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"I want to review/critique something!!", 14th Feb 2017, 7:46 PM #1
Lt. Locust

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Posts: 236
Registration date: 10th Mar 2013
Location: Newfoundland
HELLO HELLO! I'd like to jump back into comicfury by doing something I haven't done before - a critique/review thread!!

Warning: as far as I remember, I've only done 2 critique/reviews in my entire life, so I don't have much experience
Warning: I don't actually know the difference between a critique and a review, SO YOU GET WHAT I GIVE YOU AND YOU'LL LIKE IT (hopefully)
Last warning: I have no capacity to understand colour theory, please don't ask me to comment on the colours you use in-depth because I have no idea

Still here?! AWESOME

Post a link to your comic! If you have anything specific you want me to focus on, let me know, otherwise I'll look at everything.

I only want to have 3 slots, because I'm on call and I think 3 comics is a good amount for my time frame. There's a couple of review threads up already however, so if you've gotten a review in the last couple of days, maybe let someone else have a turn? (I'm not enforcing this, just suggesting it, to let everyone know

Okie dokie!!

Critique/review slots:

1. The Book of Lies - The Tower

2. Mundane Maria

3. Battle Kreaturez

4. Fortune be Damned

5. A system of Solares
14th Feb 2017, 7:58 PM #2
buffylove

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Location: California
I'll take one. It's an anthology so you can start at the first story, THE TOWER. The link in the sig is for the latest story, IMMOTAL VIKING.
_______________________
from THE BOOK OF LIES -- a viking struggles to break the curse so he can join his family in Vahallas
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14th Feb 2017, 8:12 PM #3
JTige

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Location: Ontario
As long as there's some slots still open, would you be willing to check out Mundane Maria?
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Click on this if you like wizards.
14th Feb 2017, 8:47 PM #4
Lt. Locust

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Editted to show the two slots filled. One slot left. :)
14th Feb 2017, 8:54 PM #5
Amphurious01

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For once I'm not too late! Feel free to take a look at Battle Kreaturez.
15th Feb 2017, 6:34 AM #6
Gluma

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Go for Fortune be Damned, be as honest as you need. Not a huge one, 23 pages long.

---EDIT---

Oops, sorry, I think I missed the part where you said you'll only take three. Well, bad luck.
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15th Feb 2017, 7:51 AM #7
Lt. Locust

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buffylove:I'll take one. It's an anthology so you can start at the first story, THE TOWER. The link in the sig is for the latest story, IMMOTAL VIKING.


First up: The Book of Lies horror anthology!

Phew, that was quite a read! I'm going to explore the rest of your site before I get into a review, though.

Website!



Web comic!

All right! I read your comic all in one go, and wow, is that ever impressive!
There's 37 short stories with different artists for each story, but the comic itself starts off with a written prologue that really sets the tone. I really like your style of writing, but there's two things I've noticed throughout the entire anthology. The first is your tendency to repeat things. At the end of one page, you might have a speech bubble saying something, and then at the beginning of the next page you have another speech bubble repeating it. Sometimes it even happens between adjacent panels on the same page. This happens every few stories in the anthology itself, but I didn't realize there was a written story, so I read your prologue last - and I found a perfect example:



NOTE: Keep in mind I'm not talking about "ALL" repetition. In the vert first story, The Tower, you repeat the phrase "they loved her" in several different ways. In several of your other stories, you repeat a word or phrase throughout the story to emphasize it. That repetition makes the theme more pronounced, and it's not the repetition I'm referring to here. The kind I'm talking about seems to be error in writing up the speech bubbles. Here are some more examples:



The second thing I noticed is the typos. The story is really well written, and the narration wicked awesome, but boy are there a lot of typos. Sometimes, at the end of a speech bubble or narration box, the word just...ends. Your style of dialogue seems to always have punctuation at the end of your sentences, so the few times there is no punctuation, it's more pronounced. Sometimes, it's even like there was supposed to be another line or a few more words that accidentally got cut off. I know you mentioned in one of your author notes that you have to sometimes edit the dialogue in order to get it to fit properly, so I can imagine it's really easy to make those kinds of mistakes. I would suggest setting the story aside for a week or two before posting it (if time allows) so you can re-read it for yourself to see if you can catch any typos. The other option I would suggest is to get an editor or proofreader to just go through the story to look for those errors. Here's a few I screen capped while reading the second time:



PLOT
So with 37 different stories, the only connection is the genre. The stories are all horror-based, either extremely or just mildly creepy-dangerous. Stories happen in all different time periods, from the distant past with a local tribe encountering a lava monster to the distant future where a scavenging crew encounters aliens. With around 7 pages to tell a story, you do an absolutely amazing job. (I've tried to create short stories, they don't work for me AT ALL).

I really enjoy your humour. From the satirical Imaginary String (...By eleven and-a-half he had crushed his first entrepreneurial rival; Sarah Young's growing lemonads business), to the narration during Pet Croc, to the unexpected twist in The Accountant's Vacation that made me burst out laughing.

Another thing I enjoyed was that some of these tales are retelling of older stories. Fairest was a tragic retelling with a unique supernatural twist, Safe and Happy Home really humanized a character that was otherwise just an evil-for-the-sake-of-evil monster, and Monster Beneath paid homage to a classic with a cool tweak. (Loved his pimped-out submarine!)

Your writing is really enjoyable. With such a short span of time to show us your setting, establish your characters and set up the plot, you do an exceptional job. You introduce elements early in the story that return later to serve a purpose (like the dogs in Parts). With such a short amount of time to meet the characters, I still felt sad when some of them die (aka, are murdered horrifically).

Your attention to detail makes the stories even better. In Portraits, I actually went back to look at Lucy's neck to see that, yes, she was wearing a collar after that event. In the opening panel of Rising, you can see the volcano in the background. All the minor background details (like Lenka in "In Space"), even if they're never really touched on or explored, make it feel like all the worlds are fully established, not just something slapped together.

Art
With different artists for each story, I was actually uncertain if I liked the continuous changes from one story to the next. But a few stories in, I really started to enjoy the diversity of art. You go from having super-detailed art for the In Space story, to bright and colorful art for the Accountant's Vacation, to dark and moody art for the Trophies.

