Sunday, February 27, 2005

Stopver at Digital Strips

I'm a little late to be posting this, but the guys Daku and Zampzon over at Digital Strips did reviews of four Graphic Smash comics, and The Jaded was one of the lucky four!

Secondly, an awesome fanart from GiantPanda (a.k.a. Erik Melander)!



This one refers to my two phobias... dinosaurs and crowds... combined...

Isn't it cute?! Now is it just me, or do one of those dinos look like Snarky?

I'm still halfway through the next leg, but life is giving me a lot to do right now, so priorities come into play. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hotspot #5: Dear Webcomic Artist... Get a Life

Strike items number 1 and 3 off the list below. It's sort of snowing in Central London, I did my share of running around, and I also just got back from the Dragonforce gig at the Mean Fiddler.

Other than the pushing, squashing and having to endure what was possibly the longest support band performance ever (1 hour! A big deal when the whole gig is 3 hours...) Dragonforce gave value for money, and I had the time of my life! I think halfway through Angra support performance most of the audience began to get a little impatient waiting for the main feature though, except for the enthusiatic Brazilian fans.

(No I have no pictures. I didn't dare to bring my camera, and my ticket stub was lost in all the jumping around).

Anyways, I'm not usually a party animal to be going out to Metal concerts (and on a Monday night too), and my idea of a nice time is a free night to spend drawing comics/a good book, drinking tea and nice music, but once in a while something different is always a good thing. You see, the last few weeks I've been feeling sick and tired of webcomics.

Yes, you read that right. Sick and tired of webcomics. Because I have been doing too much of it, and things related to it.

Let me see... The Jaded, The Longest Sojourn, How Not To Run a Comic, The Essence of... , Webcomic Finds, Keenspace Gear, Keenspace Help Center.

In short, far too many things in my life are currently associated with webcomics. And maybe they've earned me praise from many quarters I value and people I respect, but sometimes there is too much of something that you reach a point where you need to stop and take a breather. And do something different, because the alternative is sitting there staring at a blank canvas and feeling absolutely empty. No ideas, No will to draw the ideas you've recorded for cases of no ideas, and worst of all: No joy from creating comics. Nothing.

To those of you who may have webcomics, I implore you: if you do a webcomic, make sure it's not the only thing you do in your life.

I may do a lot of things webcomics related, but I'm also taking care to do a lot of other things that are not webcomics related because I know a human is not a machine, and too much repetition will kill the love of something very very quickly. You won't be a better webcomic artist by shutting yourself up in your room with your pencils and paper and inks, drawing comics all day and never experiencing human contact or that mystery we call Life.

Interact with people MORE. It depresses me that webcomickers have the stereotype of being sad losers with no social skills, no purpose in life other than their comics and can't get boyfriends/girlfriends. It may be true in some cases (the number of webcomickers I've never met who chat me up on AIM and get blocked after one 'conversation'. Bah, Idiots! Just because I'm female doesn't mean you have to be so sad as to hit on a complete stranger over the internet at first chat!).

Back to the topic... One thing DO I notice is that a lot of the more successful webcomickers are also the ones who don't fit the bloody stereotype.

And it makes sense. Art, writing, and any amalgamation of the two is in the end, still all about Life. What chance has a person who has never experienced Life and human interaction of writing and drawing anything that usually involves human interaction and achieing anything that rings true? (Well, perhaps this is an exception... and a damn depressing one too).

Otherwise, not much, unless you count regurgitating bits and pieces from the comics/books/TV shows they've read and reread/watched a bajillion times over... the results of which is that drivel which consists of cliches, the formuliac aim-for-audience-pleasers, the copycat clones and the death of originality and anything remotely interesting.

For the record, besides having an irrational fear of dinosaurs, I'm also demophobic. I'm scared shitless afraid of crowds. I hate them. HATE. Yet today I willingly let myself get squashed in the middle of one very excited and rowdy one, and in a small enclosed area to boot. And it was surprisingly, a good exprerience for me to face one of my fears head on and see the worst it could possibly do to me. (Actually, the worst would be a stampede, but that didn't happen).

