Friday, July 29, 2011

Jumping the Gun

The party, by the way, went reasonably well.  Ton of leftovers though.  Especially beer for some reason (they're getting old and drinking more wine now).

Two weeks ago, I posted about Sluggy Freelance, and I probably wouldn't have said anything if it wasn't for a blog post from another webcomic reviewer.  Tangents did a pair of posts regarding the end of 4U City, and didn't like it.  That's fair, he can have his opinion on the story and the comic as a whole.  My problem is that he didn't let the end of the story play out before deciding what the best path for the comic was and then bitching when it didn't happen that way.

I've seen this before.  Not in webcomics, but television, specifically Battlestar Galactica.  I really liked the whole series, but the internet seems to have had an odd effect on the fanbase.  Every episode was dissected, examined and judged within hours of showing.  People began speculating on things, throwing around theories and ideas of where the show was going and how it was going to get there.

And then when it gets there, they bitched that it didn't go the way THEY wanted.

Now for a bunch of chuckleheads on the net to do this is one thing, for a reviewer to jump the gun like this is another thing all together.  It was VERY obvious the story was nearly over, and if Tangents had waited another week, he could have had a piece that was complete and wouldn't have had to speculate.  It doesn't help that he didn't really like his own idea of where the story was going (I think, it's a little weird near the end), but obviously he hated the way it actually went even more.

I think a lot of fans do this as well.  I like to guess where stories are going, and I'm often completely wrong.  Perhaps the fact that I am wrong so often allows me to easily take the ego hit on being wrong.  I think a lot of fans, typically the vocal ones, convince themselves that they are right about how the story should go and bitch and moan when it doesn't.  And they get really MEAN about it.

This saddens me because I like to see where the author/artist is taking the story.  If I'm right, I feel really smart, if I'm not, oh well, no biggy.  As long as the story works out in a satisfying way, I'm happy with it.  Then I read comments on forums or whatever and the screeching and bitching and wonder why do they even bother reading/watching it if they don't like it.  I wonder if it's an attempt to sound critical without knowing how to be critical.

I guess the internet breeds this kind of idea, and normally Tangents is very good about his commentary and reviews.  The Sluggy thing is an off thing, and maybe something more personal to him (much like my dislike of Penny Arcade), so I'll let it go.  The fans, though, are something harder to deal with, and I don't think there's anyway to handle them without alienating them.

Anyway, that's enough on that.  I don't want to be critical of other critics, but this one just seemed really off to me.  Until next time kiddies.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nothing this week

Family party is set for this weekend and lots to do to set up for it.  Conveniently it's at MY place, so I really need to do a lot of stuff.  Next week, I'll have something.

I hope.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sluggy's Dueling Stories

The last couple of years of Sluggy Freelance has been dominated by two stories, the Minion Master saga and 4U City.  It also featured breaking up the team, specifically sending Torg and Riff along separate paths and stories.  These more or less wrapped up last week.  Some will say this is a bad thing, that Torg, Riff and the rest of the Sluggy gang work best together.

I disagree.

Well, kind of.  I mean, I disagree that it was a bad thing because there is one thing I've always noted about Sluggy:  Riff and Torg don't grow when they're together.  They're always those two goofballs they were when they started the comic.  Even the few moments where they had differences of opinion or were temporarily separated, once they were back together, the fell into the old patterns.  Hell, they did it in Monday's strip, the follow up to one of the longer stories Sluggy has had.

Torg and Riff together are like a single entity that has little development or control.  Some of the best stories do NOT feature either of them, and the ones that do feature one do NOT feature the other.  They are still the two guys from that first strip so long ago, when together.  Separating them and letting them be the star of their own stories allowed them to grow and develop as characters.

I liked both Minion Master and 4U City.  A little wordy with 4U City at times, but I understand that, and I get why people will compare either or both to Oceans Unmoving.  Yet they did get the key lesson of Oceans Unmoving:  Feature a Sluggy main cast member.  Bun Bun was barely a side character in Oceans Unmoving, MM and 4UC were stories basically about Torg and Riff respectively.  More importantly, it gave them some growth.  Torg became more of a leader and organizer in MM while Riff showed he was fully capable of careful planning and execution of his lone wolf missions (note he never once had to check "his notes" during the entire story).  We also got to see each of their failings and fears, something we only got glimpses of before (That Which Redeems being the sole exception, and really it fed into Torg more with MM).

I would also like to note that they were not really separated, but teamed up with people whose personalities would be much more in line with what they would face when they did meet up again.  4UC Torg is very much like Torg Prime after MM, though I will say 4UC Torg is a bit more extreme.  Still, the similarities are pretty apparent.  Similarly, Torg Prime had Sasha to deal with, who has often been compared to Riff in the past, but now seems more like the Riff we see coming out of 4UC.

What I see coming is a new dynamic between Riff and Torg as the comic moves forward.  Will we still get the classic team up?  Oh sure, you'll see some of it, but as the stories ramp back up, the difference in how they relate to each other will be more clear.  The best part, though, is that it will feel natural, most readers probably won't even notice it happened. But it WILL be different.

I don't think that difference was possible as long as Torg and Riff were together.  They would have kept falling back on old habits and deviating from it would feel forced or out of character.  Now they can grow out of it and move on.

At least, I hope so.  Anyway, that's enough for this week.  Until next week kiddies.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wild Webcomic Reviews 145 - 149

Well, my busy couple of weeks are still busy, but no new pictures from Champions Online.  Instead, some old reviews.  Enjoy.

