Author Topic: The Criticism Thread  (Read 28655 times)

Brion Foulke

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The Criticism Thread
« 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.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 10:02:33 am by Brion Foulke »

RoninAngel

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 11:53:15 am »
I like Flipside!
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RoninAngel

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 11:53:59 am »
But sometimes it's really frustrating to have to wait for the new update.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #3 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 ;)

charles

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #4 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?
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vintage

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #5 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.

RyanAsquith

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #6 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.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #7 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.

charles

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #8 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.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 11:44:37 pm »
Apart from a verbal punching bag, what use does crest have?
Seriously.

He likes swords.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2010, 08:56:49 pm »
Someone should do a Crestdoken.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #11 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.

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #12 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.

charles

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #13 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.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #14 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.
 
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #15 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #16 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.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #17 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.

dynamicmoves

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #18 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. 

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It looked cooler head down.
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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2011, 02:59:44 am »
yes, and realism must always make way for coolness

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Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #20 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #21 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. 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.



Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #22 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #23 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.
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Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #24 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, 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #25 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

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Brion Foulke

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #26 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #27 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)

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #28 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.

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Re: The Criticism Thread
« Reply #29 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!

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