And now I'm back home, tired but happy, and oddly enough... rejuvenated. I've danced and jumped and listened to deafening music (Extreme Power Metal!) and sang myself hoarse along to it (though in my case, I think 'yelling out-of-tune to' would be a better term to describe my singing voice). And now it's all over, I feel like I got something out of my system that needed to be aired.

And I feel like drawing comics again.

I guess what this whole Hotspot is trying to say in the nicest way possible is:

Don't forget to Get a Life!



No, seriously.

Do your comic. Love your comic. Have fun with your comic.

But do not make it the only thing in your life. There's work and family and friends and juggling fire and so many more things to do. There are more important things than the next story arc or punchline in your script, how you're going to draw your next panel, how many readers you have and what the webcomics community have to say about you. And once in a while, do something that scares you. Something you would normally never do. (And I don't mean Infinite Canvas or Sprite Comics, smartass!)

There is more to Life than putting a comic on the Internet.

It sounds silly and patronising coming from me, I know. But please, please, please... Never forget this.



ps: Adis, Eric, Chuck, Adam and Alan. These are poor words, but all the same... Thank you. I appreciate it. I just don't know what to say in return.

ps again: Obviously, if you already have a happy normal fulfilled life you may disregard this Hotspot.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Stopover at Comixpedia: "The Essence of... Infinity Canvas"

I'm still writing the Ascent leg, but just wanted to to give a quick head's up in the meantime; there's a new The Essence Of... comic over at Comixpedia.

This month's comic is based on Scott McCloud's "I Can't Stop Thinking!" series, which you can read here.

My schedule is a tad busy right now, currently it runs:

  1. Run around like a idiot who has never seen snow while it's snowing
  2. University work
  3. Dragonforce Concert
  4. Write Ascent Leg
  5. University work
  6. Apply for jobs
  7. Build up The Jaded buffer
  8. Juggle
  9. University work
  10. Work on next Comixpedia submission
  11. Update Keenspace Gear
  12. University work
  13. Sleep when possible


Well... you get the idea. At least my life isn't being wasted. ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hotspot #4: How to Completely Spoil Suspense Using Webcomic Extras

Through Waffle, I've just stumbled accross a fantasy goldmine. Or more accurately, a fantasy writing goldmine: Limyaael's Rants. It's educational stuff, all about fantasy writing and avoiding the cliches (Boy did I have fun combing through it to see how many rules my old comic The Longest Sojourn violated!). A lot of it could also apply for non-fantasy stuff.

Anyway, there's an interesting article on Suspense (and how not to kill it), which is a great read, and also inspired today's hotspot topic: How to Completely Spoil Suspense Using Webcomic Extras.

We know that webcomics come with a lot of extras print comics don't. Cast pages, Art Galleries, Forums, Blogs. Those are pretty much the standard features of a webcomic. Unfortunately, if a creator is indiscreet, they're also the standard way creators spoil their own comics. Let's look at them:


  1. Cast Pages
    Cast pages can be a handy reference to a new reader when they're new and can't quite get the names and faces right yet. On the other hand, overzealous creators often end up inadvertantly spoiling the story for the readers by putting far too much information in the cast pages. Some examples include:

    • Introducing characters that haven't appeared yet. To pick a comic that does this off the top of my head: Take Tauhid Bondia's Spells and Whistles.
      "Now what harm could introducing characters early could possibly do?" You ask?
      SPOILER WARNING
      Well... as a smart forum poster once said elsewhere, if you take the current storyline, where Rakne (One of the main characters) falls off a cliff, you're not really going to be remotely worried or scared for her, because you can tell from the cast page not all members of the 'party' haven't been introduced yet, it's not likely they'll be offing any of the characters any time soon. Which really takes away any suspense you're trying to drum up from something like this page.