June 10, 2007
145. Dresden Codak - This got linked from Nobody Scores! so you know it's going to be odd, and it is. It's also completely awesome. Few comics manage to caputure surreal tangents and mix in a batch of superscience as well as this comic. The art is also well above superior, so it looks as wonderful as it's written. Go, read, do it now. Chop chop!

TODAY - The art of this comic is still amongst the best on the net, possibly of any comic period.  It doesn't update frequently, probably once a month at best, but the pages are spectacular when it does.  The storytelling is getting better, improving with each extended story.  I highly recommend this comic, for the art if nothing else.

146. The Nineteenth-Century Industrialist - Yeah, we really need another one of those running around. It's funny in an odd way, mostly in the way of screwing workers, destroying the enviroment and general greed. The art sort of reminds me of Girly, only not as clean, which is fine. One of the earliest jokes features dropping an anvil on someone's head (It's funnier in real life, apparently). Crude, odd, evil, greedy. There you go, that's this comic in a nutshell. Is it worth the time to read it? Eh, not sure. Leaning towards not, but the premise is neat enough that it at least might be worth a look.

TODAY - I stopped reading it, so many other comics to read that I don't have the time or energy to keep up with this one.

147. What Birds Know - More a comic novel than a straight up web comic, the story follows three friends as they go in search of mushrooms. Well, that's how it starts and it only gets odd from there. The pacing is nice, there's a great mystery and a touch of the supernatural. I also love the way the comic is actually displayed: each page in it's own window with no ads to get in the way. Makes for easy and wonderful reading. It's currently on a short hiatus, but is certainly worth reading.

TODAY - The display issues were resolved some time ago, so that complaint is gone.  The comic has gotten rather dark since I originally reviewed it and it's getting darker by the moment.  It's still good, but at the same time. . .

148. Minus - Minus is about a little girl, named Minus, who can basically bend reality to her will. Literally. Trees grow out of no where, dogs become people (temporarily), sidewalk drawings come to life, etc, etc, etc. And it's sweet and nice and wonderful in every possible way. So why are you still sitting here reading this review: GO READ THE DAMN COMIC ALREADY! You'll thank me afterwards.

TODAY - Minus ended some time ago, but the same artist has two more comics going on his site, Kiwis By Beat. Great! is probably the longest lived comic so far, and is mostly about ramen.  Yeah, you really have to read it to get that.  Modern Fried Snake is, well, interesting to say the least.  I like it, but I'm not sure where exactly it's going, or if it even has a direction to begin with.  Either way, both are pretty good and I would recommend them, especially if you like Minus itself.

149. Bruno - Not Bruno the Bandit, just Bruno, a girl with issues (yes, HER name is Bruno). Funny, I just noticed that four of my five comics feature a female lead character. Odd. Anyway, this is a big comic, as in 11 YEARS of archives (the comic did end in Feb 07, so there is an end to it), and each strip averages a metric TON of text. Lots of reading, and its actually a bit of a depressing comic. 90% of the comic is watching Bruno take her life and smash it into a brick wall over and over again. It DOES get kind of old, but there's always this hope that she'll finally get it together. In any case, at least she gets to travel a lot, visit lots of places, angst, work dull jobs, strip at one point, and sleep with anything with two legs (I'm not using that word I want you to finish reading the review first kids). There is some nudity in the later half of the strip, so the youngins probably shouldn't read it, not that they would. Like I sad, a TON of text. In fact, that really makes it interesting as there's no action in the art, all the action is in the dialog (aside from a few rare occasions). So is it good? I enjoyed it, despite Bruno's life disasters getting a bit old after a while, but it did come to an end and so I'll accept it. Will you like it? If you don't mind reading a lot, maybe. Read through the end of the arc with the circus and you should be able to decide.

TODAY - Bruno is currently on a reissue spree, which commentary on each strip and each strip presented bigger and crisper than the original release.  It's only about two years into the comic's 11 year run, so if you want to read a comic with commentary from early on, now's probably a good time to start.  The original archives are still available, but even I may reread everything with the commentary this time.

Man, Bruno continues to surprise me.  First it was a pretty good comic and now it's going through a reissue.  Anyway, sorry I don't have anything more this week, I'm barely ALIVE after working the 4th, so take what little I have.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lazy week

I've got a summer job at an amusement park, which means the next couple of weeks are going to be very, VERY busy (4th of July weekend).  That said, I don't want to leave you with no post this week.

So this is only tangentially related to webcomics because it has more to do with Champions Online, which is free and I've been playing recently.  The best part about Champions Online is the character creator, and I figured maybe I could use it to create a few characters from webcomics.  It's more for fun than anything else, but I thought you guys might like it.

To start with, we've got Super Hero Girl from Faith Evans Hick's comic of the same name.  

I would have gone with a more traditional star, but it looked HORRIBLE on her for some reason, so I went with this one.  No hoodie, so I went with a simple windbreaker. 

The cape is a short one because I thought it looked better than a full length one.  Most of the rest of the costume is kind of mix-mash of various looks SHG usually wears.  She has no set costume, so I had to use my imagination. 

Given that it's a back and white comic, the coloring I got from a deviantart image.

Next is Spinnerette.


Sadly, the game lacks an ability to add extra arms, so really it's just the base costume. The various yellow bands were the hardest part, honestly. They're more solid in the comic than here, but I think I got pretty close. Also missing a set under the breasts, but I couldn't find a good way to do that. I probably could have done the original costume (blue spider), but I like this look better. 

Finally, Weapon Brown himself.

Sadly, there's no way to do the shirt properly. Also can't get the hair thing, no option for that sadly. The boots are bit off, but look good anyway. The arm looks REALLY good.

And that's the update for the week.  Will I do more?  Maybe, we'll see.  In the meantime, go read those comics, they're good.  Until later kiddies.