I think there were only two stories I felt the art didn't quite fit. Many Tentacled Beast is about a tentacle monster brought into a brothel (and is not what I thought it was going to be. Maybe I watch too many animes, lol). This story is fairly fast paced, which is fine, but there are many characters introduced right off the bat. Mackie, Belle, Annie, Sheriff and Seth are all pretty much introduced on the second page. For stories that are going to have a large character cast, I would suggest having the pages coloured or having the artist design the characters to be more diverse. For instance, the three men are Mackie, Sheriff and Seth. Mackie has a beard and a hat; Seth has scruff and a hat; sheriff has a mustache and a hat; all three men have facial hair and a hat. So yes, technically they look different, but I still found it difficult to tell them apart. The title is shaded and coloured, but so is a single explosion later in the story, and one panel is screen-toned, which sort of looks out of place.


Final Thoughts

-Maybe see if you can get an editor / proof-reader to look over your things before posting, or set them aside so you can look at them yourself at a later date.

-Your website has a bunch of minor formatting differences, like having "page 3" in one place and "pg3" in another; having artists named in your archive sometimes, but not others; having the title "From the Book of Lies" named in some places, but not others. I think it would look nicer/more professional if you made it more consistent. And maybe pimped out your archive page a little, the bullet list doesn't look very nice.

-You have such a wide variety of beautiful artwork, it would be wonderful if you could showcase more of what you have to offer. Like I mentioned above, I thought your comic was about vikings, and the style didn't immediately catch me, so I simply never clicked on it. Meanwhile, the viking story ended up being one of my favourites (followed closely by the Hansel/Gretal witch one). Maybe if you rotated your banner more often, or had a couple different snippets put together in a banner, or a rotating avatar. I mean, THIS is what I've been missing out on:



Merged Doublepost:

JTige:As long as there's some slots still open, would you be willing to check out Mundane Maria?


Next up is Mundane Maria!

Website:
I like how you have the navigation buttons done in the same style as the title. I also like how you have little images drawn up for the home/archive and subscribe buttons; it gives your site an extra touch.
Based on the profile, I think I'm going to like this story. Two twins, one really super-duper gifted - and the story is focused on the mundane loser-twin with no powers? AWESOME

(Love the prologue page. The happy, beautiful family in the picture contrasting with the fire that's starting to burn it up is foreboding and creepy. It sets the tone for a dramatic story.)

*reads it all*
Okay! So I'm not sure if you modelled this to poke fun at the Harry Potter 'verse, but I'm noticing some amusing parallels. The "chosen one", who ends up with a symbol-shaped scar on his forehead (a moon instead of a lightening bolt); born of two wizarding parents, who are tragically killed when he's still a baby, so perhaps they may have died defending him. The Dark One, with loads of minions left over after the Dark One's death. A wizarding school that only accepts magical students.

You have a really good fusion of art and story. One doesn't overwhelm the other; both forms work together, and they work together really well. The introduction gives us a lot of pertinent hints without spelling anything out. I enjoy your form of story-telling, because you tell more with your pictures than with your words. There's a lot of subtle things happening. The arrogant professor, Copperpot, insults our protagonist family and the mother narrows her eyes at him and responds flatly. The mother is guarded and defensive throughout the exchange while the husband is protective and caring. The body language and facial expressions tell just as much as the conversation. The prologue opens up with a beautiful family home, and within one scene we see it again (1 year later) from the same angle, only it's blasted and destroyed.

Plot
Your plot is interesting, because you introduce the characters, then SKIP OVER Desmond saving the world (a 16 year time period, apparently) so we can get to the story with his sister, who's obviously resentful from having a super-duper special brother. You establish Desmond as a bit of a dick, marinating in his past successes and using his amazing powers in the most selfish of ways. (It's not yet clear whether the regular world knows about the magical world yet; the barkeeper seemed more angry than horrified that his face got turned into a pig's, but the crowd of tourists talking to Maria were asking whether real witches exist or not.) Maria is shown as a toddler being a little hellion and swinging a stuffie by its ears, so there's a hint she might be a spitfire. When Maria is later introduced as an adult, she's looking burned out and miserable with her lot in life. The meeting with Roland was well written, because Roland merely mentioning her brother makes Maria launch into a furious rant about him before Roland lets her know what happened.
The way you introduce the two characters and establish their incredibly different personalities is natural and entertaining.

(You introduce the characters as a toddler/baby, fast forward one year to the parents' death, then fast forward 16 years. This would make Maria about 17 or 18?)

Art
Desmond is tall with blue eyes and rakish hair. Maria is drawn a bit masculine, with wider shoulders than hips, and more muscular arms than the other women drawn so far. It might just be the art style, but if Desmond is an attractive guy and Maria is a masculine woman, that would certainly tick her off even more. Bad enough her brother gets the special school and the wicked powers and all the authorities running after him to spoil him rotten and shoo away any consequences, but he gets to be ridiculously good looking too? Man oh man!
I like how the artist plays with different perspectives, different panels, different angles, and different lighting. Establishing shots give us a look at the environment, characters have different poses and facial expressions depending on what's going on, and the artist has no problem moving the camera away from the characters and back in to make the shots more dramatic. Page 20 in the prologue had great panelling, where Desmond has his mouth agape and is squinting and looking over Al's shoulder to where a red light is coming from an ally. This is a great shot. From time to time there's a bonus page that looks like an intro page from a wizarding book scribbled over by Desmond and his friends. It's a great way of giving a little bit of exposition and background to the lore in this story without being beaten over the head with it. The scribbles do an excellent job of characterizing the people involved.

I do, however, want to talk about perspective for a moment.



Here's Maria waking up on her bed. This is a 1-point perspective of her bedroom, which is a nice establishing shot. Based on this panel, the horizon line is "above" the panel, meaning we're looking down on her. There's two issues here; the first is that not all the perspective lines go into the Vanishing Point (VP), which makes the picture a little skewed. The next issue is that you should be able to see the tops of the books on her book shelf, but you can only see the front facing part.