    • Telling the reader what actually happens in the comic, or even worse, what WILL happen in the comic in a part they haven't gotten around to telling yet
      I considered tacking on a real-life example of a comic that did this, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Besides, I don't really need an example to tell you why talking about something that happens in the comic is bad without a spoiler warning. Or why introducing a character and what that character has to do with other characters in the comic and what will happen to that character in the future is a bad idea when that character hasn't debuted in the comic yet.

      Yes, I know sometimes we're impatient to introduce the cool new characters and awesome concepts we come up with and can't wait, but please... DON'T.

    • Including excessive personal or background information that gives the whole thing away
      Especially if that thing is the central plotline. The simplest example I can think of is say... a new (apparently human) character is introduced to a comic. And in the cast page the character is listed as a "XXX, a blood type AB vampire. Congratulations. You've just let the cat out of the bag. We all pretty much know what's coming up next, don't we?

      On the other hand, explaining all of a character's motivations and goals isn't a particularly bright idea if you want to keep the suspense there either.


  2. Extra Art
    Possibly the biggest killer of romantic suspense in a comic. You have character A and character B. And they've barely met each other at that point the comic. Yet for Valentine's Day you have a special piece of extra art, which turns out to be...

    A lushly illustrated picture of both of them in a passionate embrace with rose petals raining down.

    What can I say about that, really? It's stupid.

    "But it's just a bit of a fun doodling!" Someone protests. "Well, you know they were going to get together anyway!"

    Maybe, but maybe you could... I don't know... at least give us a little hope of doubt? If we know character A and character B are going to end up together before they even start dating in the comic, are we really going care to watch the process of them getting together when we know how it's going to end up? Even worse... if you introduce a rival, we already know she/he's going to fail.

    Simply put, there's pretty much no point to having that romance anymore.

    Oh, and for this same reason, please don't draw and put up pictures of the future children of Character A and Character B either. Thanks.


  3. News Posts
    I'm quite sure that HNTRAC did a few spoofs of this somewhere, but this is basically the creator telling the readers what happens in the next installment of the comic, or tell the reader exactly what to look for in the current comic.

    Examples:
    Join us for the next episode of my comic, where Hero C defeats Villian D and the hidden power of Princess E is finally revealed!
    and
    Here's the first appearance of Character F, who will the the romantic interest of Character G in the comic. I have a love triangle between her, Character G and Character H coming up. It's going to be great! (And Ping fights urge to kill author)


    And don't laugh. I've seen these done in real life!


  4. Forum Posting
    Yes, I know this is hard and I know that sometimes readers can really know how to ask questions and try and get answers out of the creator before the proper time arises (i.e. It's revealed in the comic.) Speculation is all fun and nice, but in such situations, it's up to the creator whether they want to admit the speculation is on target or smile mystically and say: "Maybe, maybe not..."

    Webcomicdom is unique for the level of interaction a creator can have with their readers, but please don't start blabbing about what's going to happen next just because someone asks. Have some restraint, if you please. "No Comment." can be a valid response



And thus concludes my list of spoilers in webcomic extras.

Thank you very much for reading. Ping out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Stopover at The Noob: Arsemode Rulez!

Because it does!



This is such a bit of obscure gaming humour, but even if the last MMORPG I played was years ago, I'm pretty sure if there was an exploit like that, there'd be people who were willing to look stupid if they could have an advantage.

And the sight of all those players prancing around with their hands on their arses... Ouch, ouch, ouch! I laughed so hard that it hurt.

Gianna, how do you come up with this stuff, woman?

Monday, February 14, 2005

24th Leg: Twelve Dragons

(This leg took so long because I wrote the whole thing, and forgot to save before closing the window. ARRRGH!)

If you recall back at Killroy and Tina, I had a choice between Ascent and Twelve Dragons.

I really wanted to blog about Ascent for ages, but Twelve Dragons really looked interesting, so I checked it out and decided to do a sidetrack. I get back to Ascent next leg, but first...



