The Flipside Forum

Comics Discussion => Flipside Discussion => Topic started by: Brion Foulke on September 28, 2010, 09:59:36 am

Title: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on September 28, 2010, 09:59:36 am
This is where you can post criticism of Flipside.  It can be about any part, or any aspect of Flipside.  Please try to keep all criticism constructive, and stay generally polite.  Politeness is expected from people responding to critics, as well.

Also, not all criticism *has* to go into this thread.  If it relates to the current chapter, feel free to put it in the chapter discussion thread.  You can also feel free to start your own thread if you feel it is warranted.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: RoninAngel on October 04, 2010, 11:53:15 am
I like Flipside!
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: RoninAngel on October 04, 2010, 11:53:59 am
But sometimes it's really frustrating to have to wait for the new update.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Emp_Dragon on October 05, 2010, 10:13:09 am
ROTFLMAO@ Ronin

Though I agree with the latter, I can understand it's not possible or even desireable to have more frequent updates while also maintaining a family and a social life offline ;)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on October 07, 2010, 06:34:14 pm
Every now and then I see an entire page, like page 14 of chapter 26, where there are no backgrounds and the whole thing feels a bit empty.  Even if its only a single panel with just a few basic lines, showing a wall, floor of item of furniture, it just seems to give so much more to the entire page.

Also, animals.  Not enough of them or fantasy animals/creatures/monsters.  Seriously, what happened to Maxmillian (http://www.flipsidecomics.com/comic.php?i=825)?
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: vintage on October 18, 2010, 05:25:22 pm
I've seen Maytag's hair change over the course of the comic, but Bernadette's hair really hasn't changed. I loved seeing it short in the flashbacks, which made me want to see it worn differently ever since. It'd be neat to see her wear it in a ponytail or something different on occasion, even if it isn't a permanent change.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: RyanAsquith on November 17, 2010, 03:43:19 pm
Although all characters e.g. Maytag, Bern have stength's and weaknesses, Crest, although seemingly awesome, has no real strengths.
He is nervous around women, cant use a sword, and is generally a coward.

Not to mention he's STILL a virgin.

Apart from a verbal punching bag, what use does crest have?
Seriously.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Shay on November 17, 2010, 05:12:41 pm
Hey, if it weren't for Crest then Bern would've died in that fight against Bloody Mary. Even though Vajra did all the work... without Crest, she would've been far too afraid to even try.

Crest is useful when needed. The problem is... he's rarely needed.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on November 18, 2010, 06:38:18 pm
Indeed. Also, while he's rusty, its worth noting that Bern thinks he does have a good deal of potential with a sword.  He's probably been getting more training with her over the past few weeks and has some reasonable skill from that and his past training before he gave-up on the knight-hood.

Never-the-less I would like to see some more use of Crest and Brion has apparently promised that will happen over these next few chapters.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: 9_6 on November 18, 2010, 11:44:37 pm
Apart from a verbal punching bag, what use does crest have?
Seriously.

He likes swords.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: parameciumkid on November 19, 2010, 08:56:49 pm
Someone should do a Crestdoken.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Asyndeta on January 17, 2011, 04:05:22 pm
When I have the time and strength for an essay, it'll be about Bern and May's relationship.  But this stuck out to me:

Although all characters e.g. Maytag, Bern have stength's and weaknesses, Crest, although seemingly awesome, has no real strengths.
He is nervous around women, cant use a sword, and is generally a coward.

Not to mention he's STILL a virgin.

Apart from a verbal punching bag, what use does crest have?
Seriously.

Putting to one side the (bizarre) idea that virginity is a character flaw and needs to be 'fixed', I'm going to have to call you on him being a coward.

The first time we meet Crest, he asks Maytag out despite knowing as a near-certainty she's out of his league and will turn him down.  As small a thing as this is?  Not cowardly.  Then we find him cheating at poker in a gang of thugs he can't not know will kill him if they catch him at it - not for personal gain, but to restore his mother's sight, and that against the wishes of a powerful father figure.  He tries to defend Maytag against said gang of thugs - and later, Voulger - despite not having any strategy or special skills.  He doesn't cower, he literally stands up to them in the near-certainty that he's going to die for it.  Stupid?  Certainly, but very brave.  And this in the first two chapters.  Since then, he's lost the limelight to Suspiria and other new characters but there's never really a point at which he gives into cowardice.

Does Crest have any magic powers?  No.  Is he especially good with a sword?  No.  Is he in any way remarkable?  No.  Does he recognise his limits?  Absolutely.  But in the context of the comic, these ARE his strengths: he's a straight man (no pun intended) to Flipside's more outlandish, preternaturally capable protagonists.  He's there as a constant reminder of what the baseline for 'average' is in this world, he acts as a lens through which the audience can perceive the main characters, and he's the one who can maintain a sense of perspective and common sense re. the seriousness of what's going on. 

In Book Zero, Regina served much the same purpose: she was a sorceress, yeah, but only just.   Her dramatic function was to be normal - someone who was trying her best despite her flaws and very rarely succeeding - because stories with extraordinary characters need ordinariness too.  Her - and Crest's - conflicts and struggles were all the more powerful because they're played out on the same field as Maytag et al despite not being as competent or confident.

(And while I'm here, the awkward, borderline slowmo-train-wreck nature of Regina's relationship with Lucient represented some of the best writing in Book Zero and indeed in the comic to date.  It worked, and I felt genuinely gutted for her, because it felt real.  Throwing your heart and soul into the idea of a relationship with someone and then having it just barely not suck enough for you to immediately back out?  Very nicely done.  Just saying.)

This is practically a pre-emptive criticism, or at least a piece of advice: Crest does not need to be any more badass than he is now.  The slow improvement in his swordfighting is nice, the fact he has potential is good, but the last thing we need is for him to ever reach Bernadette levels of competence.  I said my piece on Maytag degrading as a character a long time ago, but as for Crest, he needs to be what he is right now: an awkward, slightly helpless everyman.  He holds the cast together.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on January 17, 2011, 04:49:09 pm
Thanks for the feedback.  The thing about Crest's character that is appealing to me, as a writer, is that by having start as such a "worthless" character, he has more potential for growth than any of the other characters.  But I agree with you that he should not grow to be as badass as Bernadette, because that would seem unnatural, and also Bernadette's role in the story is also already filled by Bernadette.  Having said that, there's other ways for him to become "useful" in combat than by simply making him more badass, and also other ways for his character to grow besides simply becoming more powerful.

So don't be too upset if he becomes a *little* more badass than he is now!  After all, even normal people can improve.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on January 17, 2011, 07:35:46 pm
I'd still love to see him get a shield *LOL*

But I do recall Bern noting in their first practice session that he had some great potential as a swordsman.

I see crest as one of those all-rounder characters.  He'll never be the extreme rogue, warrior or sorcerer like the three girls he travels with, but he'll be relatively good in all three areas (not sure he'll ever break a magick seal, but he'll probably get a good understanding of magick and magick items, much like Maytag, and use them.

I guess thats where Crest has the potential to out-perform Bern at times.  He's willing to resort to magickal assistance.  I doubt Bern could have defeated Derricks in a sword duel once he had that collar to give him an advantag.  Bern was at the advantage with Bloody Mary and Voulger because they had little or no fighting skills like Derricks had.

It most certainly has been wonderful, though, to watch him grow in his confidence around women and competence in situations (organising Vajra to assist Bern against Bloody Mary).  This seems to be the first time in my recollection that we've watched some effort put into growing his fighting capability and while I'm sure the next time he has the opportunity he won't be a super swordsman, it'll still be good to see him take a more competent and threatening stance against the antagonist.

But I still think we've seen growth in the other major characters, or at least great potential for it.  Suspira's selfish, immature and egotistical attitude,  Maytag's was apparently much the same and she continues to grow with it and Both her and Bern continue to open up and understand each other more deeply, allowing them to find compromise in their respective liberal and conservative stances while gaining a better understanding of the viewpoints and feelings of each other.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: RyanAsquith on February 09, 2011, 11:56:27 pm
Quote
Putting to one side the (bizarre) idea that virginity is a character flaw and needs to be 'fixed', I'm going to have to call you on him being a coward.

The first time we meet Crest, he asks Maytag out despite knowing as a near-certainty she's out of his league and will turn him down.  As small a thing as this is?  Not cowardly.  Then we find him cheating at poker in a gang of thugs he can't not know will kill him if they catch him at it - not for personal gain, but to restore his mother's sight, and that against the wishes of a powerful father figure.  He tries to defend Maytag against said gang of thugs - and later, Voulger - despite not having any strategy or special skills.  He doesn't cower, he literally stands up to them in the near-certainty that he's going to die for it.  Stupid?  Certainly, but very brave.  And this in the first two chapters.  Since then, he's lost the limelight to Suspiria and other new characters but there's never really a point at which he gives into cowardice.

Does Crest have any magic powers?  No.  Is he especially good with a sword?  No.  Is he in any way remarkable?  No.  Does he recognise his limits?  Absolutely.  But in the context of the comic, these ARE his strengths: he's a straight man (no pun intended) to Flipside's more outlandish, preternaturally capable protagonists.  He's there as a constant reminder of what the baseline for 'average' is in this world, he acts as a lens through which the audience can perceive the main characters, and he's the one who can maintain a sense of perspective and common sense re. the seriousness of what's going on. 

In Book Zero, Regina served much the same purpose: she was a sorceress, yeah, but only just.   Her dramatic function was to be normal - someone who was trying her best despite her flaws and very rarely succeeding - because stories with extraordinary characters need ordinariness too.  Her - and Crest's - conflicts and struggles were all the more powerful because they're played out on the same field as Maytag et al despite not being as competent or confident.

(And while I'm here, the awkward, borderline slowmo-train-wreck nature of Regina's relationship with Lucient represented some of the best writing in Book Zero and indeed in the comic to date.  It worked, and I felt genuinely gutted for her, because it felt real.  Throwing your heart and soul into the idea of a relationship with someone and then having it just barely not suck enough for you to immediately back out?  Very nicely done.  Just saying.)

This is practically a pre-emptive criticism, or at least a piece of advice: Crest does not need to be any more badass than he is now.  The slow improvement in his swordfighting is nice, the fact he has potential is good, but the last thing we need is for him to ever reach Bernadette levels of competence.  I said my piece on Maytag degrading as a character a long time ago, but as for Crest, he needs to be what he is right now: an awkward, slightly helpless everyman.  He holds the cast together.
 


Point taken. Still, it would be nice to see him contribute actively to the quest. It seems he has faded into the background a bit.
 
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: dynamicmoves on February 13, 2011, 10:07:42 am
Its always bothered me about the comic.  When Crest punches Orransong, along with chapter 28, page 14's action shot, their head's down.  What if Orransong sidestepped Crest?  Crest would be wide open.  Same with this trainer.  Fighters can't rely on their opponent just taking the punch, and not blocking, or weaving.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Pwncho on February 13, 2011, 10:57:58 am
Well as has been established previously, Crest is not a particularly highly trained fighter so would perhaps not know the intricacies of unarmed combat so when he punched Orransong he just tried to put as much force into the punch as he could.  The most recent punch to the face could be explained by how the trainer was either entirely sure of their ability to hit Crest (he was entirely flat footed), had enchantments to boost their speed to a level where Crest had no possible chance to react... Or magic, it can always be explained away with magic.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 13, 2011, 12:47:31 pm
Its always bothered me about the comic.  When Crest punches Orransong, along with chapter 28, page 14's action shot, their head's down.  What if Orransong sidestepped Crest?  Crest would be wide open.  Same with this trainer.  Fighters can't rely on their opponent just taking the punch, and not blocking, or weaving.

It looked cooler head down.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: dynamicmoves on February 13, 2011, 01:55:02 pm
Well as has been established previously, Crest is not a particularly highly trained fighter so would perhaps not know the intricacies of unarmed combat so when he punched Orransong he just tried to put as much force into the punch as he could.  The most recent punch to the face could be explained by how the trainer was either entirely sure of their ability to hit Crest (he was entirely flat footed), had enchantments to boost their speed to a level where Crest had no possible chance to react... Or magic, it can always be explained away with magic.
Crest did have training though.  Perhaps he didn't train all his life, but he still had training. 
As for the trainer, what you do in practice, you do in the when it matters. 

But hey, it's a story, I don't expect flawless execution every time. 

Quote
It looked cooler head down.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLWF0_cLDNg&feature=fvw
To each their own.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Ryuu on February 14, 2011, 02:59:44 am
yes, and realism must always make way for coolness
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 14, 2011, 08:36:23 am
I'll consider trying it the other way next time, if I can get it to look good.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Furcas on February 16, 2011, 11:09:24 pm
Hi Brion, I love Flipside, and I adore Maytag.

If I had to criticize one thing about Flipside, it's that the story moves too slowly. I'm not sure how to explain it, exactly, it's just this feeling I have that each page should move the story at least a certain... amount, and in Flipside that's often not the case. I'm no writer, so I can't actually give you any advice, except point you to a webcomic that I think does this better than Flipside, so that you can hopefully analyze and understand the difference. That comic is Girl Genius (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php). It's not a perfect comic, and in some ways Flipside is superior, but I very seldom get a feeling of, "Geez, has anything even happened this week?" when reading GG, whereas I feel it pretty often when reading Flipside, especially since the Warp Box arc began.


Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 17, 2011, 09:52:34 am
There's a simple reason why that is.  Girl Genius uses way too many dialog balloons per panel.  I'm not willing to use that many because it makes the art feel static, and takes away the cinematic quality that you get from reading manga.

I do try to find ways to keep the story moving as fast as I possibly can, by editing as much as possible.  Believe me that the story in most arcs could easily be twice as long, but I cut a lot of my ideas and try to keep scenes as succinct as possible for this very reason.  But there's absolutely no way I will ever give in and start using more than 3 dialog balloons in every panel, I hate comics that do that, and if I did that to mind I would hate it as well and would no longer be interested in doing it.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Churba on February 17, 2011, 11:14:59 am
There's a simple reason why that is.  Girl Genius uses way too many dialog balloons per panel.  I'm not willing to use that many because it makes the art feel static, and takes away the cinematic quality that you get from reading manga.
It's still practically a picture book compared to Subnormality. Jaysus.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 17, 2011, 12:06:06 pm
It's still practically a picture book compared to Subnormality. Jaysus.

But that's not really saying a lot.

I've been looking through Girl Genius and I noticed it has a tendency to do something which I try hard to avoid, which I call "maze balloons."  Where a single panel has so many word balloons, many being spoken by different people, that the various arrows pointing to the characters speaking them sort of turn the panel into a maze.  There's one on the latest page, http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20110216 (http://"http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20110216"), which features an entire conversation between 4 different characters in one panel.  That's great for efficiency, but I feel like if you're gonna have an entire conversation over one generic piece of art, the comic becomes something too close to an illustrated book.

I prefer the manga style of telling story with art as much as or more than words, i.e. the cinematic style, and that style necessitates less efficiency.  But it's tough because for webcomics, people care more about efficiency than pacing.  They don't care how the story is actually paced, they simply want as much story in a single page as possible.  So I am trying to make compromises as much as I can without sacrificing too much of the cinematic storytelling style.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Ryuu on February 17, 2011, 01:11:42 pm
i prefer a well paced story to a lot of story per page myself, as i like to be able to go back and read the story without it seeming rushed, also, i find that if too much happens on a single page, i get lost. if i feel the story begins to move too slowly, i simply stop checking for updates dayly and begin reeding weekly/monthly, and in the long run i enjoy the story and webcomic more, but that's just me
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 17, 2011, 01:16:21 pm
Well, I would prefer that people check back every day, so that's definitely not good for me.  So efficiency matters, but... it's not the same thing as pacing, I don't think.  I think pacing is about plot structure.  So a story can have a lot crammed into each page, but still have a slowly paced plot, and vice versa, if that makes sense.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Ryuu on February 17, 2011, 01:20:39 pm
definaely, and i usually read as they are uploaded (rss feed) anyway, so it's all the same to me, and it has to be EXTREMELY slow for me to not check dayly (and i mean, it has to have like nearly blank pages etc)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: vintage on February 21, 2011, 03:47:24 pm
If I had to criticize one thing about Flipside, it's that the story moves too slowly.

