Friday, September 11, 2009

Newbie Rant 5: Harkovast (The Bad Review)

(Gents, Gents, and the possible Lady, after much consideration, I decided to put this silly little thing back up again, because I'm already scheming to redeem myself anyhow.)

Hello I'm the WebcomiCritic, I do it because, well... Somebody has to!

Webcomic artists and writers tend to be a very niche category of people. we're all usually geeks. And in that niche category, we're usually the niche categories of anime and manga fans, furry fandom, comic book geeks, video gamers, and fantasy and sci-fi guys. Usually these don't mix, and when you do the audience tends to get even nicher.

Unfortunately, because of our limited scope, we tend to write stuff that's incredibly similar. We usually have our own spin on things but you can guarantee that we will usually tell a story of 2 gamers on a couch and one girl, a Tolkien/Dungeon and Dragons-esque story making fun of the system and cliches, a Tolkien/Dungeon and Dragons-esque story that plays every cliche and system flaw as straight as an arrow without irony, anime-esque things that either make fun of itself or play cliches straight, a furry comic involving either all of the above or a porn studio, a slice-of-life involving most of the above, I think you get the point.

So what was I trying to say? We geeks are very niche-y. Sometimes too much. I come to you with the poorly drawn and cliche-ridden display called "Harkovast" that has the gall to pass itself off as an epic war comic. When the truth of the matter is that it's just a large order of "Tolkien/Dungeon and Dragons-esque story that plays every cliche and system flaw as straight as an arrow without irony" with furries, hold the anime-style.

I'm reviewing this a the request of the reader and frankly, they couldn't have come to me sooner. The writer and artist (2 creators and they still do this poorly?) have been mucking about for nearly a year now and now they need a deep cleaning. It's time for their dosage of honest critque so things can start looking good around here. Daniel R. Stribley and Julie Anne Stribley, it's time you get what you deserve.

the story starts off with far too much exposition about some war we're supposed to care about but we get no context to make us care. There's just "light" and "darkness".


And after we get a monologue from mystery panda, we que the war between the clearly European cat-people using their energy weapons "powered by courage"

They're nameless and faceless mooks? How convenient, now we can mow down as many as we want and as savagely as possible without consequences!

Or so I thought.. Wow, the good guys make great Red Shirts. They're dropping like flies to the Giant Mook there.

But wait, there's still their champion to avert all this. Someone to swoop in and save the day. the Deus Ex Machina who can avert this! Who can it be? His name is... SHOGUN!

Wait what? really? The champion is a one word title? The writer could've called him "Samurai" with the same effect. And that effect is "Silly, cliche, and boring." And what's a Japanese-style fighter doing in a European Medieval setting? Did he get lost on his way to an anime convention? Did they run out of outfits knight's armor at the "Cliche Fantasy War Story" store?

Who is Lel? What's Technomancy? Nyumus? Why are they fighting? It's good to know the Stribleys explain everything without explaining anything. They provide walls of text that tell us nothing but ambiguous phrases that would've been as useful as nothing at all.


What kind of hidden Antagonist name is The Speaker Man? I create lame supervillains and superheroes and even my names aren't that bad!

So now we move on to Native Americans who are Foxes summoning some savior.

Yeah, I'm not touching that. Native Americans are nothing to be trifled with. I'd prefer not to make fun of them nor their portrayal. Make your own joke.

The scene changes to some old battle-worn soldier find a convent where he's attacked by some "nameless". And of course, he'd prefer to fight honorably instead of smart.

Creative. Never seen that one before.

And while the Bird savior, one of the fox Indians, and the monologue panda form the beginning are just standing around watching. The bird wearing a stupid outfit. They're apparently after another poorly named character called the totally uncliched "Heretic". The Stribleys should be writing superhero names for the Nineties...

we go back to the zealot old fighter who really is as stupid as he's portrayed as he attempts to fight three cavalrymen nameless without backup or being fully healed.

And then I found out why I in all 15 of my major story ideas why I never came up with courage-based weapons: Too frikkin' easy and even more too frikkin' god-moded.

Okay, save a damsel, go over her dully presented backstory, have the senile zealot and her try to find the shogun-wait! hold the phone! Here! Only NOW you tell us what Harkovast is? Aren't you a little LATE for that?

Whatever. I don't have enough faith in this comic to lose it.

And then before we can explore one of the more interesting team ups I've seen in comics (No sarcasm this time), we change scenes to this *snicker* Speaker man, whose name should've been "Preacher man" or "The One Voice." But then his name suddenly makes sense when he tells someone to drown himself, and he does it. Cool. Unfortunately it's offset by a wall of text I'm far too bored to read. Thanks a lot for you brilliant pacing, Stribleys, I really want to read this (Blatant sarcasm ^_^).

However, at this point, I'm far too bored to read the rest. I've seen enough here. Now that I've snarked at the content, time for the overviews:

The idea. If I could find out what it was, I'd be able to critique it, but I can't even find that. You have created a collection of cliches. the only thing original about Harkovast is its name. Find an original spin because this isn't it. This has more cliches played straight than Eragon, and Eragon was a horrid book series.

The story writing would put an English Professor to sleep. It's walls of boring text. Don't write me off as immature, I read books like the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony and I read Watchmen. But the point of comics is that it's a VISUAL MEDIA. Didn't get that the first time? let me repeat.


