Saturday, April 11, 2009

Intergalactic Law: Grey Squad Zuda review/ Pink Raygun goes ZZZAAPPP!

Another April Zuda review: Intergalactic Law: Grey Squad by Lisa Fray and John Dallaire , which is a spin off of their Intergalactic Law comic on Pink Raygun If you haven't checked out Pink Raygun WTF is wrong with you??? The two strips share a universe and are crossing over all month so you should check it out. John also works on BCB, and did Lasers, Dragons, and Lies with John Zakour A track record of impressive work this comic is no different. Here is the Synopsis: Detective Janet Moore from the elite Green Squad is transferred to Grey Squad: a sleepy, out of the way precinct where old cops wait to retire and the most notorious criminal is an unrepentant jaywalker. Most of the old timers of Grey Squad are suspicious of this hot, young, cybernetic whippersnapper in their midst and are openly hostile about her unwelcome presence. However, Moore is a professional and enforces the law to the best of her ability, despite her co-workers’ misgivings. While Moore adjusts to life in the low-tech squad room (filing cabinets filled with. . . paper!), the slower pace of her colleagues (spontaneous. . . naps!), and the selectively lenient law enforcement practiced by Grey Squad’s Captain, she uncovers a web of corruption that threatens the safety, the pensions, and digestive health of the entire department.

Mission Accomplished

It got 4/5 stars and a fav from me, I enjoyed the art/writing/letters/colors everything really, it's that good. I really appreciate the creators are very straight forward in how they see their comic updating. A screen a week, the 8 screens in this submission are set up as stand alone, but they still move the story forward. It's a fish out of water set-up for Janet which is a classic humor theme for a reason -it's funny. having the Head cop's mom arrested for being a drug dealer by a spider cop, Her son wanting to buy some heart pills as a prize for another of his agents, and Janet's reactions are all laugh out loud (how many times in your life have you seen someone type out LOL) funny. Lisa and John had an idea for the structure of their story and they pulled it off from screen 1 on. The script is spot on, and the art works so well for this story, reminds me of Steve 'The Dude' Rude's work on Nexus. Meaning alien life forms are believable and not too alien, good facial expressions so you get the sight gags aspect, and the art is clean and easy to follow. My favorite panel is panel 5 on Screen 2 -love the colors here. It's easy to read as can be, great call on the letters, -no letter by letter zooming needed- thank you, thank you, thank you! I also liked the glowing drawer as a Pulp Fiction/Repo Man style homage. I have a feeling what's in it will come up again. Got a mystery hook by screen 2, love the pacing on this story.

Not only humor but Pathos

It's not all laughs though, their are hints of some more serious issues in the story. Cyborg new breed cops replacing the old cops on the beat, and the ill feelings that breeds. The closing line on Screen 4: "Maybe Janet is just a good cop. Like we used to be." -was a stand out to me, really effective on Lisa's part. Course in the next screen Janet ends up looking over eager... Whatever direction this comic is going in is cool with me, but I wouldn't mind one bit if it came down with a case of Cerebus syndrome. Assuming the spider cop doesn't go crazy and try to eat everyone, that character is my favorite. I also like the green alien guy. The Captain talking to his drug dealing mother was funny, but made me wonder what kind of interpersonal family dynamic is going on there. The way the story ends both the Captain and Janet place each other under arrest, it showed real anger from the characters and was also a funny line. The synopsis also ends on a hint of more serious things to come and Janet being given the chance to really prove herself. The script did have so many funny moments that mixed well with the drama, and I'm a lot tougher on humor comics cause that ain't my go to genre of choice.

Some nifty examples from the comic to show you what I mean

"That's it! Bend over! I'm looking for a on/off switch!" said to robo-cop Janet.

"Oh and bring my mother in from the cage." The Captain about his drug dealing mom.

"What's a code two?" -from Janet to Tulla- "unscooped dog poop."

"I'll be out in time for bridge right." Drug dealing mom strikes again.

Damn funny and you have 8 screens worth of that.