I have to disagree. I think it moves extremely fast for a thrice-weekly comic without the art quality suffering, for which I'm very appreciative. However, I can understand how the pace seems slow as there's only 3 pages a week and you want to read more! ;) But if Brion was cranking the pages out all at once in a posted arc, I think you might feel differently.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Ryuu on February 22, 2011, 05:42:12 pm
yeah, but if he did that, it would take him like 4 months to write one chapter, and that's a release schedule even i don't like the look of!
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 22, 2011, 05:44:42 pm
There's only so much I can do to speed up the story, which is why I am trying to boost the content of the site in other supplemental ways.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Ryuu on February 22, 2011, 06:41:23 pm
were saying the speed is fine as it is, but the more the better ^^
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on February 22, 2011, 06:56:39 pm
I think the world of Iscariot is the biggest thing you can expand upon to supplement the content.  Sure there are a lot of good authors who create fictional worlds for a one-hit story, but the legends in the game all create an entire world that they build a series of stories within.  This way, its not just the story which attracts readers but the fictional world it takes place in.

Easiest way I can think to do this is with a wiki.  Maybe start one on Wikia.  I'm the Admin for the Crimson Dark Wiki and have been working hard to expand it.  I'm sure you've got more than enough computer gurus in here to grow your own and then you only have to throw out tid-bits of extra information either in-comic or else-where to let them grow and expand it further.

If you want a better example of a good sized wiki based on a comic with a fictional world, just see Erfworld's Erfwiki.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Ryuu on February 22, 2011, 08:36:40 pm
I think the world of Iscariot is the biggest thing you can expand upon to supplement the content.  Sure there are a lot of good authors who create fictional worlds for a one-hit story, but the legends in the game all create an entire world that they build a series of stories within.  This way, its not just the story which attracts readers but the fictional world it takes place in.

Easiest way I can think to do this is with a wiki.  Maybe start one on Wikia.  I'm the Admin for the Crimson Dark Wiki and have been working hard to expand it.  I'm sure you've got more than enough computer gurus in here to grow your own and then you only have to throw out tid-bits of extra information either in-comic or else-where to let them grow and expand it further.

If you want a better example of a good sized wiki based on a comic with a fictional world, just see Erfworld's Erfwiki.

^ yes, that ^ wiki FTW!
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Trombonefellow on March 10, 2011, 03:56:14 pm
http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=1123

The second panel bothers me, I hate it when speech bubbles cover up the characters like that.
I can barely tell who asked Crest what happened.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: TheShyOne on March 17, 2011, 10:34:19 pm
I want to say something, but I don't want to say things even when I get a response without it draining my sanity in nervousness and grief and saying "What have I done?!?"

All I can say is it was quite interesting and I'll check around to see how it goes.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: parameciumkid on March 28, 2011, 03:40:49 pm
You misspelled "separated" in the last panel.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on April 13, 2011, 04:02:25 am
I do love this comic, I read it regularly and have for years, and I don't plan to stop.

That being said, wow.  You may want to stay away from writing Maytag's award-winning jokes, Brion.  If that last panel on Wednesday's page was any indicator, she should be in for a sure loss.  If you really absolutely feel the need to put some stand up comedy jokes in the panels, I would say, either steal them from someone else and credit on the page where you took them from, or just infer and don't point out.  That may sound harsh, but you know, if Maytag were doing real life standup somewhere with that line, the audience would be giving her the cold, uncomprehending stare that kills careers before they even begin.  And no, I'm not against profanity or opinionated jokes, but you know?  They have to be funny.

So yeah.  "I'm never having kids, because babysitting kids is a pain in the ass!  HAHAHA ONTO THE NEXT ROUND!"  Not flying.

Like these (http://www.mustsharejokes.com/page/Chris+Rock+Jokes) or these (http://blogzarro.com/2007/05/100-greatest-george-carlin-quotes/) or even these (http://www.basicjokes.com/dquotes.php?aid=28) although Maytag as you've presented her so far really strikes me as the George Carlin type.

referring to Chapter 29, Page 9 (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=1151)

Last edit:  I went googling for funny jokes on the theme "I don't want to have kids!" touched by Maytag in the last panel to list as possible examples, and couldn't really find anything.  Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places for them, but I guess it's just not a rip roaring topic to win contests with. :P

There is this, though:

The condom commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_0bhT98g9Y)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on April 15, 2011, 12:48:39 am
Yeah... I guess I was envisioning that as maybe a snippet from a rant, and maybe the part that came next was the funny part.  And also, I kinda feel like someone with good delivery could say the lines she's saying and get a laugh... but maybe you're right.  If I can think of anything better I'll substitute it, but if you can think of anything let me know.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on April 15, 2011, 03:03:56 am
Well obviously I do not have a career in stand up comedy ahead of me so take this all with a grain of salt, heh.

The first thing I would think of would be to make a pretty unfair male bash joke about not having kids because she already has enough immaturity to handle with a man in the first place.  But that is mean, doesn't suit Maytag philosophy, and isn't actually all that funny, so here are some random ones.

Why practice magical contraception?  Well, my friend's kids might have something to do with it.  She named them pill, condom and diapharagm!

Or

Why do they always sacrifice virgins?  Because they sure as hell aren't gonna sacrifice the ones that put out!

Or

Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.  *this is a real quote from Voltaire, but you could turn it into a joke.  Go 1600s intellectuals!

And last,

Why do moths fly with their legs apart?  Well, have you seen the size of moth balls?!

I'm sure there are better sex jokes out there.  You might want to start a joke thread and have reader contributions with votings.  Then it could be like a real contest, LOL!
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on April 15, 2011, 03:11:34 am
Also, best anti children joke I have heard, which is from a friend, is "abortions shouldn't just be legal, they should be mandatory!"

I have a child and I laughed.  :-)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on April 15, 2011, 04:46:59 am
Yeah... I guess I was envisioning that as maybe a snippet from a rant, and maybe the part that came next was the funny part.  And also, I kinda feel like someone with good delivery could say the lines she's saying and get a laugh... but maybe you're right.  If I can think of anything better I'll substitute it, but if you can think of anything let me know.

I still liked that one you had her tell at the campfire in book 0 where we only heard the punchline and not the whole joke.  I think that always comes off quite well.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: bbfuller on May 02, 2011, 10:40:31 pm
I think I actually have more compliments than criticisms, so this will probably be more of a "observations I hope are useful" comment than anything. But in general, here're a few things:

My very favorite part of Flipside is character development that we see expedited through the core cast interacting. There are established relationships and plots that I enjoy, and while I understand that nothing but character-building would quickly turn the comic into a drama, I think that personally, the action and adventure parts are the least interesting to me. (For the record my favorite parts are the relationship and travel sections, but I'll be the first to admit that there has to be more than that to keep it interesting.)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Nettlekid on May 15, 2011, 11:19:28 am
Hi all, newcomer to the forum here. I stumbled onto Flipside yesterday, and read all non-Book 0 material through the night. This is an absolutely incredible comic. The quality of the characters, plot, setting, and development of all of the above goes far beyond the majority of the official manga series that are mass-produced these days. There is nothing wrong with this webcomic. In a hyperbole sense I am absolutely in love with just about every character, and in a literal sense I'm a little smitten with some of them. Which is really, really pathetic when I think about it. Anyway, considering that this is the character I relate to the most (unfortunately without the latent potential), I was wondering how much more development and involvement in the story we're going to see with Crest. Judging by the comments on this thread already, that seems like a hot topic. With the beginning of the comic I thought that Crest was going to be the real main character, with Maytag being more of a constant companion and instrumental component. Like...if anyone here reads/watches Fullmetal Alchemist, the way Ed is the main character while Al is an extremely important character alongside. I thought that tensions between the differing philosophies of Bern and Maytag would split the two up earlier on (though of course that can still happen) and as Crest remarked on that instance at camp, he'd be there to pick up the pieces. I really enjoyed all the character exposition in the first few chapters, learning about Maytag and Bern's relationship and Crest's varying attitude toward Maytag depending on her circumstances. But it really seems now that Crest is an ancillary character if anything, thrown into the ranks of supporting cast of someone of the same level as Glyph, while the relationship of Maytag and Bernadette takes the spotlight. It could have been my misinterpretation of the characters (I have yet to read Book 0, so perhaps I'll see more of how those two are undeniably the central focus there) but from my personal perspective, I'd like to see more of Crest making his presence known within this love trian...spiderweb that's going on here.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on May 15, 2011, 09:26:17 pm
Crest is not the main focus, but he is a solid number 3.  He got a decent amount of pages this chapter, and he will have more next time.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Warlock on June 01, 2011, 02:05:17 pm
I pretty much love the comic as is thus far, but I do agree with an earlier post that having more animals/fantasy type creatures appear in story would be neat, the only supernatural beasts we've seen so far are the Maws and the Fear Demons coughed up by Bloody Mary.  I mean, Maytag and Bern don't have to start riding around on Chocobos or anything like that, but seeing some more native creatures to Iscariot would be nice, whether they be legendary in nature like dragons or griffins or are simply alien to the real world. Like, for example, there could be a type of small lizard that scurries up and down walls like a gecko but has a venomous bite and rattling tail like a rattlesnake, something we wouldn't see in the real world but could be feasible in a made up place like Iscariot, or a type of forest dwelling canine or cat that would be a cause for alarm for travelers in the woods, etc
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brekkjern on June 01, 2011, 06:41:08 pm
To be quite frank. A rabbit or two, or even birds would be nice. Never mind fantasy monsters :P
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on June 01, 2011, 09:22:37 pm
A Rabbit of Caerbannog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_of_Caerbannog)?
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: lablanc30 on June 12, 2011, 12:31:16 am
Hi Brion:

You probably don't remember me but you handed me a card at FanimeCon after I flipped through one of Flipside's books. I just finished reading Flipside and I enjoy it a lot. Although the first few chapters aren't particularly interesting to me, Flipside gets more interesting after the Warp Box Arc(?). Some elements such as slavery and body mutilation feel out of place. It almost feels like those elements are setting up Flipside for potential hentai stuff (fortunately Flipside didn't go down that path). I guess they serve their purpose as teasers.

Both the art and story are getting better over time in my opinion, and the increasing cast is nice. I don't like the "first" major villain (I haven't read book zero so I have no idea) very much because he sort of just pops out of nowhere and literally enslaves May in the middle of the street. The later "magical collar" explanation somewhat redeems that part of the story but I still think the entire thing is forced. Bloody Mary is a much better villain because her troubles and powers seem better elaborated. I also like the current direction of the story because it is more focused. I got bored watching Crest hanging around town and trying to get between Bern/May in the early chapters so it's nice to see the story bringing in more adventures.

As far as the art goes, I remember seeing some weirdly drawn faces from the early chapters but other that other the art looks good. Each page looks completed. I also notice that Crest is better drawn in the more current chapters.

Good job Brion and keep it up.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Nettlekid on June 16, 2011, 05:25:35 pm
Hey, I made a comment on the discussion thread about Moby's comment and how the developing character sort of annoyed me, so I thought I'd bring my side of the debate here. And just so you know, I'm not trying to be super critical or anything, it's just my current opinions on the characterization in the comic. My two cents. I think the thing that kind of gets to me is that, despite the minutia, there are really only two types of characters in the comic right now when it comes to sexual philosophy: the standards and the deviants. People like Bern are the standards, who like monogamy and aren't necessarily very adventurous (obviously natural gender preferences like Bern's aren't being a maverick.) And then the deviants are the types like Maytag, Moby, and Fata Morgana, the three of whom I think make a good example. Between them is a broad spectrum, as you've done a good job of explaining. Moby is probably the least deviant of the three, at least as far as experimentation goes, her disbelief in the value of relationships being so far just about the only "unusual" (in terms of general societal norms and expectations) thing so far. Maytag is a good middle point, in that she shares enough of the "usual" ideas such as belief in relationships and all, while being deviant in the aspects of her bisexuality, cheating/polygamy/open relationship policies, and what-have-you. And then Fata Morgana, from what little we've seen of her, has described herself as having done every possible sexual act, so one can draw one's own conclusions. As I say, that is a good spectrum. However, my point is that it all seems to boil down to either you're plain, or there's a distinct something different. As portrayed in the comic so far, it doesn't matter how much of a deviant a character is, the only real important thing is that they are a deviant. And regardless, they are something. There's no character that you're not really sure "Hm, I'm not really sure if they're surprising or not." I think the reason this glares out to me is the obvious overemphasis on sex and sexual philosophy. Of course, I understand that it's a main theme of the comic, and I'm not saying you should either abandon or even stray away from it. It's a good issue. But imagine this, if the entire world was colored red, exactly what meaning would the word red have? Because everyone has some view on sex, the entire unspoken debate has become too saturated by these opinions. There are too few characters who simply don't care about sex at all. This doesn't mean they absolutely don't have sex, because their opinions would be conspicuous by their absence, like in Lucient's case for instance. One such character who's refreshing for me is Moss, actually, since so far he hasn't seemed to have any opinion on sex at all. He'll make fun of Maytag for it, but it's her he's making fun of, not the idea of her lack of chastity. I suppose beyond what he was pushed into by Maytag in earlier chapters, Crest is quite like this too, more neutral. The key to these characters is that sex and sexual philosophy isn't an intrinsic part of their lives, unlike...just about everyone else. Which isn't to say that no character should have their life dictated or at least strongly influenced by their sexual philosophy, since there are people like that in real life. But there are also people who aren't, and it's that contrast that I think would bring a little fresh air into these characterizations.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on June 16, 2011, 06:27:41 pm
lablanc30: Definitely wasn't trying to set Flipside up for Hentai stuff, but I do like for the comic to take on tough moral issues, a lot of which is sex related, so that's what you can expect more of.  You're right that the first major villian doesn't have much depth, even if I did add a little bit later with that collar revelation.  He's not really meant to have depth, though, he's a plot contrivance to make the first couple of chapters interesting... later "villains" will be more interesting, I promise, along the same lines as Bloody Mary.  (Not meaning that they will all be cannibal zombie girls, of course.)  Thanks for saying that my art is getting better.  Hopefully the story will continue to improve as well... we're getting to the point where more character truths and development will unfold.

Nettlekid: No need to apologize for your opinion, I understand.  Here's where I disagree with you, though... I think it's not quite fair to just lump everyone who is not "standard" into the deviant category.  That's an over generalization on your part.  I think if you'll give each of the characters' philosophies credit, you'll see that there is actually a lot of variation.

And to answer your second point, I don't think it's true that most of the characters dwell on sex.  As you noted, relationships are a focus of the comic, so it's only natural that there is a greater focus than you might be used to.  But as you admit, Crest does not exactly seem sex obsessed.  Bernadette is not constantly talking about her sexual proclivities, and she is one of the most important main characters.  It feels to me like there's enough characters who aren't focused on sex, and a good portion of the plot has nothing to do with sex.  But that's just my evaluation.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on June 16, 2011, 07:20:21 pm
It goes back and forth I find.  As usual, it can seem like the entire story is dwelling on a certain topic or area when we're talking about the update schedule of a webcomic (even if its daily) as opposed to getting each story segment in a lump portion like paper comics.

We sayed outside relationships almost completely for quite sometime with Bloody Mary and a number of people were complaining back then that it was all action or horror as opposed to the relationships focus we had around the start of the book.  Then we had the trip to Danzig's castle which confronted Bern and Maytag with the truth of their relationship before going to Danzig's castle and covering the mayhem there.

Admittedly, a good portion of Danzig's castle was sexual with the bath scene, Fata's temptation and Moss' ultimatum but it still confronted the characters, particularly Maytag with temptation and how sex is her weakness.

Really, you'll find that even in real life, when we come across "standard" people, there's not a lot to talk about in regards to sex, but when you do find people with "deviant" views or lifestyles then it often sparks up the discussion about it, even from "standard" people who can be curious about alternate philosophies.  Its difficult to say why Fata decided to talk to Maytag about Sex.  It doesn't seem to have been part of the test but obviously sex was part of Maytag's weakness and they'd just been through a sexual situation so I guess it seemed like an appropriate topic to choose out of the many.

