Friday, June 10, 2011

Drive-By Notes, Part 4

I'm still not totally sure what sprites are, but I'm really liking this personality test at Roby's Sprites. Both the questions (complete with typos) and the answers are pretty accurate.

So let's see what the Webcomics List has to offer, haven't done these in a while.

1-600. I'm not sure what to say about this. The drawings are cute, but the speech bubbles kind of fill the small panels, and it looks crowded. It might work better with bigger panels. The meerkat arc doesn't make much sense to me, so maybe I'll flip back a few strips... No, I don't really see the arc emerging. Slightly confusing to jump into. I really think there should be more and/or bigger panels, this reads too much like a newspaper strip, and the format doesn't do the drawings justice. The art is actually pretty good.

At Wit's End shocks me with the completely black silhouette characters. Why is it shocking? It looks like a simple enough pun strip, but the characters look somehow scary, like they're meant to represent dead people.  It could be a cool original art thing, but the panel division - again, small newspaper-strip esque panels - and puns are far from ambitious. I closed the tab when I came to this one: "That's why they call me 'The Too Fat to Ever Be Loved' Tie Guy". The character is not fat; it's a horrible thing to say even if he was; and I just arghhh whatever. Stop knocking fat people for no reason, random webcomic artists. Moving on.

Buni has some refreshing originality to offer. Very cute drawings with very dark stories and no dialogue whatsoever. It's reminiscent of some silent Perry Bible Fellowship strips, which is always a good sign. I will visit this strip again. (Here, too, bigger panels wouldn't hurt, but it doesn't bug me as much when the content is less newspaper-strip-y.)

Does Not Play Well With Others: nice title, but I always lose interest if there's that much text in small panels. It takes away from the art, which again is cute. Trying to read the text, I'm running into "[reference to this and that character], [gaming] and [possibly character-driven pun I don't quite get]". So it's also a comic that requires a bit of reading to get into. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm drive-bying right now.

Frankentoast. Loved the title, but the strip is - a sick child asking, "Am I gonna see God, Mommy? Am I gonna die?" Is this supposed to be funny? I... don't get it. Flipped back a couple of strips and I still don't. get. any. of. these. Is it me or is it the comic? It seems like it could be creative; it's a one-panel strip, which I usually like; but the humor just doesn't compute. Weird.

Flakeday. This one's really interesting. There's a unique perspective going on here that I like. It's sort of like a diary strip, but half-imaginary. The art is simple, but skilful, and the color scheme seems to be sepia, which fits well. I like this a lot. Favorite line: "I think we've been neglecting our cat. He's put on some weight and started talking too." :D

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Slices of Life and Other Issues o' the Week

This week in Questionable Content: Marten realizes he must be... a townie. I'm not sure why that matters, and I came to ponder on how often QC actually does strips where Marten says he's not something and the others say he sure is.

If Jacques wanted to do something fun and new, why not go meta? The kids love meta these days. Watch an episode of Community and learn! Make fun of why Marten goes out for coffee every day. Make him question the need for such a routine. Have him pick up some new hangout and be all "Hmm, this doesn't really fit this strip". It's the lack of taking this sort of risk that makes the strip boring to me.

Edit: revising this post, I realized the strip kind of went meta with introducing the "bizarro coffee shop". Not only do the employees look like the regular cast, they also act the same. So Jacques kind of is making fun of his own concept. It was fun - for one strip. But making them regulars, which seems to be happening, kind of kills the joke.

Edit 2: flipping back through the strips to find the first bizarro coffee shop one - I realize many, many strips start with the word "so". As in, "so you really lived on a space station", "so I think Cosette will move in with me". It kind of suggests this constant stream of dialogue and events, but I suspect Jacques uses it to remind his readers of story strings he hasn't addressed in the last few months.

Slice of life must be hard, because picking the slices to present is the biggest problem. Which brings us to  American Elf: Uh, yeah, people have dreams about other people's genitals. It's just a little creepy if you dream of your kid's penis and then tell the whole world. Or is it? Kochalka seems to have this childlike innocence about genitalia, poop, and various other things that grown ups generally don't talk about. I love his childlikeness, but I guess I draw the line at these taboo topics. Should I? Am I being a prude? Why do I always question myself when I criticize Kochalka? He's not a god. Please don't show your kids' genitals in your strip, people. I know it's not meant sexually, but eww, and what if some kids from his school read it? Moving on.

After such deep and disturbing pondering, Buttersafe gives us more Robot Cat, and I really don't have more to say than - hee, so cute! He looks just like my kittywitty! *coos* (Is being a pet owner mushing up my critiquing skills?)

Marc Johns gives us 100 % natural arm hair. I... :D Johns' talent is, above all, relating random things to each other in a funny way. Not a lot of comic artists know how to do this. It must mean his brain is a little weird and jumps into weird places all of a sudden. I love that.

..while Sinfest's strength is making fun of cultural phenomena and people's silly beliefs. "I'm back. And I'm buff." is so perfect.

At Abstruse Goose, we have a very sad bee story. I love the level of detail their language has.

Question Duck finds his match: Answer Chick! Awesome. Ah, I see this is in fact a guest strip by the author of Roby's Sprites! I realize I don't know what sprites are. I'm such a comics noob. I should look into this and make a separate post. Maybe the sprite-related Question Duck gives some clue.