Comic: Twelve Dragons
By: YuoMa (Artist) and Werner (Writer)

Setting and Elements: Fantasy World (Pangea)
Content Type: Story, Action-Adventure, Epic, Explicit violence, Explicit sex scenes

Art Medium: Ink, Grayscale, Occasional Colour.
Art Style: Manga-Influenced. Semi-Realistic

Is About: Krok, a half-dwarf/imp, Grog (changeling) and Milinida (Hellhound) are three players in a massive prophecy concerning the fate of the world of Pangea. The dragons of Pangea are slow dying out from some mysterious evil, and something must be done to save them and the world.

Website: http://twelvedragons.keenspace.com
Frequency: Irregular
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation: There was no comic on the front page, but I'll admit I was surprised at the Mature rating. Must be for the violence or something.

The website feels rather cluttered hard to read, to be honest. The fixed background especially draws your attention away from the foreground, which is always a bad thing, especially when you can't tell which parts of page are foreground and which are background. The dragon in the logo looks good though.

*clicks on first link*

Looks like a promising setup... and...

*clicks next few pages*

...

Whoa. Hokay... I see why they have earned that mature rating now...


The Concept:
I'm kind of divided about the concept. On one hand it's an intriguing and complex setting. On the other, it involves prophecies and more specifically... overly-specific prophecies about fate people doing fated things. I've never quite liked the concept of prophecies as if you're fated to do something, it sorts of takes away the tension of it, but that's just my opinion.

The Art:
The art is definitely manga-influenced, although not that much that I would think 'manga' the moment I see it. Most of it looks hand-drawn, and there's some clever use of colour for special effects.

Sometimes though, the photoshopped touches don't work out as well as can be hoped. Or sometimes the bright red blood just looks too artificial.

In the beginning the postures looked rather stiff and unnatural, especially for the action scenes. Sometimes the limbs are bent at impossible angles. The action scenes are rather good despite this, however, even the overly saturated red blood splotches doesn't take away too much from it.

The anatomy is variable. Sometimes it looks very good, sometimes it just looks wrong. I do like the distinctive character designs, although I find it odd that the majority of the female characters seem lose their clothes pretty quickly.

In the case, I think they really made good use of it in the beginning for shock value and horror, but after awhile the rest of it seems to be there to pander to the audiences, and one chapter in particular came close to reading rather like someone's ill-disguised wet-dream.

Nitpick: The sword in this pic looks (and is being used) more a like a rapier/foil, not a sabre. Besides, a sabre is more of a slashing weapon, not a stabbing one. It's nitpicky of me, I know, but I'm particular about my blades.

Nitpick two: The laws of physics have been defied.

The Writing:

Is compelling, although it does require some suspension of disbelief, though.

The strongest point is probably the level of world-building that has gone into the creation of Pangea. There's just so much complexity and detail in this story that it really draws the reader in. The storytelling isn't afraid to take a step back from the plot and meander a bit, and manages to do something few comics manage to do; that is to introduce the reader to the complex world they created without being made do fell they're being derailed into a history lecture.

The majority of characters, even the casual villian that gets chopped into little itty bits, get some level of characterisation. Some are particularly excellent, my favourites are currently Krok, Milinida, (Oi! Give her more screen time!), Pulpo and oddly enough, Gargoleth.

I wish I could say the same for a lot fo the females, though. In fact with the noted exception of Alyzehadra and Lady Milinida (one who is a dragon and the other a hellhound), and perhaps the exception of one elf mother, the majority of female characters in this comic all seem to be severely underdeveloped. If fact, they're seemingly there mainly for
  1. Playing damsel in distress (Too many to count)
  2. Romantic interest (Tatiana, perhaps Tanek though I hope not)
  3. Titillation and getting naked (Far too many to count, and this really spoiled the character of Tanek for me.)
  4. Tail (Far too many to count)


Now before any of you start getting a knee-jerk reaction and accusing me of being a feminist, let me point out I'm not against the potrayal of any of these things in a story or comic. Rape and other such bad things do happen to women (and men) and ignoring the fact they happen and insisting that they shouldn't be potrayed as happening is nothing short of stupid. In fact, I was quite impressed in the beginning how they daring they were with it, untill the repetitive 'damsel in distress' plot devices wore thin and threadbare after a while.