So here is the lines of the bed and the lines of the bookshelf all converging on one spot, the Vanishing Point (VP). I stole a random picture from the internet for comparison. See the bottom left picture? That's also a 1-point bedroom shot with all the lines converging into a single VP. The difference is that they chose a lower horizon line, so the vanishing point is actually inside their drawing instead of above it. When the Horizon Line is through the middle of the picture like that, it makes it seem like the audience is viewing the room from a normal standing position.

In the bottom right, that's another stolen internet pic, this time to show you how you can still see the top surface of an object when it's underneath the horizon line.



This is a cool shot of sneaky headmaster running away with the reluctant Roland. The hill shot is a really nice closing picture, but the perspective is really extreme. I grabbed another picture from the net to show what a vehicle driving on a hilly area looks like.


Now, for the house!


So here's an opening shot of the protagonists' house. This is a 2-point perspective shot, meaning there's two Vanishing Points (VP1 and VP2) on the horizon line. The horizon line is quite high, so I didn't draw it in. All angled lines should converge on one of the two vanishing points. The two lines on the left side should both head towards VP1, and the 5 lines on the right side should all head towards VP2 - but they don't. Some of these lines are parallel, meaning they'll never converge.

ALSO! The fence is a 3-dimensional object, but there's only one side drawn here. It makes it look papery. Don't forget to 3d your stuff. :)

The picture below demonstrates this a little more clearly. Notice that their horizon line is a little lower as well, so the horizon line goes right "through" their house.



Final Thoughts:

This is shaping up to be a great story. It looks like Maria is somehow going to be called upon to deal with evil magicians, and I'm very curious to see how that will turn out. Maybe we'll be able to see more about the relationship between Al and Desmond. Moreover, maybe we'll see if Desmond is "really" dead or going to do a dramatic back-to-life. I'm not sure what all kills a magician dead in this story yet (although incineration seems to work well), or even if magicians heal faster than normal people. Maria, as a character, is quite unique in terms of back story, and watching a Mundane attempt to stand her ground in a supernatural world can only be interesting.
-There's already an improvement in art between the first couple of pages and the last couple of pages.
-Use references when trying to figure out extreme angle or unusual shots!
-Practice drawing boxes to figure out perspective. It's intuitive to some people (I'm not one of them), so I had to keep drawing boxes over and over with different horizon lines and different vanishing points before it started to make sense. And as hard as it may seem, try dropping the horizon line to go through the middle of your picture; this gives your scene a more natural appearance, because you're seeing it the way a human standing in that shot would see it.
-I enjoy your attention to detail. I find it telling that Maria has the World's Greatest Mug, chipped, among her possessions. It makes me wonder about the feelings the two children might have towards their deceased parents. Would Desmond have been as sentimental?
-The....font...yes. It looks like you replaced all the "s" letters with a lightening bolt? I may be mistaken. That particular letter stands out a lot. I don't know if that's just the font or not, but personally, I feel it's a little bit distracting. (buuut that might just be me)

Okay! I hope that was sort of what you were looking for. I'll get the other two reviews down later today. :)
15th Feb 2017, 11:00 AM #8
buffylove

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Registration date: 28th Mar 2013
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Wow. Thanks for the read and review. Did you say I have a blog? When the hell did that happen?!? I'm going to have to check that out. What do most people do for their blogs? This is the first I've heard of anyone ever reading it.

I'll definitely go through and try to clean up the typos! The format of the site is something I've struggled with. I can never quite find something I'm totally happy with, which is why it keeps changing. Then I had to help my dad during his recovery from surgery which is when the comic went on hiatus and led to stuff like the banner being for the wrong story. (THE BEAST OF HAS'LOGOTH was already prepped to go up when I got the call to go back home.) I'll get all that fixed up and nice though. It just might have to wait until I've finished a couple big writing projects...

For the banner being for one story, it seems like I get a better response in general like that, especially on Topwebcomics. Have an anthology banner just tells people it's an anthology. Having a specific story seems to give them something more to grab onto (even if in your case it pushed you away!) When I can I do try to show off as much as I can, like with this ad I've put on Facebook (and a t-shirt!):

image

Again, thanks for the read and all the critique!

--Paul
_______________________
from THE BOOK OF LIES -- a viking struggles to break the curse so he can join his family in Vahallas
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15th Feb 2017, 4:49 PM #9
Lt. Locust

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Location: Newfoundland
Gluma:Go for Fortune be Damned, be as honest as you need. Not a huge one, 23 pages long.

---EDIT---

Oops, sorry, I think I missed the part where you said you'll only take three. Well, bad luck.


Hey, no problems there! Your comic is pretty short, I can still review it . :)



buffylove:Wow. Thanks for the read and review. Did you say I have a blog? When the hell did that happen?!? I'm going to have to check that out. What do most people do for their blogs? This is the first I've heard of anyone ever reading it.


I know, right?! I find people either put their blog thoughts into the author's notes (which I prefer), or they simply have the last entry of their blog appear under their comic (which I don't like as much because when you're reading an older comic, you get the most latest blog entry, rather than the one they wrote for that page.) The link to your blog appears in your navigation bar, at any rate.

AHHHH you already have a splash page! Wow, awesome! I have to say, the Viking art is quite beautiful, so it's no surprise you have quite a few people clicking on your link. And if it's not broke, don't fix it!! If you already have people clicking on your banner and voting for you on TWC, it's best to leave it as is.

Merged Doublepost:

Amphurious01:For once I'm not too late! Feel free to take a look at Battle Kreaturez.


Next up: Battle Kreaturez!

Content advisory warning?! INTERESTING

Website!


Web Comic!
The comic opens up in the middle of a vicious battle, which serves to not only incorporate some of the Lore into the opening scenes, but also to really, REALLY differentiate it from pokemon. I mention pokemon because whenever I think of monster battles via human trainers, that show springs to mind - but there's literally no other similarities. The opening battle showcases both Kreature contestants getting (partially) decapitated and viciously ripped apart. Action lines, blurred backgrounds and sound effects give a great sense of action and speed, and I had no problems following what was going on.

