Monday, March 23, 2009

Postcards #7: Seek and Destroy (Anarchy Comics)

Some of the requests I get are short and sweet, but they work.

Hey, Check out this webcomic, its dark and edgey.... in need of a reveiw

Dark and edgey eh? I can go with that. I haven't read a dark and gritty comic for a while... this could be good.

Nice cover page. The monologue is a little pompous though...

Hm. Why does it keep switching from first to third person in the narrative?

And is it possible to stop............ abusing the punctuation........ and exclamation marks!!!!!!!????!!! (yes, I added them for irony)

Also, Contraction Nazi says:
It's = It Is
Its = That which belongs to "It"

Little nitpicks aside... it seems that this is a superhero comic of sorts. Or I should say, one of those Sin-City/Gotham-esque scenarios where the cops are corrupt, everything is dark and depressing and justice only exists in some poor sod's daydream. The main character whose name I never did quite get around to remembering and nor do I want to, is some sort of bloodthirsty, sadistic hitman. And he kills a crime boss for the bounty. And then runs into a scantily-clad female ninja who wants the same bounty. And they fight.

While I do believe profanity has its place in things, and in some situations they are even appropriate, I think the dialogue needs to refine its vocabulary a bit so that it moves out of the "cheap and crass" category and back into "dark and edgy" . When words like "Shit!" "Motherfucker" and "Piss" are blared every 5 seconds or so, even IF the context is like this comic where everything is crude and gritty... it gets annoying. (Heck, ANY word that's blared every 5 seconds or so would be annoying, come to think of it). But point is, they are used so repetitively here they lose their effect, and it just becomes like I said, cheap and crass.

(goes on reading)

Ok this gets a little bit boring. Violent, yet somehow boring.

It's an entire whole first chapter of some super antihero who thinks he's a big shot judge, jury and executioner blah blah. And worst of all, he won't shut up about it in his self-narrative. There's a lot of fighting, gore and waaay to much dialogue that lacks substance. And worst of all... it's committed the cardinal sin of being repetitive and boring.

Annoying, arrogant, self-obsessed characters can be made to be likable. But you need to have attributes that allow the antihero to still identify with the audience. This guy... well... he has nothing. He might as well have been a cardboard cutout with WARNING: DARK AND MYSTERIOUS BADASS CHARACTER printed on him for all the depth he has.

The art isn't too bad, page composition is good, and I like the way he uses shading to convey the night. But I get the feeling it is drawn using published superhero comic books (you know the Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse types) as a reference. How do I know? Well... the bad anatomy, latex costumes and mysteriously missing nipples particularly might have some influence on my suspicions, yes.

By the way, women have butts. And hips. Just saying. The way this gal's drawn at the moment... the only way she's plausible at all would be if her supervillian name was something like "Anorexia".

Taking pity on the poor girl, I whipped out my tablet and made some proportional corrections. The one on the left is the original, the one of the right is the modified version to show how the female figure (even if idealized) should really be.

The breasts are almost right though. Just need to make them more err... less solid and more organic. At least it's not the usual pair of over-inflated balloons pasted on. But I do feel obliged to point out that if she's going to wear something that uncomfortable without her bra, her nipples are going to be poking out like gobies on the seabed. Really. Yes... Even IF she wore nipple stickers.

I can just say... referencing from print comics for your anatomy is a really bad idea?It's like taking a photocopy of a photocopy's photocopy. One thing I dislike about a lot of print comics when I did read them was that the artists often referenced other artist's work whose anatomy was already atrociously bad to begin with. And if you in turn reference their work, you really get some awful, awful anatomy that looks more like a botox nightmare or a blow up toy gone mad than the streamlined female or well-built hero that you were aiming for. If you want reference, look for art nudes, movie stills or sport magazines, then adapt accordingly. Or invest in a digital camera and be your own model.

Oh it's over. Is it a bad sign I'm relieved?

So, my assessment? Well the best way to describe Seek and Destroy would be like the guy in this comic. (BTW, Dresden Codak is updating again). As in: A guy who is initially not bad looking, might be quite interesting and cool... then he opens his mouth and you throw up a little inside.

Similarly, my initial impression of Seek and Destroy wasn't bad. Nice cover page, atmospheric shading... then the narration boxes started clogging the page with long-winded and pretentiously trying-to-sound-impressive trash talk. Then the whole thing started to feel like bits and pieces of Spawn + The Punisher + Some other "dark and edgy" comic mixed in and I feel rather let down that originality seems to have fled somewhere along the bloodbath.

I think it's mainly because it feels shallow, like a pale imitation of a dark superhero comic. Nothing to set it apart from the norm, and not enough of the real author in it to make it live.

But to be encouraging, this really does remind me of Jess Calcaben, whom I reviewed years ago. I loathed Bilaran Wars for the same reasons as the above comic (yes and I ripped it apart the same way), yet the same author created the masterpiece that was Mute (which to this day I rank as one of the best webcomics I have ever read).

So maybe Daragh just hasn't found his true niche yet. Personally I think he needs to stop emulating superhero comics and write more honestly about something closer to home and his own life. About something original he really knows instead of artificially regurgitating up stuff from other comics out there that have been worn threadbare already.

And that's my opinion. If this comic is just a experimental practice comic, feel free to consider me to have gone overboard and disregard my words (Even if they were requested). Just keep in mind I cannot in good conscience give my recommendation of Seek and Destroy to anyone, sorry.

And Daragh? Don't give up. Keep on trying. It's all part of the journey in finding your niche, all the best to you.

Postcards are reviews requested by (mostly) webcomic authors. They focus less on reviews and more on critical insight and unreserved, honest, feedback. You can request for a review by emailing Ping at webcomicfinds @ gmail . com but be warned, when Ping says honest feedback, she really means it.

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