Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Welcome to the first ever semi annual Koltreg's Nerding Review Blog Awards Blog Blog Blog or the Kollies. The awards come with nothing except a few views, some nice words and a pair of robot hands if you come and meet me in person to receive them in the next ....5 days. I came up with a decent number of categories so I hope you enjoy. Honestly though, I was not able to award every comic I wanted so just because something does not appear it does not mean it is not good.
Either way, enjoy. I'll meet you after the list.
Best Added Webcomic (Older Than A Year)
*MS Paint Adventures* I added it and fell in love really quickly with the comic. I spent an entire night reading the Problem Sleuth archive and I have done so twice since. Epic, hilarious. Check it out.
Best Added Webcomic (New This Year - Mostly)
*Gunshow* KC Green's newest piece of work is immature, intelligent and dangerous. Check it out now, funk soul brother.
Best Art - Minimalist:
*Nedroid* Simple, crisp and yet he has proven his chops on Dr. McNinja (as the colorist) and through his more advanced art.
Best Art - Adept:
*Boxer Hockey* Simple, colorful and bright - Tyson Hesse shows why he may very well be the next great animator n the country.
Best Art - Advanced:
*Lackadaisy Cats* I confused an illustration of a cat with an actual photo. Need I say more?
Best Writing - Comedy:
*Unwinder's Tall Comics* Deep, ironic and somewhat delusional. Amazing but in more than just a guttural laughing way.
Scary Go Round/Bad Machinery (Same Series)
Best Writing - Dramatic:
*City of Reality* Dark with a story that is deepening as the story goes on.
Best Character - Comedy:
*Rittz - Boxer Hockey * Psychotic, disturbing and immature.
John Egbert - MS Paint Adventures
Dr. McNinja - The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
Best Character - Dramatic:
*Luca deSadar - The Meek* Just read it to understand why.
Annie - Gunnerkrigg Court
The One Electronic - Rice Boy
Best Comedy Webcomic :
*MS Paint Adventures* See best added webcomic - comedy listing.
Best Dramatic Webcomic:
*The Zombie Hunters* Zombies in a scary and realistic world with even scarier characters.
In the next year I hope to see some major changes in the K-blog. First things first I will be going and moving to my own server off of this. In doing so I hope to foster a larger community, gain some credibility and be able to have some more freedom with design. Here is to the next year. I will do my best to update on time though I am going away for a week. I will send it to my associate who should be helping out while I fight Aztecs in Mexico for their gold.
Also if sending me an article, please send it by Monday at the very very latest.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Both of these comics are new but I want to help them grow them with my blessing since I apparently have a few big webcomic reviewers watching me. Share the love bigger and more well known reviewers!
Also I apologize for any errors in the writing. I wanted to get the article up today and my editors were both busy. If there are any errors that you see, feel free to contact me with the handy contact box.
Hanna Is Not A Boy's Name by Tessa Stone
Hanna Is Not A Boy's Name is a mouthful. It is also one of the most artistically energetic comics I have seen in a while. Each page is charged to the tip with color and excitement. Not to mention the coloring is amazing as well as the linework and the writing and generally the comic has a style that is all its own. I mean jeeze the comic is great. I feel overly energized just writing about it.
The art for HINABN is as I said, very stylistic. The lines are all varying in size and shape and made with skill and care. The colors have a beautiful watercolor look to them. Even the font and the lettering choices work well and seem to have consideration applied to them. I can hardly stop giving praise for the art of the comic.
The writing is equally as strong with well defined personalities and relationships already prevalent. The comic mostly focuses on Hanna, a boy (or man really), who runs a paranormal detective agency. Thus they deal with the paranormal. The storytelling itself also has a great sense of irony as the energetic story is told by a dead man with no energy or ability to convey it. Purposeful irony points are gained.
I love the comic, the art is amazing and the writing is great. Start reading it now and you wont be disappointed.
On an unrelated side note I'd love to see the comic go into print based solely on the looks.
(Sorry for that but my brain literally starts going wild when discussing or thinking about the comic, I enjoy it that much.)
Love Me Nice by Amanda Lafrenais
Love Me Nice reminds me of the all too short-lived series Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. The show was intelligent, witty and catered to that crowd. The tone and the pacing between the show and the comic are similar as well. The comic has a great deal of potential for attracting a bigger, more intelligent audience and getting more critical praise than the average webcomic. Basically I am saying the comic is refined and intelligent. It is a good thing that there are no funding or ratings for webcomics like tv shows have because it would probably fall to be replaced by yet another gaming strip. A comic as great as this with a more niche appeal deserves love.
Love Me Nice is essentially the tale of cartoon characters working in a world where they exist as actors and real people instead of just drawings, sort of like Who Framed Roger Rabiit. As a new comic there hasn't been as much storyline developed since there are only 27 pages but it is not rushing into things which is appropriate. There are hints of things though and I enjoy reading each page.
The art for Love Me Nice has mostly been black and white linework and it works for keeping the comic grounded in the false reality that it creates. If it were all brightly colored like the first few pages it might be too distracting and lose the sense on realism that it is building. The characters are also well designed and diverse and prove that Mrs. Lafrenais has the talent needed to blend multiple styles of characters into one setting with making them look overly different.
The comic is intelligent, creative and well drawn and deserves your attention. A+
Coming up this Friday will be my Year In Review article where I discuss my favorite new comics, the comics that did the best over the past year and my predictions for the next year. Following that I have a few guest articles including on from the infamous Angry Webcomic Geek that should prove well opposed to my normal stance on comics and then maybe one or two other guest articles.
