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10th Oct 2018, 9:48 PM #1
Steven-Vincent

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Matt Comics:imo, the 80s were the best era of superhero comics. (I'm more familiar with Marvel, but I assume many things were the same in other companies)


80s are a good period.

I have always argued that the Bronze Age was the best era of comics. It occurred from about 1972 until about 1985, ending with COIE and definitely with Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. After those titles came out, comics generally changed, although some series, like Perez's Wonder Woman or Barb and Karl Kesel's Hawk and Dove remained unquestionably Bronze Age-y into the late 80s/early 90s.

I made a graph once, entirely qualitative but just to illustrate why I make this case. In my view, there are two competing stylistic elements of comic-books: the fun-factor, and realism. These tend to be inversely related. Reality is, let's face it, far from fun. There's a reason for the expression "Life's a bitch; then you die" (and its variants). In real life you have to go to work, deal with death of loved ones, deal with your own illnesses, heartbreak, etc., etc. Which is not to say that reality is ALL bad, but it definitely is more work/difficulty than fun. And so the more "realistic" one makes a story, the less pure fun it is. You can easily see this with children's stories, which are often massively unrealistic (e.g., Charlotte's Web, James and the Giant Peach) but are also tons of fun to read/watch (which is why they are beloved generation after generation).

When comic-books began in the 1940s-50s (my graph doesn't go back past 1950 because everything before that would be the same), they were kids' stories sold on rag paper for a nickel, intended to be read, enjoyed for fun, and thrown away. (That's why 1938 Action Comics #1 is worth a fortune -- almost nobody kept it.) Comic-book stories were wildly unrealistic but meant to be just a blast in terms of pure fun and innocence.

Over time, more and more realism crept in. But along with this, the "pure fun" factor declined. By the 1980s, the era you mention, there was still some fun left in comics, but it was leavened with some more realistic stories. Continuity mattered, Actions had (some) consequences, and so on. In this era, I maintain, they struck the right balance between comics that were fun to read, but realistic enough not to be just kids' stories. On the fun/realism axis, the amount was about 50-50. I call this the "sweet spot."

Then with the advent of DKR and Watchmen, which were much more realistic and not even slightly fun to read (they are actually kind of depressing to read, on purpose), and their wild success, comic-creators started trying to make things more realistic (copying what worked). Angst became a major part of the story. As the realism went up, though, the fun factor went way down, until what you have today is an unremittingly bleak, depressing, "realistic" version of superheroes. Which people who didn't like the "fun stuff" might prefer, but, it sure as hell isn't any fun to read -- as GMan discovered with the Nu52.

Anyway, here's the graph (the horizontal axis is time; the vertical one is %, i.e., 100 fun means the comic is 100% fun, 0% realistic):

Image: http://libertylass.thecomicseries.com/files/posts/comicsfunvreal.jpg


My argument is that the BEST comics occurred where the lines intersected, early 80s. They were equal parts fun and realistic, so they were believable as story narratives (but NOT as something that could actually happen in the real world), but they were fun to read and would still put a smile on your face.

Before this, comics were hugely fun but the story narratives were full of holes and things you could not believe, like Superman using an old World War 2 brainwashing gas to make an entire town forget just one single set of events (that they had seen Supergirl, who was supposed to be in hiding). This is not just unrealistic in the real world, it's a last-page "deus ex machina" that doesn't even make sense from the internal rules of the 1960s DCU (because to be honest, there WEREN'T any rules to the 1960s DCU).

To me a story needs both fun AND believability (realism) to work. Bronze Age, early 80s, comics almost universally had both of these and in equal measure. Some earlier and later comics had the right mix as well, such as the ones I mentioned above (e.g., Post-Crisis Perez WW). But there are fewer and fewer with the right balance of fun and realism as you move away from the intersection point in either direction.

Now if I have to choose to go one way, personally, I always go earlier rather than later. If I can't have both fun and realism, I will generally prefer fun. I want to at least have a good time while reading a story, and I don't really find myself with the urge to read bleak/depressing stuff.
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9th Oct 2018, 9:59 PM #2
Steven-Vincent

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ewolf20:i can understand your sentiments. superheroes.....are a weird concept. get rid of the codenames, the spandex, and the overly cheesy stories and you get a low fantasy action flick. even then people still might get prissy about it.