The other thing you'll find is that "deviants" tend to find each other.  Likely because they usually tend to be outgoing, eccentric people who are in the arts and hit the clubs on a regular basis, so its not unusual for a comic with a "deviant" such as Maytag to meet people like Umber at Heart's Shadow, or get together with others in the entertainment industry who are quite outgoing and also of a party nature.  The comic certainly has a fair number of "standards" but there's little denying that there are a larger number of "deviants" than most of us tend to come across in life.  Again, if any of us are "deviants", its likely that we have many more other "deviants" in our lives than most "standards" do.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: The Ghost on July 07, 2011, 02:25:07 pm
Met you on Day 4 at AX this year. Love Flipside. Thank you.

The only thing I have felt "meh" about was the splitting up of May and Bern. The "I want to win my own Sound Stone" felt like a weak excuse to split them up. To be honest I can't think of anything better right now. But what you have setup is going to be interesting and I can't wait to see what happens.

I love how the story is adult without being pornographic. I feel that all the nude scenes are proper, tho some of May's comments can be a tad from left field, like Chap 27, Page 29. That was so random. I understand the point of it, but random. Not complaining tho.

I am in love with Crest. I see so much of myself in him. I don't want him to become a badass, but some minor growth I feel would be good. Just my luck my favorite character is the "main secondary" character. To me, he very much seems to be the "shoulder to cry on" person of the group. He is there when he is needed however he is needed (might be stretching it there). I don't want to get to crazy to say that he will do anything to make his friends happy, but I think if it's within his power, he would do so. Like in Chap 24, Page 24 where he shields May so Bern doesn't have to worry. That's where Crest is the strongest in my opinion.

I feel that the flow and pacing of the story is good. There has not been a section that I felt had dragged on, tho some times the Intermissions are annoying. They are fun, but some times there is so much intermission I tend to skip them to continue with the story. I like the release schedule. 3 a week is enough to keep me wanting more, without having major withdraws. It if were once a week I'd have to hunt you down.

I know much of what I said, has been said, and I am sorry for repeating. I really only have minor "issues", like the sick up Berns ass, but that is how the character is. If everyone was like May, then the story would kinda suck. Can't fault someone for breathing.

Awesome job Brion. Again, thank you.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on July 07, 2011, 07:20:13 pm
Thanks for the comments!  I'm glad you've liked it so far.

Regarding the splitting of May and Bern, I would say two things: 1. If you're passionate about achieving something, then a contest like that could be seen as very important, and 2. Although they are technically splitting up, it is planned that May will be able to spend the most important part of the journey, the meeting of Bern's father, through the magic of portals.

On May's comment in Chap 27 Page 29, it is meant to show that Maytag will casually spill very embarrassing personal details, even to a large audience of people.  It also may seem more random because we're cutting into the middle of a conversation.

I'm glad you like Crest... I can't say if he'll become a badass, but he will continue to grow and hopefully that growth will seem natural.  Making a character more powerful is a very superficial type of character growth, but for certain types of character arcs I think it makes sense, of course what that means for the character is more important.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: The Ghost on July 08, 2011, 10:17:04 am
I understand why they are splitting, and it really is logical, I'm not gonna argue that, but I don't know why I can't fully seem to accept that. It's not you. It's me, honestly. Guess I'm more use to the over the top "plot splits" like kidnapping, party member leaving because they don't feel respected or no longer agrees with main groups ideas, etc. But May and Bern make a ton of sense, since they both love each other that much to give up/delay what they want to make the other happy. And with the "thinking with portals" idea Suspiria, it lets them have the cake and eat it too.

To be honest I don't know why May's comment during Glyph's show took me by surprise so much. Guess because it was just *BAM*.

As long as you don't kill Crest off, he's a badass in my mind. I would like to see him get better at the sword, at least enough to fend off a skeleton guard or two. He already has the guts, and when he puts his mind to it the smarts. Maybe when he finally gets a girl and something happens to her, he'll have a "kick ass and take names" moment. But I really like how he is.

So hard to keep this criticism and not go on discussion rants. I'm so sorry. *covers head for incoming brick barrage*

Anyways, keep up the good work.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: gunsandrockets on July 13, 2011, 07:57:58 pm
This is where you can post criticism of Flipside.  It can be about any part, or any aspect of Flipside.  Please try to keep all criticism constructive, and stay generally polite.  Politeness is expected from people responding to critics, as well.

Also, not all criticism *has* to go into this thread.  If it relates to the current chapter, feel free to put it in the chapter discussion thread.  You can also feel free to start your own thread if you feel it is warranted.

Minor quibbles

1)More monsters, please.  It's beginning to feel like the only monsters in the world are those the Thin Man makes.  (The fear demon Bloody Mary coughed up was great.)

2)The explanation Maytag used to claim immunity from pain (just accept it as another experience) I thought somewhat implausible.  But who knows, she might have just been lying to the bad guys!

On balance I think flipside is fantastic and I'm glad I stumbled over it.  I have it bookmarked as one of the few webcomics I steadily follow.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: TheCycoONE on September 27, 2011, 10:07:01 am
Ok, I started reading Flipside a week ago and finished all of Book 0 and Book 1 up to (not including) Chapter 30.  Also found all the hidden content on the site - great stuff.

I'll probably try to read a chapter at a time as they come out, because I find even Questionable Content with it's daily releases are very slow on a day by day basis and from what I've seen of Flipside it might take a week or so to get through one fight scene.  This isn't really a criticism because the final result is excellent and drawing 20 strips a day of any quality would be impossible.

So my criticisms:
First: I read book 0 when it was mentioned in the first intermission and found it very important to understanding the characters in the beginning of Book 1. Not to mention a great story arc with Moss and Regina.  With that said I think you're doing a disservice to new readers by recommending they skip it.

The first few pages with Britannus are a bit weak and hard to follow for a new comer, but if they were redone or touched up I think it would be a better than telling people to skip the book entirely.

Second:
The notebook section of your site is very broken and sparse.  There are 404s for Brittanus, Lucient, Regina, and Seraph, and no Book 1 characters.  It may be best to remove that link from the main page entirely.

Third:
Perhaps related to the first point; some scenes from Book 1 seem to be little more than copies of Book 0.  For example Maytag being eaten by Bloody Mary was a little too similar to where she was tortured by Moss pretty much the same result.  I understand this is an aspect of Maytag's character that is likely to come up in such a hostile world but at least the torturers reactions could have been different since Mary and Moss are different people.  Also for some reason it seemed a little more believable the first time.

Perhaps this is dealt with more in Ch. 30 (haven't read), or covered to death by other forum members, but Maytag's relationship with Bernadette annoyed me when it was suddenly introduced and every time it was referenced from then until the truth ring.  It still bugs me somewhat - seems outside of Maytag's character to have not been more forthright and she never really seemed to be in love before that moment but now it's brought up all the time.  Isn't she smart enough to know that Bernadette didn't become a knight for herself not for Maytag; and Maytag shouldn't not be herself for Bernadette.  I think on this last point I'm suppose to be somewhat disgusted so that's probably an accolade rather than a critique.  Still - bugged me.


Ok this is the first time I've written anything here and all I did was complain.  Seems like a jerk thing to do when I'm actually a fan and have tried to get my wife to start reading it.  I like the morality, ethics, and philosophy you're not afraid to bring in.  Your characters are for the most part interesting and well thought out.  The artwork is above par, and I am grateful that you haven't turned it into a wall of text.  Wonderful comic.

Enjoy.


Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Koun Aed on February 19, 2012, 07:56:13 pm
Since your comic has a lot of real world social issues dealt, I would like to see and hear about more of the different faiths and philosophies, and how they co-exist and conflict with one another. Social issues like intolerance and also imperial tendencies would be interesting. I really think you should expand some more on the world's history and cultures. There also needs to be more monsters! ;p

I think you should make a wiki so that you can expand on this kind of stuff without bogging down the comic with excessive amounts of info and dialogue.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 20, 2012, 01:42:32 am
Well, that's just the problem... it's hard to expand too much on the world's background details without bogging down the comic in infodumps, and Flipside isn't really about that stuff anyway... it's about the characters and the setting is just that, a setting.  I try to put in details about the world wherever it makes sense to do so, though... like in chapter 30 how you learn about Marvallo from Polly.

I think a wiki with all that stuff would be awesome, but unfortunately that's a lot of work... and I also kind of don't want it to be written down, because then I have to figure out every little detail about how my world works.  I'd prefer to have some aspects of the world be vague so that if I have a good idea later on, I can incorportate it, whereas on the other hand if I detail all of the world's races and religions now, that leaves no room for new ideas in those areas later on.

More monsters, huh?  Maybe you're right... although, Iscariot isn't really a world where monsters run rampant like a traditional RPG, generally the only monsters are the ones specifically created by sorcerers, like the Maw back in Book 0.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Koun Aed on February 20, 2012, 05:16:49 pm
Ah, I see. nvm
As for the whole monster thing, will we ever see a non-blob monster, like a sphinx, skin walker, or ghost?
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 20, 2012, 11:41:11 pm
If you do see any more monsters, it probably won't be anything from any DND manual.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: ducky_worshiper on February 21, 2012, 10:59:19 am
How about just, like, wildlife?  I mean Bern rode her horse for weeks through the land and there wasn't even a cameo by like, a bunny or anything.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 21, 2012, 02:42:21 pm
Yeah, that's because I've never been that great at drawing animals, so I tend to avoid it.  And even if I did draw a bunny, it would just be a background element.  Well, maybe I could have one of the characters get a pet or something...
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Oddball on February 21, 2012, 03:28:07 pm
OOOOOOOhhhhh The Killer Bunny of St Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh  ;D
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: ducky_worshiper on February 22, 2012, 01:06:08 am
And even if I did draw a bunny, it would just be a background element. 

I'm not trying to sound argumentative, but those are the sort of background elements that draw people into the world and make the setting feel like an actual world and not just a few things hastily drawn to prop up the only 5 people who matter/exist. 
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 22, 2012, 03:00:51 pm
That's certainly a good point.  Well, I did give Danzig a pet dog back in chapter 21, if that counts!
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: ducky_worshiper on February 23, 2012, 04:13:03 am
Oh definitely.  And like I said, I'm not trying to be argumentative or even to imply that the world you've created thus far is insufficient or lacking or doesn't draw in the reader.  I'm just saying that it'd be nice to see occasional glimpses that there really is a world behind them and not just a bunch of scenery for their adventures.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on April 27, 2012, 11:43:19 am
The new video ads on the site are horrible.  you can close the monstrosity after it auto plays but it's still a pain in the ass.  anything autoplaying with sound = lose anyway, you should complain to your web hosts
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on May 16, 2012, 08:03:21 am
The videos are gone but now I see a full page 2012 Optima car ad spread that not only completely takes up the entire real estate of the first page on iPad Safari, but also covers the comic image and menu items up to the blog entries. I think you should keep on complaining to Keenspot about these invasive ads.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on May 16, 2012, 10:57:57 am
That's weird, because I never see these ads myself... I'll look into it, though.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: 9_6 on June 03, 2012, 07:26:28 am
You should really pay more attention to movement.
(http://i45.tinypic.com/2qt8z28.jpg)
Just some "movement lines" are not enough to convey a motion.
This has always been a weakness of yours. Action scenes tend not to convey motion at all.

Furtermore, you could vary camera angles a bit to make pages more interesting to look at.
Try to experiment with how much you can convey with as little as possible.
(http://i45.tinypic.com/29dagbn.jpg)
But yeah, be a bit more conscious about your action lines.
Most of those buggers are a straight downward line page after page after page and that is just boring to look at.
You should loosen up a bit.
Be more daring.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on June 04, 2012, 09:29:57 am
Those are good suggestions.  However, in the case of the panel with Regina, I don't know if "conveying movement" is really the main thrust of that panel.  The problem with doing it the way you suggest is that it looks like a hair commercial, which I think adds some unintended comedy to the page.  I wanted it to be a panel of her simply rising out of the water, not dramatically thrusting out of the water... and how do you portray that?  Do all movements have to be dramatic thrusts?  It's hard to know when to do that, and subtlety is hard to convey.  To be fair, I agree that the way I drew the panel is a bit too static, IMO the biggest problem is the way I drew the water.

I do agree that I need more variety in my panels... when it's just simple conversations like this, I do have a tendency to draw simplistic head on shots.  I wouldn't want to do it the way you showed in your example because that would overplay this scene and make it look dramatic when it isn't... but I think you're right, I do need more variety, actually I think what I need to do is more medium and especially long shots.  But the problem with those is that they require more background work, and to be frank I get bored of drawing the same backgrounds over and over.  I'll work on that, though.  I'll also think about trying more extreme close ups and angled shots when it seems right to use them in a panel.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on June 06, 2012, 01:06:24 pm
I do think you're very good at background work though.  Something I've seen in Anime here and there are sudden panels that focus on a portion of the background either to show time passing or to just explore the scenery a bit while the characters are doing some undramatic talking.  It can be great to have just one panel such as that in a page with a lot of small headshot panels to remind the reader of where they are in the page and can give some variance without over dramatising the scene as you're concerned about with too many angles on the headshots.  I think it just sets the whole scene and feel of the page much better but to be honest I think you've actually done an awesome job of including a lot of background for quite sometime now.

The only other thing I can think is the use of flashbacks or flashovers to other people and scenes as they're discussed or diagrams such as the strategy against Danzig or the portal idea.  I think you've been including all those in the places it's necessary, but if you feel a page might be a bit bland and the characters are discussing character you can flashover (rather than back) to the character as he or she is being talked about and possibly get a bit if background variety depending on their location at the time.  Only example I can think of is Suspira/Inverness as Crest and Maytag were discussing their sleeping arrangement but admittedly you only had 1.5 pages of that conversation.

On the water rising.  I think I get what you're indicating.  She didn't exactly rise slowly out of the water but she didn't do some jumping thrust and fling back of the hair.  It was a quick but not dramatic rise and I agree the water probably needed a bit more movement but if you were to look at the hair, maybe just her fringe a bit and possibly dip the back of the hair in a bit rather than the straight line down that it has in that panel or having the hair completely rushing over her shoulder.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on June 06, 2012, 03:37:09 pm
Something I've seen in Anime here and there are sudden panels that focus on a portion of the background either to show time passing or to just explore the scenery a bit while the characters are doing some undramatic talking.

Yes!  I've been thinking that I should incorporate more things like this in my pages.  I will definitely try to do so.

I think it just sets the whole scene and feel of the page much better but to be honest I think you've actually done an awesome job of including a lot of background for quite sometime now.

"Awesome" is too generous, I try but sometimes I don't try hard enough, and I think you can kinda tell that pages this chapter are noticably sloppy... it's because I was rushing to get them all done so that I wouldn't have to do an intermission strip for the convention.  I had a wedding and then 2 conventions in a row and it's been a bit rough keeping up... but since I just did a 6 page intermission I didn't want to resort to doing more.  Some people would probably say that I should've just done some intermission strips rather than rushing the pages, but I think it's far more important to keep deadlines when I can, and I'm moderately happy with the way the pages turned out.

It was a quick but not dramatic rise and I agree the water probably needed a bit more movement but if you were to look at the hair, maybe just her fringe a bit and possibly dip the back of the hair in a bit rather than the straight line down that it has in that panel or having the hair completely rushing over her shoulder.

Yeah, you're right.  The hair needed to show a bit more movement, as well.  Nothing too dramatic, but if I had combined that with a more realistic looking water splash I think it would have looked great.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on June 07, 2012, 02:26:44 am
I remembered this quote I made below when your backgrounds came into question.

Every now and then I see an entire page, like page 14 of chapter 26, where there are no backgrounds and the whole thing feels a bit empty.  Even if its only a single panel with just a few basic lines, showing a wall, floor of item of furniture, it just seems to give so much more to the entire page.

Also, animals.  Not enough of them or fantasy animals/creatures/monsters.  Seriously, what happened to Maxmillian (http://www.flipsidecomics.com/comic.php?i=825)?

I only checked back through the last few chapters, not all the way back to Chapter 26, but the closest I came was page 19 of Chapter 31 and really it was only 5 panels and you needed a focus on the expressions of the characters.  Page 21 of that chapter had it as well but the immediate page preceding it was choc full of background, so read in a sitting I don't think it'd feel out of place.  almost every page actually had at least one panel with detailed background and many had more or like the recent Chapter 33 pages 6-8 you have at least a few lines indicating the pool edge and the water in almost every panel, so it's not really empty.

