Thursday, March 24, 2005

27th Leg: Oneshots: The Thieves of Thalegor

Comic: The Thieves of Thalegor
By: Kevin Wadlow

Setting and Elements: Fantasy world, Dungeons and Dragons, Talking Cats
Content Type: Humour, Adventure

Art Medium: Digital, Converted photographs
Art Style: Geometric, Solid shapes, gradients and patterns

Is About: The adventures of Colby and Jack, A pair of talking cats who happen to be thieves as well.

Website: http://www.whymestudios.com/oneshots.html
Frequency: On Hiatus
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation: The site design is charming, compact and clean-cut (all the C's), and more importantly, matches with the style of the comic art in itself.

This is a private beef of mine. Comic presentation is an important aspect of webcomics most people don't even think of. But it is important regardless. And sadly when they DO think of it, they don't consider whether it works with the comic... or at all. I've seen many comics with simplistic art styles presented with formats that would be more suited to a commercial website, and vice versa.


The Concept:
There seems to be a split in the comic concept. The first was a series of single-panel comics based on RPG games, and the second is more of a run-of-the-mill fantasy/RPG story. Both are based on the adventures of a pair of cat-like thief characters called Jack and Colby.

Personally, I thought the original idea was far more compelling.


The Art:
Looks familiar. I'm pretty sure I ran across one of its banners in the Comixpedia Forums or something.

To get to the point: The Thieves of Thalegor has an immediately recognisable art style. Rummaging around for a word to use: I settle on 'cute', although that very poorly describes it. "Cut-out" and "geometric" might perhaps do a better job...

Oh heck... here:


Image copyright Kevin Wadlow. Click on the picture to see it on the original site!

As you can see, it's a very attractive style, riding the same boat as Scary-Go-Round's with areas of solid colour and no outlines. It differs from SGR in the sense that Kevin also makes use of gradients to create a very unique feel for the comic.

I should also mention the backgrounds. TOT is one of the few instances where I've seen using modified photographs for backgrounds actually work. Having tried that out myself, I must say I can appreciate how hard it is to do, and Kevin deserves a round of applause for managing to accomplish it.


The Writing:

I was quite charmed by the oneshots in the beginning. Single panel comics like Bunny and The Chopping Block are significantly harder to pull off, as each stip needs to be funny AND self-contained. The make things harder, unlike story or gag comic, on bad days you don't have 'continuity' to fall back on.

TOT managed to do well in the single panel presentation regardless. I quite enjoyed the random one-shots, the duck talk strip being my favourite.

I'm sorry to admit I was less happy with the transition from the single-panel strip to the story/gag format. You see, while there's nothing inherently wrong with story/gag strips, there's the problem when you start off as one thing and try and make it another.

An oft-overlooked aspect of a webcomic is identity. By identity I mean that thing which allows you to describe comic in a sentence. Examples include: "A story comic about a cursed woman" or "a humourous comic about life in kindergarten". Without its own identity, a webcomic will eventually hit a glass ceiling and peter out from lack of interest. In this case, the random oneshots were part of this webcomic's identity, and therein lies the problem in changing it.

To be fair, some of the jokes in the story strips were quite humourous, but it's just not the same. I suppose it's not supposed to be, anyway.


Problems:

As aformentioned, the transition from "random DnD humour comic" to "Adventures of a pair of characters in a DnD world" type comic was jarring. Secondly, broken archive pages never bode well.

TOT also relies quite heavily on DnD concepts already being known to the average reader. As I have mentioned before, it is something that can be both a boon and a curse. On one hand you have a built-in audience in the DnD/RPG market, on the other hand you risk alienating the other portion of your audience that aren't DnD fans.


Overall:
As should be obvious, I was intially impressed by the oneshots, and then less than impressed at "Thieves of Thalegor".

I think the reason for it comes down to scarcity. Single panel comics about DnD are significantly rarer than adventure comics about the same. This comic had something special in the beginning, I'm sorry to say that with the change, it stopped standing out and faded.

Don't get me wrong... 'Thieves of Thalegor' is actually quite good. It just pales in comparison to the Oneshots.


The Next Leg:
The links page is not working. Fortunately there is a nice set of clickable buttons at the bottom of the main page.

Bilaran Wars? Sound like an adventure! Do we feel like adventure? Yes we do!

2 comments:

  1. After thinking about it for a minute, I realized the art style in this comic reminds me of Blue's Clues more than anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm... looking up this 'Blue's Clues', I see a bit of similarity...

    Although I do agree the art style would look perfectly in place at a children's television channel...

    ReplyDelete