I feel like being contrary, so I'm delivering this batch of sandwiches in reverse order, starting with Krazy Noodle Massacre. Top bun: Against all common sense, a couple of curious schlubs decide to stalk the local psychotic. This can only go well.
Filling: There's a heady combination of humor and seriously chilling atmosphere that conjures up a uniquely off-balance feeling right off the bat. The art style also contributes to this--the dark palette with pops of bright, acidic colors and angular, askew linework. The art, fitting to the setting, gives me a 90s vibe. Specifically, it makes me think of 90s cartoons like Rocko's Modern Life, couching dark, mature themes within a "wacky" presentation.
The wackiness really contributes to the way Gideon, a guy with, uh...issues...behaves at home. One moment he's clinging to something childlike or nostalgic for comfort. The next he's caught up in a frenzy. And always, always on edge, glancing over his shoulder. Sneaking carefully through his own house. You do a really good job of conveying how this guy feels. Even in his most mundane moments, there's just something off about him. One thing I like is that it's not exactly clear what's wrong with him. He himself probably doesn't know. One could almost be inclined to think his noodle fixation is a drug metaphor, but really, that would be a bit of a disservice to the themes of the story. Clearly whatever ails him is square in his brain.
Which is exactly why he's the talk of the town. And why a certain couple have let their curiosity lead them to see just what his deal is...which, given his already considerable paranoia, is probably ill-advised.
But then we wouldn't have a story, now, would we? So let the stalking commence!
Bottom bun: Just what is the shadowy figure stalking Gideon throughout his house? I suspect it's a specter of his unstable mind, which is gonna cause some major issues once something real starts trailing him...
Thank you for this well-written and thoughtful critique!!
There's a heady combination of humor and seriously chilling atmosphere that conjures up a uniquely off-balance feeling right off the bat.
Omg thank you, this is exactly what I’m going for. I love serious themes couched in “wacky” comedy, something about it feels tongue-in-cheek and easier to swallow, in a way. I’ve dealt with a lot of mental health stuff and I feel like a large chunk of my writing comes from gallows humor.
One thing I like is that it’s not exactly clear what’s wrong with him...clearly what ails him is square in his brain.
Thank you! I’m glad that Gideon’s personality shows through and it was clear that there’s something lurking for him in the shadows, whether it’s real or not. Thank you for pointing out the atmosphere, which is something I work hard at and am proud of!
Something I’m trying to get across is that Gideon’s not just some crazy guy, but a person with depth who nevertheless has to cope with serious problems. It might be too early to say—we haven’t even met the antagonist yet! We get to meet him in the coming pages. This crit has given me a motivation to sit down and draw the rest of the chapter, which is a bit of a lore bomb and provides insight into Gideon’s character. Is that shadow real or is it not??? oooOOOOoooOOOOooOOOO!!!!!!!
I’m also excited to write about Rhodes and Dempsey and explore their daily life. They’re not free from their own Mental Health Problems (tm) either. I think the direction this story is going might be surprising. Viewing someone like a zoo animal can have strange consequences!!
Thank you for the crit once again! I was surprised that mine was first out of the pipe hahaha.
Top bun: Looks like this comic is specifically the team heist action genre. There's plenty of potential there, from how the team works to what the objective is, so let's see what we have.
Filling: The comic wastes no time jumping into the first heist. Our team, the Night Shifters, is low on funds, so to stay in operation, they target a corporate giant. Textbook mission, in and out before security even knows what hit 'em-
Wait, is that a corpse in the top floor office? That's probably not good, especially when a superhero gets the drop on them. Fortunately, they manage to escape with a mysterious briefcase and a fistful of cold, hard cash. The cash is a welcome sight, but the briefcase lock is tough to crack. Better call in an expert to open it up and see just what they've stepped into. And seeing as said "expert" is currently in prison...well, looks like the Night Shifters have a new heist to plan.
Conflict, conflict, conflict. That's the heart of this story. Conflict within the team. Conflict between the cops and their loose cannon superhero. Conflict between the law and the outlaws. Everything but predictable Good Guys vs. Bad Guys, which is a good narrative choice, painting the whole cast in many shades of grey and questions more of motive than morals.
Bottom bun: At this point in time, two major questions come to mind. One, why do the Night Shifters run heists to begin with? Two, what's in that briefcase?
I suspect the answer to the latter is going to have a big impact on the former.
So I had the choice of either Tangentville or 28mm for this next one. 28mm is too short to work with, though, so I went with the longer comic instead.
Top bun: Gag-a-day series with an ensemble cast covering a wide variety of topics. Odds are there's something in this grab bag that'll grab YOU.
Filling: I figured out pretty early on that your comic is sort of "like it or lump it." Fair enough. Your comic, your rules. But for the sake of honesty, I'm going to be blunt and say that Tangentville doesn't do it for me. I won't expound on what I don't like about it, because I doubt that will be useful to you. Just know that me not liking it is more a personal taste thing, and that doesn't mean the comic itself is bad.