I'm just always amazed at how you seem to understand the layout of your homes and scenery so that even if we haven't seen it for ages, it still matches up perfectly.  Vajra's house was a particularly good one.  I remember working at it a while back to figure out the layout and it all fit in with every view of rooms and even the view from outside.

The main place I recall scenery panels with text bubbles used on a regular basis was Elfen Lied such as this page: http://i16.mangareader.net/elfen-lied/8/elfen-lied-1886889.jpg  Its a poor example since there's some drama occurring but I do recall that there were pages of characters doing nothing but talking out their feelings in a park and every now and then it would just have a smaller panel of only a section of scenery with some speech bubble/s in it... Here's a sort of example in the first (top right) panel. http://i7.mangareader.net/elfen-lied/11/elfen-lied-1887701.jpg
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: 9_6 on June 16, 2012, 04:59:03 pm
Okay, 2 things you have been doing for *ages*.
First off, lips:
(http://i47.tinypic.com/2afaa8o.jpg)
She either has an unrealistically thin lower lip or murderously large lips.
My guess is the latter so I'll just throw in that the stylistical choice of making specular highlights black is... questionable.
So consider dropping that reverse hitler beard and consider if may really has... this:
(http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/64/e61ea86ba9854fda8abb1a4e806e74df/l.jpg)
I mean if that is your thing, have at it.

Another thing, eyes:
(http://i48.tinypic.com/pc3rs.jpg)

You have a tendency to make characters cross eyed.
Try to avoid that or they look... well, cross eyed.
Your eyes won't cross like that unless what you're looking at is very, very close to your face.
Like, right in front of it.

I guess that is not the case in this scene.
I can tell because regina would be blocking the view on may if she were that close.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on June 16, 2012, 11:08:09 pm
On the lips, I disagree with you.  They are supposed to be as big as the second example, and I don't care if it would look silly on a real person, I think it looks good with my artstyle.  The black mark on her lower lip is basically just a reverse highlight to add depth.  I like the way that looks as well.  I think that if I did actually shade the lips, as you did in your example, it might look a bit silly and bother me, but with just the hint of lips from those lines I think it's okay for them to be that big.

I didn't use to draw May's lips so big, but now I tend to err on the side of bigger is better.  For one thing it's unusual in manga, for another it's a subtle thing to make her face stand out from other character's faces.  If I toned down her big lips and drew them at a more realistic size, her lips wouldn't stand out as much anymore.  So because of this maybe I have a tendency to make them a bit too big, but I still like the way it looks.

Also, IMO you are jury-rigging your argument a little bit by using that pic... it's not only that that woman's lips are big, but they look like they are injected with something.  There are women like Angelie Jolie who have lips about that big and it looks great.  I actually don't think May's lips, the way I draw them, are that much bigger than Angelie Jolie's.

Well, maybe I'll think about toning down May's lips a tiny bit.  Only a tiny bit, though.  I'll see how I feel the next time I draw them.

As for the cross eyed thing, you're right.  That is something I've realized in the past, and I keep forgetting to watch out for that.  I think I have a tendency to not notice if the characters are cross eyed... I think when the eyes are that big it's harder to notice.  I'll try to keep it in mind, though.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: charles on June 17, 2012, 12:41:47 am
I'll have to grab my books and double-check but I have it in my head that you seem to accentuate Maytag's lips more often when she's out of costume than when she's in it.  Again, I'll have to double-check but obviously you don't put in that extra little detail all the time so I can often forget that Maytag has such voluptuous lips and then a close-up hits me.  It could be that her jester hat somehow off-sets the size of her lips so they're just not as noticeable when she's in the suit.

I'll have to check this as well but I usually think you've made Bern's lips fairly narrow in comparison, which I think is somehow a fitting difference between them that sort of fits with their different personalities.  I'd be worried if you made Bern's lips too narrow in comparison but I don't think you have (at least if memory serves me right... then again, maybe Bern's big hair has been off-setting them, much like I suspect Maytag's jester suit has).

Strewth! all this checking to do!  Lucky I have the dead-wood books.

Maybe that bottom lip has been just a tad over-done in a few scenes:

HOT!
(http://mediaoutrage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Angelina-Jolie1.jpg)

HAWT!!!
(http://www.stretchmarkcream.org/images/angelina_jolie.jpg)

NOT!
(http://blogs.smarter.com/blogs/angelina%20jolie%20lips.jpg)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: 9_6 on June 17, 2012, 02:34:53 pm
For one thing it's unusual in manga, for another it's a subtle thing to make her face stand out from other character's faces.  If I toned down her big lips and drew them at a more realistic size, her lips wouldn't stand out as much anymore.  So because of this maybe I have a tendency to make them a bit too big, but I still like the way it looks.
Okay then if you wanna do "unusual stuff in manga", why not go all the way and give her an actual mouth?
Like, with definition and all.
(http://i49.tinypic.com/1533fb4.jpg)
In fact screw the eyes, it seems those big dumb eyes is what every manga artist assumes they need to put focus on.
Why don't you try and go for mouths? Give characters definite, recognizable, consistent mouth shapes.
That would be something to make flipside stick out and also kinda suits its theme.

Also, IMO you are jury-rigging your argument a little bit by using that pic... it's not only that that woman's lips are big, but they look like they are injected with something.
That was my point.
It could be interpreted as such because you used pretty vague lines there to describe the mouth.
It seems practicing "manga style" over the years made you afraid to make bold statements, give anything other than eyes clear definition if the character is supposed to be "cute".

That is a shame, really. Unfortunately, you have your "style" established over hundreds of pages by now.
It is ingrained in yourself and the audience that might be alienated by the experimentation I try to encourage so I'm actually not really sure what to suggest.
You're the first case I've seen in which "it's my style" is an actual, valid excuse. Gotta keep that comic consistent after all.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on June 18, 2012, 01:39:14 am
Okay then if you wanna do "unusual stuff in manga", why not go all the way and give her an actual mouth?
Like, with definition and all.

When I try doing this with one of the main characters, I never think it looks good.  Part of the problem is that it changes their look pretty severely, and also I feel like it doesn't work well with some types of character designs.  Or perhaps I'm just not good at making it work.

Although, there are certain manga I read with well defined lips.  I LOVE Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, and all his character have well defined lips, and I like the way they look.  Kishiro also does that with some of his characters in Battle Angel.  Recently I've been reading Kimi No Todoke, and the artist uses defined lips on one of the characters to give their face a more unique look from the other character... (and she's one of my favorite characters in that manga too.)

I have no plans to try this with my main characters, I'm happy with the way I'm drawing their lips right now.  Not all characters need to have well defined lips, and I like the way manga artists draw lips using certain lines to convey the shape of lips while letting the reader fill in the blanks.  I think it looks great.  Having said that, I like the idea of using different lip styles and shapes to differentiate characters, and I've already been experimenting with this a bit with Moby and Polly's lips.  The black lips is something I've seen Araki do in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and I think it looks great the way he does it.  I wish I could do mine as well, sometimes Moby in particular looks a little clownish with her big black lips, but Polly seems to come off better since I draw her lips a bit thinner, and also since she has a goth style anyway.

So there you go, two characters with fully formed lips already!  See, I started before you even said anything!

That was my point.
It could be interpreted as such because you used pretty vague lines there to describe the mouth.

Well, I think most people would have to really *want* to see such bloated lips precisely because the lines are vague.  That's the advantage of doing it this way.

It seems practicing "manga style" over the years made you afraid to make bold statements, give anything other than eyes clear definition if the character is supposed to be "cute".

That is a shame, really. Unfortunately, you have your "style" established over hundreds of pages by now.
It is ingrained in yourself and the audience that might be alienated by the experimentation I try to encourage so I'm actually not really sure what to suggest.
You're the first case I've seen in which "it's my style" is an actual, valid excuse. Gotta keep that comic consistent after all.

I think there's room for some experimentation with the art, but as you say it can't really be that "bold", because consistency matters.  But does it really need to be that bold?  I'm generally happy with my style the way it is.  Yes, it's a sort of "manga" style, but I get told that it stands out a lot from most modern manga.

In terms of experimentation and improvement, right now I'm trying to think of ways to make my current roster of characters have more unique faces that stand out from each other.  When I introduce new characters in the future, I'll definitely be thinking of how to give them more unique looks, to stand out from the main cast.  But in terms of "boldness," I think I'm much more likely to be bold with my writing than I am with my art.

Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Churba on June 18, 2012, 02:46:02 am
I don't have a critique, this discussion is just really interesting.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Eversist on July 25, 2012, 09:44:00 pm
May's legs appear incredibly long in today's strip (third panel).

Today's strip is super creepy, good job.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: LittleMushroom on July 25, 2012, 11:51:27 pm
You have a tendency to make characters cross eyed.
Try to avoid that or they look... well, cross eyed.
Your eyes won't cross like that unless what you're looking at is very, very close to your face.
Like, right in front of it.

I disagree with the cross-eyed comment. I don't think there's anything wrong with it- Dragonball does it too. And it doesn't look bad or anything.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: UmberIsSexy on August 02, 2012, 10:52:12 am
Agree with 9_6 about the lips.  When reading the comic, I originally stopped and stared at them every time May's lips looked like that, trying desperately to figure out what was going on with them.  It bugged the hell out of me.  I like taking out the black shading as a solution.  It fixes it completely for me.  If her bottom lip is really that big, I think it's weird-looking, but at least I can tell what I'm looking at.  Disagree about the cross-eyed deal though, that never bothered me at all.

Going back a few posts, also totally agree about the Regina panel in the water.  That was another "stop and stare" moment for me, just trying to figure out what was going on there.

I'm no artist though, this is the only Manga-style comic I read, and I have barely seen any other Manga.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: EvilParfait on August 19, 2012, 10:54:03 pm
I love this comic and I've read it on and off for a long time!

I hope I won't offend anyone with my opinions, and I just want to remind people I am but one person and this is a purely subjective view.

Okay.... Bern really makes me mad. I'm sorry, she's awesome and caring but... she makes such a poor partner! She's possessive, controlling and typically quite unwilling to 'understand' Maytag or compromise. It seems every time Maytag goes out and tries to have fun or do something interesting Bern has a knee-jerk reaction of a child seeing a toy played with by another child. "No, mine!" And every -single- time it leads in a quasi argument of, "Do you love me?" It's manipulative and shows that she has no trust in Maytag. And it's a scene we have seen over and over again. I thought after that carriage ride something would be different but no... Chapter 27, Page 25 they are right back at it again.

Maytag is trying to become a better person, trying to do better and Bern either doesn't notice (Which would be odd considering how Maytag has announced it a few times and they are lovers) or doesn't care. Maytag is always sacrificing for Bern, and Bern still throws her little hissyfits. Bern, it seems, is always dragging Maytag down be it her magic phobia or her possessiveness.  The only time when I felt that Bern really was listening and trying to understand Maytag was during the carriage ride. And it really impressed me that we got to see a little of how Bern reacted to Maytag's wandering. But then she went back to being immature. (And I mean immature as in 'not mature enough for the kind of relationship she's in right now')

I understand that they are both inherently flawed people, which makes them both interesting. But a loving relationship has to include compromise and understanding. Maybe it's because I identify more with Maytag and find Bern's view restrictive and close minded. We seem to get the same push and pull argument every few chapters. Does anyone else feel that it's starting to grate and become repetitive?

Oh and on the lip argument.... the way he does lips reminds me of Flame of Recca's mangaka. http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg64/Rei_Bender/Renge.jpg
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Azure Priest on August 20, 2012, 06:23:20 am
I love this comic and I've read it on and off for a long time!

I hope I won't offend anyone with my opinions, and I just want to remind people I am but one person and this is a purely subjective view.

Okay.... Bern really makes me mad. I'm sorry, she's awesome and caring but... she makes such a poor partner! She's possessive, controlling and typically quite unwilling to 'understand' Maytag or compromise. It seems every time Maytag goes out and tries to have fun or do something interesting Bern has a knee-jerk reaction of a child seeing a toy played with by another child. "No, mine!" And every -single- time it leads in a quasi argument of, "Do you love me?" It's manipulative and shows that she has no trust in Maytag. And it's a scene we have seen over and over again. I thought after that carriage ride something would be different but no... Chapter 27, Page 25 they are right back at it again.

Maytag is trying to become a better person, trying to do better and Bern either doesn't notice (Which would be odd considering how Maytag has announced it a few times and they are lovers) or doesn't care. Maytag is always sacrificing for Bern, and Bern still throws her little hissyfits. Bern, it seems, is always dragging Maytag down be it her magic phobia or her possessiveness.  The only time when I felt that Bern really was listening and trying to understand Maytag was during the carriage ride. And it really impressed me that we got to see a little of how Bern reacted to Maytag's wandering. But then she went back to being immature. (And I mean immature as in 'not mature enough for the kind of relationship she's in right now')

I understand that they are both inherently flawed people, which makes them both interesting. But a loving relationship has to include compromise and understanding. Maybe it's because I identify more with Maytag and find Bern's view restrictive and close minded. We seem to get the same push and pull argument every few chapters. Does anyone else feel that it's starting to grate and become repetitive?

Oh and on the lip argument.... the way he does lips reminds me of Flame of Recca's mangaka. http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg64/Rei_Bender/Renge.jpg

Maytag has a long, sordid history of cheating on Bern. Call it "free love," call Maytag a "free spirit," say whatever you want, but if informed consent is not given beforehand, it's cheating. Bern has every right to be "possessive," suspicious, even a bit paranoid about May's "encounters." In fact, it would have been well within Bern's rights to dump May at the curb the moment she found out. The fact that she did not shows far more "understanding" than MOST people would be willing to tolerate. Further, there's good reason for Bern to be concerned. Any time a girl spreads her legs for someone, she runs the risk that the "someone" is going to think that there's a lot more relationship there than there actually is. There are MANY people who equate sex with love, and if someone like May "puts out" for a one time fling, they will not let go. They can be also be insanely jealous, and if they find May with someone else, they could become murderous. (Look at Fatal Attraction some time.)

The fact that this has not yet happened is either only a quirk of Brion's universe, or there could well be a jilted "May Lover" in the shadows out there, looking for her since there was a time where she "collected first times" and one of those "firsts" may well not be satisfied until he or she "owns" Maytag.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: gyoza on September 12, 2012, 08:59:45 pm
Hi Brion,

Let me start off by saying my busy schedule means that I sometimes go months without reading webcomics and I tend to lose interest in most of my bookmark list after awhile - but after any webcomic hiatus, Flipside is always one of the first comics I go back to reading, so I think you're doing a fantastic job!

I have just one small issue I remember having from a few months back (if you're no longer doing this then disregard my post). I recognize the need for intermissions; they're occasionally informative, occasionally entertaining, and they give you an (I assume) much-needed breather. But could I suggest not using your 'extra donation pages' on intermission strips? Seeing the meter hit $100 and going 'OOH EXTRA PAGE' and realizing it was an intermission strip is somewhat akin to Bern finally meeting Grant and... okay, not that bad, but you get what I mean  :P
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on September 14, 2012, 02:50:21 pm
I have just one small issue I remember having from a few months back (if you're no longer doing this then disregard my post). I recognize the need for intermissions; they're occasionally informative, occasionally entertaining, and they give you an (I assume) much-needed breather. But could I suggest not using your 'extra donation pages' on intermission strips? Seeing the meter hit $100 and going 'OOH EXTRA PAGE' and realizing it was an intermission strip is somewhat akin to Bern finally meeting Grant and... okay, not that bad, but you get what I mean  :P

I don't do this anymore.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: BurnGarn on December 19, 2012, 01:38:18 pm
> stumbled upon this comic via tvtropes.
> started skimming quickly (skipped book 0)
> saw Crest call May scum for trying to cheat   ;D
> skimmed slower
> finally finish chapters nineteen and thirty five X hours later
> stopped reading there  >:(
> skipped to May's wardrobe malfunction
> saw Crest make May cry by pointing out the trust issue with her lying 24/7   ;D
> best male character ever, like some sort of self insertion who acts as a much needed voice of sanity
> monster girl Nessy is <3
> finished reading up to the latest page

So I haven't read everything, but there were a few big letdowns in this otherwise great comic:

First, Kin was killed off. The guy was a total boss, and any development stemming from his demise wasn't worth the loss of such a great character. It seemed like a total waste of an awesome, newly introduced character, and little more than a cheap excuse to give Ness a reason to throw herself at Crest. Sure, the guy deserves to get some hot monster girl tail. But not at the expense of another bro's brutal murder at the hands of a cannibalistic serial killer.