Monday, December 21, 2009
In a recent discussion with Rico brought on by my sudden need for a topic, he pointed out the fact that comic characters rarely touch each other. I had never thought about it before and had to see for myself. I quickly looked at the most recent comics of my current reading list (as it was a random sample) and only 5 comics had people fully touching (or 6 if you want to count partially off panel stuff). The comics were Gunshow, Lackadaisy Cats, Nedroid, The Meek and Three Panel Soul. This brings up the question - why the hell don't more creators draw their characters touching? The reasons themselves fall into three categories - they don't need to be (which is self explanatory), they can't be drawn that way or the artist is afraid to draw them that way.
If the scene doesn't call for the characters to be touching, then there's no need for the creator to draw them touching. The last thing I would like to see infact is more and more people having their characters touch solely because of this article (haha, that would never happen). Touching can be an important tool in storytelling though. The embrace is one of the most telling signs of body language.If two characters are having a discussion there is likely no need for them to touch. If nothing else, there is a need to understand anatomy and it is a reason a lot of comic makers struggle. They must be able to grasp anatomy and use it like the tool that it is, otherwise they are in trouble.
If their grasp of basic anatomy and physicality is so poor that they cannot draw their characters touching, then the artist must figure out how to get past that hurdle. This is possibly the fault of the author though in my experience as an artist, drawing these interactions between fully imagined characters can be difficult. They must cease to be 2-dimensional figures and have a more real depth. They must now be able to exist more outside in the reality than before. Basically it is more difficult.
The difficulty here is overcoming that fear. I honestly hate artistic fear more than anything as it has the power to destroy and distort dreams. Unlike that average trope the schoolyard bully though, standing up and saying you are not afraid of anatomy is enough to master it. Anatomy is a difficult thing to learn as you must still find the skills needed to overcome it. Perhaps this fear is what keeps some artists from progressing. Perhaps it is that force of progress though, that may cause webcomics to become a more respected medium.
Fear, difficulty and necessity are all forces that gather to stop the webcomic artist. This truth extends beyond simply being able to draw characters touching. It becomes the sole truth of drawing anything. You must learn and gather what you need, be able to do it no matter what doubts you have. Those five comics I pointed out are all drawn by artists who know this truth in one way or another. They are not the only ones on my list who do. Either way, the next time you are drawing take a look at their work for inspiration. Leave your comfort zone and try something a little different.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Apparently at least two people have found the previous articles in the series helpful. The number is rather small and I dare say that I wish I could be sarcastically joking about my number of readers, but alas this is not the case. Nonetheless, as part of my promises that I make from time to time, I must finish this series and then just maybe, my goal of summoning a talkative and positive community of blog readers shall be completed successfully. Holding off on this article any longer would increase the likelihood of instead summoning an elder god whose very presence and eldritch typing would reduce me to a gibbering shell of a man.
In the previous sections I have discussed finding comics you enjoy in Part 1 (will link this) along with the building of communities, an idea I expanded upon in Part 2 (will link
So far I have only talked in detail about joining a webcomic community while reading webcomics as if this were the only way to "read" webcomics. While I am a rather social animal and desire this relationship between myself and similar fans, not everyone desires the companionship and community that I do. This is in the same way that everyone may not desire a companion as seen in Firefly or a community as seen in the TV show of the same name (both are highly recommended for viewing).
The point of being in a community is to be socially interactive as you, most likely a nerdy person, may not be prone to be. While on this note I am basing the lack of a social life on stereotypes of the nerdy community at large. I am aware of the following facts as well:
Not all people who read webcomics are nerds.
Not all nerds are the pasty, skinny, glasses wearing nerds.
I myself am rather tanned, have good vision and I also enjoy popular music, consorting with people in "the real world" and eschewing my former nerdy habits and hobbies as a sort of ritual cleansing to prepare myself for the adult world. I ramble though and for that I apologize, you nerds.
If you want a rich experience from reading webcomics without the social interaction, then simply read them. I wish that I might be more specific than that but I can’t. You simply need to read webcomics.
As this article deals with social interactions involved with webcomics, if you are not a person who enjoys this topic then I can say your interest might fade after this point. I am about to further discuss the webcomic social interactions as pertaining to forum activity and conventions. I apologize as well for being longwinded right now as a side effect to listening to books on tape (It is John Hodgman's first book if you wanted to know).
Now, the forum community is a rarely changing place, except on the very minute scale. The general face and feel will stay the same (unless some massive mod action occurs) and as such, the chances are that you can tell the state and alignment of the forum after a short time there. As I am a recovering nerd, the word alignment made me apply the Dungeons and Dragons alignment scale to forum types. For examples examine The Table Below.
The Table Below:
LG: The forum is run mostly with moderator control and the rules are enforced but only as a way to make sure little or no trolling happens.
LN: The forum has mods but they only act when things truly get bad or when there are spambots.
LE: The forum has mods who are dicks and use the rules to ban members often for their fun.
NG: The forums are self moderated usually by karma with people quickly weeding out troublemakers.
NN: The forums are self moderated but they allow people to mess around as long as nothing too bad happens, unless it is hilarious.
NE: The forums are self moderated in theory but about 6 people really control everything.
CG: The forums are a social ground where there are no rules and people simply believe in working together.
CN: The forums are a social network with people who you like or dislike and avoid if you hate them.
CE: See YouTube, 4chan and pretty much the stereotypical Internet. Chaotic but entertaining. You ask them for computer help and you end up erasing your memory with a magnet.