And even for those who don't get prissy about it, as you have rightly stated, you no longer have something in the "superhero" genre. It might be good, and it might be well done, but it's not superheroes now -- it's something else (urban fantasy, cyberpunk, etc.).

This is an essential point that, I believe, many people do not get: "superhero" is a genre, and like all genres it has conventions.

Mystery stories are a genre, too, after all, and they have certain conventions that, if you are not a fan or are trying to be hyper realistic, are rather silly. For example, in nearly all murder mystery novels or TV shows, you have a main character who isn't just a detective, but is a super-sleuth, someone who solves the crimes no one else can. Columbo. Monk. Castle and Beckett. Hercule Poirot. Holmes. These people are unrealistically super-awesome at solving crimes, at making intuitive leaps to catch the killer. They often go on a tiny grain of evidence the size of a salt crystal, and from there they reconstruct the entire murder and figure out who is guilty. Is that realistic? No. Silly? Maybe. But it's part of the genre.

Additionally in mysteries there is almost always at least one, and usually there are several, red herrings -- suspects the detective is convinced did it, only later to discover that it wasn't him or her. By the end of the case it was someone who was introduced earlier in the story but whom you least expected. How is it that every week Castle and Beckett are convinced it's someone 20 minutes into an hour show, and it always turns out wrong? I mean after a while I'd just look at the clock and say, "Can't be him... there's too much time left." Silly? Maybe. But what would the fun be of catching the right person 10 minutes into the show?

And finally, perhaps the most unrealistic genre convention of all, is that when the sleuth figures out whodunit, finally... the murderer almost always confesses. This is actually a key ingredient of mystery stories. If the detective says what he or she thinks happened, and the suspect "lawyers up" (asserts the right not to speak), the audience will be left with doubt -- did this guy really do it? So for closure, most mystery novels/TV shows/etc. will have the suspect either willingly admit to the crime, or be tricked into such an admission. Even though in reality, nearly all murderers refuse to speak without a lawyer present, and no lawyer is going to let them admit guilt to the cops, unless it is so obvious that they are trying to get a plea deal. Unrealistic? Yes. But an integral part of the genre.

Now, if you're looking for realism? Mystery novels are not the place to find it, at least not about things like the ability of the detective, the formulaic and predictable use of "red herrings," and especially the confession ex post facto. But if you take those elements away, you might have a good story, but you won't have what people expect to read or see when you call it a "Mystery."

The same thing is true with superheroes. You can take away code names, spandex, catch phrases, etc., and still have a good story. But you won't have a superhero story.

I think people who don't like the genre should just admit it and move on, like people who don't like mysteries do. What I don't understand is the need, with the superhero genre in particular, to try and erase all the genre conventions in the name of making it "more realistic." No one tries to do that with mysteries. Why do it with superheroes?
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Result in thread: Comic Comments
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9th Oct 2018, 9:45 PM #3
Steven-Vincent

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I have a few readers who make very clever comments (puns, etc.). I wish I could come up with those for other people's comics but I just... can't. And although I sometimes will comment that a particular page is nice or some art is pretty, since I can't think of much to say other than "this is nice," I don't leave a lot of comments.
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8th Oct 2018, 12:06 AM #4
Steven-Vincent

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GMan003:I tried reading DC once. New 52 had started like a year before


That was your big mistake. The New 52 is utter sewage. I say this as someone who for years as a child was a DC fan (back when comic-books were actually good).

You've perfectly described the awfulness of the New 52. And this description fits all current, or as I call it, "Dark" age, Marvel and DC comics. But things weren't always like this. Both DC and Marvel used to put out good stuff, once upon a time.

Present-day comics are hampered by two things: First, the writers are terrible. They do not have the talent or cleverness of the old guard. And they are utterly disrespectful of that past material, precisely because even they (the DC/Marvel writers) think that superheroes are "silly." They don't respect their own source material so how can they do it justice?

But even worse, it doesn't matter if the writers are any good or not because the writers don't control the story -- marketing does. Plots are written by the marketing execs now, not by the writers. Comic-books are little more than click-bait anymore. And since even one movie makes more money in a few weeks of release than the entire Marvel or DC line will make in several years, the comics are just IP farms for the movie producers now.

So, you won't find much that's any good on the stands anymore, and haven't been able to for years. People like Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Jason Aaron -- the "top writers" of today? -- they're all hacks. They have no idea how ton construct a story, execute a plot, or write dialogue. It's all universally terrible.