No, my beef is that it seems to be happening almost all the time. If you still don't get my point of view, imagine a comic where 75% of the men are always having their clothes ripped off and frequently end up being rescued from capture/rape from the women. There's just something wrong with that inverted picture, isn't there?

Almost as bad as introducing a strong smart and omnipotent (an unrealistically vomit-inducing) female character just for the sake of 'identifying' with the female audience. *rolls eyes*

Oh, and the bonus stories involving the four swordsmen are excellent! Keep them coming, but hold the damsel-in-distress setup, please. It's getting really repetitive.

Problems:
It's the internet, and frankly, gratitious nudity is no big deal. But despite being a regular reader of Loxie and Zoot something about the nudity depicted really bothered me. It wasn't till later when I figured out what was wrong with it. (And yes, picture is NOT safe for work, school or the company of people of tender and impressionable ages.)

There are several nasty typos in the archive pages. I know... I'm almost a spelling nazi ;)

Oh, and cast page no updatey, so forgive me for not getting the names right if any.

And fillers in middle of story = bad!

Overall:
Twelve Dragons was interesting for being a comic I was impressed with in the beginning, felt repulsed by after a while because of the incessant fanservice, and then drawn back to by the sheer strength of the story and world setting. While this speaks of the writer's skill in storytelling and pacing, I think it would have done much better if it didn't try so hard to titillate the male audience and end up alienating the other half of potential readers in the process.

In short, if you like epic storylines, well- developed fantasy worlds, don't mind explicit sex/violence, you might like this. IF you're easily offended, don't like unequal portrayal of genders, don't like gratitious violence, DiD (Damsels in Distress) cliches and the prophecy/world revolves around them syndrome you may want to give this one a miss.

It's something like marmite or durian, an acquired taste you'll either love or hate.


The Next Leg:
Sidetrack over! Ascent, Ascent and Ascent!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Stopover at LinT: Unabashedly having Fun!

On a personal level, I can thank How Not To Run A Comic for many things. A surprising amount of educational fun, Adam, Srdjan, and me being branded the webcomic nazis of Keenspace (kidding!), and my occasional guilt trip for not being able to give HNTRAC as much attention as I should. (Adam, if I haven't said it before, you're a rock for doing most of the work! Thank you!) And to add to that, I think some of you may be thankful to it for the number of bad comics it potentially deterred from starting. I've been most surprised at the number of people who have candidly admitted they abandoned their ideas for starting a Megatokyo or Real Life webcomic clone after reading HNTRAC.

For the intents and purposes of this stopover however, I'm thankful to HNTRAC for introducing me to LinT by Colby Purcell. Sometimes, even in guest or parody strips, you can tell that you already will like the comic that person creates.

There are a lot of webcomics on my daily reads that I read for various reasons. Some I read out of habit. Some I read for the story. Some for the art. And some I read because they're just so much fun.


This is the panel that had me falling off the bed laughing. I think the cream of the joke here is that it's being told with such a straight face. Note the banana in Xylic's hand..

For pure unabashed fun and comedic gold, LinT probably comes the closest to dishing out that brand of irreverent humour I loved in Elf Only Inn (Sortelli, Sortelli... Wherefore art thou, Sortelli?).

The story is a madcap parody of the usual fantasy cliche of a motley bunch of heroes on a quest to save the kingdom from the threat of an evil overlord...blah blah you know. In this case however, we quickly realise that the quest is barely of any significance (A McGuffin, if you prefer).

The whole point of this comic is just to have fun following the misadventures of the Sangwine's Merry Little Band and their rivalry with the other band of 'heroes'. When you throw a pansy elf, a sock-stealing thief, and irritable empath, an amiable orc and a midget dwarf. (Yeah you heard me correctly... midget dwarf) together, things are bound to be interesting.