Second, the Bloody Mary arc was such a big disappointment, I couldn't continue reading past the end of it. She started off as an immortal scythe wielding badass who turned out to be kind of a babe and would've probably cleaned up nicely had she ever come out of the cave for a shower. So after a bunch of chapters dedicated to this cute monster girl and her tragic woobieness, I was expecting there to be some sort of satisfactory conclusion that mad me feel a little less bad about how the arc was playing out. More specifically, I was hoping she'd join the heroes as a designated hero/token evil teammate, even if it meant May having to offer her arm as a chew toy for the rest of the comic. In fact, I wonder if there's a gallery image depicting just that, with May blushing suggestively while Mary nibbles at her flesh. Anyway, it wouldn't have made up for the loss of Kin, but the heroes slapping a leash on Mary and bringing her along as a pet people eater would've at least been something of a consolation.

However! The arc ended with Mary running off and May, upon finding out it was impossible to cure her, doing a complete 180 to the point where she appeared to be A-OK with her "friend" being murdered by what I've decided to call the "government goon squad". It felt like the story arc didn't accomplish anything, aside from using and discarding a likeable character, and my opinion of the series mascot nosedived once she easily tossed aside any concern for Mary's wellbeing. Throw in how quick Nessy seemed to move from grieving for Kin to coming onto Crest, and it seemed like the comic had taken a turn for the worse. I began to dislike the characters that seemed so great at first, and didn't really want to see how much worse they could get. Which is why I skipped 10 whole chapters that I consider ruined forever by the Mary Arc ending, and only started skimming again beginning with Maytag's confession in chapter 30 about her true self.  At least her friendly personality being an act explains why she callously sold out Mary to Phalanx.

Although, I did go back and read a little bit of the 20s, but don't get me started on how Glyph(?) wasn't the only one sad to have not had the chance to get to know Kin better, or how stunned I was at Bern denying May sexy fun time. At one time I empathized with her wanting May to be loyal and modest. Now it just comes off as her being a possessive control freak, if she's even started refusing to be intimate with May. Apparently, monogamy no longer means having sex with only one person as much as it does simply not having sex with anyone else no matter how pent up a person is from not getting any. I thought Bern was supposed to be the "guy" in the relationship, but apparently not. She's the inconsiderate wife who puts her own feelings above her partner's need. As much as May's developed into a more caring person, Bern is starting to sound like she's degenerating into someone who takes her relationship for granted. It's a shame Crest is taken, since this sounds like exactly the kind of thing he tagged along for in the first place.

But once the whole "pay money for directions" arc started, and the guy started preaching personal responsibility, well, that just did it for me. It only served to make me feel that much worse that Mary wasn't around to eat their faces. Or that Kin wasn't around to point out the error of their ways. That Bern even entertained their money grubbing ways warranted not just a single but a double facepalm. I began skimming through the past couple chapters again, and with monster girl Nessy gone, and Crest just letting her go, I couldn't think of a single recurring or temporarily present character that I actually liked reading about anymore. Crest's ballsy calling out of wymenz who do crazy shit was no longer present once Nessy started growing a few too many horns out of her skull. May's friend to all living things persona was slipping. Bern was far too pacifistic for her father's own good. And the rest of the characters don't even seem relevant, important or awesome enough to mention. Well, maybe it's also worth mentioning Regina's creepy dialogue about her being a stalker with a crush, leading to the unfortunate implication that she'd much rather be May than be with her. Yikes. That girl was crazy, and I can't help but wonder what the point of her being with that other dude was in the first place if she was just going to run off after the comic's resident sex goddess. Guess that whole plot was pointless.

In the end, I found the first third of the comic (after Book 0) to be absolutely fantastic, but the last two story arcs I read just...seemed to crush the admiration I had for a cast of characters that, up to a certain point, I couldn't find any fault with.  After the halfway point they just seemed to start suffering from badass decay, sanity slippage, poor judgment or just a worsening of their personalities as the story dragged on. It just wasn't much fun anymore, no matter how much nudity or hot girl on girl action was thrown in. It wasn't so much the personality flaws of the characters, which used to make them endearing, as it was the way they were being written in later chapters. Or maybe their worst flaws just became more prominent.  No character development is bad, but developing characters to be more drama prone isn't much of an improvement, either. Still, maybe it's just a matter of Cerberus Syndrome taking root, or the last 15 chapters simply being less interesting than the first 20. Granted, I didn't read 10 of them. But from what I saw of them, there wasn't much worth reading about aside from things like Kin's funeral rehashing one of my biggest beefs with the Mary arc, or Bern's ever increasing prudishness reminding me of one of my biggest beefs with modern wymenz in general.

The only quick fix I can think of to immediately improve the comic would be Bern and May splitting up, so that May could actually become a(/the only) fun character again. Monogamy and modesty hasn't done her any good from a likeability standpoint, and having her be more of a free spirit is the easiest way I can imagine for the comic to be a little more enjoyable to read. Other than that, it's hard to see things getting better without a cerberus retcon of what I see as the two greatest mistakes, or some jesterly silliness, even if the greater prominence of characters' negative traits will still be present.

Then again, I'm just the vocal minority and not even a regular reader, so it doesn't really matter either way. It's just a shame to start a webcomic with a smile, only to wind up with a frown and wondering when exactly it stopped being a good read.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on December 19, 2012, 03:49:57 pm
First, Kin was killed off.

Understandable.  Whenever you kill any character off, no matter who it is, it's always gonna be someone's favorite character.  It's a risk worth taking, though.

Second, the Bloody Mary arc was such a big disappointment......I was hoping she'd join the heroes as a designated hero/token evil teammate, even if it meant May having to offer her arm as a chew toy for the rest of the comic.

Of course this was considered, but from a logical perspective that would've been just too hard to swallow.  But keep in mind that Mary's fate is still up in the air, and there's always the possibility of her return.

and my opinion of the series mascot nosedived once she easily tossed aside any concern for Mary's wellbeing.

I don't think that's true.  It's just that she was put in a difficult moral position where she has no choice but to leave Mary to her fate.  The only people who could've cured Mary claim that she can't be cured, and without that Maytag can't continue to defend Mary without being an accomplice to murder.  That's not to say that Maytag doesn't feel any sadness over Mary's fate, but morally what other choice does she have?

Throw in how quick Nessy seemed to move from grieving for Kin to coming onto Crest, and it seemed like the comic had taken a turn for the worse.

I wasn't trying to portray it as "coming on to Crest," more like just she felt very lonely and needed someone.  At least until the "change" happens.

Apparently, monogamy no longer means having sex with only one person as much as it does simply not having sex with anyone else no matter how pent up a person is from not getting any.

But that's very common in monogamous relationships.  Bernadette wasn't refusing her to be mean, she just didn't feel comfortable given the situation.

The only quick fix I can think of to immediately improve the comic would be Bern and May splitting up, so that May could actually become a(/the only) fun character again.

I don't agree, because that would be throwing away one of the most important underlying themes, which is the contrast between the philosophies of those two characters.  A comic that's just about a free spirited Maytag is a different comic; perhaps it's a good one, but I'd have to ask myself what do I want to say with that story.  But at the moment, I think I have more interesting things to say with Bern and May wanting to be together and make their relationship work.

Then again, I'm just the vocal minority and not even a regular reader, so it doesn't really matter either way. It's just a shame to start a webcomic with a smile, only to wind up with a frown and wondering when exactly it stopped being a good read.

That is a shame.  I'm not sure I fully understand your reasons, but it sort of sounds like you just want to read a different kind of story from the one I'm trying to tell.  If that's the case, there's nothing I can do about it.  But thanks for expressing your thoughts.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: BurnGarn on December 20, 2012, 03:17:11 am
I don't think that's true.  It's just that she was put in a difficult moral position where she has no choice but to leave Mary to her fate.  The only people who could've cured Mary claim that she can't be cured, and without that Maytag can't continue to defend Mary without being an accomplice to murder.  That's not to say that Maytag doesn't feel any sadness over Mary's fate, but morally what other choice does she have?

But that's very common in monogamous relationships.  Bernadette wasn't refusing her to be mean, she just didn't feel comfortable given the situation.

That is a shame.  I'm not sure I fully understand your reasons, but it sort of sounds like you just want to read a different kind of story from the one I'm trying to tell.  If that's the case, there's nothing I can do about it.  But thanks for expressing your thoughts.

> I guess my complaint is essentially that Maytag, for all her prattling on about friendship in even the most ridiculous of situations and naively leading Nessy right into to the den of a people eating cannibal, wound up catching a sudden case of pragmatic morality that didn't seem to be present throughout the entire rest of the arc. At the time, May was being set up as (or at least came off as) an "honor before reason" type of character, even compromising her own free love ideals for the people she cared about for no other reason than LOVE. But that way of thinking was thrown away out of the blue right when I was expecting a character defining "never say die" moment FOR FRIENDSHIP. Morality be damned, it still came off as her failing a secret test of character regarding whether she'd stand by a friend even the Phalanx had condemned. While I understand her motivations, it's still a bummer that, apparently, the answer turned out to be "no," even when I was hoping idealism would win out. It just makes her going on about friendship earlier in the comic seem harsher in hindsight, considering how easily it was for her to put morality first without even batting an eyelash. Then again, maybe I would've expected this had I read Book 0. But in the context of Book 1+, I really didn't see such hypocrisy coming from the "friend nut".

> Common doesn't mean justified. Refusing intimacy just because she didn't "feel comfortable"? I'm sorry, guy, but that's just selfish. If she was a guy who couldn't get it up, sure, completely understandable. The thing is, she's not, so there's not really any excuse for it other than "she doesn't want to, and what she wants is the only thing that matters". Seeing May compromise her own beliefs and happiness for 20+ chapters while Bern always her own feelings first was one thing, since there was always a reasonable justification for it. Sex denial, on the other hand, seemed like a character defining moment that made me worry about their relationship (which is a major focus of the comic) becoming boring to read about, like in those slice of life webcomics where couples are rarely, if ever, intimate at all, and reading about them is more like a chore. The girl on girl action was part of this comic's appeal, but it seems to be slipping more and more into the "shoujo drama" genre. Less sex, more talking. From a male perspective, that's a terrible and mostly unexpected development.

> You're half right. It's more like you were telling exactly the kind of story I enjoyed reading, and then changed the tone 20 or so chapters in to tell a different, more dramatic story where the characters stopped living up to expectations and started being more depressing. When once Crest yelled out "YOU'RE SCUM!" moments after I thought it, which gave me a good laugh, or punched old people who were totally asking for it (LIKE A BOSS!), he no longer seems to yell or do anything, while I'm stuck yelling like PSY (http://imageshack.us/a/img221/4552/psygangnamstyleyellingr.png) in frustration (no, not really) that one of my favorite characters now seems to be good for nothing. When once I could nod approvingly of the heartwarming relationship dynamic between the lezzies, now it just comes off as something that's stifling the better aspects of their personalities. When once the comic was a little more on the silly side, it's become increasingly serious just for the heck of it.

Contrasting Maytag relaying her life story during a more recent standup routine with her previous performances that actually had her acting like a jester, is probably the best metaphorical analogy for the point I'm trying to make. Sure, Maytag's backstory is great. But I had to agree with the guy who thought a comedy club wasn't exactly the right place for an infodump. Likewise, the changing of tone from jokes and laughs to full on character development and interaction felt like the rug was pulled out right when the comic was getting good. The older, sillier chapters filled with slutting around, faux tradition and righteous anger now come off as kind of a bait and switch. It's not so much that I greatly dislike the story you're telling as much as it is the fact that the story has steadily moved away from the Book 1 that got me reading the rest in the first place, seemingly without any payoff for the reader.

Sure, the reader knows more about the characters now than before. But...is that necessarily a good thing? Metaphorically speaking, Jester Maytag is best Maytag, honesty be damned. Unless character development leads to funny, awesome or epic win, it just comes off as bland fluff and filler like half of the original DBZ series, which in turn is another example of a series that took a sudden shift in tone from a silly adventure to a more serious and dramatic story, without actually thinking through whether the change was worth it, or even warranted at all. Most of it could've still been done in the old style, with a few yucks here and there, but the writers wanted to tell the story their way, and...well, power levels and constipation. The recent chapters in Flipside give off the same vibe to a lesser extent, only they're not horrible enough to be downright funny. Except for maybe the Americ-I mean Marvallans. They're hilarious. Still, it's hard to enjoy reading about a set of main characters who don't seem to be enjoying the story, either. Unless those characters are large hams, who at least put on a good show for the reader. The cast of Flipside...don't. Even the villains come off as uninteresting. I'm not sure where you're going with the story, but is reading it ever going to make me feel something other than "wow, sucks to be those guys"? Because that seems to have become the constant prevailing theme of the comic. And it feels bad, man.

Although, I guess I probably will keep reading, if only because Angry Crest might be the most badass character to ever appear in a webcomic, aside from the cast of Double K. It's a shame he was put on a bus, but I'm holding out hope he comes back. Because 7-10 is the best page in the entire comic.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on December 20, 2012, 08:05:21 am
> I guess my complaint is essentially that Maytag, for all her prattling on about friendship in even the most ridiculous of situations and naively leading Nessy right into to the den of a people eating cannibal, wound up catching a sudden case of pragmatic morality that didn't seem to be present throughout the entire rest of the arc. At the time, May was being set up as (or at least came off as) an "honor before reason" type of character, even compromising her own free love ideals for the people she cared about for no other reason than LOVE.

But she wasn't being setup that way.  She's always been pragmatic *and* the type of person who treats everyone as a friend, even murderers.  I can't see a single situation where she put "honor before reason."  In the case of sacrificing her needs to be with Bern, that has nothing to do with honor, she simply wants to be with Bern more than she wants free love, it's that simple.

In the case of Mary, she tried her best to help.  But once she was informed that healing Mary would be impossible, she's put in a situation where she MUST betray her friendship with someone.  If she continues to defend Mary then she is betraying the friendship of Bern, Crest, and Suspiria.  Would you have felt any better if she'd betrayed those friendships?

Common doesn't mean justified. Refusing intimacy just because she didn't "feel comfortable"? I'm sorry, guy, but that's just selfish.

But isn't May also being selfish asking for sex in a situation where she knows Bern might feel uncomfortable?  In reality they are both being selfish, but not in a bad way.  In a relationship, it will often happen that two people's needs won't align, and that is when compromise will become necessary.

Sex denial, on the other hand, seemed like a character defining moment that made me worry about their relationship (which is a major focus of the comic) becoming boring to read about, like in those slice of life webcomics where couples are rarely, if ever, intimate at all, and reading about them is more like a chore.

If that's your fear, you can rest easy.  I assure you that plenty more sex will happen.  Though you may have to wait awhile, what with them being separated and all.

When once Crest yelled out "YOU'RE SCUM!" moments after I thought it, which gave me a good laugh, or punched old people who were totally asking for it (LIKE A BOSS!), he no longer seems to yell or do anything, while I'm stuck yelling like PSY (http://imageshack.us/a/img221/4552/psygangnamstyleyellingr.png) in frustration (no, not really) that one of my favorite characters now seems to be good for nothing.

So in your mind, the only thing Crest is good for is calling people scum and punching old people?  That's where you and I differ.

Likewise, the changing of tone from jokes and laughs to full on character development and interaction felt like the rug was pulled out right when the comic was getting good.

Again we'll disagree, because personally I think the comic has always been pretty dramatic in tone.  Crest calling Maytag scum is not the lighthearted way to end that chapter, then Bernadette is told she'll have to hide her lesbian side to fulfill her dream of joining the knights, then there's a hostage scene where May loses a finger, then May and Bern both make sacrifices for the sake of their relationsip.  That all seems pretty dramatic to me.

Sure, the reader knows more about the characters now than before. But...is that necessarily a good thing?

I think so, yes.

I'm not sure where you're going with the story, but is reading it ever going to make me feel something other than "wow, sucks to be those guys"? Because that seems to have become the constant prevailing theme of the comic. And it feels bad, man.

