Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hotspot #16: Happy Birthday. Now here's a white glove to the face!

So it was my Birthday on the 13th (last Saturday).

While I spent it in a manner that was err... interesting, what I want to talk about today is how birthdays make you think about your life and all that you have achieved and all that you haven't.

In my previous Hotspot I talked about time and comics, and the good thing about it is that it made me look beyond the present and what I wanted to be doing comic-wise, a year from now.

Let's be honest, I love my experimental comic, The Longest Sojourn. Messing around with it has taught me so much, but I don't want to be still doing it by next year. I want to be working on The Jaded by then. I fully intend to finish these two comics, and I already have another one lined up that I don't want to be starting until at least finish TLS.

The thing is, TLS is indeed on its penultimate chapter. And while that sounds tantalizingly close to completion, it's not when you bring out the math.

My chapters for TLS average at around 60 pages per chapter. I update a page every week. I'm currently close to halfway through the 2nd last chapter, so even with my conservative estimate of needing at least 100 pages more to finish the story, it's going to take me 100 weeks to finish the comic.

100 weeks is 2 years, give or take a few weeks. So regardless of what I want, I will still be doing TLS this time next year at the rate I am going.

Let me reiterate this. I do not want to still be doing TLS by next year.

And I do not intend to leave it unfinished.

Which means there is only one solution to this problem. Despite my real life commitments, difficulties and what not, I need to increase my update frequency. There is no way around it.

Sometimes, nothing is as good a motivator to a flagging schedule as asking yourself what you want to be doing the same time next year and crunching the numbers for the math.

Updating once a week = 52 pages
Updating twice a week = 104 pages

So the gauntlet is down. 

As they say: nothing to it but to do it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Postcards #3: The Cattle Raid of Cooley

Comic: The Cattle Raid of Cooley
By: Patrick "Paddy" Brown

So I got this request to look at this comic from not an email, but one of the comments in my previous postcards.

If you like "story-oriented comics", you might consider checking out mine. "The Ulster Cycle" is a series of serials set in Iron Age Ireland and based on Irish legend. The first story, Ness, followed the daughter of the king of Ulster on a personal vengeance quest as war threatened her father's kingdom. The current one, "The Cattle Raid of Cooley", is set a couple of generations later and stars Ness's grandson, a teenage rookie border guard who has to face an invasion single-handed. It's at:

hope you enjoy.

I'm a mythology junkie, but for some reason or other I never gave much attention to Irish mythology. I think I've have heard vaguely of the Hound of Ulster, but never quite did I look further into the myth than that. Naturally, when I popped over and had a look and Paddy Brown's site I was quite delighted to see a comic about Irish mythology of all things!

I'm not sure if it's just my connection, but for some reason the page takes a-g-e-s to load on my compy. It could be the sad excuse of my ISP of course, but something on the page seems to wreak havoc on my connection speed every time (a total of three different attempts on different days) I visit the site, which is something I do not experience on other comic sites.

It is just me? No idea, but it makes reading the comic difficult. The first page is inaccessible, due to the multiple pages on one page and the slow load speed causing some of the images to not load at all. Pity, what I can see of them seems interesting.

Hm... checking on the file sizes of the individual pages, they seem to be around 340KB or so each. Strange they should be so large for art that 's pretty much 2 colours. I can see how sticking 6 of these in a single page cause one's connection to have a heart attack. Frankly, for this style of art I would have thought a PNG would do a better job as opposed to a JPEG. Really bloated JPEGs, at that.

Since I had to skip a few pages that refused to load, it's really hard to get into the story. One thing I do note is the style of dialogue is different. In many fantasy comics, you tend to get these medieval looking characters speaking in modern Americanized english, so it's a nice change to see the characters speaking in character, so to speak. (Did I confuse anyone with the last sentence?)

The art is very nice. I love the use of lines and the style, but the use of red line on white background bugs me. It's the same argument as the first postcard: poor contrast and an unnecessary strain on the eyes. (which is my polite way of saying: "Ooo nice art... but MY EYES!).

I quite understand the want to tint greyscale art with a slightly different colour to make it a little more interesting. After all, I sepia tone my comics as well. But even in the tinted art there's still... well black. or at least, very dark areas. In my opinion, the eye-strain can be greatly reduced and the red tint still retained with a simple hue adjustment and a decrease in the colour saturation:

Original - Panel from the comic

Edited - After 60 seconds of Photoshop work

All in all, I could like this comic. It certainly piqued my interest but the harrowing experience of trying to read through the snail-speed-loading archives resulted in me backing off. I would definitely recommend shrinking the image size bloat. It seems unfair that technical issues can torpedo the chances of a comic being read, but alas, if the effort of going through the archives is greater than what the protagonist doing in the comic... it does.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Stopover at No Rest for the Wicked: Andrea's back!

Being the ardent reader of No Rest For The Wicked that I am, I was overjoyed to find Andrea's resumed updating NRFTW again!

I first reviewed NRFTW back in some of my early journey legs. And while some comics have dropped off my reading list, NRTFW was one I faithfully followed, even during the hiatused times. I used to say that discovering NRFTW was one of the finds that made starting this blog and comic reading adventure worth it. And I still do.

So yay! I'm happy. This just made my week. I'll even call it an early birthday present!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oh Gee. Thanks, Yahoo!

I'm sorry for the slow timing to the next writeup. I logged into my Yahoo! mail account to find it emptied and most of my mail missing, including the mails from people who wrote with review requests and other Webcomic Finds stuff.

Needless to say, I am very very upset. No I still haven't figured out what happened.

I'll be picking up the pieces and doing damage assessment.

If you've written to me and I've not replied, you'll know why. Feel free to resend to webcomicfinds @ Gmail.

Argh. What a mess :(