And boy it is! I won't spoil any of the stories or jokes by repeating them, but I will say it was this page when I realised how much I liked this comic.

The art, while starting out a bit rough (sketchy pencils and some use of cut-and-paste) rapidly smoothed out and the recent colour strips now look nothing short of yummy. I especially love the covers of each chapter (which are based on classic paintings, I think), I hope Colby keeps drawing them!

In short, while the main reason why LinT ranks so high on my favourite webcomics list is because it's so infectiously funny, the other is that it's also fun. There's no agenda to reach one gadzillion readers, no 'I'm going to make the Keenspot lineup by year so-and-so', no 'I want to make this work so I can quit my dead-end job and go full time'.

Just the pure intent of creating a webcomic to enjoy, and for people to enjoy.



Goodness knows, we really could use more of that nowadays.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Stopover at Inverloch: I'm sorry, but my brain just rebelled...

Let me get this straight first. I like Inverloch. I think Inverloch has some of the prettiest art I've ever seen in comics. The artist here pretty much leaves yours truly in the dust here when it comes to colour.

I will admit though, as the story's been going on and on, the writing's been bugging me more and more. It's not that it's bad, it's imbalanced. The characterisation is fantastic, and I love the philosophical issues they try and bring into the comic.

What I've been aware that's been steadily becoming more and more of a problem is the plot. It's just everything is so friggin' coincidental. It's like the whole world and everything that's happened up to then revolves around the main cast and their problems. Which happens a lot in stories, I'll give you... Although they shouldn't, and yes, I know there is such a thing as suspension of disbelief. It's what I've been employing with most of my comic reading so far.

But the latest update just outright caused my brain to rebel.

Just so you know, spoilers ahead.



Now we have the main character, our cuddly cute Acheron, and the jaded bounty-hunter companion, Lei'ella. And then this thief bumps into Acheron on the street and pickpockets all his stuff, but Acheron catches him at it.

Here comes the unbelievable part: The thief simply admits it, and says because Acheron caught him, he has to serve Acheron for how long the item he attempted to steal was worth because of something called 'thieves code'. And because one of the items is 'priceless' it probably means forever... Excuse me?

I could start pondering what use such a rule could possible serve in the first place? Punishment? There are more productive ways of doing so, since this subservant thing is most likely to end up with pickpockets going extinct. (If you ever have been pickpocketed, you should know how mad the victim can get at the moment) While we're at it, if that was the case, why would anyone even want to follow such a code in the first place?

The only thing I can think of that it is indeed what Ms. Lei'ella herself was about to say before she was self-censored: It's either a load total of BS spouted by the thief, or it's just a very very convenient plot device to add another member to the 'party' because they needed a stealthy character.

Ugh. Like someone once jokingly told me over an IM session: "Damn you and your logic!".

I'll still read Inverloch for the art, of course. But Damn me and my logic indeed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

23rd Leg: Killroy and Tina



Comic: Killroy and Tina
By: Justin Pierce

Setting and Elements: A small american town called Wakefield, Alternate Universes, Superhero, Sci-Fi
Content Type: Action-Adventure, Parody, Humour

Art Medium: Hand-drawn and digitally coloured
Art Style: Semi-realistic, Initially gradient colours and cel-shaded later on.

Is About: The Almighty Despot of the Universe, Killroy, and Tina, the teenage earth girl he's biogenetically bonded to.

Website: http://www.killroyandtina.com
Frequency: Wednesdays and Saturdays
Availability: Latest page always free. Graphic Smash subscription for archives.

First Impressions and Presentation:
I should take this moment to point out that I've been a longtime reader of KnT. The fact that I have a Fulcrum fanart in my art gallery should be diagnostic.

So keep in mind that as much as I try to be impartial in my reviews, I might be a bit biased in this case.

