Friday, April 3, 2009

Newbie Rant 1: Precocious

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

I'm sucky at deadlines, ain't I? Well besides the fact school has been draining my life away, I couldn't archive Binge The Wotch. And I was so looking forward to snarking at it too.


Instead I shall be doing a little Newbie Rant, which will be a series of me doing webcomics that are fairly new and have enough material to give it an overview of it's potential. My FIrst Newbie Rant is about an interesting little comic I picked up not too long ago called Precocious and lord knows it has a good reason to.

The comic started out in about 2008 on a date I for the life of me cannot discern because the author decided not to put dates. Still, It's far fresher than any of the other webcomics I read so it's still good for a Newbie Rant.

The comic is about some kids, I think they're somewhere between 6-10 years old judging by their size and their ability to speak well. Not to mention their capability for evil...

You'd think children at their age would be too innocent to know exactly what good and evil are, but I believe you under estimate the comic's Title whose definition means "Developing, occurring, or appearing before the expected time."

The prologue story arc is about these kids trying to outwit each other in a war of who's the most evil that somehow escalates into a Gender Wars, especially when... The miniature Straw Feminist Communist comes along.

Yes, a Pint-sized feminist that believes that the "separation" between upper-middle class and middle-middle class is unfair


Adorable or Just plain creepy? YOU THE VIEWER DECIDE!

In fact, that's probably what makes the comic so lovable. Sure only adults would make the sort of arguments they make some of the time, but only children would blow things so out of proportion.

The concept is fascinating and the jokes are pretty funny, but I'm easy to amuse. Afterall, I'm probably one of the few who thinks a Soulless Faux Beauty Pageant girl is funny because it's demonstrating children capable of performing the most devious of acts...

Jazz Hands indeed.

Anyhow, What I find curious is how Paulsen decided to use Funny animals to portray the protagonists of this gag-a-day/story (Don't think He's quite decided yet.), but it was probably becuase he felt like it. though he may have a hard time keeping the furry-haters from beating him up.

Problems with the strip would include the format. I mean, is it gag-a-day like a serilized newspaper (Which judging from the strip style is how it's supposed to feel) or story and arc based with the occasional filler. Sounds like the trap Dominic Deegan fell into, which can be problematic. I mean, there's nothing wrong with using strips for arc-based stories, but, sometimes it's hard to pull off, and when you get a style that makes you think "Sunday Newspaper Funnies", story isn't really what matters, the punchline on that single strip does.

However, I have seen none of these pitfalls affect our Newbie Paulsen here.

What's more, the art is pretty good. Unlike most webcomic artists that start bad and get better, Pualsen started good and can probably only get better form there. I'd personally complain as a fellow artist about his the eyes take up 90% of the characters' faces(Since, you know, ordinary people have FOREHEADS), it's probably a stylistic choice considering it's more cartoony than something meant to be anatomically correct.

The Art style is simple enough to be allow him to do the Daily comic he makes this out to be, and has even added color. Shading is doubtful and I doubt it'd be necessary.

Not much to complain about except... Oh yeah, I knew I forgot something, my specialization as a writer: characterization...

The Kids are a bit... i dunno, Their personalities seem fine but they seem to be... Exaggerated versions of what they're supposed to be. It's like there was a comic about them earlier that never got published and their personalities were mild like whipped cream, and then all of a sudden Flanderization came along and by the time they got to the finished product, they're like uber extreme tobasco-wasabi sauce of what they once were..

Like an army of Strawman-kids or sumthin'! Taking some sort of view they're meant to represent and exaggerating them out of Proportion. Like that freaky Pacifist kid!

A Starwman Pacifist if I ever saw one. I mean, who taught this kid how to be a kid? It's like child-like fun was forced out of his very existence and we have this abomination against Nature!

Anyhow, that's my take. Still not doing bad. I haven't had much to complain about...


MY GOD, How am I supposed to have a rep as a WebcomiCRITIC when I can't criticize something!

Don't worry folks, I'll get angry in no time, just you wait, I'll find a particularly NASTY webcomic that is so bad that I have to have some constructive criticism for them that'll totally sound mean-spirited!

I'm open to suggestions before I pick stuff out from my list. e-mail me at

Anyhow, remember, as Precocious's caption says:

"Because Knowledge is a Weapon."

-Read or Die You Uneducated Buffoons,


  1. I want to thank you for taking the time to review Precocious. I'm very honored and thrilled to see something this positive.

    I posted a long reply to the review over on *my* blog. ( Check it out if you want, although it's mostly "you are right" stretched out to a thousand words. Would you expect anything else from a rambling storyteller?

  2. The only part of your review that I found any argument for was in regards to the characterization of the various children. Yes, they are exaggerated versions of various personalities, but that is the entire point, I think. The kids in Precocious attend the Poppinstock Academy, an elite school for child geniuses. That being the case, I think it's fairly obvious that these children are portrayed as being over-zealous and exaggerated because, being geniuses, they have mentally developed at an advanced rate.

    This means that while they have the intelligence to understand and have opinions on the advanced topics that are normally associated with adults, they lack the real life experience to provide contrast, and so they tend to take an advanced topic, combine it with an adult's perspective and intelligence, and a child's imagination. The product is nothing short of genius in and of itself.

  3. Yeah, this is a nice review, though I do agree with with Lamion's excellent explanation for why the kids are so crazy ;-). Hmm ... how do you explain the parents, though?

  4. Overly adult comments from kids with funny heads...
    Well a wonderful lot of the cartooning community cite Schultz as an influence. This comic is like what would happen if you didn't quite hand the Peanuts crowd explosives (and see (the need for) rule 4! (grin)).