Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pirate Eye April Zuda review/ Where be the parrot sidekick arrgh

Pirate Eye is a April Zuda comic done by the not so scurvy crew of: Grobert79, Josiah _grahn, The Dude Artist, Cueprod, and swordfish_5. It's pirates, detective work, and humorous adventure. Here is the synopsis: Before Sherlock Holmes, there was Smitty, PIRATE EYE, a seemingly hapless eighteenth century gin-guzzler with a history of piracy, a prickly disposition, and a reputation for solving cases or finding any person and possession for a HEAFTY FEE. What Smitty doesn't realize is that not all is at it seems, including his own bloodline. A new case will set events into motion that will lead Smitty to discover he sits at the center of an ancient mystery involving Plato, Sparta, immortal pirate lords, Atlantis, The Fountain of Youth, and a weapon with the power to destroy the known world. He will have to make a choice: personal gain, which he has sought exclusively for most of his life, or the benefit of his fellow man, with whom he will discover he has little in common. In the mean time, he will have to find a way to ward off an angry debtor, a blacksmith with a grudge, and the rising price of gin. Solving mysteries in a port city isn't quite a pirate's life, but Smitty will need all his sea-faring skills before the biggest mystery of his life reaches its dramatic conclusion.

Avast ye matie's

I enjoyed the art/words/colors/ and letters, but what really drew me into this comic was the premise: A pirate who is a private eye/ detective. We get a pretty fun funny story to start off with, but I very much liked the promise within the synopsis. The setting and the tone lends itself well to all manners of twists and turns. The opening story of course involves a fair amount of skulduggery, with a nice little twist/ ironic moment at the end. Some readers didn't care for the ending, because it is an old joke. Lucky for everyone considering there are only 3, 5, 6, or 8 plots in all of fiction, everything old is new again sooner, or later. I would like to see if it is continued even more real life history worked into the stories, mainly for the historical guest star options that could be had. The real multi-verse is the fact every comics story takes place in it's own little world. The 'world' of Pirate Eye has so much promise to me, I really wish it was higher ranked.

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

I noticed in the comments section a fair degree of criticism, about the art -which I don't share. I think the creators handled everything from backgrounds and lighting to expressive expressions and fight scenes very well. You can't sail all the seven seas at the same time, but I thought the writing style left a lot of doors open to multiple moods/themes being explored. In the early screens thanks to a dark room at night lit by a candle, the artist's got to show off some nice lighting effects/ shadow work, which I liked. We didn't get sailing in these 8 screens but we did get a fight on a ship in the docks, which was good. Screen 3 panel 4 We see the classic dead eye stare, and the dialogue "you are friend of the French?" You have to love an obvious prelude to a fight scene. I really enjoyed the way this comic was colored, I think it fit well with the story and was a help to all the screens. Every letter in Zuda should pat themselves on the back if their font is as easy to read as the words are here. Screen 4 is my personal favorite, very good panel composition, funny dialogue, a real smart piece of work. The fight scene was done like something you would expect the Luna brothers to do, I'm a fan of theirs so I'm a fan of this. I like the barrel photos in the background here, but i don't think anyone else did. The dialogue between the old man/young man on screen 7, was the best of the comic -funny too. I don't think the text box thought balloons were over used so I'll spare you that rant. It mostly all came together very well for me.

Davey Jones Locker

I lot of readers would have liked to have seen more of a focus on the detective side of things, murder mystery, wrench fatale, and so forth. Also readers would have liked to see more pirate action sailing the high seas, ships fighting, pirates being pirates etc; I liked the humor here and it seems like your going for a fairly light hearted opening, but your synopsis is more promising of a high seas noir. I think a lot a readers would have responded better if you had some of the humor walking the plank during editing, and did a more serious story in keeping with the tone of the synopsis. I like a lot of elements in 8 screens too, but I've come to realize I'm the exception that proves the rule. It would have done better PE creators with more focus overall, and more on the detective aspect in Zuda land. The concept is so striking, but Smitty didn't do a whole lot of detecting. Going a different direction than Pirates of the Caribbean might have been better, savey?

Is he really missing an eye, or is it a *gasp* fake eye patch?

4/5 stars and a fav from me. Criticisms aside I really enjoyed this comic, it seems yet again only 8 screens has held the creators back. The biggest difference between me, and other readers with the same questions is first: I liked the humor, and I'm not a humor comic kind of guy. Secondly I have more faith in the crew as it were, to realize the promises made in the synopsis. Normally a self contained story is a good thing, but here it only lead to peoples hopes of more noir elements being run a ground. I thought of this story as showing Smitty life before everything started getting serious, so it's more of a prelude 'hijinks's before the storm' kind of deal. I would no doubt read this should it win, just to see all of the promised action unfold. That earned this comic the 4/5 and a fav from me -and I just thought it was funny.

