especially when the personalities clash.
With nerd culture, you've got such a strong foundation in D&D, RPGs, and Tolkien that it's almost a given that a fantasy webcomic will revolve around a group of heroes going on a quest. So, with Oglaf, it's really refreshing how it takes the genre in a completely different direction.
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