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Has it really been six weeks since last time? [Aug. 5th, 2007|07:25 pm]
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[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |The Builders - "Crossword"]

Must have been as I've got a bit of a backlog of web comic comments to think up. Plus a few that somehow got missed out the last couple of times. Only quick comments, unfortunately... I don't really have much in the way of brainpower left at the moment (too much work and all that).

Cat Legend has been a difficult comic to comment on... Despite having finally ploughed through its huge archive, I'm still not sure whether I even like it that much. Like the proverbial curate's egg, it's not perfect, but parts of it are excellent. Whether I'm prepared to plough through the chaotic story and uneven artistic style to get to the good parts is something I still haven't figured out.

I read the archive of Earthbound a good couple of months ago and it's now rather hazy in my memory. The main characters are demons, of the Western variety, and so far the story has just about managed to balance having unsympathetic characters as its protagonists without making them inappropriately cute-'n'-cuddly.

Girl Genius has just released another couple of hundred pages, which took quite a bit of getting through... the story's remained good, though, and there's a classic sequence beginning here which involves lots and lots of coffee. Plus mad science. Quite fun. Incidentally, meganbmoore, if you haven't had a look at this comic yet, you might find it moderately enjoyable.

I finally finished the Pointless archive. What I said before, still goes, and I must have been getting used to the art as it ended up not nearly as hard to live with. Definitely a story worth keeping an eye on.

Red Gate Society is another monster-hunter comic, with the monster-hunters in this case being monsters themselves, with their ringleader being a five-tailed kitsune from Japan (that's probably redundant, really...). This is another story still in its formative stages, with the total output so far being an introductory story and a couple of flashbacks. The characters and story are interesting enough, but the dialogue and artwork still being fairly average. As a few other comics I read started off with fairly basic artwork and improved over time ("Unshelved" and "Questionable Content" being two that spring readily to mind) I'm not giving up on the story... at least, not yet.

From: (Anonymous)
2007-08-13 08:05 am (UTC)


Southern Dave,

Glad to see you haven't given up on my story - at least not yet. :) I'm re-writing it, so if you have any more in-depth comments, especially about my dialog, I'd like very much to hear them.

-Vulpes Libertas
libertyfox (@) vulpeslibertas (.) com
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-08-13 09:14 am (UTC)

Re: Critiques?

Hi Vulpes Libertas

(Ooops... real live web comic artists I don't already know are finding my comments... had better start trying to make more sense then...)

I'm really just passing on my gut feelings about the comics I read... I wouldn't know where to start doing a proper critique of anything. I can't draw at all, and my writing isn't much good either, so anything I write is more "I liked it, and this is why..." rather than "It is good, and this is why...".

I could show examples of the sort of dialogue I do think highly of, but (1) it would probably be a bit rude of me (I'm never sure of the etiquette of dealing with real creative people; I'm doing this mainly to pass the time with friends, rather than annoy writers and artists...) and (2) they probably wouldn't be the sort of atmosphere you're aiming at anyway.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-08-13 06:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Critiques?

I just followed the "links from..." in my site statistics.

I would love to see some examples of writing you enjoy. What I'm really trying to go for is a contrast between really good character writing and really violent violence, since the two are rarely used together. Something ala Kill Bill. Many things have brilliant character writing but have nothing to do with my genre... Back to the Future, Shawshank Redemption, etc.

I know your time is not limitless, but your opinions on specific lines of dialog that are definite "keepers" or "garbage" would be very valuable. Web comic artists usually work in a vacuum, with no idea if they're reaching their audience at all. My comic isn't designed to be "artsy", it's designed to reach everybody. If an "everybody" dislikes part of it for some reason, then I want to know why.

I know several bits of my dialog are overly corny, and I've written out most of them in my new script. But I would like to know if I cut out the right parts, and left the good stuff intact. My art I'm not too concerned about since I'm re-working it so heavily that it's basically indistinguishable from what I'm doing now.

-Vulpes Libertas
libertyfox (@) vulpeslibertas (.) com
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-08-16 11:00 am (UTC)

Re: Critiques?

Hi again

It's not so much a time thing as a brain thing at the moment... I've just been off with a virus (head virus, not computer virus) for the last couple of days so am not firing on all cylinders just yet.

As for comics I'm particularly enjoying at the moment... specifically action/adventure story types... three I'm definitely enjoying are Digger, Wandering Ones and Paradigm Shift. Of these three, the last is probably the best example of a balance between character and violence in the story. In "Digger" (which currently has a filler comic on its main page, and the previous couple of hundred pages are subscription-only; but the first half of the story is available) most of the violence is implied or recounted second-hand; it also has a sole point-of-view character, and whose thoughts are also told to the reader. "Wandering Ones" is quite a different style entirely... imagine Stan Lee possessed by the ghost of Rudyard Kipling, and being edited by Chris Claremont possessed by the ghost of Robert Heinlein and... well, that's generally about the point where people start looking at me strangely but that's how I visualise influences. I love that comic but it's very old-fashioned. Your comic is a somewhat different story and a very different artistic style from these so I don't think I'm really being much help though.

I'm not really much good at explaining why it is I actually like things... I've written quick notes about "Digger" here, "Paradigm Shift" here and "The Wandering Ones" here.

I'm currently on a slow connection (it can take up to half an hour to load a page) so I'll have to wait a few days before actually going over your archive again. But I can say now that there's nothing I'd consider "garbage"... if there was I probably wouldn't have kept on reading it. (I'll never make a "proper" reviewer... if I don't like something I'll drop it and go and read something else). I'm also not saying I dislike your comic at all... just that there is room for improvement (as there is with fairly much everything in life) and then trying to explain where I think the improvement could go. Compare with another comic, Questionable Content - it's nothing like what you're aiming for, but it starts off fairly rough, here (it isn't even more than occasionally funny until a hundred or so pages in) and just keeps on improving steadily.

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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-08-16 11:01 am (UTC)

Re: Critiques?

(This thing made me split the comment in two. So here is the rest of it.)

Just bringing up a couple of pages at random... Here there's nothing particularly wrong with the dialogue, but I'd have found it easier to read if, instead of one large panel, you'd have divided the page into four panels. (This of course is getting dangerously close to me trying to tell you how to do your job which isn't something I'm qualified to say!) Otherwise I personally find mixed type-faces a bit difficult to keep track of - particularly when there's three or more on a page where one would do.

Here might be more of an example of what I'm trying to get at... The type-face for what the Japanese soldier's shouting is louder than his words. If, for example, he was speaking in a more "comic"-looking type-face; and, perhaps, lettered white on the black background; it might sparkle a bit more. Even leaving the words as is and just adding some comic-style emphasis - e.g.


(sorry, this isn't easy to do with basic HTML on a live journal comment...) But, basically, it's not garbage, and it wouldn't take much to give it some polish. And there's honestly nothing I can see wrong with the art on this page.

But the bottom line has to be: this is your comic, your creative vision and it's not as if I'm either (1) disappointed with the story so far or (2) actually paying for it; and seeing as I can't draw at all and my writing is not much good (not to mention that I speak the local dialect of English which is rather different from American - I keep on having to explain myself to friends over the internet, although I think I'm getting better at keeping the weird ways of saying things out of my journal) it's really not my place to pick your comic to pieces. Just keep on drawing and writing it and I'll keep on reading it and, it looks most likely, enjoying it as well.
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