Where I'm going with the story is to continue to develop the characters.  By testing them, you learn more about who they really are.  Hopefully I can do that without being too dour, personally I think there has continued to be many light-hearted and fun moments, but that's just me.  In any case, I think you'll find Maytag's behavior next chapter to be very interesting.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: BurnGarn on December 21, 2012, 04:27:39 am
So I'm gonna omit the full quotes to avoid stretching the page out forever. Also, trope links included to specify the context of my remarks.

>"But she wasn't being setup that way."

Well, that's not the impression I got from her (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AlternativeCharacterInterpretation). From the start she seemed to be the one trying hardest to be a genuine idealist. I'm also using "honor before reason" loosely, to describe her putting love above self interest, or rather, making monogamous love her self interest despite the obvious hardship it entails. The reasonable thing would've been to not enter into such a relationship in the first place. Because love itself is unreasonable (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Anvilicious).

I also don't understand why (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OpinionMyopia) her friends (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DesignatedHero) would coldly disown Maytag (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheExile) if she insisted (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZombieAdvocate) on helping (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScrewDestiny) Mary (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReluctantMonster) despite (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroicSpirit) the futility (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Determinator) of doing so (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroicResolve). That...doesn't sound like any kind of friendship I've ever heard of (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhatTheHellHero). Then again, maybe I was giving the main characters (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrokenPedestal) too much credit (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrokenBase) if they'd ditch her so easily even after hearing Mary (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DesignatedVillain)'s tragic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HorrorHunger) backstory (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VanHelsingHateCrimes).

>"But isn't May also being selfish asking for sex"

This is essentially a matter of subjectivity, based on whether you believe sex to be a chore (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SexIsEvil) versus an expression (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex) of (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SexIsGood) love (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SexEqualsLove). If it's the former, yeah, sure, it's selfish. But if May wanted to get her lovey dovey on, then I'm not sure if there's any scenario in which loving someone is selfish. Unless I'm missing some sort of family unfriendly aesop (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FamilyUnfriendlyAesop) that's flown (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MisaimedFandom) right (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory) over (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FanDumb) my (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ComicallyMissingThePoint) head (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HateDumb).

>"So in your mind, the only thing Crest is good for is calling people scum and punching old people?"

It's more like he's only good (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MundaneMadeAwesome) at providing a more sensible (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LargeHam) perspective (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OnlySaneMan) to the events currently unfolding. When he's not causing shock and awe (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrazyAwesome), he comes off as little more than a vestigial part of the cast (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TagalongKid) whose existence hardly seems justified (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UselessProtagonist) as he's become more and more unlike the person he used to be (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BadassDecay) in earlier chapters. For example, when Nessy's transformation caused her ego to inflate to the point where she thought she could take on the masters of the comicverse (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AGodAmI), it was a missed moment of awesome (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NegatedMomentOfAwesome) when Crest (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NonActionGuy) didn't bring out his inner badass (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney?from=Main.PhoenixWright) to talk her (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShutUpHannibal) back down (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouKeepTellingYourselfThat) to sanity (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DefusingTheTykeBomb) like he's done to Maytag every time she drops a drama bomb.

>"Crest calling Maytag scum is not the lighthearted way to end that chapter, then Bernadette is told she'll have to hide her lesbian side to fulfill her dream of joining the knights, then there's a hostage scene where May loses a finger, then May and Bern both make sacrifices for the sake of their relationsip.  That all seems pretty dramatic to me."

Crest and Maytag were actually pretty damn (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RefugeInAudacity) cool (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SugarWiki/SoCoolItsAwesome?from=Main.SoCoolItsAwesome) at that (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Narm) point (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NarmCharm) in the comic. And Bern passing her secret test of character was a defining moment (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments) for her. Drama was playing second fiddle to how awesome each of the heroes was, until it somehow stole the show when their redeeming qualities became less and less prominent as the story continued (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FanDisillusionment). But that didn't happen for another few chapters, not until Mary (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CuteAndPsycho) appeared (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BloodKnight) and shit got real (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KnightOfCerebus). Cue what (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PetMonstrosity) could (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MonsterAllies) have (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MonsterAdventurers) been (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HorrifyingHero) being tossed out in favor of an ever increasing focus on angst for 15 filler chapters, culminating in a self-inflicted identity disorder, daddy issues and one of the heroes behaving like a violent thug. It's...a different kind of drama. Where as early drama built up to something, like big reveals or moments of awesome, the current drama seems more like a dark cloud constantly hanging over the comic's head. It's...a matter of nuance, I guess. Like, good drama and bad drama.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on December 21, 2012, 08:02:54 am
Please don't put any links in your text next time, it makes responding too hard.  Also, would you kindly please stop referring to TV tropes for all your points?  Just put things in your own words.

The reasonable thing would've been to not enter into such a relationship in the first place.

Love sneaks up on you.

I also don't understand why her friends would coldly disown Maytag if she insisted on helping Mary

It's obvious why in Suspiria's case.  In Bern's case, she would feel betrayed by Maytag.  Bern would never allow innocent people to die simply because Maytag likes the murderer.

But if May wanted to get her lovey dovey on, then I'm not sure if there's any scenario in which loving someone is selfish.

Expecting sex whenever you feel like it without regards to how the other person feels could be seen as selfish.  Didn't Bernadette have a sensible reason for refusing in that case?

It's more like he's only good at providing a more sensible perspective to the events currently unfolding.

I don't see that as the limit to his role.  And all the characters have their sensible moments.

Where as early drama built up to something, like big reveals or moments of awesome, the current drama seems more like a dark cloud constantly hanging over the comic's head. It's...a matter of nuance, I guess. Like, good drama and bad drama.

Personally I thought the Bloody Mary arc did build up to something and both Bernadette and Maytag got to shine in it.  Anyway, I think good drama is when the characters are faced with moral dilemma that don't have easy answers.

Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: BurnGarn on December 22, 2012, 09:32:45 am
>Just put things in your own words.

Which often degenerates into tl;dr text hell. Besides, after spending one too many hours reading tropes, one starts actually thinking with tropes. It's even number 49 on "You Know You Read Too Much TV Tropes When". It's also part of the reason there might be some misunderstanding or confusion, as I'm thinking with tropes and you're not. By linking to tropes instead, I was attempting to rectify that, and apparently failing. So as I shrug, Unlimited Text Walls.

>It's obvious why in Suspiria's case.  In Bern's case, she would feel betrayed by Maytag.  Bern would never allow innocent people to die simply because Maytag likes the murderer.

Mary's an innocent whom nobody had any problems with killing. Her dietary habits are akin to people killing and eating cows, only she doesn't have the option of switching to veganism, and some cows are responsible for her needing to eat them in the first place. Oh the irony. But I digress.

Does Bern think it's alright to let one innocent person die simply because it's more convenient? Is there some scale regarding the prioritization of innocence? Are some innocents more important than others? What exactly is an innocent? Is blaming a victim for being kidnapped and converted to forced cannibalism via body horror really just grounds for revoking "innocence"? Isn't that more of a cop out unbefitting one who once sought to become a heroic knight? The point about Nessy, though, is a bit of fridge brilliance. Which is lost on someone with an ever increasing dislike for the character since her better half is already gone. As the comic anviliciously points out, it's her fault that Kin's dead. Which is only excusable because she saved Bern, unless you're someone who's not a fan of Bern. Yeah...

Even setting the hypocrisy and questionable morality of characters aside, there's still one gaping plot hole that's ripped open and never resolved. I didn't even put it together until now, even though it should've been painfully obvious. Why would innocent people even have had to die? Apparently, Eschelon can rebuild limbs. They have the technology. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HofoK_QQxGc)  Even if Mary's stuck living as a cannibalistic monster, couldn't their technological Infinite Flesh Works have helped to manage her condition so that she no longer needed to feed on the living? In fact, would she even have had to in the first place if some random know-something person had bothered to suggest such a thing, instead of the villagers locking her up, starving her and then trying to kill her? In that context, didn't they kind of have it coming? Why didn't May mention it when she was going on about her arm being regrown? Why would she even have to regrow it repeatedly? Couldn't she just have had them regrow one arm, and then make a bunch of spares for Mary to munch on? Or, better yet, couldn't Mary, as a nigh invulnerable immortal capable of self-regeneration, have traded her value as a research subject to the Eschelon scientists wizards who specialize in matters of flesh in exchange for a continued supply of artificially generated sustenance? Wouldn't that have been the perfect, most obvious solution to Mary's dietary woes?

I guess what I'm asking is...is Maytag an idiot? Because she seems to have just casually handwaved the smartest thing she's ever said in favor of suggesting Mary become a superhero and not mentioned it again, even when talking to the Phalanx. She was so focused on the cure that she completely ignored the possibility that Mary might have been able to live a relatively peaceful life if people just stopped trying to kill her. To have a sensible outcome for the plot be completely ignored is a little jarring. Rather than making me see the err of my criticism, you've actually caused me to stumble upon an even better point of contention by chance, something I overlooked simply because the idea is presented in only one panel and treated like a joke. But...it wasn't a joke. It was the best, most sensible conclusion the arc could've possibly had. A conclusion so obvious, it's hard to understand whether the comic condemning Mary was because of anything more than plot induced stupidity.

The fridge horror gets worse later in the comic. If "anyone can grow flesh in a jar (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=1037)", why didn't Maytag, who came off as well versed with body part replacement as she went into squicky detail about various injuries, even try to convince genius level three plus sorceress Inverness to grow some flesh in a jar? The ease with which the entire arc could've been resolved happily, and the realization that Maytag sabotaged the ending by handwaving the idea, makes it even harder to stomach her betrayal, as the comic (unintentionally?) goes on to make the point that she had both the knowledge and opportunity to save Mary from her fate. I'm not sure if it was intentional on her part, but the unfortunate implication is that, however many are killed by Mary past that point, Maytag is solely to blame for their deaths. In that context, the arc doubles as a moral event horizon for her. It's...actually kind of hilarious that one of the main cast could set up such shocking fridge horror while simultaneously pulling a karma houdini.

On a side note, one of my greatest disappointments was that because the Mary arc was poorly handled, Danzig never got to see just how well the Thin Man's experiments work out for their recruits. I'm sorry, bro, but that was definitely a missed moment of epic. The expression on Danzig's face would've been just...absolutely hilarious. Of course, I'm assuming that, when faced with a nigh unstoppable eldritch abomination that would prefer to eat it off, even Danzig would be pretty horrified at how the thin man's experiments had gone horribly right. It saddens me that such glorious karmic retribution never came to be.

>Expecting sex whenever you feel like it without regards to how the other person feels could be seen as selfish.  Didn't Bernadette have a sensible reason for refusing in that case?

No. I once saw an image macro that was a screenshot from an adult anime. It depicted the character asking how another could love someone if said character wasn't willing to eat her...*ahem*. And aside from the stomach turning squickiness of it, it doubled as a heartwarming truth. How can someone claim to love a person if they're just going to make excuses to get out of being intimate whenever it's convenient?

I guess what I'm trying to say is, it doesn't really seem like Bern truly loves May as much as she thinks she does. Because words are cheap, and saying it just isn't enough for me, as a reader, to believe it. It seems like little to no development has been made since Bern came out way back in the earlier chapters, all while May comes off as bending over backward to make a relationship work with someone who doesn't seem to even want it to. There seems to be a dissonance with how you intend their relationship to come off as, and the disproportionate development that always seems to favor Bern not changing much. The more I think about it, the more she, pardon my language, comes off as a selfish bitch. I'm not saying I'd like to see her get freaky. But denying sex is basically the universal indicator of a dysfunctional relationship. Sure, there was that truth spell thing, but it seems like Bern's mostly lying to herself and is, in reality, incapable of accepting May for who she actually is. Her dismissing Maytag's behavior as a phase even comes off as a little demented, more so if she herself isn't even willing to take full responsibility for keeping her significant other properly satisfied whenever possible.

Of course, the fact that Bern's prudish in a land with magic birth control and magic STD protection is in and of itself nonsensical, further enforcing the perception that she just wants May as more of a trophy wife than an equal partner. Being possessive just for the sake of wanting someone to make you feel special? The entire relationship seems to be some sort of twisted emotional bondage play with May always winding up psychologically bending like a contortionist to fit into Bern's vision of an ideal lover. I don't know whether to be sickened or horrified at the imagery. As touching as their relationship is, their completely incompatible lifestyles make it hard to stomach.

>I don't see that as the limit to his role.

You're half-right in that he's not even good at that role, given all the times he's opted to be a doormat. I guess I mischaracterized him based on the early chapters when he was a decoy protagonist propped up by Maytag's fleeting interest in him. Those badass goggles turned out to do nothing after all. In reality, Crest is the most worthless character in the comic. He's not good at sorcery or swordsmanship. When it comes to combat, he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Which is why being an awesome moral filibuster is just about the only purpose he could possibly serve. When he fails to do even that, well, I guess being Nessy's body pillow really is about the best he can do. Then again, at least his mother would be proud. Unless Nessy's on the magic, in which case he'll have been objectified and demoted down to the status of "toy".

It's a shame, because he was introduced as the type who had potential, the kind of character who'd become some sort of badass normal like Orransong. Instead, he's been condemned to nice guy limbo since he dropped out of the Maytag School of Sex Self Improvement. Thinking back...his decay probably started the moment he dropped out of Knight School during his backstory. But in-comic, it was when he thoughtlessly left Dice behind, even after learning that she was totally into him and was probably a perfect match due to her own shyness problems. Definitely a waste of a good plot. Crest x Dice x Inverness would even make a good OT3, if only because bedding two sorceresses could be interpreted as a de facto asset that would bump him up to mage knight status regardles of whether the magic was even his.

Instead, he hasn't accomplished anything since. I wonder, why does he still want to travel with a group of people who make him look incompetent (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=269)? I think his mother was wrong to kick him out. Clearly, she was under the same false impression that Maytag would keep mentoring him. Ha! Crest staying in Solstice (with Dice!) would've probably given him more opportunity to make something of himself, as opposed to his current life of always being overshadowed by awesome 24/7/365. Maybe he should change his name to Krillin or Sokka. Barring the introduction of ass pull super powers, which would be absolutely horrible, it's hard to see how he could ever remain relevant during an adventure where he's faced with professional warriors and brilliant magicians. Without Maytag's guidance, he's degenerated from everyman back into the respectable loser he started off as. In a way, being put on the same bus as Shepard might've been the most merciful fate the comic could've given him. Because the humiliation of being kicked out by his mother and subsequently neglected by his "mentor", well, it's hard not to sympathize with the character for the bum hand the comic's dealt him. Did there really need to be a token male character? It seems like they all get screwed (figuratively), die or just leave. This leads to the unfortunate implication that male protagonists are only there to be used as plot devices, and not for any real long term character development. Cue unfortunate parallels with the role of modern men. The point is, instead of developing Crest further, the comic went back to focusing on two characters whose treatment of others and even one another makes them somewhat unlikeable. Crest is now as relevant to the comic as he is to their relationship. By which I mean he's currently not at all relevant, even failing to be an effective morality chain for Nessy.

To hell with personal responsibility. It'd be nice to see one of the female characters step out of the kitchen, take his hand and walk him back into the realm of badassery that, once upon a chapter, he had almost reached. Because after 25 chapters of un-development, it really doesn't seem like he's capable of getting there on his own, even with strong female role models. Or maybe that's the problem, that he doesn't have a male Kamina to ignite the greatness of his inner Simon. I mean, he's already got the goggles. Just not the friendship amongst men (http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/friendship-men-vs-women.jpg). Yeah...the guy's got a severe deficit of sex and inspiration, which isn't helped by his ability to just rely on his comrades to fix everything. At least in Solstice, his lone-wolfness drove him to become a badass card shark.