Critics do count/ Hi honey I'm home

This is a short little copy/post from a post I made on MPD's Tales of the Blog thread, about how I see criticism being taken by creators as breaking down into categories.

criticism hits a story (any story not just for the comics), on three fronts IMO of course:

Kill your darlings: is a phrase I ran into about the parts of your work you may love, but an editor would want removed for a better story.This can also apply to having high drama/bad things happen to your characters in a story as well, but I'm not using it in that context here. You have the art/dialogue/scenes whatever you really enjoy, and think you got right but majority opinion will tell you: no it needs to be reworked. Or the tried and true you know where the story is headed, but no one else does so they can't really follow you pit fall. The general response to this is "damn I thought I had it", then back to the keyboard/ drawing board/ note book/ cave wall/ or what have you because you know it should be better.

She's fading fast: Then you have the scenes/structure/ character etc; you know isn't quite right, but you don't know quite how to fix it. So you know you need input/feedback a fresh pair of eyes to look at things in a new way and help you find a better way to accomplish what your trying to accomplish.

The darlings you can't kill:
Refers to the parts of the story no one (and I mean no one) else but you might like, but they stay in there for the creators own enjoyment. Who hasn't seen a book/ movie/ comic/ with some scene, or line and wondered what the hell was that about? It doesn't just happen with newbies, it goes on with seasoned vets in whatever form of entertainment your enjoying. It's there for the creators -a kind of hedge- so that even if no one else likes it, the creators will.

A story should mainly be made up of the top two so if it doesn't work you just need more work and thought put into it, but if one or two darlings you can't kill get in there -it just proves your human.

[With a thank you to everyone who has read my latest script and helped me polish up, or polish off as need be, the story.]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zuda Review The Daemon Brethren: Advent of Chaos/ surprise no it's not a video game

The Daemon Brethren: Advent of Chaos is by Jeff Cerica another comic in Zuda April. It got 3/5 stars from me for a few reasons. Here is the synopsis:The Daemon Brethren are mere mortals but their bloodline has since existed for thousands of years. Their magic lies within the weapons they forge. With all the arsenal of weapons they possess none compare to the Daemons, the God like guardian beings they summon to aide them in battle. For centuries power ravenous beings have persistently tried to obtain the Daemons. It is for this reason that the Daemons are both a blessing and a curse for the five brothers, Landon Creo, Davian Creo, Jackson Rhey, Ethan Daniels and Leian Thompson. The brethren have faced and defeated countless foes but when Davian gets possessed by a mysterious being, the brethren turns to Ethan Daniels sister Alyra for help. When Alyra was born her late father swore that he would keep her out of the burdens that came with carrying the Daemons. So he requested for her to have a normal life. His request was granted and since then she lived her life not knowing her heritage. When Alyra witnessed her brother’s tragic death by Davian, the Daemon Brethren had no choice but to tell her everything. Luckily prior to his death Ethan secretly passed on his Daemons to Alyra. The Daemon Brethren must now teach her how to control her Daemons and let her embrace the secret that lies within her. She might be the only one that can save Davian and defeat the mysterious beings that call themselves the Sins of Chaos.

The character count of the title along leads to foreboding

It's already been commented on, but the title is too long. It just doesn't sound like a comic, it's like a video game. It's not my go to genre of choice, and the art and story wasn't the kind of read I can get into. The story seems over the top with actually too much information in the synopsis. Normally I'm all about the extra wordage, but not in this case. The art and writing isn't BAD, but it's not the kind of comic that's going to grab my interest. Not everything is for everyone, this comic takes more after a Anime cartoon. The characters when they're not involved in a fight with some demon creature look very stiff and uninterested in the problems their facing - large font screams doesn't equal into real emotion. Normally artists have problems doing involving fight scenes so this comic is just the opposite with very fluid fight scenes. Every page a fight scene would have gotten old, but at least you would have been playing to your strength. The story suffers from a common affliction in fiction stories with otherworldly elements, you need a lexicon to really understand what in the hell characters are talking about. The coloring goes from okay to impressive a C to a B, so it didn't hurt you it helped you. The letters were readable just a really small font. Except for the title lettering on screen 8 that wasn't good.

We control the horizontal, we control the vertical, except when we have technique difficulties...

Jeff mentioned on the Zuda message boards he sent back in the wrongly edited art work, a submit button screw up has happened before, and it's regrettable. The are some real stand out scenes throughout the comic though. I freaking loved screen 1. Nice establishing shot, loved the art here on the city scape (letters too small), but not too much of the text box thought balloons. The panel layout for the fight scenes was really impressive to me, my genre or not my genre. I was also intrigued by the pure blood Atlantean comment, and enjoyed the landscape in the background. The dialogue didn't have as much impact as it should have because I kept thinking Day-mon or, D-mon in my head. Along with the fact too much comic world specific lingo means you spend a good bit of your reading time trying to figure out what is going on. Screen 3 had a really nice layout, love the invisible effect, but the two brothers on here didn't seem that different to me. Maybe that was the point? The worst scenes are after the fight, when the characters looked so stiff, and the dialogue didn't help portray the emotion I would have expected in these scenes. Ending with a babe in a towel, not a bad idea for Zuda at all... Jeff should focus on the fight scenes that's where all the awesome is.