But, like, you asked for this review, man.
Okay, so what is this comic actually about? Like I said, it's a gag-a-day comic. The jokes cover a pretty wide range of topics. It's fairly clear that a lot of the strips are bits and bobs of the creator's thoughts on both heavy topics and silly ones, and most of it is delivered in little 4-panel chunks, but there is the occasional break from form and gags around messing with the medium.
The characters are a mix of archetypal concepts like illness or wish fulfillment and (somewhat) everyday people. The people range from a child with not-so-imaginary friends and a hyper-intelligent girl grown in a lab, to more mundane characters who deal with truer-to-life issues. The comic swings back and forth between the fantastic and the grounded, so on any given update, unless it's mid-arc (more on that in a hot second), you never quite know what you'll get. Sometimes feels. Sometimes peanut butter. It's a toss-up, really.
Between the individual gags, there are several ongoing stories. Most of the strips that aren't part of a short arc (and even some that are) tend to stand fine on their own. That being said, the comic's more emotional moments hit home better when you have the whole picture. Some of the arcs have ongoing character development and revelations from origins stretching several years back.
Speaking of years, this comic is pretty long! Now, for the really long comics, I use infinite scroll to save on time when I do these reviews, but I don't really recommend reading it this way. This one can be binged, but I think it's best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Just keep up with the daily strips and take your time with the archives.
Bottom bun: Read 50 pages. Any random 50 pages, it doesn't matter which. If you enjoyed it, you'll find a lot more of the same.
Thank you so much for the critique pal, it was very in-depth and helpful to know what impression people get. The early chapters can really make or break hooking a reader! I'm so happy to hear I seem to be going on the right track so far. Thanks again for taking the time to read Ignotus :D
Top bun: Longform fantasy that, at least as far as this page indicates, aims to follow the journey of nine different individuals navigating a world filled with fantastic beings of all kinds.
Filling: The first chapter's cover page got my attention quickly. A lot of fantasy stories have a weird relationship with technology, where the options are either primitive and minimal, or highly advanced magical/lost ancient tech. So seeing a stone tower alongside powerlines immediately gives me the impression that this comic is going to work from a different angle than usual.
And a different angle it most certainly takes. Our first character we follow is Argenta, a dragon, and dragons, in this setting, are keepers not of golden hoards, but of facts and records. They are neutral parties, not to trifled with, observing with careful objectivity what happens around them...which means when tragedy strikes, they can do nothing but watch. Separated from her mentor, Argenta is now forced to seek asylum and await a new mentor. In the safety of Felinia, Argenta struggles with her newfound isolation, until an unexpected visitor appears before her one day, striking up a new friendship that may turn out to be everything she needed.
Perhaps what I like most about this story so far is that there isn't really an emphasis on action despite the war and threats this world bears. You would expect her trek to Felinia to be fraught with peril, but aside from one brief hostile encounter, she arrives quickly and safely. No, hers is an emotional struggle, and the safer she is physically, the deeper her grief seems to drag her down.
Now, beyond that main storyline, we see also a mysterious dreamscape with a gryphon-like character wandering through Limbo. The art style shifts accordingly in these scenes, adding to the lineart some brushy textures in a muted palette, with splashes of more vivid color for effect. Personally, I find them by far the most visually pleasing pages. They're atmospheric and beautiful.
I can't quite say the same of some of the character designs, though. There are some that dip a bit too far into the uncanny valley for my liking, but whether that was your intention, I don't know. Just a little food for thought.
Bottom bun: Argenta's personal journey has been interesting so far, and she's just the first of the nine characters. No doubt a carefully woven tapestry awaits.
Thanks for the critique!
Stormbow has a weird sort of relationship with technology... some areas are modern and some are still in the middle ages XD (and some are in between). Glad you found that interesting!
It's quite introspective (it revolves around the 9 mains and their relationships with the world and each other), although my objective is to balance the physical battles with the mental ones, I guess? The balance might be skewed in the latter's favour, but I'll still try to have a bit of both.
Also, I'm glad the story is clear so far: I don't want to add too much exposition, but then I worry readers don't understand what's happening. As for the character designs, I've already had some people commenting on the uncanneyness of the caninians, and while that isn't intentional per se, I don't see it as a bad thing XD.
Top bun: An apocalyptic story taking place after the events of Golden Sun, with a new trial for the characters of that game, now many years older, to overcome.
Filling: I know of the RPG this comic is based on, but I've never played it myself. So you'll be getting the point of view of someone who can't fully tell what parts are from the game and what are your original ideas.
At any rate, what is the story here? The comic opens with a prologue that outlines the events of the game, but it seems the heroes' journey ended in catastrophe. In the wake of a disastrous battle, the world has crumbled to a mere fragment, and the few remaining survivors live deep within the safety of the underground.