Did...did the comic change writers after chapter 10? Because it feels a little like Eureka Seven Ao or Gundam Seed Destiny, in that the comic seemed to know what it wanted to accomplish in the beginning, and then completely forgot it during a tone and character shift halfway into the plot. I wouldn't blame Crest's voice actor if he dismissed everything after 10 as fanon discontinuity. I kid, of course. But I am left with the impression that he's an expy of the protagonists of those shows. He starts off as the main character of the new series, only for the old characters to come back, steal the spotlight by being awesome and forget he even exists. Crest even gets paired up with one of the extras whose original object of affection is no longer attainable. Sadly, he differs in the sense that Crest doesn't even get a defining moment of awesome where he actually tries to take back what was originally his by impaling one or both of the heroines with extreme prejudice. With his sword. The one held in his hands. The one used to penetrate his adversaries. The one as hard as steel. Uh...alright, I'm not really sure how to descriptively differentiate between the two. But, previously unintended double entendre and rape subtext aside, Crest suffers from a significant lack of anger. The power of hate is pretty much the only weapon a character born of the useless loser archetype has at his disposal. And Crest doesn't even have that. What, exactly, is he actually good for?

>Personally I thought the Bloody Mary arc did build up to something and both Bernadette and Maytag got to shine in it.  Anyway, I think good drama is when the characters are faced with moral dilemma that don't have easy answers.

Yeah. They shined during the arc, but in the end, they ultimately failed to accomplish anything. One character was dead, one was emotionally distraught, one lost an arm, one nearly died and Crest cheered them on. It was more of a "look how heroic these two are acting" arc than a "these two did something heroic" one. I guess my standards are just higher, in that I expect main characters to find not just an answer to a moral dilemma, but the right answer, otherwise they come off as failure heroes who make you wonder just why the plot focuses on them in the first place. Heroes are supposed to be able to earn their happy ending, so when they don't...well, they wind up inspiring little more than disappointment. It wouldn't have been so bad if those first 10 chapters hadn't raised expectations in the first place by introducing them as the invincible knight and almighty janitor jester. In later appearances, they haven't really lived up to those standards. The only consolation is that they're still not as pathetic as Crest. Then again, aside from Crest himself, what still-living character is?
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on December 22, 2012, 04:39:21 pm
Well, I disagree with a lot of that, but you're welcome to your opinion.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: BurnGarn on January 01, 2013, 06:58:10 am
So...I'm just gonna take a moment to lament that Crest isn't present in the current page to offer an OBJECTION to the guy's hannibal lecture. Also, that Polly will swoop in and save the day without Bern having to make the obvious difficult choice of letting her father die or beating up the old fart who won't help him. Hasn't happened yet, but I figure it will, otherwise Bern would have to take a level in badass and earn her happy ending. And since this isn't Gurren Lagann, I'd be hard pressed to believe that the main characters will ever be awesome enough to go beyond the impossible and set in motion events that drive them to tear down the entire economic and governmental structure of an entire country just because it nearly cost a suicidal alcoholic his life. Disproportionate retribution? More like GREAT JUSTICE! Le sigh. A guy can dream.

The point is, there's at (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShutUpHannibal) least (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheReasonYouSuckSpeech) five (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RightMakesMight) tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TalkToTheFist) that the current page is setting up (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PayEvilUntoEvil), and it's a disappointing sign that the old guy hasn't been called out on his crap yet. I mean, Grant's about to go to the great castle in the sky, and the old fart's just been rambling on for like an hour about responsibility and money when a man's life is at stake. Even though responsibility and money are an illusion created by culture and state, respectively, while a person's life is very real. Yeah...I'm pretty sure everyone knows by now that Ron Paul (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FanNickname) a selfishly callous jerkass (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AssholeVictim) who's religiously devoted to his ideology (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VillainyFreeVillain) no matter the human cost. How much longer will have to read about him lecturing on the glory of letting people die (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PepQF7G-It0) before someone, anyone, even a noble bum like Bruce Ironstaunch, yells that, LOGIC BE DAMNED, letting someone die is just as bad as killing them yourself?

Or rather, why can't there be even one hotblooded, crazy awesome idiot hero who actually has enough moral backbone to kick logic and reason to the curb? Besides Crest, of course, because he's useless. Or would merely being hotblooded count as a story breaker power?

Damn, if only Boss, Twingana and Reaper had their own spinoff comic. Or if they were still in this one. Now those characters were interesting. Antiheroes, fuck yeah.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: IronSoul on January 14, 2013, 01:23:36 am
Little old, but I think it's worth putting up a rebuttal.

Look at Marvallo for a moment. It costs 5 gold to get directions, 10 if someone is dying. Then you have to hope you're not conned. And if you need help again, that's another five gold, that adds up. Proportionally, 800 for saving a life seems about what you would expect for cost. More importantly though, it outlines a really dangerous fact about Marvallo that every reader should have grasped by now: without money, in Marvallo, you're as good as dead. Without some kind of reserve, you can't buy food or get directions to a job in an unfamiliar district, and as already been made evident, people of Marvallo don't deal in IOUs. It's a cruel country that self perpetuates its greed in order to survive. There's freedom, for that, but no community. That's the danger of choice. The average person, when they can, may very well want to extort to get ahead of the game. Others either fall in step to survive and compensate, or live in poverty, or die out. Marvallo is a place where nice guys will inevitably finish last.

If the healer starts taking in people for free, everyone will start demanding it, and he'll have no excuse to not save them, especially given that Grant offers very little to the Marvallo people, if anything. He could easily be accused of holding a double standard, and lose his business. He has his savings, but what good will that do in the long run? We still don't know how expensive many basic services are. 800 gold could be worth a day's pay or a month's. Most of his treatments are probably more mundane than Grant's, or else the taxing on his daughter's spirit essence would probably be great enough that most treatments would need some kind of appointment or something. A walk in fee, for those reasons, would also make sense.

I'm by no means saying I support Marvallo's system, but looking at it for what it is, Marvallo is a very dog eat dog world. If you start playing the philanthropist, you aren't going to last. Simple as that. The man isn't being greedy so much as practical.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on March 07, 2013, 11:56:50 pm
Wow, haven't been here in a while.  2 responses, 1 critique:
I agree with whomever said putting specular highlights on the lips in black looks weird.  It did and it surprised me the first time I saw it.  I got used to it but I don't like it either.  And I do like octopus lips, too (Battle Angel fan).

To the really long wall of text discussion about the comic: I only read the first post, and that sums it up. I am kind of boggled how so much discussion and disagreement can happen when the critic has not even read the comic from start to finish.  There are parts of this comic I don't like / disagree with too, but I wouldn't Start Something without having bothered to carefully read the story first.  You miss a lot that way and it defeats your own arguments.  Sorry, I just do not get it and therefore have to agree with Brion on everything no matter what he said. Because he read his own story at least.

Now to the actual criticism: if today is NOT a joke page, the toy's tie clip really stylistically disturbs me.  I love the fashion in Flipside and tie clips just don't fit.  Too weirdly modern IMO.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: sunphoenix on December 31, 2013, 07:54:02 am
Er..yeah.  tldr.  sorry.. I hate it when peolpe do that.. but I did read some of the 'discussion'.

My take on it that.. people are not archetypes, they are not templates that are unyielding in their views or 'perfect' in holding to what they profess to believe in, support, or stand for.  People are not perfect, they make mistakes, they don't always fulfill their strongest held beliefs due to situations and emotions that come at them from unexpected directions.. and people change their minds too.  so I see any slight or situational inconsistencies in Maytag as simply.. human.

Sometimes we do things we are not proud of.. and realized afterward they were a mistake or a failing of our personal fidelity to what we profess to be - to ourselves.  We sometimes disappoint ourselves with our choices... we may not make the same choice twice given similar situations.  So I see any shifts in personality or seeming failings of professed character values as simply just how people react to the situations and shifting emotions of life.  As far as I'm concerned Maytag has been fairly consistant in her personal relationships with those about her... I never got the feeling she was not a loyal and dedicated friend to those she considers her friends.  As from the expose on her past we know and NOW understand why she see's everyone [even villains] as more than what they appear on the outside... she is Intimately familiar with understanding the fact ... we all wear masks.

Well that's my little 2 cents.  Take it or leave it.  But its on the table.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: 9_6 on January 06, 2014, 02:52:01 am
Hm, you really need to work on your dynamic perspective.
Try a 2-point one with a low horizon to make things look heroic or determined and with a high horizon to make them look powerless or lost.
Study how it is done in naruto since that series has a TON of very well executed dynamic compositions and a simple enough artstyle that doesn't distract from what is important too much.

You need to fight the urge to go "face face face" in the panels a bit more, page 6 (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=2071) has the exact same face basically copied 3 times on it which you should try to avoid.
It's like starting sentences with the same word again and again in writing ("The man swung his sword. The man missed. The man swung his sword again."), you try and mix it up (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5tBfCDhey8).

Another thing is, and this is the same ongoing theme you had for years, your affinity for verticals.
There is a time and place for vertical centric compositions but flowing action sequences is no such time (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=2087).
You will definitely benefit from pouring time into perspective studies, a lot of this comes from mileage and muscle memory more so than an understanding on an intellectual level.

If you don't do this already, try to keep a sketchbook and fill it with terrible drawings, one page every day.
Try to use a permanent medium such as fountain pen or marker to simultaneously speed yourself up and to force you to think about each line at the same time.
You will become more efficient and home in on what is important that way.
Building speed is an important facet of mastery! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKFfSl-EBfI)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on January 13, 2015, 06:31:26 am
Usually I love Bernadette-centric arcs, but at the moment it feels like your decision to change the "Indomitable Blades" chapter (42) from 30 to 60 pages was a mistake.  At least the "auction challenge" arc between the Warden, Polly and Bernadette feels extremely drawn out, as if several of the pages could have been condensed into a tighter story, perhaps one that didn't fit into 30 pages, but was much too short for 60 pages.  I have the feeling of being fed a drawn out story for the sake of making a "standardized" print-publishing size of 30-page "blocks.". Sorry! I do generally enjoy this comic very much, too.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on January 13, 2015, 12:06:56 pm
Usually I love Bernadette-centric arcs, but at the moment it feels like your decision to change the "Indomitable Blades" chapter (42) from 30 to 60 pages was a mistake.  At least the "auction challenge" arc between the Warden, Polly and Bernadette feels extremely drawn out, as if several of the pages could have been condensed into a tighter story, perhaps one that didn't fit into 30 pages, but was much too short for 60 pages.  I have the feeling of being fed a drawn out story for the sake of making a "standardized" print-publishing size of 30-page "blocks.". Sorry! I do generally enjoy this comic very much, too.

If anything it's already too condensed as it is, and should be longer.  Remember that "tight" stories have no suspense, tight isn't what we're going for here.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: TomeWyrm on February 20, 2015, 08:25:55 pm
I dunno, I spent nearly the entire time in the Colosseum saying "wow Bern is useless", "when did Bern pick up the idiot ball", "oh come on the obvious choice is a... why is this still being discussed 15 pages later?" and more. There's a time for suspense, but what we got wasn't suspense, it was indecision. This entire arc has been "wait for someone to make a decision for Bern while we sit here watching paint dry". That's not compelling to read, it feels like the actual meat of the story could have fit inside half as many pages, maybe less. I normally enjoy your stories Brian, but this last arc has just been slow, dragging on interminably, and unsuspensefuly slogging along.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 21, 2015, 12:19:03 am
I dunno, I spent nearly the entire time in the Colosseum saying "wow Bern is useless", "when did Bern pick up the idiot ball", "oh come on the obvious choice is a... why is this still being discussed 15 pages later?" and more. There's a time for suspense, but what we got wasn't suspense, it was indecision. This entire arc has been "wait for someone to make a decision for Bern while we sit here watching paint dry". That's not compelling to read, it feels like the actual meat of the story could have fit inside half as many pages, maybe less. I normally enjoy your stories Brian, but this last arc has just been slow, dragging on interminably, and unsuspensefuly slogging along.

Thanks for your input but I strongly disagree.  It would be completely out of character for Bernadette to act like you suggest, and I'm bothered by the fact that character's showing humanity and trauma bores you.

And yeah, it COULD have fit in half as many pages... but then it would have sucked and been completely worthless.  Compressing stories into less pages is a great way to destroy cinematic presentation, mood, drama, suspense, etc.  I don't like to read comics that are overly compressed, generally I find them boring.  Some type of stories need room for "air" to breath.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: mittfh on February 21, 2015, 06:38:53 am
Webcomics typically take far longer for events / stories to develop than other forms of storytelling - some webcomics have spent two years covering the events of a single day.

Sure, we haven't seen much fighting, but what we have seen is Bern explicitly demonstrating that she's a technical pacifist - she can and will fight, but only if it's for something she deems important (e.g. her father). She doesn't view earning brownie points with the Colosseum / earning her an early release as important enough. I think the Warden realised that when she came forth with her three options - left to her own devices, Bern would probably have chosen Option D (i.e. take the long, slow way out). Quite possibly realising that due to the nature of Options B and C, they probably wouldn't be content with her taking Option D, she chose what she viewed as the least worst option (A), only to be outbid by Polly (thus revealing insights into her character).

So while there wasn't much action, there was a lot of dialogue, and with it, character development.

(Oh, and of course, criticism isn't restricted to the negative end of the spectrum - criticism can be positive as well).
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 23, 2015, 11:19:48 am
Yeah, you're right.  The reason why webcomics can seem to tell stories slower is because you're only getting 1 page a day.  When you're reading a book, there is no delay between pages, you read all of them at once.  Imagine reading a graphic novel with a delay of days in between each page... that's what a webcomic is. 

I am aware of that and try to progress the story as fast as I can, but at the same time I don't want to sacrifice too much of the quality of the comic in book form.  If it's too compressed, it's going to read really badly as a book.  And, afterall, the comic will live it's life in book form.  After it is finished, the delay between pages disappears, and then all that matters is how it reads in book form.  So, preserving that has to be my main concern.  How it reads as a webcomic has to be secondary.  Doing anything else would be short-sighted.

For chapters like 42 where suspense is important and compression would destroy the impact, I just have to ask you to be patient and bear with me.  I can't make it go any faster.  It's already a bit compressed, as ideally I think this chapter would read best at around 70-90 pages.  60 is already a compromise.  However, there are events that I think read well even with more compression, and I will do so whenever it seems to make sense.

Also keep in mind that "pacing" and compression are two different things.  You can have fast pacing over a long page count and slow pacing over a short page count.  For example, Ranma 1/2 and other Takahashi manga are very compressed, yet slowly paced.  Events happen quickly from page to page, yet the overall plot progresses very slowly.  In contrast, I think Flipside is pretty quickly paced, but less compressed.  Events take more pages to unfold, but the overall plot progresses much more quickly in comparison to something like a Takahashi manga.  People have a tendency to use the word "pacing" to mean compression, but I don't think that's a good idea as it is confusing two entirely different concepts.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Keneto on February 26, 2015, 07:59:04 am
I dunno, I spent nearly the entire time in the Colosseum saying "wow Bern is useless", "when did Bern pick up the idiot ball", "oh come on the obvious choice is a... why is this still being discussed 15 pages later?" and more. There's a time for suspense, but what we got wasn't suspense, it was indecision. This entire arc has been "wait for someone to make a decision for Bern while we sit here watching paint dry". That's not compelling to read, it feels like the actual meat of the story could have fit inside half as many pages, maybe less. I normally enjoy your stories Brian, but this last arc has just been slow, dragging on interminably, and unsuspensefuly slogging along.

I've finally made it in! I can chip my two cents in now (not that Canada has pennies any longer).

What you're reading here (and I'm going out on a limb and putting words in your mouth) is not slow or dragging... the problem is it's hard to invest in Bernadette.

Ya, she has the underdog thing going... but she's faced with a choice that is obvious to us but not to the character. We're shouting at the screen "Jump already" but she's kinda peeking over the edge and wondering how far the plunge will be. The fact that the reader sees the choice she must take far in advance makes it seems to take her forever to reach it.

Hamlet had this too. By about the end of Act I, he/we knew he had to kill Claudius. The next 3 acts and all that "To be or not to be" song & dance could be considered slow or could be considered genius. It mostly depends on how well the reader can settle into the character's decision-making process.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Pinkk on February 26, 2015, 12:02:41 pm
I dunno, I spent nearly the entire time in the Colosseum saying "wow Bern is useless", "when did Bern pick up the idiot ball", "oh come on the obvious choice is a... why is this still being discussed 15 pages later?" and more. There's a time for suspense, but what we got wasn't suspense, it was indecision. This entire arc has been "wait for someone to make a decision for Bern while we sit here watching paint dry". That's not compelling to read, it feels like the actual meat of the story could have fit inside half as many pages, maybe less. I normally enjoy your stories Brian, but this last arc has just been slow, dragging on interminably, and unsuspensefuly slogging along.