This comic features fully coloured full pages. Characters have their own personalities and abilities. The Kreatures are shown getting healed as they get teleported back into their crystals, which is pretty cool. In the opening page there's a Duhdorian sitting and reading, and in the first second chapter there's a Silarc delivering stuff to our team. No speaking roles for these sentient non-humans yet, so I think I might have actually confused them as Kreatures like Wally if I hadn't read the Lore page.

The first chapter is Ben going on a retreat into the forest, filled with deadly Kreatures.
WAIT. I got screwed up because the prologue is the same as Chapter 1. Hmm, that's unconventional. Usually the prologue and the first chapter are separate.

The second chapter is Ben going on a retreat into the forest, filled with deadly Kreatures. I found it curious he was wearing a karate outfit. The author's notes say that the Tamers are like martial artists, which is why Ben's outfit was chosen (which is understandable), but I think it might have been better if there was a unique martial arts uniform native to this sci-fi environment. The rest of the world is fully established and created, so it seems odd to put on a white karate outfit for a forest retreat.

Ben ends up getting attacked by wild Kreatures, but rescued by the Wyldcard team. This makes me wonder: can Ben see the human faces of the people mindlinked with the Kreatures? He responds when he's spoken to in this way, which is interesting - so he can obviously "hear" what the humans are saying. Ben ends up staying with this Kreature Tamer team - for a few weeks. Do his parents not care? Or was he living by himself? And he has quite a few changes of clothes! Was he planning on staying in the forest for that long?

Another curiousity is that Ben decided to go on a retreat at all. In the "World of Dimentiara", it mentions that wild Kreatures are really dangerous, and that the people in Ben's area are pretty complacent because they're geographically protected from wild Kreatures. Contrast this with other areas, that are not, and have to rely on a powerful military to protect themselves with. Ben is shown as nieve and somewhat impulsive by going on the retreat in a wild forest filled with wild Kreatures, but this is explained by the culture of complacency in this area. Even the Wyldcard team members discuss this later.

Chapter 3 has Ben giving Dennis a custom present. Where did he pick it up? I thought they had to stay in the compound for a few weeks so they could clear out the plant Kreatures that have infested the area around the compound? And Ben's ship is still broken - or has it been fixed yet? How is he even paying for a gift when he hasn't been shown to really have a source of income? Does anyone even know where he is?

In Chapter 4-page 6, Dennis has the beam from his amulet going to the left, making it look like Slash is coming out of his amulet.

Chapter 4 - epilogue actually squishes two full pages in the same update, making the text a little hard to read. Also: ah hah hah. Ben's rival is such a self-absorbed douchebag. It looks like Shithead McSmugface just got picked up by a powerful team, too.

Characters

All the characters have their unique personalities, and they interact with each other and react to situations consistently. I had a hard time telling Dennis and Wade apart initially, but they're drawn distinctly. I find it interesting that Ben is crushing on Dennis, who's already in a heterosexual relationship. That makes the group dynamics a little more unique than most other stories, where a compatible (single) partner is usually waiting for the protagonist. I'm curious how this dynamic will play out.

Wally is obviously meant for comic relief, but Ben hasn't picked up that he's quite intelligent yet (or at least, he hasn't commented on it). Although Wally is meant for comic relief, I was a little "unsettled" by his artwork, showing him decapitating lots of humans. Don't get me wrong, this is hilarious:

image

But at the same time, Wally is a Kreature with a blade on his tail. Even though he's shown getting his butt handed to him in the only battle he's participated in, he's still a very dangerous animal with regenerative powers. This means that, like the other Kreatures, he can be badly maimed, decapitated and traumatically injured - but as long as his nucleus is intact, he'll bounce back. Humans won't. Does Wally know this? A lot of bad guys enjoy comic relief by threatening world domination, which is made amusing by their inability to implement their threats. Their "impotency", so to speak, is why it's funny. Wally, despite being maybe the weakest Kreature in the comic, is still much more powerful and dangerous than the weakest human.

Artwork

Your panelling is well done. There's a very easy flow to the story. The pages are colourful and vibrant. The character designs of the Kreatures are diverse and fascinating. You have different heights for your male characters, but they all seem to have a similar body type - slender. The two women characters that appear are both very curvy. Your Kreatures are all different shapes and sizes, so maybe you can have some human characters (even background characters) with different forms - old and wrinky, young and itty-bitty, fat, super muscular, etc.

You've obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this story, and it really shows. Some of the background information I read in the Lore section hasn't been mentioned or hinted at in the story, so it would be nice to incorporate some more info. Like the fact that humans are not native to this planet, and that there are other sentient bipeds running around. Are there any cultural clashes between these four types of people?

Your story focuses more on the Kreatures, and really delves into the issues surrounding keeping this animals, but your story also raises a bunch of questions. In other areas, where they need a fortified military to protect themselves from wild Kreatures, have those Kreatures become more powerful as a result of the constant conflict with humans? Is the average Kreature smart enough to realize that humans are exceptionally fragile and WILL NOT grow back severed limbs? Even the gentlest of rough-housing by Kreature standards could seriously and permanently maim a human. Are the wild Kreatures dangerous because they're hostile and aggressive towards humans, or do they simply lack the capacity to understand that their attacks are permanent?

Are the other three bipeds are delicate as humans, or do they also have a capacity to regenerate, like the Kreatures they resemble? They're native to this land, just like the Kreatures are.

I suspect most of these will be answered as more of the story unfolds. This was a very good read, and I'm interested to see the progression of a shy and esteem-deficient Ben transform into an empowered and capable tamer.
15th Feb 2017, 10:44 PM #10
Lee Lines

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Lt. Locust:HELLO HELLO! I'd like to jump back into comicfury by doing something I haven't done before - a critique/review thread!!

Warning: as far as I remember, I've only done 2 critique/reviews in my entire life, so I don't have much experience
Warning: I don't actually know the difference between a critique and a review, SO YOU GET WHAT I GIVE YOU AND YOU'LL LIKE IT (hopefully)
Last warning: I have no capacity to understand colour theory, please don't ask me to comment on the colours you use in-depth because I have no idea

Still here?! AWESOME

Post a link to your comic! If you have anything specific you want me to focus on, let me know, otherwise I'll look at everything.