Despite these dire circumstances, the people are striving not to give up hope for a better future. While one group stays underground to protect others and raise the next generation, another ventures to the perilous surface, a chaotic wasteland not suitable yet for human settlement. And yet, against all odds, they find a lost soul there, wandering aimlessly and locked in a battle frozen in time.
That somebody is one of the heroes who tried to save this world. Captive and distraught, he is brought up to speed by an old friend, whom time has been unkind to.
Even though I am unfamiliar with the source material, I had no trouble following your story. The prologue certainly helps to explain the magic system that's so vital to this setting, but aside from that bit of necessary exposition, everything stands well on its own. I can sort of guess at who is from the game and who is an OC, but everything blends together in a way that feels natural. That kind of balance is tricky to strike in fanfiction. I would honestly say anybody who enjoys fantasy could appreciate this comic, and fans of the game will just get that little bit more out of it.
Bottom bun: This world the characters inhabit bears some heavy scars, yet everyone is determined to carry on. I'd be interested to see why the surface remains so inhospitable and what can be done to restore it.
Top bun: A medley of different adventure subgenres delivered through the playful medium of Lego sets.
Filling: I've seen a Lego comic or two before. It's a fairly uncommon medium in webcomics, but they're out there. I think this one is probably my favorite of what I've seen thus far, though. This comic just just plain fun. It oozes the kind of silly and imaginativespoofiness you see in many of the Lego movies.
The primary story in this comic centers around Mindy, an Indiana Jones-like character who travels the world seeking adventure and discovery with her friend, Max. Along the way, they encounter lost treasures, villains who are about as hilariously inept as Team Rocket, island dwellers with a good legal team, and a disapproving mother.
But they do always seem to just miss a certain hapless delivery boy.
The story occasionally flips to a couple other ongoing arcs, which include the aforementioned delivery boy and a questing party in a more fantasy-oriented adventure. But no matter who the story is currently with, you can expect plenty of self-aware jokes, references and homages, and a generally good-natured feeling. The good naturedness is hard to explain, exactly, and is probably subjective, but it's part of why I enjoyed reading it so much. It's pleasant to read in the same way that...well, the same way Legos are fun to play with.
Speaking of Legos, your set design, composition, and photography skills are impeccable. I don't know how long it takes to make these sets and take the pictures, but I imagine it's quite a bit of work. There's so much detail put into these pages and it really pulls me in. Clearly you have a lot of experience in this medium, and I get a feeling from this comic in particular that you really enjoy what you're doing.
Bottom bun: There are plenty of fun story threads going on right now, and the way the comic switches between them means one way or another, I'm always looking forward to seeing what's next. And whatever it is, I know I can expect it to be a lot of fun.
Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you've enjoyed reading the comic and that my intentions to give the reader a good time have succeeded.
This comic just just plain fun. It oozes the kind of silly and imaginative spoofiness you see in many of the Lego movies...It's pleasant to read in the same way that...well, the same way Legos are fun to play with.
The world all my stuff takes place in is built on the foundation of the stories my sister and I made up when playing with LEGOs throughout childhood. Though the comic's stories are all original, I keep the backstory in mind when writing scripts, so I like to think that's where the zany, innocent fun comes from.
Clearly you have a lot of experience in this medium
I actually had very little experience in photography or comics before starting this project, though I did dabble in stop-motion animation. When composing shots, I use rules about color, framing, and focus I've picked up from studying and learning about film cinematography. I've had multiple people describe my style as "cinematic", so I guess something's working.
Top bun: Two punks with a drug habit and a bunch of personal issues hash out their problems with each other and just generally scrape by in a slice of life comic.
Filling: Yikes, what a comic to close up the kitchen on. This one's about as rough a read as the jagged, textured linework it's drawn with. Like I said above, the comic follows Darby and Speedy, a couple of punks struggling through life, getting into troubling situations, and doing some pretty hardcore drugs (which serves both as a response to and cause of their problems). Most of the comic follows these two having deep conversations about these issues, with a bit of playfulness slipped in to remind us that these are just people living their lives, and sometimes life involves giving your friend(?) a haircut.
The question mark in friend(?) is because I'm not sure how I would define the relationship between these two. It's explicitly stated what their orientations are, and the comic seems to have something of a focus on LGBT themes. However, I find that their mutually supportive (if at times enabling) relationship can be seen through both a romantic and platonic lens. Fitting, given the specific orientation they share. Regardless of whether they are a couple, though, they are indeed very close friends who are deeply concerned for each other and need one another in their lives.
Upon finishing this comic, the first word that came to mind for me was "nihilistic." Note that this isn't a judgement one way or another--it's just the main vibe I get from these guys' worldviews. That isn't to say they don't care, of course. In fact, they care very much. It's quite heartwarming at times, but there's always a bitter edge somewhere, and that nihilistic questioning of whether anything matters or can even be made sense of seems to pervade their minds. Of course, just going flat and apathetic wouldn't be very punk, would it? And so where they find no meaning, they strive to devise it for themselves.