I've finally made it in! I can chip my two cents in now (not that Canada has pennies any longer).

What you're reading here (and I'm going out on a limb and putting words in your mouth) is not slow or dragging... the problem is it's hard to invest in Bernadette.

Ya, she has the underdog thing going... but she's faced with a choice that is obvious to us but not to the character. We're shouting at the screen "Jump already" but she's kinda peeking over the edge and wondering how far the plunge will be. The fact that the reader sees the choice she must take far in advance makes it seems to take her forever to reach it.

Hamlet had this too. By about the end of Act I, he/we knew he had to kill Claudius. The next 3 acts and all that "To be or not to be" song & dance could be considered slow or could be considered genius. It mostly depends on how well the reader can settle into the character's decision-making process.

Agreed on the choice being pretty easy.  The only reason to think it might be difficult was Maytag (who would have understood).  Though this whole time, I've been wondering why she isn't putting more fight into it.  She wanted to be a knight.  Knights are warriors.  Yes, she's more on the passive side, but fighting and fighting well, would only be protecting people.

Maybe seeing her dad fallen and broken just broke her that much, but it seemed like she should've been fighting much harder than she has been.  Maybe as a way to show the people of the city how ridiculous they are and try to make it a better city.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: quille on February 26, 2015, 12:41:55 pm
I still disagree with Brion concerning the pacing of the previous chapter. Even going back and rereading it as a whole, it still reads very slow. I concur with what TomeWyrm said - "what we got wasn't suspense, it was indecision". It doesn't feel natural. It doesn't feel like good storytelling. Disagree with me if you will, but as a writer I truly feel like the previous chapter could've been written a lot better. I also think it hurt Bernadette's characterization even more. Sure, we got to see the self-sacrifice of Polly, and I do like her a lot - I'm starting to wish that she was one of the main focuses of the story. For the last several chapters Bern repeatedly says how she shouldn't be relying on her friend, and yet she is. All the time. That's what's so frustrating with the outcome of the recent chapter.

Granted, Polly has also been playing a hand in the frustration. Essentially she's taking Bern's agency, her right to choose. It sucks, but I wish that they didn't do the whole back-and-forth indecision that lasted as long as it did, and Bern would've been left to deal with the consequences of her own actions. I could understand her being a pacifist in not wanting to kill someone for others' amusement, so her avoiding Option C seemed reasonable for her character. But it's irritating to see her be so adamant about avoiding conflict when all it does is put her friend in even more precarious situations. Her actions aren't only affecting her, they're hurting Polly as well. And it's boring seeing this same theme happen again and again with every chapter they're in. That's why I'm hoping to see this arc continue in the next chapter - I'd like to see it FINALLY go somewhere.

Again this is also a fault of Polly's and how she's being written. Ultimately I wish she had allowed Bern to make her own choice. Warden had a point that she needed to suffer. Suffering is a part of life and so is taking responsibility for your actions. Bernadette needed to deal with that on her own.

That said, I'm not criticizing the pacing because I hate slow storytelling and characterization. I'm criticizing it because it's frustrating seeing these two characters constantly making the same mistakes since this whole arc started. The last chapter was basically 60 pages of back-and-forth arguing that we've already seen with the characters. That's my problem.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 26, 2015, 09:17:16 pm
I still disagree with Brion concerning the pacing of the previous chapter. Even going back and rereading it as a whole, it still reads very slow. I concur with what TomeWyrm said - "what we got wasn't suspense, it was indecision". It doesn't feel natural.

I don't really understand where you're coming from.  If characters are given an agonizing decision, it's natural for them to agonize over it, isnt it?  Do you not agree that it was an agonizing decision, especially for Bernadette's character?  I don't understand how you can think it's not.

Again this is also a fault of Polly's and how she's being written. Ultimately I wish she had allowed Bern to make her own choice. Warden had a point that she needed to suffer. Suffering is a part of life and so is taking responsibility for your actions.

If you love someone, would you really be okay to just let them go off and essentially be raped?  Even if you could do something about it?  I think Polly's actions are pretty understandable.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Daisuki-chan on February 27, 2015, 04:26:39 pm
I didn't really have a "problem", but I'm not invested in Bern in the first place. I think it might've helped if the options seemed closer to each other in value. Two of the options were strategic or moral non-starters for Bern, leaving just "rot in prison" (option "D") or the sex slave option. I realize that it would be painful, but if there's clearly truly nothing better then agonizing over it serves no purpose (purposeless agony can manifest itself as agony rather than interest in the audience). If Bern felt the options were close enough in value to be worth agonizing over then why remains unclear. It could appear to many that it just makes Bern seem flaky or unwilling to commit, i.e. weak, even though she committed in the first place for her father, something that she hasn't particularly continued since then (her pacifism means nothing in the colosseum given that she absolutely won't change the system, given that she needn't kill anyone, and given that those who fight choose to do so as their best option, which is again not something she can change). For those invested in Bern or otherwise hopeful about her character's development, this could be a problem. In comparison there's no real problem with Polly, unless one dislikes her idolization of Bern, since Polly at least was committing.

Contrasting with Fukumoto (this is incidental, and I don't mean to imply that you ought to write like he does, but you did mention him in the intermission), he has crazy metaphors and character/art expressions to represent or impress upon you the emotions of the characters, while the strategy is laid out as well. The former keeps the emotions more interesting even if you don't care about the characters, while the latter (and how it plays out in the plot) is the meat of the story. Last chapter lacked the former, which isn't Flipside's style anyway, and the latter appeared shallow. Of course strategy is more Maytag's thing anyway... ;p
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on February 27, 2015, 06:31:42 pm
Yeah, I love the visual metaphors in Fukumoto's works.  But I'd be a bit shy about using that in Flipside because it's not really the comic's style, and also it would take up even more pages.

Chapter 42 wasn't really about 'strategy' so much as tough decisions, two things which are ever present in Fukumoto's works.  Still, maybe this chapter was more akin to movies like 13 Sins, Would You Rather, and Cheap Thrills (all of which I've seen recently so they probably also influenced me.)  Personally I don't think there was an obvious option for Bernadette to pick at all.  Morally, I think she would gravitate towards option B right away, and would take some explaining from Polly as to why she shouldn't pick that.  I think options A and C are both pretty terrible options for Bernadette from a moral standpoint, with option A being only slightly better.  And anyway, it's not about whether the agonizing servers a purpose, because you don't have emotions to serve a purpose.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Daisuki-chan on February 27, 2015, 07:07:38 pm
Well, the explaining was properly done against option B, of course. The "problem" is that once Polly enlightened Bern with Polly's cynicism (again it can seem a bit weak/childish that Bern needs her hand held so much...this also meshes with how Bern was pointlessly* pacifistic while being evaluated by the warden as well as during fights) there was really nothing left. Bern just had A and D, but there wasn't really much comparison between these in the sense of attempting to get the reader to feel that these two options were close in value, so Bern not settling on one of those choices can seem like running from reality rather than having to agonize over her choice. No one with more than a shred of sense and mental fortitude (lacking these again can just equal plain weakness to the audience) agonizes over a $1,000,000 debt option when the only other option is a $100,000,000 debt, do they?

*Basically, imagine you have a vegan, and the sole reason for their being vegan is that they're concerned with the welfare or suffering of animals. Now imagine the vegan is put into a scenario where meat is grown in vats or whatever rather than on actual animals that have brains with which they could perceive anything. The vegan would accomplish nothing towards their goal by emphatically opposing eating meat in this scenario (the vegan could for example starve, be less healthy, or even just be inconvenienced in terms of eating with other people), just like Bern can accomplish nothing by being a pacifist in the colosseum...nothing other than hamstringing herself, that is. Maybe it "feels" wrong to Bern but we know Bern will stand up for others by using violence...not standing up for herself can be pretty contemptible, too, as she is also a human being. If she doesn't respect herself enough to work towards bettering her (and Polly's!) situation then why should readers respect her? Again, just a possible perspective. I'm not seriously affected by this due to a lack of investment in Bern as well as most characters in stories in general (relative to other story elements; most humans seem to love characters heavily in comparison).
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Pinkk on February 27, 2015, 09:30:59 pm
Some of it may be that the readers are able to disconnect from the choices.  Especially with a bit of delay between pages.  It likely plays out for a first time read in a book format.

Also, the choices can be seen differently from the reader side.  Dismember yourself?  Terrible idea.  Kill someone?  Terrible deed!  A day of humiliation?  You have time to psyche yourself up and take the humiliation with no lasting physical damage.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on March 01, 2015, 12:34:33 pm
but there wasn't really much comparison between these in the sense of attempting to get the reader to feel that these two options were close in value, so Bern not settling on one of those choices can seem like running from reality rather than having to agonize over her choice. No one with more than a shred of sense and mental fortitude (lacking these again can just equal plain weakness to the audience) agonizes over a $1,000,000 debt option when the only other option is a $100,000,000 debt, do they?

I just don't think it's that simple.  Option A is still a pretty terrible choice, from Bern's perspective... and it's only human to hesitate when you're faced with nothing but bad options.  Even if you feel like there's a clear choice, if it's something you really don't want to do, any human being would hesitate.  The more you don't want to do it, the more you'd hesitate.  That's just the way 99% of people are.  If I was reading a story like this, and the character made that choice right away, I'd be disappointed with the lack of realism and gravity.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Daisuki-chan on March 01, 2015, 04:34:56 pm
You can call it hesitation, but perhaps some of your audience didn't perceive it that way? Regardless, it is "weak" (the pattern of decisions overall more so than any step in the pattern) rather than decisively calculated/intelligent. Various stories (probably more often for fantasy or similar) tend to be about characters that are more interesting or otherwise better than normal people. People may prefer this type of character, invest into Bern under such premises, and just have ended up disappointed by her recent pattern of decisions. I'm not really disappointed because I'm not invested in Bern. Anyway, realism can also be a bad thing (there are lots of weak-willed or otherwise deficient people in real life, but these aren't always the characters people enjoy), and as for gravity...Bern and Polly were already crying and showing shocked faces, while the reader can also read gravity into the situation by evaluating the options, which were laid out well. So I do think it's a matter of preference whether one appreciates what has happened recently with Bern or not. Naturally you did achieve your aims regarding someone with preferences similar to your own. Some other people just want more and/or different things, and no story will balance everything for everyone.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Pinkk on March 01, 2015, 09:39:54 pm
but there wasn't really much comparison between these in the sense of attempting to get the reader to feel that these two options were close in value, so Bern not settling on one of those choices can seem like running from reality rather than having to agonize over her choice. No one with more than a shred of sense and mental fortitude (lacking these again can just equal plain weakness to the audience) agonizes over a $1,000,000 debt option when the only other option is a $100,000,000 debt, do they?

I just don't think it's that simple.  Option A is still a pretty terrible choice, from Bern's perspective... and it's only human to hesitate when you're faced with nothing but bad options.  Even if you feel like there's a clear choice, if it's something you really don't want to do, any human being would hesitate.  The more you don't want to do it, the more you'd hesitate.  That's just the way 99% of people are.  If I was reading a story like this, and the character made that choice right away, I'd be disappointed with the lack of realism and gravity.

For Bern, it likely would be. *nod*  I would've personally thought she would've seen all those disadvantages for loss of body part herself...but maybe I'm remembering early parts of the comic wrong and thinking she should just know better.

Sex slave would've had her feeling like she betrayed Maytag, I would think anyways, but I would've thought she would've seen that as the better option.

Either way, could see Polly coming in and trying to up it.  Seems like a Polly thing to do.  Though she should maybe ease up on herself as well, Bern was a knight!  She should be able to handle herself.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on March 17, 2015, 12:57:58 am
I'm going to preface this critique by saying openly that I personally suck at drawing action scenes, I just like reading them in comics ;-)

I'd like to suggest that the current action scene sequence between one-hit-wonder I-Beam Man and Bernadette could be a little more dynamic?  I'm not quite sure how, but it seems to me that the power charge up scene of I-Beam is very static, him standing from a front angle with the weapon over his head for at least 2 panels, maybe more, intersposed with a straight on closeup of a wide-eyed Bernadette sweating, also for at least 2 panels or more.  Maybe the angle could be changed for a sense of more drama or motion, even if he isn't moving much?  Like a shot of him holding the sword over his head with the camera perspective from his feet to the sky, rather than frontal.  Or his downswing from a camera perspective overhead at an angle, rather than 90-degree from the ground.  I know this is all a lot harder to draw because dynamic perspective is damn hard - I hardly ever get it right on buildings, forget moving people - but just changing the camera angle a bit , even just a little, might help the story build more tension.  Even freed from perspective difficulties, showing the weapon chargeup as a closeup of, say, his hand and wrist with veins bulging and just the handle of the weapon collecting power, instead of a front on perspective of the I-Beam "blade" held over his head sucking in power as it is now, might excite the sense of battle a little more.  You don't need to go all Stan Lee's Spiderman on everybody, but just a little more dynamic perspective rather than just action lines, to really get the feel of motion in the action scenes.

Thanks for making the comic, please take this as a constructive criticism and not a complaint, it's not at all.  I think you're a great artist and am enjoying this comic quite a lot, hence, the desire to leave a hopefully helpful critique.  I understand drawing fight scenes is difficult and appreciate that you are doing one as well. :-)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on March 18, 2015, 08:42:25 pm
That's fair criticism Enkida.  You're right, they could be a lot more dynamic.  I'd love to be able to draw action scenes like Murata Yuusuke does in One Punch Man, which are extremely dynamic.  Maybe one day!
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Enkida on March 22, 2015, 05:22:36 am
I noticed you tried changing the camera perspective a little on the latest page panels (Friday) and personally, I think it's fantastic.  Huge improvement, thank you :-)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: mnmrn on April 21, 2015, 06:51:56 pm
Not a criticism of the comic, the comic is great!  But it seems like XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX stopped letting people see the comic, and now it just doesn't work as a URL at all.  Is that intentional?  What URL should we be using?

(modified by moderator.  the site you linked to contains malware.  not sure if you meant to do that.)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: ducky_worshiper on April 21, 2015, 10:37:13 pm
http://flipside.keenspot.com/
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on April 26, 2015, 11:20:28 am
The flipsidecomics.com URL still works as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: SirBananaPie on January 18, 2017, 04:53:33 am
Just a few small things:
On chapter 15, page 5 of book 0 (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs15pg05.html), your note refers to chapter 12, page 1. It would be nice if you added a link to it. Yes, I know it's real easy to change the URL accordingly, but a link would still be nice.

Also book 0 could generally use a menu to navigate to other places. Especially to this one (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/comic.html).

Also the pictures on this page (http://www.flipsidecomics.com/chapters.php) aren't working for me.

edit: The note here (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs16pg01.html) belongs two pages later.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: CapnBlaze on March 09, 2017, 07:23:51 am
This isn't so much a criticism as a suggestion/request. I got spoiled with Go Comics and a few other web comics sites who have the following feature. I would love it if the comic discussion could be located either under the comic (where the blog post currently is) or at least on the same page.

The benefit to the strip would be to encourage greater involvement from the audience. Even though commenting on the forum is relatively easy, people are incredibly lazy. If it is right there where they have to do almost nothing other than a single click, they tend to participate more. And the benefit to the audience is - well ... speaking as a fan, I enjoy seeing conversation (and occasionally chiming in) about the strips I like. I believe I am typical in that.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on March 14, 2017, 12:27:00 pm
That'll take a bit of effort to set up, but yeah you're not the first person to suggest it.  It's something I'm considering for the future.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: SirBananaPie on April 05, 2017, 01:25:27 am
Hey, don't ignore me. :(
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: Brion Foulke on April 05, 2017, 10:02:16 am
Hey, don't ignore me. :(

Sorry... I will get on that stuff soon, I promise.
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: SirBananaPie on October 26, 2017, 05:01:05 am
It's ok, don't worry about it. Take your time! :)
Title: Re: The Criticism Thread
Post by: SirBananaPie on November 20, 2017, 12:13:47 am
Also current page http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=3337
"reahed out"
"out friendship"