Monthly Archives: May 2008

Lackadaisy (again!) review on Comic Fencing

Another Comic Fencing review, a spiffy new banner. This time, the fencers and I take on Tracy J. Butler’s Lackadaisy, and frankly people only have nice things to say about it.

Read my Comic Fencing review on Lackadaisy!

Longtime readers might recall that I already reviewed Lackadaisy here. My opinion remains unchanged: Lackadaisy is still one of the best webcomics out there. The new review just happens to be more concise. Plus I get to say that the comic belongs in a museum (which it totally does).

The Webcomic Overlook #43: High Moon

After hating them because they were basically the pretty new thing on the block, I’ve warmed up to DC’s Zuda Comics format. I love how you can press the Full Screen button, and the page occupies a huge portion of the laptop screen. It’s a great format for art-heavy comics. The best comics on the traditional image-based format seemed best suited for simple, uncomplicated artwork. The Zuda viewer lets you admire the detail to the tiniest cross hatch.

However, I found myself agreeing with a recently posted rant on the Scienteers website. Zuda Comics is slow. Really. Goddamn. Slow. I run on a home wireless system that runs off a cable modem that is usually quite speedy. Yet each page takes somewhere between 10 to 20 seconds to load. Some readers have informed me that they are still running on dial-up modems; I can only imagine the sort of load times they have to suffer. The problem only compounds when you consider that the type of comics hosted on Zuda are the more traditional types that are meant to be flipped, page after page, as you would a comic book. This is the Era of Instant Gratification, and readers don’t like sticking around when they perceive they’re wasting time.

And this is a goddamn shame, because a part of me says that it’s unfair to judge the comic because of the slow medium it runs on. After all, does one judge an Ernest Hemingway novel based on the quality of its paper? Thus, in reviewing writer David Gallaher and artist Steve Ellis’ Western/horror mash-up, High Moon, I’m not going to give the creators red cards because, at times, the suspense and anticipation built by the storyline were completely killed off by the download times, symbolized by a slowly filling word balloon with cruel, mocking eyes.

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Manga writers: don’t sign that TokyoPop contract!

Attention webcomic creators!

TokyoPop is trying to sign up new talent for its Manga Pilot program. The young manga-style webcomic artists among you might think this is a great deal. Finally, a break in to the big time! Not so fast, says Heidi MacDonald of the PW Beat.

TokyoPop: Hey, dude, totally bad contract!

Don’t want to read through all that? Here’s the relevant portion:

What is it? Basically, Tokyopop has started the next iteration of their “Rising Stars of Manga contest/OEL” method of developing IP and talent, with their “Manga PIlot” program:

In this new program, promising manga creators are selected and hired by our editorial team to create a 24-to-36-page “pilot”—a short-form manga that will be used to determine whether or not a full-length manga will be created. The Manga Pilot will be published online for TOKYOPOP community members to review, rate, and discuss.

The contract for this program is posted at the link above, and it drew sharp, immediate and universal condemnation, starting with Lea Hernandez, for such passages as this:

“Moral rights” is a fancy term (the French thought it up) that basically has to do with having your name attached to your creation (your credit!) and the right to approve or disapprove certain changes to your creation. Of course, we want you to get credit for your creation, and we want to work with you in case there are changes, but we want to do so under the terms in this pact instead of under fancy French idea. So, in order for us to adapt the Manga Pilot for different media, and to determine how we should include your credit in tough situations, you agree to give up any “moral rights” you might have.”

To which Lea wrote:

There you have it, folks: Moral Rights are dumb because the French thought of them, so give them up.

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Zuda Comic Extravaganza on Comic Fencing

I’ve got another review up on the Comic Fencing site, this time reviewing two entrants from everybody’s favorite online webcomic site, Zuda Comics. That’s meant to be sarcasm … or is it? For those not in the know, Zuda is DC Comic’s online subsidiary that eschews the traditional *.jpg or *.png format for a digital rights management friendly flash format. Plus, their content is determined by viewer votes, which, as you can imagine, has its ups and downs.

On the Comics Fencing site, I review two of these competitors that are simply trying to get a long term contract from Zuda: Action, Ohio, which is a revisionist take on superheroes; and Hannibal Goes To Rome, which is about elephants.

Click here to read El Santo’s reviews of Action, Ohio and Hannibal Goes to Rome

For the American readership out there: have a Happy Memorial Day!

Geeks Next Door review on Comic Fencing

Looks like I’m a swordsman at the Comic Fencing site, where multiple reviewers tackle the same webcomic and give their opinions. This week, I review the webcomic about geeks in a relationship, Geeks Next Door. I gave it a pretty low rating, but my fellow reviewers seem to disagree, rating it from three stars to four. (Jay Slay does give it a one star, which I think is too severe.) Poke around on the site, and for your own opinion. I’ll be here, waiting and tapping my feet.

Clikc here for my Geeks Next Door review!

As for this site, I’m in the process of reading through The Order of The Stick for my next review. It might not be out for another two weeks or so, mainly because:

  1. The comic is quite long at over 550 pages. I’ve read about 65% of the archives.
  2. In America, Memorial Day is coming up, and my sister and her boyfriend are traveling cross country to stay at my house. Sort of a big deal.
  3. I just bought a Nintendo Wii, which is sucking up my soul like no other.

John Campbell vs. Kate Beaton: War of the Webcomics

… or “Two Artists Enter, Three Walk Out.” What?

On the SomethingAwful forums, I just read about a very interesting exchange that happened over this weekend. On his blog, John Campbell (Pictures for Sad Children) took a light-hearted jab at everyone’s favorite historical-based webcomic artist, Kate Beaton (of, uh, Kate Beaton):

Most webcomic artists would shrink away. However, there must be something in that Maritime water:

Eventually, someone had to step in to mediate. Who better than KC Green (Bee Power, Horribleville)?

Okay, so maybe someone else could’ve done better.

It’s very good natured and quite fun. Frankly, if more wars could be resolved through the power of webcomics … well, I can’t assure you that they’d be less bloody, but at least we all could get a good laugh out of it.

Check out the entire exchange at John Campbell’s blog. Don’t forget to look at the comments!

Sugarshock! review on ComixTalk

So why should you care about SugarShock!? (OK, that exclamation point next to the question mark looks uncomfortable cartoony. Just know that the “!” is part of the title.) Well, there’s robots, space travel, an all girl band, and an ADD-affected front-girl by the name of Dandelion. If that’s not enough to convince you, the webcomic is also written by a certain someone named Joss Whedon. But hark! What’s this? SugarShock! is also in the running for the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic? Given my acidity toward the Eisners after last year’s award for Sam & Max, is there a chance I’ll be more civil this time around?

Probably not.

Anyway, check out my review on ComixTalk!

El Santo’s SugarShock! review

One Punch Reviews #11: Kate Beaton

The New Yorker is infamous for publishing cartoons that are absolutely impenetrable. If you don’t have an Ivy League degree, you scratch your head to try to make sense of the joke, fighting the urge to track down the cartoonists so he can explain it to you like Elaine did on that one episode of Seinfeld. If you do have an Ivy League degree, you sorta chuckle a little, hoping that you’ve gained the acceptance of your high society friends while little realizing that they’re doing the exact same thing.

That’s not to say that humor has to be spelled out. I’m a big fan of old school Mystery Science Theater, where each episode where full of obscure references that still manage to make me laugh. And it’s true for the works of Kate Beaton, whose work is delightful, funny and endearing even if I have no idea what in the world this crazy Canuck is referencing.

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