But it wasn't always thus. Back in the 70s and 80s, the "bronze age," comics had some pretty damn amazing writers. Bill Mantlo (Rom and Micronauts -- comics based on toys of all things). Doug Moench. Paul Levitz (during his original LSH run). Walt Simonson (his Thor remains the greatest run in the history of superhero comics, IMO). Barbara Kesel. Mary Jo Duffy. These people knew what they were doing back then. They wrote great stories that kept you turning pages and coming back to the comic shops.

But most of those people are gone from comics. The few still employed, like Levitz, don't turn out what they used to anymore. Either they've lost their touch, or (more likely) aren't allowed to write the stories like they used to because the marketing department won't let them.

But that's all just a pathological situation within modern print comics. It's not really got anything to do with superheroes, as a genre. The same happens to any storytelling process when you put the marketing department in charge. Just look at the new Star Wars movies as another example.
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7th Oct 2018, 11:28 PM #5
Steven-Vincent

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If done right, they're not silly. If done wrong, they are.

The type of good-vs-evil morality that typifies the superhero genre has gone out of fashion in the last few decades, and so classic superhero stories are considered trite. There is a growing percentage of the population, especially in the creative world, that subscribes to a more nihilistic philosophy. One apparent characteristic of the nihilist is to consider anyone who doesn't share his or her perspective to be "naive" or, to use the OP's word, "silly." I have had a good friend of mine characterize the "no good and evil only shades of gray" philosophy as "mature" and "sophisticated" and "realistic."

I don't think it's any of those things. But those who do, will no doubt consider things like Christopher Reeve Superman as "silly."

Millions of people like those traditional superheroes just fine, however, so whether they're "silly" or not is really a matter of opinion.
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Result in thread: Bury your gays
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6th Oct 2018, 4:45 PM #6
Steven-Vincent

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ratt:I myself have seen down much further than the first google result on the topic of problems around queer representation in media so I feel confident in assuring you that gays dying to further a plot is common and not a made up PC thing.


I didn't say gays being represented one way or another was a made up thing. I'm not sure where you got that.

I said, (1) write what you want to write to make a good story, and (2) don't avoid something just because it's on "TV tropes."

TV tropes will tell you that teenage characters are a trope. Heroes are a trope. Villains are a trope. Plots are a trope. (Yes, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.) It's an unusable site at this point.

As a writer, if you have an idea, you shouldn't avoid it just because other writers before you (even a LOT of other writers) have tried this idea and made a complete hash of it. You just write your story well and let the chips fall where they may.

If your main motivation or even a major motivation as a writer is "not to offend anyone" than it's almost guaranteed that you won't write worth reading.

Again as I said I am not advocating setting out to purposely upset or tick people off (like, for example, Rian Johnson did in Last Jedi, which is why it is such a badly written movie). But don't avoid a legitimate story or plot point just because it might upset people.
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Result in thread: Bury your gays
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6th Oct 2018, 1:20 PM #7
Steven-Vincent

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My first and most important comment is, write the story you want to write.

I would not suggest being cold, callous, heartless, etc. However, as a writer, if you start worrying that some aspect or other of your plot or characters might offend or "trigger" or upset some reader or other, you will become a deer in the headlights, utterly paralyzed and unable to write anything. A writer who's a man would have to worry if he is representing women fairly. A woman would have to worry that about a man. Are you representing the other races fairly? Would someone be offended by how you're portraying their profession? etc. etc. etc. It never ends.

Now, this is not to say do something rude or racist or openly homophobic. I'm not talking about that. But if you are making an honest attempt at writing a historically accurate novel and the plot calls for a gay man and as part of the plot he happens to die, then that's what happens. Don't worry if it might offend people and do not pay any attention to TV tropes. That site is a cancer on the internet. It may have been useful once, but now they list just about anything that has ever happened in any plot across all the movies and novels and comic-books and plays of history as a "trope" so there is literally nothing you can do that they would not call a "trope" as if it were something to be avoided. Do not check your novel against that site. That will only lead to disaster.