Okay? Good, just so we're clear. I'm here to enjoy a story. But I'm also here to enjoy it in the form of a comic. If you put in too much text and exposition, lord, you're gonna bore us to death. I can barely bring myself to read what you put because there's so much of it, misplaced too. And haven't you ever heard of a speech bubble? This is a comic, it's pictures that tell a story by displaying it and then being supplemented with words. If you're gonna put walls of text, write a book. That's what I did.

The Art. Good god, how do I say this? Stribleys, your artists is great. Kinda. You're good at poses, views, scenery, backgrounds, coloring, settings, and textures (especially textures).

And you suck, at anatomy, at drawing furries, at drawing scenes that make them look dynamic. Don't believe me? I've seen your fight scenes, those are more static than my fresh-dried laundry. There's no feeling of movement, everything is a freaking still life and it bores me. I hear these things called "Speed lines" are still in high fashion.

Your anatomy, my god, would it kill you to study the human body before you did something like make a webcomic? You stink at drawing people. the good news is that, so did I. but I learned. I observed people and learned how they work so I can make anatomically correct people while still maintaining my manga-american art style.

Your furries, my god, would it kill you to learn how to do that before you made a furry webcomic? I mean, this is poor, mediocre, sad, and sorry excuse for furry people. If you need help, study, that's what I did. If you need help, than I'll provide exampels that'll help:

Here's your beginner's class

Here's intermediate class one


and three.

Here's your master class

Here's your "same thing but with many years of success" master class

And here's your big book of DON'Ts.

So, now what? Stribleys, do as I saw, you NEED help. You're not original, your art isn't good enough, seek help. Learn what "original spin" means and use it.

I can't end with a quote, there's nothing funny or memorable about this comic.

-Read Or Die You Uneducated Buffoons
The WebcomiCritic

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One Page Wonder: VG Cats

Hello I'm the WebcomiCritic, I do it because, well... Somebody has to!

Ladies and gentlemen, a miracle has occurred. No, Tim Buckley did not learn how to improve is art. Neither did Mookie. F@NB0Y$ didn't get a consistent update schedule and Shredded Moose did not become a respectable webcomic. El Goonish Shive hasn't cleared up a single subplot and overarching plot. And The Wotch didn't decide it was going to get better.

I'll show you the miracle:

VG Cats was FUNNY!

Scott Rasoomair, better known as the well dressed but not at all interesting Pantsman, suddenly decided to make a funny joke. He decided for once that "Hey, I'm going to do a comic that's funny and won't involve toilet humor and bad jokes deriving from rape, murder, and poo." (I'm not going to provide examples. You'll stumble upon it in nearly every page of his archives.) He actually did a good comic that poked god fun at the mechanics of the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. I'm shocked. I'm touched. For once, a comic that doesn't insult our intelligence by making comics that could only appeal to the baser humor of Jocks and 7-year olds.

If He keeps this up, people might actually like this guy.

Oh, and here's another one:

The art got BETTER.

This guy is dishing out miracle after effing miracle! Maybe next time his artwork will be good with a funny comic. But what about this comic? I doesn't seem funny; If there was a joke in there, I never got it. maybe it's for some niche audience I don't know about. But who cares about that?

Look at this! The art is amazing! shadows, unique facial features, no over use of googly eyes, detailed looking backgrounds and terrain. I can't even do that!

Where has he been hiding this talent!?? WHY has he been hiding this talent? Does he not want people to know that he's good at jokes and drawing? Does he want be seen as the talentless and juvenile scum of the internet on similar ground to Tim Buckley we all despise?

Whatever the reason may be, he better scrap that reason and keep doing this. You hear that Pantsman? KEEP DOING THIS! KEEP DOING GOOD WORK! THEN MAYBE THE INTERNET WILL STOP LOOKING DOWN ON YOU!

"Broforce" -Chet and JR. Yes, it is stupid and over the top.

-Read Or Die You Uneducated Buffoons
The Webcomicritic

Friday, September 4, 2009

One Page Wonder: F@NB0Y$

Hello I'm the WebcomiCritic, I do it because, well... Somebody has to!

I love F@NB0Y$. I shall admit, it had it's not so great moments, but this is a solid-ish webcomic I believe everybody should give a read. However, I'm here to talk about this one particular mini-story arc he has here.

It starts out as an ordinary day where Nintendo fanboy Lemmy, sees that his horoscope says he'll cause pain and destruction to those around him. He gets scared.

And then it gets worse, on his way to the bank, we see Death, a recurring minor character in the story. And Death... really likes death. And these comics were amazing. they were funny. Really funny.

I couldn't stop laughing. what's more, everytime I see it, I keep on laughing. Its a joke that doesn't get old. the sight gags, the interactions with death. And how cheerful Death is. It's just so absurd you can't help but laugh.

What's also a hoot is Lemmy's expression in each comic, especially the first one. It's well done and perfectly displays his fears. the art of Scott Under (If that is his real name) is realistically cartoon and flexible for exaggeration. And as far as the story goes, anything goes, including death. And this plotline juts shows how over the top Mr. Under will go and just how silly Mr. Under's faces can get. I mean, how many people can make a perfectly expressive skull? especially with such innocent and sinister expressions?

This is comedy gold, even if it is too sadistic. Go on, Mr. Under! You do the webcomic community good.

"You know what I like most about banks? Armed robberies!" -Death

-Read or Die You Uneducated Buffoons
The Webcomicritc