Author Topic: The Criticism Thread  (Read 28777 times)

BurnGarn

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #90 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 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.

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #91 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 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.

BurnGarn

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #92 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. 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.

I also don't understand why her friends would coldly disown Maytag if she insisted on helping Mary despite the futility of doing so. That...doesn't sound like any kind of friendship I've ever heard of. Then again, maybe I was giving the main characters too much credit if they'd ditch her so easily even after hearing Mary's tragic backstory.

>"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 versus an expression of love. 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 that's flown right over my head.

>"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 at providing a more sensible perspective to the events currently unfolding. When he's not causing shock and awe, he comes off as little more than a vestigial part of the cast whose existence hardly seems justified as he's become more and more unlike the person he used to be 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, it was a missed moment of awesome when Crest didn't bring out his inner badass to talk her back down to sanity 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 cool at that point in the comic. And Bern passing her secret test of character was a defining moment 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. But that didn't happen for another few chapters, not until Mary appeared and shit got real. Cue what could have been 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.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 04:37:32 am by BurnGarn »

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #93 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.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 08:04:57 am by Brion Foulke »

BurnGarn

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #94 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.  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", 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? 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. 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?

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #95 on: December 22, 2012, 04:39:21 pm »
Well, I disagree with a lot of that, but you're welcome to your opinion.

BurnGarn

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #96 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 least five tropes that the current page is setting up, 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 a selfishly callous jerkass who's religiously devoted to his ideology no matter the human cost. How much longer will have to read about him lecturing on the glory of letting people die 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.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 07:14:35 am by BurnGarn »

IronSoul

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #97 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #98 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.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 11:58:52 pm by Enkida »
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #99 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.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 07:55:49 am by sunphoenix »
"...no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free.  No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything - you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is Kill him." - Robert A. Heinlein


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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #100 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 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.

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.
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!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 04:06:10 am by 9_6 »

Enkida

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #101 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.
2 kids = no more comics, but you can still find me doing BG portraits now and then

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #102 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #103 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #104 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #105 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).

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #106 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.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 11:22:19 am by Brion Foulke »

Keneto

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #107 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #108 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #109 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.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 12:45:06 pm by quille »

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #110 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.

Daisuki-chan

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #111 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

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #112 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.

Daisuki-chan

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #113 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).

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #114 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #115 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.

Daisuki-chan

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #116 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.

Pinkk

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #117 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.

Enkida

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #118 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. :-)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 01:00:03 am by Enkida »
2 kids = no more comics, but you can still find me doing BG portraits now and then

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #119 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!