It doesn't sound to me like you are being disrespectful of the gay character. My advice is, write your novel. Do it the way you want. If you do it well, if you do it right, it won't be "cheap" and people interested in a good novel will enjoy it for what it is, and respect the work you did. And if it's not good, well, then you have much bigger problems than whether you killed off a character who happened to be gay.
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Result in thread: Dreams in comics
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1st Oct 2018, 3:44 AM #8
Steven-Vincent

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This has happened to me once.

Almost the entire exchange between Liberty Lass and Cape Hoader (inclusive of his name) was from a dream I had about the villain, Cape Hoarder, being a "cape collector" and stealing Liberty Lass' cape right off her back. I came out of the dream laughing and said "I have to do this." I then got up, turned on the PC, and started writing down everything I could remember. By 6:30 AM I had the entire scene pretty much as it stands now in LL #4. The stuff before and after their encounter in the sky was added later, but that part was lifted right out of the dream.
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18th Sep 2018, 9:19 PM #9
Steven-Vincent

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Interestingly enough, I think a good standard for whether what you're doing is wrong or not, cheating or not, was articulated on an episode of Seinfeld. In the episode, George was engaged to Susan. But he had a "thing" for Marissa Tomei (the actress) and found out she was single and available and liked short, bald guys (like George is). George pesters his friend Elaine into setting something up, and as he is planning all this, he insists "it's not cheating if there's no sex" and all he wants to do is meet her (and, of course, see if she likes him).

At one point Jerry asks him, "Would you tell Susan about it?"

George answers, "Not necessarily."

To which Jerry responds, "If you can't tell Susan about it, then something's wrong."

This is a pretty good standard. Is the interaction an affair? Well, would you tell your SO about it? If not, if you think they'd get angry if they found out about it, then something's wrong.
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10th Sep 2018, 12:01 AM #10
Steven-Vincent

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argylefox:If I hate a comic so much that I think a few pages need 1's, then I stop reading. What sort of person keeps reading, or even keeps coming back to give it a 1?


Yup this.

If it's that bad, I just don't read it. I wouldn't hang around and keep giving 1s. I mean, who the heck has time for that anyway?
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9th Sep 2018, 11:40 AM #11
Steven-Vincent

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argylefox:Yeah, it goes like this:

1: "I personally hate how YOUR comic is popular, whereas mine isn't and so I wish destroy you because I have low self esteem."
2-4: "I don't like your comic at all"
5: "#like"

I disabled the rating system on my comic, for some reason.


This.

I have not disabled them for LL but I don't even look at them... because too many people use the rating system as a like/dislike system rather than a rating system on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being poor, 2-4 being various levels of "OK to pretty darn good" and 5 being "perfect/awesome". Using such a system most pages of most comics would get a "3" -- but if you dare give a 3 most authors here would be offended that you didn't give them a 5. So I don't even give ratings anymore unless I really love a page, then I'll give it a 5 just kind of for emphasis and to let the author know I really liked it. Though usually I just leave a comment like "great lighting in this scene" or something.

Now about the particular issue.. ratings bombers. Yeah, there is no excuse for that. If you think something really deserves a 1, have the guts to make a comment on the author's page with a fair and honest reason for it. "This page completely confused me and the lettering made the dialogue illegible. Please use a professional letterer or typed font so I can read it, or else practice your lettering." would be an example of something that might deserve a 1 (a page you can't even understand).

But just 1-1-1-1-1 every week... yeah there's no call for that.
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9th Sep 2018, 11:32 AM #12
Steven-Vincent

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First of all, those wedding invitations look really cool.

Second of all -- I am confused. To me this looks like 3 events: a wedding ceremony, a dinner, and a reception. And although everyone was invited to the first one, half your guests are coming to the dinner and half to the reception.

I'm very confused by this. I've never been to a wedding with 3 events. It's always been ceremony + reception. The invitations classically include both -- I've never heard of someone being invited to the wedding but not the reception, or the reception but not the wedding. In fact when most people talk about "their wedding" they mean the two events combined. (For example, when they talk about how "expensive" the wedding is, they mostly mean the reception since, other than the dress, most churches/synagogues will do the ceremony itself for a nominal fee, at least relative to the cost of the reception hall/dinner/band/etc.)