I only want to have 3 slots, because I'm on call and I think 3 comics is a good amount for my time frame. There's a couple of review threads up already however, so if you've gotten a review in the last couple of days, maybe let someone else have a turn? (I'm not enforcing this, just suggesting it, to let everyone know



Just thought I'd identify myself as one of Lt. Locust's previous reviews. She "swarmed" me with comments but they were very helpful.
I have her review posted on Fantomah Rising on each page! Check it out so you know what you'll get! ;-)
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15th Feb 2017, 11:18 PM #11
JTige

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Thanks for the review, Locust! We really appreciate your in-depth comments and critiques, and will be sure to take them to heart as we continue.

To answer your question, Maria and Desmond are around 19 years old. They're supposed to be around 2-3 in the early parts of the Prologue, but I realize that might not have been as obvious, haha.
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16th Feb 2017, 5:28 PM #12
Amphurious01

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Thanks for the review, I appreciate it! To clarify some of the points you raised:

17th Feb 2017, 3:01 AM #13
Mochamonarch

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I would love for you to review ASOS!
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17th Feb 2017, 2:00 PM #14
Lt. Locust

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JTige:Thanks for the review, Locust! We really appreciate your in-depth comments and critiques, and will be sure to take them to heart as we continue.

To answer your question, Maria and Desmond are around 19 years old. They're supposed to be around 2-3 in the early parts of the Prologue, but I realize that might not have been as obvious, haha.

Ahhh, there we go! I was close. :) You did give a very good visual clue (Maria as a toddler and Desmond as a baby in the beginning, and then the two time stamps - one year later, and 16 years later, which is still good for a close estimate.)

Lee Lines:Just thought I'd identify myself as one of Lt. Locust's previous reviews. She "swarmed" me with comments but they were very helpful.
I have her review posted on Fantomah Rising on each page! Check it out so you know what you'll get! ;-)

Oh geez, haha, thank you!


Amphurious01:
On page 1-3, Ben is stated to be 18 years old. From this, my readers can extrapolate how old the other characters are by comparing birthdays: Dennis is 30, Kristy is 35, Wade is 32, and so on. Saves me the trouble of having to keep everybody's ages up to date as the story progresses.

I was typing as I explored your web comic, but I should have gone back and edited that after I read that in the comic. In all honesty though, the in-story characters indicate their age with the way they act and with their previou experience. The fact that Wade worked as a telemarketer long enough to his that job, and that Kristy has two jobs AND she seems very experienced all indicate that they're established adults, so even without checking out the birthdates.

Amphurious01:You can quickly access the beginning of Chapter 01 by scrolling below the comic and clicking “first page” :>

If you're already on the comic you can, but if you're exploring any of the Extras on the site, there's no obvious link. [strikethrough] (Actually, clicking on the main banner brings me to the last page and I can navigate to the first page from that, so scratch my previous comments, haha!]


Amphurious01:Yes, from a biological standpoint, Duhdorians, Silarcs and Dolneans are technically Kreatures and possess the same durability.

That makes things really interesting!

Mochamonarch:I would love for you to review ASOS!


Sure, no problem! I just have to do one review before you though. :)

Merged Doublepost:

Gluma:Go for Fortune be Damned, be as honest as you need. Not a huge one, 23 pages long.

---EDIT---

Oops, sorry, I think I missed the part where you said you'll only take three. Well, bad luck.


Next up, Fortune be Damned!!

(Every single time I sat down to write this, I would get two sentences and then I would get called into work, lol. Sorry it took so long!)

This comic only has 24 pages so far, so I won't be able to talk a lot about the plot because we're still being introduced to the characters. The plot is hinted at, but not yet established, with only two "scenes" thus far.

First Thoughts:
WOOOOW, this comic is eye candy! Beautifully illustrated, the background scenes and character designs could have been lifted straight out of a children's movie. The colours set the mood, the poses are exceptionally dynamic (even when a character is merely standing, you get a great sense of motion), and the author is not afraid to swivel the camera around for intense close-up shots, or to back away for wide, panning shots. There's also quite a bit of humour, conveyed not only with facial expressions, but sound effects and body language.

Website
The website is pretty basic, but all the buttons are easy to find, and it's easy to both read and navigate. It might be good to add a comic profile at least, because a lot of people read that before deciding if they want to check out a comic; your profile is actually blank!

Plot
The opening scene shows a devilish man stealing a unique and pretty-looking gem. He seems rakish, striking a heroic pose before swooping in to steal the gem and turn it over to his boss. A strange creature follows him, but it's difficult to tell what significance of this creature is. It seems to be making weird faces more than anything. But maybe there isn't any significance to this stalker-creature, because it looks like our hero wakes up out of a dream partway through this event!

Next scene introduces Ricardo, an anthropomorphic lizard watching a fight and being antagonized by an overly-enthusiastic drunken fox character. It's revealed that Ricardo has money in the fight, but his champion loses. Ricardo meets up with a friend (partner in crime?), complains about some recent violent events that have befallen them, and the two talk about sorting things out as they walk off. The next scene shows a snippet of the rakish character from the opening scene.

Characters

(This guy is so villainous looking)

I sort of avoid "furry" comics (comics with anthropomorphic animals) because I keep stumbling across the same trends. The primary issue I have is that they tend to suffer from same-face, where a cat/mouse/dog/bear furry will all have the EXACT same face. And I want to stress, this is the exact opposite of your comic.



Every character has a very distinct face. I can tell, right away, what kind of creature they were based off of. The body types are quite diverse, with the bear being heavily muscles with a sizeable belly. Ricardo is super slender, but the wolf fighter has lean muscles. Facial expressions are engaging, and you can tell exactly what a character is thinking by his face alone.