Avengers roll call: their was a reason for it

Small criticism: I would have liked a run down of all the characters names and maybe a short description in the Synopsis -just to make it easier to know who I'm talking about. I know most everybody got a mention in the script, -but I like lists. I would also like to see some other aspects of the station, if not other locations, if the comic continues.

Read this comic you interstellar piker

The creators did a really impressive job, I laughed at a humor comic which doesn't happen often, and you had some great character development in the 8 screens. Art and story worked together seamlessly which is another rare thing that when seen should be appreciated.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Myth Zuda review/ Out of the Bayou into the Dogwoods

The first April review is for the comic I'm voting for: Myth by Michael Loniewski, Marcom, and E.T. Dollman. I faved it, 5/5 stars, and voted for it (for keeps) the first day of the contest. In other words get ready for lots and lots of fawning praise. You do like fawning don't you?

Here is the synopsis: After years of battling a wicked headmistress, young Sam has escaped his orphanage for a life far from adults. What he finds instead is a fallen kingdom of fantasy hidden in a nearby forest. Within the bizarre landscape Sam finds the perfect sidekick for justice in a solitary giant. Armed with his massive new friend, Sam heads out to rescue his fellow orphans and punish their cruel headmistress once and for all. But when the town’s children begin to disappear, the boy and his giant must battle something far more sinister.

So their is this poor child who wanders into a fantasy kingdom...

Bayou is about a young girl in a horrible situation, Myth is about a young boy in a horrible situation. Bayou is in 'cool as hell' color, Myth is in 'cool as hell' black and white and gray. Bayou deals with racism along with other themes, Myth seems to be dealing with child abuse in general, it's too early yet to gauge to rest of the themes in the comic. My comment: I like Batman and Moon-Knight. In other words two stories in the same genre can go in radically different directions, I hope Myth wins so I can read for myself what direction it goes in.

The idea the creators thought about coloring this comic scares the shit out of me!

I love the artwork as is!!! It is the first thing that drew me to the story the layout's reminded me of Frank Miller. Myth's creators gave a fantasy story a bit of a noir look which worked so damn well. From the first panel on the first screen they set the mood with the art and the words. Making full use of the B&W&G again in the first panel of screen 3, so very impressive. Normally I'm the one yelling color your comic, it's a rare case when not coloring is the better way to get my vote. This is one of those exceptional reads that proves the rule. Color would have diminished the impact of the scenes for me. The stark white backdrops is more dread inducing for me than any kind of scary forest colors you might have came up with. The art reminds me some of Dan Thompson or Sunday funnies style (think Little Orphan Annie) comic artists as well. You also have to give the writer credit for his excellent pacing in the 8 screens he had to work with. They talk about 'the woods' on screen 2 and our young hero Sam is trekking off into the undiscovered country by screen 3. In some of the writing styles on Zuda in the past we wouldn't have seen 'the woods' by screen 9. Meaning of course we the readers wouldn't have gotten even the tiniest bit of payoff by the end of the comic. It's like someone wrote a book about all the things not to do with your 8 screen submission, and the Myth gang didn't make a misstep, not once. The arts great, and after the bold you can read how good the writing is, but the letters are very good too. E.T. did a fine job making them easy to read in any screen mode, and a font that didn't distract from the story.

P.S. I love silhouettes, and big scary monsters so that was the cherry on top for me.

Some nifty examples from the comic to show you what I mean

You've already read plenty of praise for the art, but how about some praise for the script/ and the letters. Everyone who's read just about any of my comments know I hate text boxes. I especially hate thought balloons that try to pass themselves off as text boxes. The only exceptions are when it fits the story, is very well written, and isn't over done. Case in point the text on screen's 3 and 4 were particularly well written. The reader gets hints (everybody loves foreshadowing) at more supernatural elements to come with the line "other than the weird lines on those rocks".

I have no idea what the line "Babies" was in reference to though???

