Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pointillism in Comic Form

(Image from Pixel. Click on the picture to see it within the context of the website.)

Pixel is one of those great comics where a concept which seems like it would limit the author's ability actually serves as a big creative springboard. Really this comic is just about a bunch of dots, but the writing is so good you don't care.

Today's comic uses one of my favorite kinds of humor: the paradox, where a series of events builds to a conclusion that couldn't possibly be right. The idea that a civilization would write something in a language that doesn't exist yet is impossible. The fact that they would point this out in what they've written is outright ridiculous. It's like that old joke.

"Do you speak any English at all?"


Top 5.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sometimes the smallest thing can ruin a strip

First news. After giving a few minutes thought to it, I decided there was no reason not to review Checkerboard Nightmare. That review will go up when I finish it.

But let's talk about newsposts for a bit.

There are many comics out there that I don't read because they are passable in quality, but the newsposts turn me off. Chugworth Academy is one such comic. I find the things he says in his posts to be inane, which makes me reflect on his talent as a comic artist/writer and the overall quality of the comic itself. The newspost is where a writer gets to state his mind. It's where you get to show what kind of person you are. You don't have to be the greatest writer ever, but at least have something that adds to the experience, or don't have a newspost at all. That works just as well.

There are a few things that turn me off in newsposts, and I've dropped many comics because of them.

1. Constantly complaining about the quality of the of your work

I know that some comic artists are using their comic to explore. I know that there are a lot of amateurs. I know that there are many times where you feel that you could have done better. Please don't mention it in the newspost, or if you must, try to refrain from saying flat out that your work sucks. You are trying to sell your comic, and you can't do that when you keep pointing out what's wrong with it. If you keep saying negative things about your comic, readers will think them as well.

You can: Mention that you wanted to do something but couldn't figure out how, especially if the reader can tell you're using that experience to improve your later work.

Pick a least favorite panel and explain why you don't like it. Then we can tell that you're not just bashing the comic but critiquing your own artwork. This seems a little bit less negative.

2. Constantly apologizing for missed updates.

In the past I wasn't that forgiving about missed updates. I've calmed down a bit about it now, and I'll take what I can get when it comes. I still don't like reading a comic where it seems every comic comes late. It looks unprofessional, and it looks like you don't care, since you obviously recognize the problem, but you do nothing to fix it. If you can't make updates, change the schedule until you can, or drop the schedule. I'd rather know updates will be sporadic than be promised updates and not have them delivered. Try finding another way to apologize to fans that doesn't make the apology permanent.

3. Never talking about the comic.

I don't read newsposts to hear about what games you got. I want insight toward the author as pertains to the comic. It doesn't have to be a lot, just say something that relates directly to the comic every once in a while. I'm perfectly fine with the newsposts at Questionable Content. Notice he only mentions the comic briefly before talking about news, but he still mentions the comic. If you aren't going to talk about the comic in your newsposts, then don't connect newsposts to individual comics. Give them their own space.

It felt good to say that. I needed to rant. Remeber, newsposts say something about they author they also show your professionalism. Keep that in mind while writing them.

Friday, November 11, 2005

All things

Looks like Checkerboard Nightmare has come to an end I'm not sure, yet if I will give it the full review. It's not really a story comic even though it has story elements. I also don't know if I can find enough to give the full review. I'll let you know when I decide.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Toga! Toga!

(picture from El Goonish Shive. Click on the picture to see it within the context of the website.)

I think a talk about this party is long overdue.

When Grace's birthday party was first proposed, I didn't think much of it. Seemed like a way for El Goonish Shive to go back to its roots, in a way. Kind of a nostalgic effect. Also there was a huge build up to the actual event that just got boring after a while.

I must say, though, now that the party has started I'm starting to like it.

The problem with trying to do a comic in an older style, especially in a comic that has evolved so much as this one, is that the characters have changed. They no longer can act like they used to. Elliot in particular was much different at the beginning of the run than now.

This works. It's a nice whimsical sequence of events after the dark story that came before it, and we still have character development. What I thought was a throwaway story has turned into an important plot point. Good job.

Top 5? Why not.