It's a critique thread. I'm no expert by any stretch, but I'm willing to share my thoughts about anything you put in front of me. I have a time slot for this every week, so even if I can't do exactly one critique each time, I'll at least be reading something. So sign up! There's NO LIMIT. My conviction should not be underestimated. Also...I don't pull punches. I'm not rude, but expect some serious honesty!
Normally, I wouldn't ask for a critique so soon, but your way of doing it sounds intriguing, so I want to give it a shot. Assuming it's ok to submit a comic with less than 25 pages for a critique, anyway. But given the current queue and the fact that you're only doing that once a week, it's safe to assume there'll be more pages when you finally get to my comic.
Now the real question is: are you comfortable reviewing stuff I made years ago, thus knowing there's no way your critique can be retroactively applied? Because that's what my comic is. Catching up with stuff I made since 2009.
But don't worry! Your critique could still be applied to my current and future projects, and in any event I value opinions on my past self's stuff, if only out of curiosity. So your thoughts are definitely not wasted.
So yeah. Give past me a taste of your cartoony punches.
I'll be honest: I never had to read the original tale. I read a li'l synopsis as a primer before taking on this comic. Which, as it so happens, is pretty darn good.
There are many things this comic does right, though it is a bit rough around the edges. The line art is solid, but its edges are quite grainy. I'm familiar with this phenomenon; it happens to my own pages as well. The artwork itself stands well on its own and only really falters if you look too close. What I really need to compliment about it is the consistency. MK_Wizard is remarkably consistent in how she draws. Things that look like they might've been copy/pasted absolutely were not. I can tell each picture is drawn individually, and I have a lot of respect for that.
That said, the pixelation is a slight problem for it. The line edges are clean and sharp, but this makes the pixels more obvious. There are also times when line thickness varies a little too noticeably. It can be tough to smooth out lines so they don't change weight, but it helps prevent things from looking off balance. For the most part, it's a non-issue, but the instances are there and scattered all throughout. Perspective isn't often dynamic, but they're only repeated where appropriate. MK avoids having every panel feel the same even if the angle doesn't change much, and drawing each on its own certainly helps. I did notice that the perspectives tend to go straight-on sometimes, though. It happens more often early on, but you'll be looking directly at something from the front or the side. It's handled well, but it feels a little unnatural; maybe since things are never truly straight irl.
While the artwork is solid, it doesn't often include backgrounds. Although many panels do lack them, MK is careful enough with establishing shots and scenery that I was never confused about where exactly something was taking place. The lack of backgrounds does sometimes leave too much negative space, though. Having a few details to fill the voids here and there would be nice. A lot of the time, this space is taken up by dialogue, which...I have a couple beefs with.
Mind you, it's not the dialogue itself that bothers me. It's actually rather well written. There are only a few places where dialogue felt awkward, and I like that the balloons and text are colored so you can always tell who's talking. I also like that the balloons are hand-drawn around the text so special effects can be applied to them, like spiky edges when something is being shouted. But this same strength becomes a weakness in other areas. Dialogue seems to be written around art that's already in the panel. Bubbles are not often round, but rather form to fit the text, and the text forms to fit around the pictures. In spite of it, there are still places where bubbles slightly overlap important parts of the picture, nudging into characters, and even each other.
Text also tends to be rather blocky and could perhaps afford to be broken up more often. In some conversations, it looks like the bubbles are at war with each other when they zip in front of each others' connecting tails. Planning ahead and dialogue management would help to solve these problems. It's important to think of what needs said in a panel first, then design the art around the bubble placement. This also helps avoid criss-crosses (where a person on the left has their dialogue on the right and vice versa). There weren't many, but I noticed them! There was also one spot with a backwards L-shaped panel where the order of the dialogue wasn't totally clear, but it only happened once.
But for all my criticism of the bubbles and their handling, I need to compliment that the text is legible and also entirely hand-written. It'd probably be better off as a font instead, but MK's consistency shines through even here. The text is clear and easy to read, and spelling/grammar mistakes are extremely few.
Beyond the art and writing, the story is pretty interesting. It's like a cartoony take on the classic from the perspective of Jekyll himself. From what I understand, the original creates the mystery around the observations from his colleagues, with the truth only coming out after the fact. How true the story's events are to the original, I can't say; the synopsis I looked up wasn't super-detailed. It's fun to see Jekyll's struggles, though, and the dynamic he has with Hyde is interesting and well presented. It's written such that Jekyll and Hyde can see each other through reflective surfaces (like mirrors), and even talk to each other through them. This may not have fit in a more realistic work, but the story is so stylized and cartoony that it's believable enough.
So this is a pretty solid read. It has some things it could work on, but they aren't enough to bring it down by much. I like that the pointing fingers for navigation buttons turn into Hyde hands when moused over. However, I did have some difficulty moving through the pages, as I kept getting the following error:
"The owner of mksjekyllandhyde.smackjeeves.com has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website."
I dunno what may be up in the site's code, but it doesn't seem totally stable. It's a good read if you can persevere through it, but MK, you'll want to fix that ASAP.
The chibis are adorable and that you for the insight. I caught myself having troubles with the speech bubbles so I tried my best to fix that as well as the pixelation issue. You can't see it now because I only put up a few pages a week, but it does get better. And in the sold version, the first three chapters will be cleaned up though unfortunately, I can't do anything about the speech bubble locations.
I honestly didn't know my website had issues and I am glad someone brought that to my attention. I want to know if something is broken after all. I am going to look at it for myself and see where it happens.
Thanks a lot. Your critique was fair and honest. Plus, it helped me a lot. May I use your chibis as a piece of a fanart for my site? It's cute.
PS: I just realized that the banner was going to my mirror. My true site is here http://mksjekyllandhyde.webcomic.ws/.
Hey, I'd love for you to review Vitreous if there are still slots available :D
Bear in mind however, that I'm working on redrawing the prologue and Ch 1. However, I am still more than happy to hear any feedback you have regarding those chapters.
If you choose to give it a read, I hope you enjoy it - I look forward to hearing what you have to say!
I'm going to opt out of this one for now - not because of the waiting list, but because of reasons which are a bit too long to detail here. But fear not, I am working on something in the background. Maybe I'll return to get a critique from someone in some thread somewhere...someday! Please give my slot to someone else :D
One mage. One nation. And an entire race's reputation on the line! Vitreous updates with new pages every Monday!
This week, I read the first 228 pages of Galaxy Knights. I won't have time to critique it this week, but next week for sure!
Thoughts so far: it's....eheh. I won't comment on the early chapters since the artstyle changed completely since then. It was fun to watch Mizuki's hair slowly morph into its current style. Also, I was sad to see the mouse-over captions go, as they were easily the best part of the first 100 pages. The thing it has going currently is leaps and bounds better than it was, so we'll see where it ends up by the time I clear the archive.