There is even a distinction among movement. The human, in page 2, strikes a pose before he uses his hookshot. Later on in that scene, when he's about to give pursuit to someone, he begins to stike that pose again before waking up. I enjoy small details like that. :)

Your characters are all fully clothed, and there seem to be humans living right alongside them. One of your commenters beat me to it, but even your anthropomorphic characters have shoes, which is definitely unusual! The clothing itself is different from character to character, and goes from a simple neck-bandanna and pants, to a fully primped bad-ass coded bad guy. His robe even has a modification to let his tail come out the back. I had a giggle at your fox character seemingly wearing a fox tail around his neck.

I'm not certain if there are going to be more characters introduced, but the three main characters all seem to have a grey morality. The human seems to be a thief/minion for a bad guy, and most likely a stowaway as well. Ricardo and his rat friend (I can't seem to find a name for him!) talk about having bags of "heavendust" and talk about a "dealer", making me think they're into the illicit substances of this world. It makes me wonder if maybe they're not just grey-morality characters, but perhaps straight-up antagonists to the human. But again, I can only speculate, because I don't have much information yet!

And lest I forget to mention, your character design for non-bipedal creatures is wicked wicked wicked. WHAT IS THIS THING?! IS IT A SQUID FURRY??


World
The world is beautifully hinted at. Backgrounds are never skimped on, and you can see interesting details in every scene. One of the curiousities of this story is that there's both anthropomorphic characters and humans, but they intermingle in all the scenes. In a lot of stories where there's both species, there always seems to be themes of discrimination from the humans to the anthropomorphic race. Instead of humans vs furries, something else is hinted at. Ricardo and his friend talk about how the wolves hate rats and lizards. Whether this is true racial tension or just the result of a violently temperamental Ricardo provoking fights that have bad consequences remains to be seen. It adds another layer to the mystery, because the champion in the fight Ricardo seemed to support was also a wolf. Curiouser and curiouser! The fox also lets slip that the wolf champion is his slave, but it's hard to tell if this is a legitimate claim, or just the drunken rambling of a...well, a drunk person.

Some other Thoughts
I think there were 3 minor things I saw that I wanted to mention. On page 2, the human uses a singshot to move across a canyon area:

What's curious is that he's obviously in motion, but the rope is slack? If he's running across the wall and pulling himself, or if he's swinging himself, the rope would be taut.


Next is this speech bubble:



The words inside the bubble look a little off? Like the bubble is too tall, but the margins come really close to the words on the left and right. (That's an incredible small nitpick, because all your other bubbles look fine)

And last is just a teeny observation. There's background characters in a lot of the scenes, but only one scene with women shows up - when the fox is talking about how much gold/loot and "hot chicks" (hah!) he's going to make. This area sort of looks like the slums, with a lot of very miserable folks and patched up clothing. So far, the only women to appear have been in someone's fantasy.
19th Feb 2017, 11:50 AM #15
Gluma

User avatar
Posts: 69
Registration date: 15th Mar 2015
Location: Glorious Mother Russia
Lt. Locust:
Next up, Fortune be Damned!!




Thank you very much for your review! It was a huge pleasure to read, something I rarely see in a morning's internet check. Very detailed and long. I only had a feeling you focused on the positives too much, but that's just me.

It might be good to add a comic profile at least, because a lot of people read that before deciding if they want to check out a comic; your profile is actually blank!


I'll sure do that as soon as I come up with a decent description. Is there anything else other than that, though? People keep saying "profile" so there has to be something more to it, but I fail to nitice (maybe it's the banner?)


One of the curiousities of this story is that there's both anthropomorphic characters and humans, but they intermingle in all the scenes. In a lot of stories where there's both species, there always seems to be themes of discrimination from the humans to the anthropomorphic race. Instead of humans vs furries, something else is hinted at.


Every "animal" character is anthropomorpized in a similar fasion based on a respective animal, so humans get their own "de-anthropomorphized" version of themselves (instead of, you know, evolving from monkeys. That "furry vs humans" thing has been done to death, as you said, so in fact, humans here are just as "furry" as anyone else. There is no real reason to it other than that I like it that way, and that I can afford it, because fantasy.

What's curious is that he's obviously in motion, but the rope is slack? If he's running across the wall and pulling himself, or if he's swinging himself, the rope would be taut.


Lol I never really thought about it. I think the initial idea was that he pulled the rope one time and then just flew in a free jump, with rope waving. It was a dream after all so any surreal shit would go.

Next is this speech bubble:


Oh yeah, i've been called out on that before, I watch my speech bubbles now.

And last is just a teeny observation. There's background characters in a lot of the scenes, but only one scene with women shows up - when the fox is talking about how much gold/loot and "hot chicks" (hah!) he's going to make. This area sort of looks like the slums, with a lot of very miserable folks and patched up clothing. So far, the only women to appear have been in someone's fantasy.


Oh yeah, I only noticed that while drawing page 20, where the last crowd was. Back then I thought there would be more crowds and I'd mix in a couple of women there (Originally in this dialogue two guys would just walk past backgrounds discussing things, I also threw some stuff out of it). Anyway, this society, while not really medieval, isn't exactly as progressive as XXI century first world, so at night I guess most women would be at home rather than in a place full of thugs like this.

Don't worry though, there definitely will be women, including actually strong ones. One of the four leads is a woman by the way, she just isn't introduced yet.

A strange creature follows him, but it's difficult to tell what significance of this creature is. It seems to be making weird faces more than anything. But maybe there isn't any significance to this stalker-creature, because it looks like our hero wakes up out of a dream partway through this event!


Oh, don't worry about that, too.
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19th Feb 2017, 2:34 PM #16
Lt. Locust

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Posts: 236
Registration date: 10th Mar 2013
Location: Newfoundland
Gluma:Thank you very much for your review! It was a huge pleasure to read, something I rarely see in a morning's internet check. Very detailed and long. I only had a feeling you focused on the positives too much, but that's just me.


Hey, no problem! I hope it helped. :D

Gluma:Oh yeah, I only noticed that while drawing page 20, where the last crowd was. Back then I thought there would be more crowds and I'd mix in a couple of women there (Originally in this dialogue two guys would just walk past backgrounds discussing things, I also threw some stuff out of it). Anyway, this society, while not really medieval, isn't exactly as progressive as XXI century first world, so at night I guess most women would be at home rather than in a place full of thugs like this.