The alignment of the community generally affects how you should act and if you should be there at all. If you are nervous when you are about to post a comment, you may be at the wrong forum. Once again, I cannot speak any more specifically on the topic nor can I necessarily find a good example for each alignment as it is your journey to make.
I myself am currently active on a LN forum, the VG Cats forums and a LG forum, the MS Paint Adventures forum. I was previously on hybrid LN/LE forum over at the Slackerz but my actions there garnered me some derision and I have since vacated it.
Conventions are the final topic of the article and are the aspect of the webcomic community that I am least familiar with. I have attended gaming conventions which I reported on and I also have attended a comic-book convention though it was small and only had two webcomic artists there (thank you again Mr. Guigar). I have so far lacked the transportation, motivation and money to travel to a webcomic convention so far
though I hope this will soon change.
As such is the case I cannot say much on the topic other than if you are going, treat each webcomic artist with respect (though you may loath them in some cases), respect everyone there (even if they reek of onions) and try and support the artists if you can by buying something (as booths and travel and hotels are all expensive). If nothing else tell them that you enjoy their comic and what you like about it. Also if you get stuck in line, be patient and don't seem like you are in a hurry. You don't want the webcomic people to rush your turn so make them not rush other people’s turns.
Hopefully now you know more about the world of webcomics than you previously did. I know slightly more myself though my knowledge pertains more to the school of not promising three articles when you give the basic stuff you need in the first article. That is all as it is currently late and I am behind on several projects.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
So let us say for a second now that you've been reading the webcomic for a few months. You get up early on the mornings it updates to check for the new page and to post about it. You like to check the forums at work or at school and see if somebody replied to your pun about “robots” and “bolts”. Well even if you are not to that extreme, my point is that you are enjoying a comic now. You are ready for the next step. Now you need something more: a new comic, a new way to validate your fandom or even to try and make you own comic.
It took you three weeks of heavy reading to get all that way through the MS Paint Adventures archives or you wanted to slowly savor Unwinder's scathing critique of internet culture in small doses. Suddenly though you are lost. You get to the front page of the site and the next button leads nowhere. You have caught up in your reading! Now without that immediate-content high you are feeling like you need a buzz. Something else to focus on. This is where look to start reading bigger webcomics or try something that you see randomly in an ad or on a forum. Feel free to pull something randomly off of the list. You have your main comic so far to stay with. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy as the saying goes.
After a few weeks of trying new webcomics, you feel that urge. You still have feelings for your first webcomic. It was there and it introduced you into the form. You want to repay the feelings. This return for the hardwork and labor is why some webcomic artists get into the game. The easiest way for you to repay the good feeling the comic gave you is to simply donate a few bucks directly to the artist or to buy something that they are selling (or even have somebody get it for you … the holiday season is coming up, after all.) If monetary compensation is out of the way, find a way to increase the audience to the comic. Can you link it to friends who may like the comic? What about using Facebook/Myspace/Twitter to discuss the comic? If social networks are not your thing, write the artist a note of thanks explaining what you like and dislike about the comic. If you’re involved in the comic’s forums, post your thoughts or fan-art there. This is positive reinforcement that webcomic creators enjoy, knowing they touched somebody personally.
Now you may feel that you know the world of webcomics now. You think you might be able to make one yourself. First off, take a moment to think about it. Making a webcomic is a big commitment. You need to go and dedicate your time to do this. Have you ever drawn or written before? Is there any sustainability in the idea? Yes, I DO mean to discourage you from rushing headfirst into the form just because you like it. It is hard to get into especially with little training or talent or background knowledge. As authors working in all literary fields will tell you, you need more to be a good writer than just being an enthusiastic reader. I have written an entire article on the topic here though so that may benefit you if you want to make your own.
Part 1 discussed getting in your first webcomic and community. Here in Part 2 we covered where to go from there. Part 3 will be next Tuesday where I discuss a bit of forum Netiquette, conventions, and how to have a fulfilling webcomic life without the forums.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
City of Reality by Ian Sampson
I pointed out in the Byrobot review that webcomics nowadays need a flare to be seen in the stale sea of the Internet. It takes a flare that is not only bright but also useful. If you shoot a flare that is too flashy and gaudy, it can be ignored for being tacky. Comics that use Flash usually fall into this category especially if they use it as a cheaper form of animation (Note: This does refer to MS Paint Adventures which uses Flash well). City of Reality actually uses Flash well, both creatively and as a device to tell the story.
City of Reality is a comic about a city called Reality which exists in what seems to be part of a vast network of virtual worlds. The comic has revealed only a little about what the entire universe is but from what I can tell it is a bit of virtual reality and video gaming with each section of the world having its own society and laws. The main city is an idyllic place where everyone gets along perfectly, even to that sitcomic level where cats and dogs would shake hands and be friends. This lifestyle of peace and perfection in and of itself could easily destroy the comic but by making it only one world, by introducing the universe and by dealing with actual issues and philosophy, albeit a little light in some areas, the comic develops realness.
The story mostly follows the exploits of three kids as they work to save the world. As a superhero team, they learn about the world and go on missions, learning about life at the same time. It sounds hackneyed and uninteresting but the way the comic is set up, it works. It balances comedy with enough drama to be able to be taken seriously.
As I mentioned in the beginning though, I am a big fan of how City of Reality incorporates Flash. Without giving it away, it allows for time travel, choose-your-own-adventure and a lot of other interesting ideas. Most of all, it feels like it fits with the comic.
