Tuesday, November 02, 2004

18th Leg: BeeComix

Firstly, I'd like to introduce you to WF-tan, or to give her her full name: Webcomic Finds-tan. She's the personalisation of the Webcomic Finds blog.

Since WF-tan is a traveller, I thought it be appropriate that she'd dress as a backpacker. The pen she has in her hand is a walking-stick, and you'll notice it's in a revolution, like the Lonely Planet logo.

Although I've already been introduced to the OS-tans by one Alan Medlar, I blame friend Rodrigo Pin Nitto for starting up the webcomic versions... the stuff he came up with was so awesome I just had to join in!

Of Pin's stuff, my personal favs:

There are loads more, but I didn't want to wait for permission to post them so you'll have to go to the linked thread to check them out.

Looking at the comparisons between WF-tan and the rest, you can so tell that as much as I try, drawing 'cute' and stylised stuff doesn't come naturally to me. I keep lapsing back into 'realistic'. The more astute of you will also have noticed that WF-tan bears a snarky (sorry Eric, couldn't resist) resemblance to yours truly. The reason for that is fairly straightforward: This blog has sometimes been referred to as Ping Teo's Webcomic Finds, so it's in a way an echo of myself.

WF-tan is by FAR cuter though ;)

Edit: Oooh, more last minute permissions. Just in case you're interested, more Webcomic tans!

FYI, the last tan (the onlinecomics.net one) is done by TheLoserHero, whose comic, Twice Destined I reviewed waaaay back in Leg 4!

Now, A couple of other things I want to mention before we go onto our latest Find:

Firstly, I've been told by one happy Spell & Whistles reader that S&W is BACK! (Thanks Nicole!) Checking out the site I was surprised to find that Tauhid Bondia has joined the ranks of the webcomic artists who have dumped their day jobs to make webcomics full-time (and earn a living doing so).

Personally I earn a bit of money from my Graphic Smash paycheck, but I'd be lying if I said I made a living with it. I recouped the cost of my WACOM graphics tablet from it, but currently that's about it. I can't imagine how Mr. Bondia is going manage, but I salute him for being brave enough to take the plunge. He's certainly good enough skill-wise.

I'm beginning to see a trend. And as I write this, I wonder... for the remaining two months of 2004, how many more webcomickers are going to take the plunge?

Secondly, a moment of silence for Captain Kaff Tagon, who became the latest casualty for Schlock Mercenary's Schlocktober fest. Howard Tayler has a rule about his writing that I both fear and like: killing off main characters. Popular main characters.

In this case, the character he's killed off is one of the main cast, who has been in the comic since the very very beginning. It'd be the equivalent of me killing off Jade Lanner from The Jaded (which is silly, since he's IN the title, but I digress).

It took me ages to forgive Howard for killing off the first doctor in Schlock Mercenary. And although I'm sad that Tagon bit the dust, I'm getting used to it. I must say though, Howard Tayler must be a really happy man right now. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Howard is happy to get rid of Tagon or that he loves playing with his readers' emotions. What I mean is, he must be happy that people can care enough about his creations to mourn them. That must be the ultimate compliment a creator can get.

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (attempted to) kill off Sherlock Holmes, people actually went into mourning, wore black and armbands and all that. I'm not going to be mourning Tagon, but I'll will call a moment of silence.

Provided Howard doesn't bring him back in a year or two ;)

And now finally, the latest leg:

Comic: Bee (Shutterbug Follies)
By: Jason Little

Genre and Setting: Modern-Life, Mystery

Art Style: Cartoony, Semi-realistic, Full colour

Is About: Bee, a spunky young woman who works as a 'photo-finishing technician'. When an odd series of corpse photos start popping up, Bee, who hasn't quite learned that curiosity killed the cat, decides to investigate.

Website: http://www.beecomix.com
Frequency: Unknown
Availability: Free samples, the rest published

First Impressions and Presentation:
Well, the website feels professional... but cluttered. There's so much going on I get slightly confused where to start. Eventually I do click the 'Comix' link and find myself with a selection of more comics. (Seperate series). More confusion as to where to start? Hell yeah.

I take it that the comic with the redhead is the main one, and the rest included are seperate short stories.

Unfortunately ShutterBug Follies appears to be a published comic, and only a free preview is available. However, I'll do my best to review the comic from what I can work with.

The Concept:
Has definitely been overlooked by a lot of others. Most of us never think about what happens to our photos when they are taken to be developed. The obvious one that most people should realise is that the person who developes them sees them. In this case, Bee, the main character, does.

I like the concept, it's certainly something refreshing!

The Art:
Very professionally done, inked and brightly coloured. I particularly like the use of the flat colours and two tone shading... somehow it reminds me of Herge's stuff.

One thing I should also mention, there's some fun variation of faces and body types. A lot of comic artists have this bad habit of drawing characters who could be interchangable if you swapped hairstyles. The characters in Bee definitely do not qualify for this dubious honour. The main character herself departs from the generic heroine body-type. She's short, slightly plump, wears glasses and sports short hair... and manages to be attractive despite... or because of it.

There some detailed backgrounds, and with them quite a few background jokes.

All in all, the art is something you can't complain about. It doesn't have the dazzling quality of some other comics, but it does look good, and like what I keep finding myself saying: It just works so well you never think about it.

The Writing:
Like all good graphic novelists, Jason Little tells a story by showing, not telling. It's a subtle kind of storytelling that takes a lot of work to master but makes SUCH a great improvement in terms of readbility.

The story setup is good and the plot is intriguing. The mystery peels off in layers, and the more you find out the curioser and curioser it gets. I found myself drawn into the mystery like I should be.

Nothing much, except for maybe the navigation and site layout, which seems to splatte the reader's attention all over the page instead of focusing it.

For, all the good attributes of the comic, it somehow doesn't quite click with me. It's a good comic. I can tell you that. I suspect that it's just because I know I'll probably never find out what happens next that the keenness is gone.

There's some other cool stuff besides the Bee comic though. some of the short stories I liked, especially the 3D comic that made me glad I never had problems with seeing Magic Pictures or whatever you call those things that you have to cross your eyes and half-uncross them to see.

The Next Leg:

Whoops. There doesn't seem to be a links page. You know what that means: BACKTRACK!!

I'm tired, so I'm just going to pick a link at random.



  1. I'll gladly forgive you. And then say "awwwwwwwwwwww."

    I'll admit freely I want one. :)

  2. RPin says:

    I thought Websnark already had it's own tan-sorta thing. I'd draw one, but I don't want my art being compared to Ursula Vernon's....


  3. RPin says:

    Drats. Looks like someone beat me to it anyways. (psst, hint hint) Check out the thread, Eric.

  4. Ahhh! Yay yay yay! It rocks! It rocks like a rocking thing!

    (Snarky's a mascot. Whole different... er... animal.)

  5. Beaten to the draw!! (literally)

    Well... look at this way, but Alejandro hadn't done it, it's mighty likely you'd get one from either Rpin or me anyway ;)

  6. Beaten to the draw!! (literally)

    Well... look at this way, but Alejandro hadn't done it, it's mighty likely you'd get one from either Rpin or be anyway ;)