Ahhh, that makes a lot of sense, actually.

Gluma:I'll sure do that as soon as I come up with a decent description. Is there anything else other than that, though? People keep saying "profile" so there has to be something more to it, but I fail to nitice (maybe it's the banner?)


When you click on someone's "comic profile", you're taken to a page that has a bit of information. On the left is the comic avatar (the one that shows up on the main page whenever you update). You have a picture of Ricardo's rat friend here. On the right is the comic description (and this is what people talk about when they refer to profile page).

Here's a screeshot of the comic Mundane Maria:
Notice how they also have a small description under their comic avatar (on the left). The description for the comic is interesting, hints at the dynamic between siblings, and tells us what the main plot is going to be. A non-magic person in a magical world. Having a de-powered protagonist makes for a unique story.

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And here's a screenshot of the comic Battle Kreaturez:
Notice they also have a short description under the comic avatar (to the left). Their comic description has a different format, immediately outlining the genre and main story focus.

image


Now here's yours:
You've got that small description by your comic avatar, which makes me think there's going to be a lot fo conflict. But you don't have a comic profile!

image

Comics are a fusion of both art and story. The comic avatar and your banner display your art - but what's the story about? This forum has had a couple of discussions on story vs art, and a lot of people admit they read for the story, not necessarily the art. Story is important. And your comic has a fascinating story so far - so pitch it! :) Why should I read your story? What's it about? What's the genre/theme? Go ahead and just click on a bunch of comic profiles from the front page of Comicfury one day to see how other people arrange their profile. Everyone has a different way of doing it, but the main point is to try and hook readers. (Looking at your subscriber count I suspect you don't have an issue with that anyways, haha, but a comic profile is still good!!)
26th Feb 2017, 7:37 AM #17
Gluma

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Posts: 69
Registration date: 15th Mar 2015
Location: Glorious Mother Russia
Lt. Locust:Hey, no problem! I hope it helped. :D




Oh, I see. I had something in mind, only need to write them properly.
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26th Feb 2017, 3:44 PM #18
MisterParadigm

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Registration date: 30th May 2012
Location: Indianapolis
If you're still feeling like you've got time, I'll take a review on Mallory Bash.

From what I can see, you do pretty great reviews.
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6th Mar 2017, 3:51 AM #19
Lt. Locust

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Posts: 236
Registration date: 10th Mar 2013
Location: Newfoundland
Mochamonarch:I would love for you to review ASOS!


Next up: System of Solares!

Website
Your website is really professional and crisp-looking! Links are easy to use and the buttons are large. I actually enjoy how you have character faces in the vertical navigation bar, instead of just the words. The character page is actually offsite on Tumblr, which is interesting. Clicking through the different characters is pretty easy, and it looks like they're divided into groups, Astro, Zodiac and Metalica. The names of the characters actually correspond to the names of the group, which makes me happy, because there's a lot of characters and this naming convention will make it easier to remember.

Issues:


Story
The story opens up with a creation myth. Helios and Celena take care of a planet and have a daughter, Ayer, who eventually adopts a new name and becomes the goddess of poison. Belladonna wants control of the Solarians, so she intensifies the power of the toxic fog, which instigates a fight with her parents. Celena is "destroyed", Helios takes off, and Belladonna is left in control of the planet. But then she goes underground with her followers.

I find it curious that Belladonna would obtain what she was after, and then...leave. She has control over all the Solarians now, so why would she only take the few Solarians that are her following and "retreat" underground? She has nothing to fear. She won. The planet is hers, and the fog is all hers to control. Not only that, she could easily eliminate anyone who didn't obey her, seeing as she had no issues doing away with her mother. Another curiousity is that the Solarians are still alive. Celena had to provide protection to the Solarians from the fog, so unless Helios can cover that role, that means the Solarians no longer have protection from the fog. If Belladonna retreated underground and isn't doing anything about the fog that she intensified/made more toxic, you'd think all the Solarians would die out?

Chapter 1 kicks off with some Solarians showing up late for class, being berated by the teacher, and then enduring a lesson. They meet up after to go to the cafeteria. This chapter serves to give us some explanations as to what the end goals of our protagonists are (becoming magni-magni so they can be the first line of defense and protect the city). Chapter 2 kicks off during a study session, where two of the protagonists take a break and encounter the antagonists of the story.

We get to see that this is a character-driven plot with the point of view shifting from one Solarian to the next. The "late for class" opening is a bit of an over-used trope, but I found it an interesting twist that the two students late for class are actually married and were enjoying some romance. Interesting not only because I haven't seen that before, but because it raises the presumed age of some of the characters.

I will admit, chapter 1:page 3 confused me a little. The groups of Solarians are called Systems. There are 3 Systems for every City. But in each City, there's also three Units of Magni. Are the units of Magni interchangeable with the systems of Solarians or are they different things? So in each city, there's three systems and also three units? On the previous page, the teacher refers to them first as a System, and then as a Unit. Then on the page after, she refers to them as a Group. Maybe it would be better to use one term or the other, or indicate more clearly that they're synonyms.
-Keep in mind this could be just me. I stumble over things like this normally, so this could just by my own reading comprehension.

Other issues: Prologue page 7 breaks page format by being really narrow. This causes the vertical navigation bar on the right to move to the middle of the page, which is really odd looking. Maybe it would be better if this page were the same width as the other pages.
-Prologue page 2 is missing a space. "But eventually,they became lonely"
-Prologue page 1 - pollution has 2 L's
-Chapter 2, page 22 - "Theroy" should be "theory"

Characters
There is a crap-ton of characters, but the author/co-writer have naming conventions that makes it easier to figure out what groups each person belongs to. Each character is colour-coded with several shades of the same/complementing colour, which makes the characters look really pretty. The character design is really unique and looks like something out of a children's TV show, with some characters having four eyes and others having gems encrusted on their skin. I can tell based on the characters bio that combat is going to be a part of this comic, with most characters either having a physical or magical weapon listed, though the story is too young to have been introduced to that yet. It takes a little longer to develop the individual personalities of such a large cast, but the author does a good job flipping between the different people. Uranus' competitiveness is shown in several ways, not just against the other Solarian group but against members of his own group as well. Pluto has a blunt way of speaking. Mars is riled up easily, and Earth tries to de-escalate conflicts on a personal basis. At this time, I don't think all the characters who have shown up in the story have actually been named, so without the Character page I would be a little lost.
-I like how in the Character bios, a lot of the characters actually seem to play musical instruments as well. I'm not sure if that's significant to the story itself, or just something extra for the bios, but I found that an interesting way to convey more of the characters.