The art in and of itself is not necessarily stylistic but it is solid and cartoony at least early on. There do seem to be hints of changes in art style depending on the world. The use of lighting in the comic is also well done and Ian Sampson knows how to create a mood.
The infrequent (bi-monthly!) update schedule could be a problem, but actually works for the comic. "How", you might ask? By posting an entire chapter of about 30 pages or so with each update. It makes the two updates worth the wait. Each section is satisfying and you want to come back. Not to mention you avoid getting lost in long running storylines or by forgetting details between updates.
All in all, the comic is excellent. If the art were tweaked a bit more to be more stylistic (the thin lines art doesn't do too much for me) I would have it on my list of all time favorites for dramatic comics. It deserves a look and a spot on your reading list. A+
Monday, November 30, 2009
Welcome to part one of my proposed three part series on webcomics from the fan end of things. You, the readers or potential readers of the genre, have an unfortunate scenario. You are most likely thrust headfirst into the wide sea of webcomics with little direction or information. With no map or general sense of direction you can miss out on rescue. So that is why I am here, partially to give you pointers on where to go for a good start in the genre, how to expand what you read and what to do afterwards. This week we will focus on you getting your footing, or your island but either way, lets drop the metaphors.
Nobody starts out with the same webcomic knowledge base or from the same exact point. There are too many webcomics you can start reading and heck, even if you start reading the same one that 500 other people do you can still have a different experience with it based on when you start reading or who you know that is also reading it.
I myself started out with Dominic Deegan and VG Cats which a friend linked me to. Neither of the comics were perfect but I loved that ability to discuss the comics with my friend and we made inside references to it. He read a few other comics I never got into and I started exploring more and more comics until I reached my current point. Along the way I dropped Dominic Deegan because I stopped enjoying it and VG Cats stayed because it rarely updated but it was decent enough when it did. The fact that I was also a forum member on VG Cats helped me to keep reading (but the forums have mostly trended away from reading the comic to become a separate entity which no longer focuses on the comic). Still, these two webcomics set me on my way by exploring what they linked.
Finding your own path is the most important thing because nothing sets off a potential webcomic fan like a failing webcomic. The ideal webcomic to start with is a middle aged webcomic. The creator is dedicated enough that it will most likely not end, the community is small enough to make a mark and you can feel free to be yourself without worrying about people being jerks. It is honestly more important than it sounds because a majority of trolls seem to be those people who started around trolls (people who make others angry for personal enjoyment). Another benefit of webcomics of this size is that they are aware of other webcomics. They will link to them and help you to build your own list. They will form groups and help each other become accessible at conventions and other areas. While you grow you are helping the author grow.
If you go with a big or small webcomic you face threats. If the comic is too big or too small, the ego is a threat. Authors may not update, they may decide to start other projects or they may just go and rest on their laurels. See VG Cats, Perry Bible Fellowship or one of the thousands of webcomics that are under 20 pages long with updated that are months behind schedule. These other comics often have dangerous forums for you as well. The small ones may be dead or filled with bots (which I can attest to - I had more advertising robots on my old forum than posts). The big forums can be harsh landscapes full of those “sage” posters with tens of thousands of posts where the slightest mistake causes you to fall under attack. Monetary dangers, pledge drives and such can also befall these comics killing them. If the comic starts putting out more news updates asking for money than new comics, you have a problem. If the artist makes more t-shirts than pages, you have a problem. Start with a medium webcomic.
However if you want something you can just read, that is fine. These comics are community links and community is what makes webcomics work. These are not the ivory castle of the print comics. These people are fine getting down and dirty. I will discuss community in the next section but here is my list of starter webcomics.
Nedroid - simple, random comedy
Dead Winter - zombie horror comedy
Unwinder's Tall Comics - Internet culture critique comedy
MS Paint Adventures - choose your own adventure parody
Gunnerkrigg Court - smart fantasy adventure
Allan - autobiographical webcomic
The List consists of webcomics with good communities to try, where you can begin your webcomic reading campaign.
The following list consist of good non-community webcomics.
The Strictly Reading List:
Penny Arcade - The Main Gaming Webcomic
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja - action adventure comic
Scary Go Round/ Bad Machinery - adventure comic
VG Cats - rarely updating gaming webcomic
These comics are not bad but I am simply less familiar with the communities or they are bigger communities. They are still great to read though.
When you have your webcomic list though, what can you do when you want to find more comics you enjoy, how can you reciprocate your appreciation and where will you go. Come back next Tuesday for part 2.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Byrobot by Byron Hussie
Byrobot falls in the category of comics that I describe as purposefully simplistic. These comics focus on breaking down the comic to the roots. Works in this category usually consist of individual pages that are three to four panels of very sketchy artwork. In fact in my interview with Byron Hussie, he confesses that he doesn't spend very much time on the comic. It shows but honestly the comic works because of that simplicity. This ironic negligence that has caused other similar comics to strike it big - ie Toothpaste For Dinner, xkcd, Explosm (to a lesser extent) and so on.
The art as I said is very simplistic. A primal force that breaks humor to the basics. Sketches. That same term that we use for short bits of comedy. Not always full formed.
The writing for the current comics either come from the readers in the form of loose ideas or from the mind of Hussie himself, a seemingly chaotic world of loose associations and references. The jokes themselves often lack a true punchline.
