(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.
COMICS, ESPECIALLY WEBCOMICS, ARE A VISUAL MEDIA!
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
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