So, honestly, I can see how your guests would be confused. If I was invited to the 2 PM ceremony and 8 PM reception, and knew nothing else, I'd think that's all there was and wonder why there was so much time between them. But then if a friend said he was invited to the ceremony + 5 PM dinner, I'd wonder, isn't there going to be a dinner at the reception (for an evening reception, there almost always is)? Why wasn't I invited to the dinner too? Etc.
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2nd Sep 2018, 11:35 AM #13
Steven-Vincent

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I thought it was a big deal when LL got to 25 pages.

Now it's on 173... I had to go check to see what page it was on before making this post because I have not even noticed anymore.
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31st Aug 2018, 12:59 AM #14
Steven-Vincent

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There is a really easy way to ensure no one reads your stuff for free, while avoiding ads. It's called a paywall. They are easy to set up. If you don't want people doing a "dick move" on you and reading your stuff for free, but it behind a paywall. Lots of people do stuff like, give you 1 chapter free, and then the rest is behind a paywall. Heck even the print companies do this -- it's called Free Comic-Book Day. They use that to get you interested, then if you want the rest of the story it's $4.99 or whatever per issue. You can easily do that, and you don't have to rely on ads. You don't have to force people to watch obtrusive, obnoxious ads and risk having their browser history scraped. It's trivial to set up a paywall. So if authors want to get paid, they can have at it. If I like their stuff, I'll pay for it. If not... I won't. Simple as that.

Ads as currently programmed/implemented on the internet are simply unacceptable to me. If I can't browse a site without ads, I don't browse it. My browser does not allow ads, but if I site gives me one of those messages asking me to please turn off ad-blocker, I don't do that. I just navigate somewhere else. I won't freeload on them.... but I don't "do" internet ads.
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30th Aug 2018, 8:59 PM #15
Steven-Vincent

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freakenburger:Sup, guys? As you all certainly know, there are only two kinds of webcomics around: those that are passion projects moved by people who expect nothing from their work and those that either want (or need) some form of compensation for their effort. While the former have little issues to battle with, the latter face quite a few issues.


Where do you get the idea that people who don't ask for or expect compensation for their work have "little issues to battle with"? We have plenty of issue; they may be different from what someone who wants to get paid has to deal with, but they exist. We may have commenters who are obnoxious. Have a hard time finding an audience. Not be taken seriously because, without a funding stream, we can't afford better equipment on which to produce our artwork. Etc.

freakenburger:Icartoonists go through a bad place when they try to get a couple bucks. I have the feeling that it doesn't happen only on comics, but in other media as well. People love to complain about ads on their Youtube videos and other stuff, completely oblivious to the fact that those pesky ads may be the one thing that keeps the content they enjoy from being discontinued. "Ugh, so many ads, they are annoying, blah, blah"... Guess what? People spend money to buy drawing equipment and spend time they should be using to be with their families and loved ones, only to give everyone free content that, at times, is on par with professional works. Even if the content is not quite "pro", the mere fact that you get it for free is a big plus, and the only thing those kind artists ask for is that you watch an ad or two.


I block ads. All the time. Period. Know why? Because website managers/admins have been completely and totally irresponsible with ads. They have created systems that spy on me. That forward my browsing habits to other people. That track my clicks. That even may install malware on my private computer. I'm not going to let people do that to me. I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Ad-block doesn't exist because of commercial-like ads. It exists because advertisers and site owners have historically been irresponsible and unjustifiably intrusive with their visitors. Until the overwhelming majority of websites start acting responsibly with my browsing history and clicking habits, they're blocked.

If that interferes with some dirt-poor content creator's funding stream, I'm sorry about that, but I'm not going to risk getting malware to watch your ads.

freakenburger:Sadly, people can't be bothered to do this one simple thing, because they feel oh-so-freaking entitled to everything that, well, screw ads!


No, it's not about entitlement. It's about privacy. It's about security. It's about not wanting my browsing habits spied on, recorded, and transmitted to other people. Don't tell me it doesn't happen. It does. The proof is when you google something and then visit facebook, and FB shows you ads about the thing you just googled. They can do that because Google is sharing your clicking/browsing data with FB, and vice-versa. (Well, they're sharing YOUR data, probably. Not mine. I use Brave, which blocks track-backs by default, no 3rd party apps needed.)

freakenburger:Don't artists have patreons? Sure, but does anyone here really think people donate enough? Even if they did, ads are better in the sense that the readers are not charged to read your comic, advertisers are the ones doing the paying.