Besides the fan submissions and the family connections (to Andrew Hussie of MS Paint Adventures) the comic lacks the big draw it needs to stake its claim in the genre. Possibly multiple daily updates, maybe alternate comics or maybe figuring a way to allow people to post comments on the comic themselves
As it stands now it is good for a laugh or for a moment but it lacks completion. Still as a new comic with a long background of older material it may just find that missing piece. B-
Next week I review City of Reality, a webcomic that uses Flash well!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
My name is Luke "Koltreg" H*** and I like to read and write webcomics as well as run a blog where I review webcomics to help people find good ones. In theory your website, The Webcomic List should also help people find quality webcomics. This is based on the idea of what a search site is supposed to do which is to help people find quality content so they don't need to wade through bad content. Instead though, The Webcomic List is a visually abrasive, poorly managed abyss filled with mostly bad webcomics.
Now, as much as I enjoy webcomics through my pursuit of the genre I have come to the revelation that not every comic is good. Not every comic deserves notoriety. Not every comic deserves a chance. Its like how not every Little Leaguer will become a professional baseball player. A majority of the people who make a business of hosting webcomics and following this practice hold little or no care about the genre that you are supposedly supporting. I am talking about DrunkDuck, ComicGenesis and SmackJeeves. These sites are the tools of the desperate and the undedicated comic creators. There is a reason Chris Crosby of Keenspot created Comic Genesis, to keep the name of KeenSpot somewhat untarnished. To show the cream of the crop. You show all of the crop and this is a bad business practice.
What I am suggesting is that you find people who care about the genre of webcomics to fix the site, to provide content and to generally clean up the dead comics, look for actual quality work and elevate it up. Have editors sections. Have weekly suggestions that you make if you care about the genre. Reach out into the online community and find people who are talking up quality work. Invite comic creators to use your website. Invite blog writers to write content for you for extra views. If nothing else, fix the web design.
A small list of things to fix:
- Orange is a poor color to base a site design on. Change it to something more professional. You are a professional web designer and yet the site is ugly and looks unprofessional and this is coming from a 1st year web design student and the opinions of three other students who are in the work field.
- The square links to comics at the top are annoying, there seems to be no quality control and it seems to serve little purpose other than to scare away potential users.
- Fix the ads that you have and hold some tact. Remove the Evony ads if nothing else so that some webcomics can buy space there and even then, don't sell the ads to any webcomic. Hell, you let The Outer Circle post and that is a horrible webcomic composed of pure copy-paste art, misogynistic-humor and cookie cutter characters. One of your ads is just a black and white blur.
- It is hard to tell what are and what are not links. The W3C made web links blue and underlined for a reason, so you could tell what they are. The FAQs have no underlines at the top so for all that I know, they could be simple text.
- Overall it is cluttered, difficult to navigate and it shows a lack of care.
- Check for update patterns on the webcomics that are on. Yes it is unfair for comics that infrequently update but it is a business. If you were to only make a site every few months, you would be out of a job.
Luke "Koltreg" H***
Not quite sure what the point of this email is, other than to offend?
I’m curious what makes you the expert? J
Evoluted New Media
You can help create something that people want to actually use to find new and quality webcomics. I see that the way to do this is by making is harder to be featured. If a person pays the $15 fee and then stops updating you have the money but you also have a dead webcomic. The lists themselves are hard to navigate and unless you know the exact name of what you are searching for it is a hassle to find it. If this is what the visitors to the site are doing then they normally have their own link to the webcomic and then your site serves no purpose.
I spent my time looking at other webcomic websites where people at least make somewhat of a profit. These writers and managers do things different and while not perfect, they do something that I see is better. Other webcomic sites reduce what they advertise to what they see as being worth it, not to any site waving a stick (and most use Project Wonderful created by a webcomic creator supporting the genre). Other webcomic sites hold actual reviews and create a sense of community by having recognizable names and personas for the people who work on the site. Other webcomic sites have been able to get actual webcomic artists to create content for them for free and for more than just being a publicity stunt.
Like I said though, I am not an expert at all. I am an amateur (which is what any reviewer is until they are paid). I am still an art student learning a lot of the generic stuff. It is my love of the genre that gives me a reason to send these emails though. It is the fact that when I used your site to find new comics randomly, 18 out of 20 that I found had not updated in over at least a year. It is the fact that I showed the site to web and graphic designers, they said that the site look unprofessional. It is the fact that you are the third site that comes up when I google "webcomic" and this should mean it is a useful site.
I really have no strength though. I have no power and nothing of value that makes me right or that means you have to listen to me. I am just one person on the Internet trying to improve a site on something that he loves and love is worth fighting an impossible fight.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Koltreg Blog presents an interview (chat style) with Byron Hussie of Byrobot. Come back Friday for a review and Tuesdays for Interview type stuff.
Koltreg: Indeed. This interview is setting Koltreg Blog history. The Kol-Byro-Intro-Show.
Byron Hussie: Huge. Huge.
Byron Hussie: Shall we?
Koltreg: Oh, we already are. But lets get down to the business. How would you describe your comic?
Byron Hussie: not very well drawn
How would you describe it so people would want to read it?
Byron Hussie: I'm not much of a salesman but you know, I'll take an idea and do something that maybe you wouldn't expect. Lots of bait and switch and non-punchline punchlines. Also maybe it's kind of cute?
Koltreg: In a way.
Koltreg: It reminds me a lot of your brothers older stuff.
Koltreg: Manimals and such.
