Hi, I would like to write some short reviews briefly describing my favorite and least favorite things about your comic. The focus will be on what areas of your comic might need improvement or how you might reach a larger audience. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything, but I'm also not going to go overboard with harsh criticism or personal insults. It will just be a short, matter of fact description of how I reacted to your comic.
Comment to reserve a slot. I will edit this thread as people ask for reviews:
1) Thorsby - Trixie Slaughteraxe for President
2) JTige - Mundane Maria
3) taikina - Helvetin Paska
4) Mister Paradigm - Mallory Bash
5) coldreave - King Martha
6) LeRenardRoux - The Wolf at Weston Court
7) kyrinthekid - Kyrin The KiD
8) buffylove - Book of Lies
9) CyeEnder - No Soul
10) BMR - The Tales of Jeremiah Green
11) Miaubol - Kordinar 25000
12) daydreamsofdragons - Story Wisher
13) Fabian W. - Cryptidia
14) Toondoctor - Johnny Bullet
15) SharpyTheYellowKirby - I'm Not Your Friend
16) Essention - True Fist
17) Jessie Blue - Weird Shorts
18) Gluma - Fortune be Damned
19) Agent Cheshire - Vanalith
20) LadiSilverfox - Ran's Conquest
21) halibabica - Spelunkying
22) kyrtuck - Obscuria
23) sketchdoll - Moxie
24) Snuffysam - Super Galaxy Knights Deluxe R
25) mg78 - GRUNK
26) straker - Polaris
I will add more slots if more people are interested, up to a maximum of 30 reviews.
"To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world...."
This comic suffers from what I call Basic Art Syndrome. It's when your art isn't necessarily terrible, but also doesn't display any real artistic skill or any unique or aesthetically pleasing elements. It's art that looks like it could be drawn by anyone. BAS isn't just about a lack of skill in art, it's more about a lack of attention to graphic design in general. Comics which suffer from BAS also tend to have more basic HTML, a lack of favicons, and so on.
Comics with BAS can still be good, especially if they're humor-focused, but it puts you at a disadvantage. Because, at first glance, there's nothing to make me want to read this comic and nothing that makes it stand out from the pack. There are hundreds of comics that look the same as this, and, to be honest, there are also hundreds of comics that look much better.
(Specifically, I think the thick, black outlines look a bit ugly and give the art a more amateurish appearance. The brightly outlined speech bubbles aren't easy on the eyes either. The colors are in general too bright and saturated (I think more faded pastel type tones would look better) and there is too much color clashing in your pages.)
Fortunately, your writing is much more distinct and high quality than your art. The banter between the characters feels lively and believable, and there are a few lines that made me audibly laugh. I'm not just saying this to balance the mean stuff earlier with nice stuff. I think you have some actual talent for writing dialogue. But your basic art is holding the comic back from reaching its full potential.
EDIT: Looking back, this came out sounding a bit harsher than intended. To be clear to anyone looking at this thread, I'd still recommend reading this comic, it's not bad
Interesting idea for a comic. I think this has some immediate appeal to anyone who's read Harry Potter or superhero comics and wondered what life is like for the normal people in those settings. (So, in other words, it potentially appeals to a large audience.)
There seems to be more effort put into the writing and story structure than there typically is in webcomics. A lot of times you get the sense reading comics that the author is improvising from page to page, but it seems like you actually planned a lot of this in advance, and maybe have taken a class or read a book once about screenwriting or something like that. You manage to introduce a lot of characters and move around in location and time period a lot in the first few chapters, without it feeling too confusing or like too much of an infodump. More importantly, the characters actually feel like people with distinct personalities and realistic emotions. It also seems like the story is headed in a pretty interesting direction.
Unfortunately, this is another comic where I think the graphic design doesn't always live up to the writing. You've picked a pretty simple and ugly HTML layout, and there's no favicon. Also, the art isn't very distinct or especially skilled. It looks like you have someone else illustrating for you, so it feels a bit rude for me to say that I like the writing better than the art, like I'm trying to interfere with your team dynamics. So take this with a grain of salt. It's possible that you're not giving your artist enough time to produce the pages, or that you're not giving detailed enough art instructions. (For example, the trees look pretty simple and generic, and so do the building interiors. Some aspects of the visual design, for example, the mage robe worn by the blond character, look pretty good, but a lot of other aspects just don't look like they've had enough work/thought put into them. Maybe you guys should spend more time planning out the smaller details of the setting, deciding what type of trees there will be, what type of furniture will be in the houses, etc.) Basically I feel the same way about this as I feel about the previous comic I reviewed. The writing is good but not quite enough thought has been put into the visual style.
First of all, this is the first comic in this thread to have a favicon, and it has a really good one actually. It looks like you've also fiddled with the HTML in other ways and aren't just using a standard layout. Perhaps it seems weird for me to talk about web design so much in a comic review thread, but I think that since these are webcomics I'm reviewing, it makes sense to take into account the fact that they're online. How an author sets up their website is a good early indicator of their creative sensibilities and their level of attention to detail. I think that most readers, either consciously or subconsciously, actually pay a lot of attention to the web design, and I think that Helvetin Paska is doing relatively well in that regard.
The actual comic is, um. . . Somewhat less likely to appeal to a huge number of readers. It's occasionally confusing and has some gross, NSFW segments. The art varies in quality and some pages are drawn in an unskilled way. I enjoyed it though. Even if a comic isn't exactly my favorite genre to read, all I really want is to feel like I'm seeing the result of a unique creative vision that I can't see anywhere else, and that's exactly how I feel reading Helvetin Paska. So I'd say I'm definitely glad I read this, even if I wouldn't rate it 10/10.
The animated segments were quite impressive, btw.
Review #4: Mallory Bash
I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, it's really done quite well, with good art and good web design. But, on the other hand, I just didn't enjoy reading it very much. Most of the strips didn't quite have funny punch lines, they were more what I would describe as cute, which doesn't appeal to me as much. I guess I'm just not very receptive to stories featuring kids, because I'm too old to identify with them, yet too young to feel like I want to be a parent. I'm just not at a stage of my life where children are very relevant or interesting to me. I also tend to be less enthusiastic about black and white comics. From your banner I thought there would be more color.
The one part I really enjoyed was the little subplot about Mallory's parents and grandparents. I'm a sucker for little mysterious subplots like that, I love the suspense of not knowing quite what the backstory is. But besides that, I just didn't really feel interested.
I don't think you're doing anything wrong here. You're clearly a good artist and a lot of people seem to like your work. And I can respect good work even if it isn't the type of thing that appeals to me personally.