E.T. did a great job with Chewbacca's new more masculine wookie Growl. I also liked the question mark and other thought punctuations used for Sam. Macrom of course did a great design job on the monster.

Where this comic really shines is the pacing: panels 6, 7, and 8, are fantastic in building the suspense of the story into a cliff-hanger ending. The creators really did well in mixing up the panel count/screen layout for the most impact to grab a reader. Michael did a fantastic job (and marcom & E.T.) of making the script a perfect fit for the Zuda format. To end with a P.O.V. shot from Chewie's perspective was just icing on the cake, extra sprinkles for the ice cream, and all other complimentary cliches are fitting, and deserved.

Cool as hell is my highest form of praise

That's just what this comic is from start to finish. Normally I talk about the things I dislike too, but 5/5 stars and a vote on the first day/ first read through. Nothing critical for me to say about this comic. Your up there with The Crooked Man (longtime Zudites know how I feel about that comic) and Dual with me. If you don't win you will be on my Zuda Invitational 2009 list, assuming of course Zuda has that contest again, which they should. I always tell people who I'm voting for, so thanks guys for the Avatar to let people know who has my support before a word needs to be typed.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Zuda 52: Deadly/ Rock the Zuda vote!

Zuda 52 is a new blog feature that may or may not live past this post. Basically it's about what I hope to see from the next 52 screens of the latest winner of the contest. With Deadly by James Fosdike which I voted for it's pretty much a repeat of my early post about this comic, along with some general comments on the controversy which seems to envelope at least one comments section every month. My major complaint about the comic is still the same more panels per screen and better formatting to cut down on the blank black void. I have no doubt Fozzie will add to the panel count, and continue to kick ass with this comic. You often wonder when your reading the 8 screen pitch what comes next? The Foz had a very engrossing set-up apoco-wasteland genre, while it being set in Australia gives it a nice mysterious/foreign cache to readers in the States. I think from his comments the story is only going to build with the word count, and as the weeks go by the art will only become more impressive.

White stars shinning so bright

You have to be awed by the get out the vote campaign for both this comic and Children of Armegeddon. Of course at least one comic a month gets caught in a mini-fire storm, last month Deadly through no fault of its own also got that distinction. Their seem to be two worries in the main: 1. creators (and friends) voting more than once for a comic 2. Just how/who counts the votes anyway? I trust the Zuda folks more than some, so I have confidence they would catch any vote fraud done against the site. I also trust them to go by their secret formula whatever that may be in figuring out who a winner is.

Could the Wizard of OZ please show us some ankle

[no reference intended to the land down under] What I mean is I get for any number of reasons the Zuda folks don't want to make the vote counts public. I say keep standing behind the green curtain (not a green door hopefully), but just give us a peak inside maybe.The problem I have is I think the number of votes should decide the contest flat out. Never mind adding in stars/favs/number of comments/views and going through all the metrics -unless you need to go in search of a tie breaker. Keep things as simple as possible is generally the best way to go in any voting situation.
The legalease on the sight doesn't really let the light shine in, American English or everybody else's English with all those extra letters would be more helpful. I know legal probably insists it has to be worded just so, but goggle translate doesn't work on lawyer speak yet. I wish I knew it was just votes deciding this unless their is a tie, but their is going to be a veil around the voting process I think people will just need to deal with in one manner, or another. I don't blame the folks who are more dubious than I am either, everyone needs someone to hold their feet to the fire.

Have you ever... you know... done it.....

Talking about the feedback button here people. If you have any questions/concerns about view counts/ vote counts/ general Zuda questions/ concerns about the appropriateness of a post -click on a feedback button. In the early days some thought the Zuda Illuminati didn't even read those things. All this time after the start, I've had any number of responses from the Zuda folks to my feedback. You don't always get the answers your looking for, but it means something to know that do pay some attention to what fans are thinking/questioning. Before we go acting like Hercule Poirot in the big final denouncement scene in the comments section of someone else's comic, try the feedback button first.

In closing:


Or however it goes, looking forward to Deadly going live Foz.