Byron Hussie: Humanimals
Byron Hussie: Yeah, we have been drawing comics like this for years. He used to do them on a website called "Team Special Olympics." He'd do kind of tossed off stuff like I do called scriblettes. Then he had another tier where he'd work a little harder on the artwork called "blurbs." And then occasionally he'd do really detailed expansive stuff like whistles. I basically can only do the scriblette type stuff. I have not worked very hard on my art. But yeah we have been doing this kind of crap since we were children.
Koltreg: I have a brother so I understand that whole competitive relations and interest thing.
What would you say are your favorite webcomics right now?
Byron Hussie: Achewood is probably my all time favorite. I also like Jeffrey Rowland's stuff, Wigu and Overcompensating. I like KC Green because I kinda see his stuff as what I would do if I was better Same with White Ninja and uhhh Dr. McNinja is classic. MSPaint Aventures is good too.
Koltreg: I do see a lot of similarities between some of the comics you are mentioning, KC Green and White Ninja. The humor and the art and such.
Byron Hussie: White ninja i think has kind of a similar backstory, two dudes just drawing little comics to amuse themselves for years. Then eventually putting it online. KC probably too although I don't really know what's going on with him.
Koltreg: Oh, I thought the creator was the third Hussie brother.
Byron Hussie: White Ninja?
Byron Hussie: Nah no relation there I'm afraid. Just two Hussie bros. It would be kind of weird if there were a third. I wonder what that guy would be like.
Koltreg: Probably living in an attic.
Byron Hussie: Or maybe a sister. I wonder what it's like to have a sister. I have a step sister but it's not quite the same
Koltreg: I have a sister. Its mostly annoying.
Byron Hussie: Is she attractive?
Koltreg: No. She's like, 15.
Byron Hussie: Oh ok, probably a deal breaker.
Koltreg: Yeah. The whole unattractive and underage thing going for her.
Byron Hussie: I dunno i mean you probably aren't being objective, maybe she is a real beauty.
Koltreg: Well, I'm pretty sure women aren't objects. Except for washer women.
Byron Hussie: Interesting theory, next question!
Koltreg: What do you do when not creating comics?
Byron Hussie: Which is most of the time. I think I've put in maybe 2 hours in the last two weeks actually making comics. I could probably be doing 2 per day. I have a job at a financial consulting firm.
Koltreg: Ah. Making the money feel better?
Byron Hussie: Just doing stuff with financial data, not very glamorous but they give me all this money that I can use to buy food with. And other things.
Byron Hussie: Not that much. I don't know how much horses cost ... probably at least a grand. And then you have to stable them which is like getting a second apartment I imagine.
Koltreg: So you find it hard to pony up for them?
Byron Hussie: Yes, neigh impossible.
Koltreg: Yeah, installion a stable is pretty expensive.
Byron Hussie: Um. whatever floats your oats?
Koltreg: I see what glue mean?
Byron Hussie: Dude, not funny.
Byron Hussie: I mean um...not filly? Just kidding it was funny. Its funny when horses die and are made into glue.
Koltreg: It must be a sticky situation for their riders but moving on would probably be best.
Byron Hussie: Other than the job and the 2 hours of webcomicking I don't actually do that much because having a job takes up almost all of your time and is basically terrible.
Koltreg: Yeah. With all that compensation and such. An atrocity.
Byron Hussie: I mean, I feel like the universe owes me that without my having to work for it. The universe doesn't seem to feel the same way.
Koltreg: So, what can we expect to see in the future of the comic?
Byron Hussie: I intend to expand my production er.... increase since I'm basically doing all requests right now. It doesn't give me much room to work on some of the series I have. Serieses?
Byron Hussie: I'd like to produce maybe like 10 comics per week and have some way the readers can toggle between the daily random strip and whatever series i am working on. I also at some point am going to go back and add alt text to all of my old strips because that lets you do an extra meta joke. Everyone loves that kind of thing. Also "comment on this strip" would be fun. Very web 2.0.
Koltreg: You could go secret Web 5.0. Let people post comments on the comics themselves.
Byron Hussie: That would be really metaphysical.
Koltreg: Eventually posting nothing and letting the reader imagine the comics.
Byron Hussie: That would be very PoMo, maybe PoPoMo.
Byron Hussie: Yes, not sure what the tro is there.
Byron Hussie: Hmm, not sure what that means in this or any context.
Koltreg: Troll as in work the audience to your amusement. Trolling forums and such.
Byron Hussie: I am familiar with the concept. Are you suggesting that my comics are kind of like trolling the reader?
Koltreg: No, but if you were to post a blank page that filled up with comments over the comic. Post Post Modern Trolling.
Byron Hussie: I'm a pretty good troll, check this out.
Creationism is real.
How does that make you feel?
Byron Hussie: More like Evo-lie-tion.
Koltreg: My mind sir, has been blown.
Byron Hussie: God Bless the Men and Women in our Armed Services. Freedom Ain't Free!
Byron Hussie: Next question?
Koltreg: If you could play a game of pool with any two famous people, who would they be?
Byron Hussie: I'm really bad at pool. I dunno let me think.
Is Cokie Roberts still alive?
Koltreg: They don't need to still be alive
Byron Hussie: Ok well nevermind her anyway.
Koltreg: She is by the way.
Byron Hussie: Did you just wiki her
Byron Hussie: Hard question. How about Robert Downey Jr and Morton Downy Jr. Morton Downey Jr loved smoking so much that it killed him.
Koltreg: Sounds like an interesting game.
Byron Hussie: That is rare, right.
Koltreg: That pretty much wraps up my questions as well.