That important disclaimer done, let's look at the website design: There are two versions, the original black design and the new red and white one. The red and white one is great for being spiffy and something different from the common black, but having the comic to the right reads a bit odd.


The Concept:
One of the charms of KnT is that the concept is pretty much as original as you could hope for.

Tina Matthews is your ordinary teenage earth girl with the normal problems that entails (Unpopularity in school, boyfriend, struggling single mother for parent). Killroy is the ultimate despot of the universe, the slaver of many planets and races. The Fulcrum of the Universe is a mystic and powerful being who for reasons that are later revealed, bio-genetically 'bonds' the two as punishment for Killroy. The chaos that ensues is Killroy and Tina

The Art:
In the beginning the art will no doubt look odd. Even with the revised versions for Graphic Smash, the proportions still look a bit funny and the lines slightly sketchy. The art does improve drastically as times goes on, and at the time of this writing, has reached a stage of what I'd call a certain stylised elegance.

Character designs for the normal human characters a little mudane, but the otherworld characters are fun and varied, and I especially love the alien designs. Most of them are done with a joke in mind (Lollipop dimension?!) rather than anything scientific, but that really fits in with what the rest of the comic is about anyway.

The panel designs remain in page format and hardly ever change or break out of their restrictions, although from time to time Justin tries something out like the animated lightning lighted page here.


The Writing:
Pretty much the thing that makes Killroy and Tina stand out from the rest.

While the first few chapters meander a little, but starting from the paintball war chapter the writing really tightens up and moves along. The whole story itself is very convoluted and complex, with a plethora of recurring secondary and supporting characters. Although sometimes the story deviates so much you can't help but wonder what relevance it has with the main story.

The two strongest assets KnT has in its repetoire are its sense of humour and level of characterisation. Although more of an action-adventure comic than a humour, there are lots of funny bits where Pierce makes fun of anything and everything. The dialogue in particular has a special zing without being trying to much to be 'zinging', if you get what I mean.

The characters on the other hand, are almost unique in comic-dom for their level of humanness despite super-human abilities. Like the smash-hit that was The Incredibles proved, it's a combination that can work rather well. For example, Tina inherits Killroy's laser vision, but can't use it most of the time because it fries her contact lenses. Plus, there are all sorts of little details and idiosyncrasies that flesh out the characters very well, like Tina being a neat freak and seemingly being on permanent PMS ;) , Killroy's tendency to NEVER use contractions or Brandon (the boyfriend) being a very loyal and supportive despite being totally unperceptive and possessing an inability to be serious.

The humour can be rather slapstick and oddball at times, but most of the time you get the impression it's being told with a straight face. How you get that impression from a comic, don't ask me... it just does.

Problems:
I'm going to rant here. One thing I really really really dislike abhor and really really am sick of seeing in webcomics is the 'President Bush' cameo. It's getting to be done to death more times than the "I'm bored let's start a webcomic' joke. I know some of you can feel very strongly about your politics, but for god's sake find more interesting ways of parody, PLEASE.

Inserting a Bush lookalike that acts like an retarded idiot was never really funny in the first place, definitely not funny if you're not the first to do it, even less funny if your readership isn't American and couldn't care less and IMHO does nothing more than cheapen and make the comic look dated very quickly.

To be fair, KnT isn't the only one guilty of this. I'm not going to name any other names but you all know who you are.

Ok, rant over. Yes, I'm sleep-deprived and feeling nasty at the moment. I'm sharing Tina's tendency for being on permanent PMS now.


Overall:
KnT is an enjoyable read, with a delightful sense of humor, snappy dialogue and a story that can only be called epic. You can already tell the scope of the story is ENORMOUS, and despite all that's been happening so far, I have a feeling we've barely seen what there is to see.

The Next Leg:
...will either be Slyvan Migdal's Ascent (which I have wanting to blog about for sometime and Justin Pierce is telling me on his blog to read) or Twelve Dragons (which I haven't read but looks like it might be interesting from the links page). Depending on whether I decide to sidetrack or not, we might get either or both.