If the artist is trying to sell his/her art, then that person is acting as a business owner. It's their responsibility to provide a product I want to pay them for. If they can't make something good enough I want to pay for, then they don't get my money. If that means I don't see the content because it's behind a paywall, well, that's how capitalism works. I pay for what gives me value, and do not pay for what doesn't.

I hope this doesn't come across as harsh. Maybe it does. If so, I apologize. But internet ads drive me up the wall and I will NOT be spied upon. Nor will I accept being told I'm some sort of freeloader because I have my computer loaded up with security to block the spyware that advertisers are purposely producing from spying on me.

Let the advertisers stop trying to hit me with malware, and we'll talk. Until then, because I can't trust all of them, I won't trust any of them, and all ads - I mean ALL - get blocked.
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24th Aug 2018, 12:59 PM #16
Steven-Vincent

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I play the grand strategy game Stellaris co-op with a friend of mine. I have 600+ hours in that game over the last 2 years, and he has way more (he plays both with me and solo... I only play it co-op with him). We have been playing for 2 years but we have been friends for all of our lives.

Both in life, and in game, it is unanimously agreed upon by both of us that he tends to be "luckier." Now, this is probably not true... but that's just how we view ourselves as friends. If one of us gets super lucky, it'll usually be him. True generally in life. And true in the game -- he always has the better of the random starts, random events, etc. in Stellaris.

In the last week, we have started and bailed on, and restarted, a new game like 3 times because he has had a terrible, very unlucky start. Each time, I have had unbelievably *good* luck. I've found it quite entertaining that for once, he's the one saying he wants to start over, rather than me.
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14th Aug 2018, 11:28 PM #17
Steven-Vincent

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DrewSpence:Hence why I don't do it. I'd like to but, I know it (rate honestly) would not be welcomed by most people.
That sounds like your honest opinion would lean towards 'could use some improvement' in many cases.

I think it's fair. So them maybe you decide to only rate comics around (maybe 3) 4 and above.


I'm not sure how many of my ratings would lean toward 'could use some improvement' but if we're being honest, couldn't all of us use some improvement? How many of us honestly believe any of our pages are actually flawlessly perfect? And if you don't think it's perfect, then would a 5-star rating be warranted?

But even then it becomes a question of what the stars mean to you. To me, in a 5-star rating system, 3 stars, being in the middle, would be "average". Then 2 would be "below average but close", and 4 would be "above average but close to average." And then 1 would be "pretty awful" and 5 would be "darn near perfect."

But not everyone would rate that way. For some people, 4 would be average. For others, 2. And so it is hard to learn anything from ratings because of how differently people view ratings. Which is another reason why I avoided giving anything but 5. My inclination for honest ratings would be to be QUITE stingy with 5/5. But again, I'm fairly sure that would have hurt the feelings of the people I was rating and I'm not trying to upset people.

There are one or two folks who I think would appreciate honest ratings but I'm not sure if everyone would. So to be safe what I do is -- if I love it, I give a 5. If I don't love it, I give no rating at all. I may comment but I won't rate unless I can give it a 5. (Kind of the "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all" concept). Is *that* what people want? I dunno... maybe.
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14th Aug 2018, 1:04 AM #18
Steven-Vincent

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snuffysam:anyone who rates pages sincerely is met with confusion and anger


Hence why I don't do it. I'd like to but, I know it (rate honestly) would not be welcomed by most people.
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12th Aug 2018, 1:26 PM #19
Steven-Vincent

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Registration date: 28th Apr 2015
Location: North Carolina
I've never thought about making a video game out of my comic, no.

I did, however, made modules for Neverwinter Nights based on a novel I had written in college. I got about 3 out of 6 parts into it and then I just could not get the NWN engine to do what I needed it to do, and I gave up. But the first 2 or 3 modules got pretty nice ratings and reviews on the NW Vault.
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1st Aug 2018, 11:12 AM #20
Steven-Vincent

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Posts: 2121
Registration date: 28th Apr 2015
Location: North Carolina
I agree with Damatris, never spend more than you can afford.

I've never made a dime from LL, nor will I ever, but I have spent... I don't even want to think about it. A couple thousand easy over the 7 issues I've finished, for DAZ products. Wow that is a lot -- not all at once of course, but over 4+ years, buying a few products each month, it adds up. I don't consider it wasted money. I got a lot of pleasure from doing the LL comic. But I was able to afford it.
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