Byron Hussie: Oh ok. Cool, thanks for interviewing me. I hope it was enlightening
Koltreg: It was.
Byron Hussie: Cool well i'm actually gonna go draw some comics. I did 2 already tonight. One is called "Give me back my eagles."
Koltreg: Well, have a good evening then and keep up the good work and I look forward to the updates.
Friday, November 6, 2009
While I enjoyed How To Make Webcomics I must admit, rereading it at the current time has been uninteresting to me at best and my attentions have been focused towards graphic novels and such frivolities. Thus, you get this instead.
Guilt over dropping a good comic is one of the worst feelings that can assault the faux professional webcomic reviewer. I know, because I am one.
This guilt trip has brought me back to comics being returned to the list in a series I'd call "Back from the Dead List" except the Dead List is dead and Nietszche is god or however that goes. I don't read enough actual literature, but I do it because I love you...errr love comics. Yeah....
Lackadaisy Cats by Tracy J Butler
Booze: fuel of the greedy, drunk and the MacGuffin hunters of the comic Lackadaisy Cats. Set in a much fuzzier version of the United States in the in Prohibition era St. Louis, the comic follows the employees of a speakeasy. The plot of the comic develops naturally on its own with dubious actions, shady (and sepia-toned) characters and well researched dialogue as opposed to it being forced..
Property damage, murder, rumrunning and dirty clothes: sins for characters in this world where the law holds little sway. The story in the comic is still developing but with the way that it is building its characters and background, the world is already a rich one. Characters interact in a real way, the aforementioned MacGuffin works as a great draw and the fact that everything is period appropriate make the writing attractive. Also, there are some bits of pure poetry in the comic that make the comic even more worth reading. The comedy is rather black so be prepared to get your hands and conscience a bit dirty for liking it since good and evil are a mixed bag in the comic.
The art is a jumble of images and panels, a sense of disarray matching the mood of the comic. A seemingly ordered monologue suddenly derailed makes perfect sense. The art itself is very beautiful to look at. the creator is adept, even with basically monochrome sepia-toned art, at convey the characters' emotions and humor. The whole package is just great.. The characters can be slightly confusing though if one does not pay attention. And yes, while are the characters are anthropomorphic cats, the comic avoids the....ugh... furry fetishes by not converting the comic into a furry art fapfest while still allowing the characters to hold a, dare I say it, sexuality.
My one and only complaint about the comic is the schedule of updating once a month with all of the pages. I find that it is a rather cumbersome thing to check for three pages (though they are worth it) for a single comic. This was my reason for originally dropping it and as the last update was late in September, the problem still is prevalent.
I digress though. Finish this review and then immediately check out the comic. The art is great on its own and the site has enough bonus features to merit actual bonus feature pages (I'm looking at you sites with pointless extra pages!). If you don't like the comic, I'd honestly be surprised. If you haven't read it, give it a try, if you did but dropped it, pick it back up.
I probably talk about Sandman and other graphic novels I have been reading.
To The Readers:
Any Thoughts On The Comic?
Any Comics You Want Me To See?
Have You Noticed The Chat Box Moved?
Just leave a message or drop me a line.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Over the past few weeks I picked up and devoured How To Make Webcomics. I ended up also reading the much shorter State of the Webcomic Union by Jeph Jacques of QC. As you'd expect when reading two works assessing similar ground, I agree and disagree with points made by both sides. For the most part I agree with Jacques' apparent philosophy, but I also find myself agreeing with many of the points made by the team behind How To Make Webcomics. Both parties hold the experience and the success to make a point. I should probably give How To Make Webcomics a more complete review, and heck, I'll do that next week but for now you guys get this.
Jacques comes off as a much more open figure for the webcomics world. His review talks not about building a community around your comic of fans but building the community with the fans. Its like building a house for Habitat for Humanity as opposed to building a house to live in with your friends. Both have their values but as it stands, I'd rather be with the people I am doing the comic for than separating myself from them.
Jacques also seems to hold a better handle on the idea behind making a profit from your webcomics. Where How To team focuses on what comes off as a formula, Jacques confesses that there truly is no real format. He doesn't remark on marketing much except for the benefit of TopatoCo (which ironically works as the store for two of the people who wrote How To Make Webcomics).
I also agree that the community of webcomic fans has changed. While I never paid attention to blogs until I got my own, there do seem to be relatively few webcomic blogs or at least few notable ones. The last one I was aware of was Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad which seems to have been replaced by the Bad Webcomic Wiki. (side note: apparently Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad has also been deleted from Blogger) The name literally says it all, it is a wiki on bad webcomics. On the bright side it does offer positives and the format is generally cleaner than the old tirades on comics of the previous site. Trolls also seem to have died down though since the average webcomic targeted either ignores it or they erupt in a flamewar, luckily the secondary effect is much less likely.
The community of webcomic readers seem to generally be more willing to support their creators, partially because of aging which seems silly but a lot of the original webcomic readers were teenagers. Teenagers often have trouble spending money. As the age though, they are more likely to support and Jacques seems to recognize the trend (though not outwardly stating it).
The community of webcomic creators was also almost fully left out of How To Make Webcomics. Jacques recognizes the need for them. Kate Beaton for example rapidly shot to fame because of the connections (and because the comic was very good). The How To team seems to hold the general opinion that you mostly ignore other comics which can be a tragic mistake. This has led to a mentality of isolation where some confused comic artist are lead to believe that if you start teaming up or linking other people, you are losing views when in fact, you normally and often gain more.