Setting
I know they're on a planet that has toxic fog, and the fog can create monsters. I know that the characters are in school to become warriors who defend the city from these monsters. Other than that, I don't know much else. Again, this story is only in its second chapter and obviously character-focused, so only that basic information has been conveyed - but it would be interesting to know some more details. There were some nifty tidbits in the Character bios, like how one character was religious. Another character is listed as being into video games and being an inventor/scientist. So far, the only people we've seen are the students in training to become warriors. Even when they go the cafeteria to eat, you only see other students - you don't see any of the workers. What happens to all the other non-combat people? If they're training warriors to defend the city with three levels of defense, then there must be quite a risk of attack from the Shades. Can regular citizens wield magic and weapons?

Speech Bubbles

The only real art issue I noticed was your speech bubbles:

image

On the right, the shape of the letters don't match the shape of the balloon. This doesn't happen very often. On the left, you have a lot of negative space above the text, whereas your words come pretty close to the edge of the bubble on the other three sides. I notice that happens, where some of your text is not completely centred in your bubble.

BUBBLES!

The speech bubble thing is pretty minor though.

Final Thoughts
-You have a really bright and colourful style, and I'm actually excited to see the characters enter battle. I'm especially interested in seeing your character designs for the shades.
-I was really puzzled why two characters had the symbol for "man" and "woman" while the other characters did not. Then I remembered that Venus and Mars have the exact same symbols for woman and man. Alas, sometimes I am a dumb-dumb.
-I could tell right away from your Character bios which dudes were going to be Good Guys and which dudes were going to be Bad Guys. You only just introduced the bad guys in two recent pages, and the encounter started off with the bad guys verbally antagonizing the good guys. It looks like your good guys are shaping up to be complex and interesting people, and I hope the same things happen with your bad guys. Having "evil for the sake of evil" characters is a super common trope. Passionate competitiveness in good guys always seems to be mirrored by the most antagonistic arrogance in bad guys, and that's not as fun to read.

Anyways! I hope this review is kind of what you were looking for. :)
7th Mar 2017, 4:20 PM #20
Mochamonarch

User avatar
Posts: 27
Registration date: 8th Jul 2016
I find it curious that Belladonna would obtain what she was after, and then...leave. She has control over all the Solarians now, so why would she only take the few Solarians that are her following and "retreat" underground? She has nothing to fear. She won. The planet is hers, and the fog is all hers to control. Not only that, she could easily eliminate anyone who didn't obey her, seeing as she had no issues doing away with her mother. Another curiousity is that the Solarians are still alive. Celena had to provide protection to the Solarians from the fog, so unless Helios can cover that role, that means the Solarians no longer have protection from the fog. If Belladonna retreated underground and isn't doing anything about the fog that she intensified/made more toxic, you'd think all the Solarians would die out?


Belladonna's destruction of the planet is more or less her throwing a giant hissy fit against her parents. Also she doesn't have total control over the planet, when Celena died, she turned into a moonstone. Moonstones still protect the planet but only in patches, essentially she nerfed herself so Solarians could have somewhat of a fighting chance. So the planet isn't all Belladonna's just yet. ;)



Oh shit! I didn't realize how many technical issues there were! especially in the character bios, I thought I fixed this a while ago but I guess a couple more images broke!! I'll have to get right on that.

Category 2 doesn't have anything listed in it, I'm keeping it open in case I have more characters I want to add!

Also a little tidbit, Scorpio is female!


I will admit, chapter 1:page 3 confused me a little. The groups of Solarians are called Systems. There are 3 Systems for every City. But in each City, there's also three Units of Magni. Are the units of Magni interchangeable with the systems of Solarians or are they different things? So in each city, there's three systems and also three units? On the previous page, the teacher refers to them first as a System, and then as a Unit. Then on the page after, she refers to them as a Group. Maybe it would be better to use one term or the other, or indicate more clearly that they're synonyms.
-Keep in mind this could be just me. I stumble over things like this normally, so this could just by my own reading comprehension.


Ah, I think it would have been best to not use the word "System" to describe the functions of magni placements. Systems are the social group, it's a cultural thing that everyone partakes in. So yeah they are different things! Astro, Zodiac, and Metalica are in systems, but they also are a squad of fighters. Unit only refers to the squad name. You're right, one term would be best.

So far, the only people we've seen are the students in training to become warriors.


Oh man, don't worry. later on you're going to see some more people start to show up who aren't students!

What happens to all the other non-combat people? If they're training warriors to defend the city with three levels of defense, then there must be quite a risk of attack from the Shades. Can regular citizens wield magic and weapons?


There exists a regular police force that helps with shade attacks as well, But they're only really used if Shades manage to bypass the Magni somehow. Magni are there to stop the shades from even coming near the cities in the first place.

regular civilians can use weapons and magic if they want to, but it's usually advised to leave shade fighting to the pros.


-I could tell right away from your Character bios which dudes were going to be Good Guys and which dudes were going to be Bad Guys. You only just introduced the bad guys in two recent pages, and the encounter started off with the bad guys verbally antagonising the good guys. It looks like your good guys are shaping up to be complex and interesting people, and I hope the same things happen with your bad guys. Having "evil for the sake of evil" characters is a super common trope. Passionate competitiveness in good guys always seems to be mirrored by the most antagonistic arrogance in bad guys, and that's not as fun to read.


I'll let you know this, nobody you have seen in the character page so far is a villain. They're all heroes. It's just that some heroes have some beef with other heroes. ;)

Thank you so much for in depth review! I enjoyed reading it a lot, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my little comic about technicolour aliens!
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