Yes, as brought up in the chat, this is the resurrection of the Webcomic Above thread! I think we left off at part 4.
At any rate, the rules: If you post in this thread, you are expected to review the webcomic of the person who posted above you. Critique if you can; it's more constructive than just assigning a letter grade and saying "it's okay".
*EDIT*: Please, please, PLEASE, try to give a high-quality review. If you're in this just to have someone praise your work, go to the Comic Pitching forum or something, because that's not the point of this thread! Read through the archives, make notes on what you liked/disliked; point out specific examples of problems and give potential solutions. A good review should take a large chunk of your time!
Also, you may post a "placeholder" if you want to review a comic but need time to think/browse through the archives/go for coffee/vanish for a week, though preferably not the last option. In short, if you can't complete the review within 48 hours or so, DON'T POST A PLACEHOLDER!
I'll get the ball rolling with Phactorri's Decypher
, which was up for review in the last thread.
So, yes, let's begin, because it's time for a not-depressing and not-political thread!
Decypher: The Review
Now, there are god-only-knows-how-many webcomics dealing with people on the job, from video store employees to newspaper reporters, etc., etc.; Decypher focuses on the employees of a coffee shop called The Grind. For the most part, these comics focus on gag-strips and short story arcs, and Decypher seems to follow this rule. Personally, I'm the sort of person who prefers one long story, but hey.
The other thing is this: In the initial strips, I'm not always sure what's going on. It took me two reads to figure out what was happening when the customers were all outside, and there was a switch, and Monika was trampled by said customers, and all the stuff around that point... It may be the fact that I don't fare well when I read something all in one go, but I think a lot of it is the text. There are a lot of grammatical errors and the dialogue is very awkward, particularly in the older strips, and it's my biggest beef with the comic. Little things like this
interrupt the flow. (When you make textballoons digitally, there's no reason why you should have to split sentences up.)
What's neat about this particular comic is the many cameos of various Keenspacers. It was fun trying to figure out who everyone was, then wander off for a bit to the sites from whence the characters came.
Despite being up for over a year, I get the impression that Decypher is a comic that still seems to be trying to find itself; spliced between gags and cameos are hints regarding a larger story involving Monika and S.L.A.V.E. I hope you go somewhere with that.
The current story arc bothered me at first. Being an RPG nerd myself, I was a bit irked by the stereotypical portrayal of the gamer geeks in the comic. However, I'll admit that I'm now interested in seeing where it goes. (Please give the nerds some dignity, though.)
Personally, I don't like it when the characters acknowledge that they're just comic characters. I'm glad to see that you're not doing it in the newer strips.
The explanation seems rather redundant. Who doesn't know what an RPG is? (Filler... Bleh.)
There are some significant issues with the art; in particular, most of the time, characters appear slanted and flat. However, significant improvements have been made, comparing the first strip to the latest; keep working at it. ^^
I would suggest trying to put more backgrounds into the comic; I still don't quite know what The Grind looks like, despite the fact that it's the main setting.
I also don't like it when filler art (or crossover art, as it appears to be in this case) is stuck in the archives. It interrupts the flow.
Have you ever seen Grim and Evil? The skulls remind me of Grim, accent and all. Was it intentional?
The design is good, but it doesn't really remind me of a coffee-bar-type atmosphere -- too metallic, I think. (Now, maybe you're planning on focusing more on that sci-fi element, but after over a year of comics, it might be a jarring change for your readers.) I might suggest something in nice rich coffee browns.
Also, in the first few archive pages, there's a large blank grey box that you have to scroll down past in order to read the archives. Here
, one of the boxes actually separates two comics. I think I didn't bother to scroll down on that one, which might explain why I was initially confused.
Also, archived news posts = generally redundant, unless you've said something terribly witty that you want preserved for all time.
Hard to say. The art is not my style, but I see a lot of improvement. I'll admit that the grammatical issues turn me right off, but underneath it, there does appear to be an interesting comic and the potential for good characters. I would suggest getting an editor, and keep working on refining your style.