Honestly the only points I disagree with Jacques on are the hesitance to use the term webcomic and the jab at webcomic bloggers. Both points have some validity though The term webcomic holds the negative (though less so than normal) stereotype of the word comic cooped with the negative connotations of the word web. Comic fans use the word graphic novel for a reason though.
As for the jab at webcomics bloggers, well ... as ironic as it may be, I agree that there's no real value in writing webcomics reviews other than my ego, as Scott Smith pointed out. Reviews seem to offer little to nothing of value to most readers, except for the one thing Jacques seems to forget: reviews can send readers to new webcomics they might not otherwise discover. The problem is that to my knowledge there are no major webcomic blogs with wide readerships. There are just blogs like mine that are read by small pools of people. Approximately ten people, in my case. If I gave up though, I'd do the opposite of what I need to do - practice my critical-analytical thinking and writing skills.. I am a better writer I was before and as long as you are supportive, there is nothing wrong with writing about webcomics.
All in all Jeph Jacques has made some really valid points on the webcomic industry. Whether it is the time lapse, the alternate perspective or the abbreviated writing at this time I believe he may have one of the better guides for making webcomics out there. Not to say that How To Make Webcomics does not have it's points but I will cover those next week when I review the book.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
First and foremost I must apologize for the review posted three weeks ago. I was unaware of the content and the fact that the so called "blogger" carnivorouscritic did not actually hold a blog or exist. I figured somebody would have taken the name. It works well. I shall not be removing it though as a testament to my own flaws i.e. the fact that I did not look up his history. Or blog. Or if they were a he or a she. Hubris has beaten me down harshly.
I must apologize that this is two weeks late. I actually had this done in time but the content was such that I needed to reflect on if I would want to actually post it. Also I had finals so, yeah.
Now, after the last negative review, I made a vow to hold off on the bad webcomic reviews. While they brought popularity to lots of other reviewers, I want you the reader to find webcomics that you might enjoy. When a comic calls itself "The Most Underappreciated Webcomic" though, a problem becomes apparent. When this comic is not Bear & Kitten, Nineteenth Century Industrialist, Amazingly Average or one of the other several webcomics with low readership I subscribe to, there is something wrong.
Earth Beta by Bryan
Remember Penny Arcade? The comic that is often (incorrectly) credited with creating the video game webcomic genre? The comic that has millions of readers and is able to support its creators making tons of money? Remember how originally when it started, its humor was really bad by our modern standards but it was revolutionary at its time? Remember how the humor has changed with the times and the art has developed as well? Remember how they originally used to include Jesus for no reason? Only one of those things you should remember should applies to Earth Beta. (Its the Jesus one).
Beating old ideas into the ground is the encyclopedic entry for Earth Beta. From the two roommates, to Jesus, to creepy random creature, to ....okay. I am stopping here. I want to just get the point across that this webcomic is shitty. I mean, I used to draw a horrible webcomic in high school. I recognized it as such. I eventually stopped drawing it. I never posted it on the Internet. The author needs to hold up to his plan of stopping after six months.
The roommates are interchangeable talking heads making sound but barely communicating anything. Here inlies the problem. They are failing at making a point anywhere in the story. They are failing at making memorable characters. They are failing at making an interesting and well made story. The comic calls itself a "Storyline Comic." It is only in that the events are stories in the same way that eating only marshmallows is a balanced and healthy diet. Which it is not. Combining loose storyline with the fact that they force every possible storyline stereotype down the readers throats makes it worse. I could rant on and on but I only read the first 100 or so comics before I felt a sharp stabbing pain I could no longer ignore.
Character design and art is taken almost directly from the Tim Buckley Copy-Pasta College of Comic Design. Originally the characters are all horribly jumbled polygons. Looking at the current art, they are now partially anime inspired polygons. With poorly drawn figures. And no necks. And oven mitts for hands. In the FAQ, he responds that he came up with the idea of not using necks because he wanted to be able to switch his characters heads for humorous purposes. This works mostly because his characters are mainly guys, a girl and an annoying flying thing. They can switch the personalities and nobody will notice. Seriously. Also using images from google for background is a lazy technique. Then again, in a comic as poorly made as this, it is merely a ripple in the pond. When the pond is under a torrent of rain.
My roommates have gotten used to my crying when I find a horrible webcomic. Or when I declare I lost faith in humanity. They flock over and see what new horror I found to stare at it like a carnival freakshow. They shared my cries of anguish looking at this comic. Four art students declared it was ugly unfunny comic. This means it most likely is. It means your audience has no taste to tell you to improve. That is what I am here for. To rip you up and give you the tape to repair yourself.
Now, you declared in your artist page you will quit the comic if it does not pick up in six months. Do it now. If you wish to improve though, start a new comic. Make better character models, use necks for Christs' sake. Plan out a storyline, write scripts out and send them to somebody who hates you to review them. Or at least somebody with a good sense of humor. If nothing else, they can at least make your writing better.
I've had enough of dealing with this though and it has literally left a bad taste in my mouth. Bad art, unfunny humor and the giant balls to refer to itself as "The Most Underappreciated Webcomic". It is true, but only because he misspelled under-appreciated. D
They are adult comics that are well drawn, funny and mature-sort of. Enjoy them anywhere but at work and only if of age.
No need to rant, no need to say more. I am all reviewed out for now. A+
Next week I hope to have finished my retrospective on the recently finished Scary-Go-Round.
Also in my personal comic news, SFCRTSN restarted here because it is important to recognize your mistakes (even after you sink in $200.)