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

Screens 3, 4, 5, and 6 the fight scenes have an awesome layout. The action really flows and one of the brothers powers (invisibility), is just handled so well it does draw you in more and more as you read on. The magical weapons is RPG videogame all the way, but it makes for some intense fight scenes. You get a nice design on the d-mon not day-mon bad guy they fight, and changing up the word balloons to show possession is expected, but you handled it well. Don't go too crazy on the creepy voice font, and the creator didn't. Jeff really kept me as the reader clicking through these awesome pages, until a vortex went off and that whoosh sound effect you didn't read was the best part of the story being sucked away.

You need to pull a Stuart Smiley and take a seat in front of a mirror

It wasn't my kind of story, but it has it's good points though. Jeff seemed to be maybe a little two hard on his self over on the Zuda message boards. Getting on Zuda is an accomplishment in and of its self. Do the comic you really want to do, so no matter where it ends up, you end up at least a little bit happy. With work on a shorter title, an easier to understand world (I'm not sure 8 screens is enough to set-up a world like this well), bigger fonts, and maybe even more pages of fight scenes, I don't doubt Jeff could make his way back on Zuda.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The rise and fall of the Penguin Zuda review/ Secret life of the Penguins

The rise and fall of the Penguin is another April Zuda comic done by Harry Pujols, who also did My Pet Human for Zuda. It got 3/5 stars from me, and I like the story and art better than his last comic. Here is the synopsis: These days, we know everything about celebrities. What they had for breakfast, who are they dating, what color of socks they wore last night. Yet, one celebrity has eluded this scrutiny: The penguin. Star of many animated flicks and award-winning documentaries. That's until now. This shocking exposé will reveal the truth behind the penguin and his not-so-family-oriented life.

Self gratification doesn't always involve masturbation

The story starts off inoffensively enough, then we find out Pen is an ex-pat Christmas critter. their have been some 'I'm offended' comment's on the comic, but I'm guessing Harry self censored all the Penguin/ hooker sex, because it wouldn't get past TPTB, and it's more funny if readers minds fill in the blanks. It is over the top with a nod to the Disneyland memorial orgy. Just keep all the Penguin movies in mind, and think this is what happened behind the scenes, it move's a little beyond the sex/drugs/humor genre. Considering what happened the last time Harry was in the contest, along with this latest subject matter I don't think he expects to win. I do think Harry wanted to give the Zuda readers something different and expand out Zuda's offerings. Harry draws the way he draws (rough) like it, don't like it, that's just the way it is. I actually like and appreciate his approach, doing his own thing. The black, white, and gray tones was a really good choice on the part of the creator in making it stand out from the rest. The whole work does look far more polished than My Pet Human from story to art. It never hurts that the letters are all easy to read.

A bird so full of shit... and booze... and drugs... -it can't fly

The rise of the Penguin is begun by a successful Hollywood musical on global warming. Since I don't believe in man made global warming, but also don't doubt a movie like this has been pitched at least a million times in real life, it's already off to a good start with me. After hitting the big time Penguin and his body guard/flunky decide to party with booze, drugs, and hookers. Expect even more [censored] [bleep] moments to follow. Screen 6 is pretty funny depravity and the red colored redaction's do stand out, along with the fact Penguin rides the white horse. If it wasn't for a lawsuit it would have been fun to see Disney's Bambi make a guest appearance -maybe giving out BJ's for salt rocks-, as it is I wonder if any other animal characters will make an appearance. of course all the [censored] stuff is way over the top, but it just adds to the effect. Panel 1 on screen 7 shows Penguin in full own coked up orgy mode, and was a stand out. No this comic ain't for everybody. Amongst all the over the top elements, don't lose sight of the good design, or poking some fun at the way the news is done today.

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

I really like to way we still got some backgrounds in the panels on screens 4, 2, and 1. In the second panel of screen 1 stick hockey player actually takes a shot. I liked this better than just splashing some color around filter all style.
Two reporters were talking about twenty soldiers died today, but let's go to more important news: the Penguins number one movie at the box office, this was a funny line. It was also a spot on condemnation of the way TV news does things every night, it was funny, sad, and true. The comic ends with Penguin talking to someone who looks like Jay Leno, on a set that looks like the Tonight Show. Penguin is asked how he feels about being named the sexiest man alive? His response: I'm not a man, I'm a [bleep!] penguin! Screens 6 and 7 are proof enough of that.

Lost in a sea of the's

Why do Zuda creator's keep putting the word 'the' in the title of their comic. You know how hard it can be to find comics now on site, and the ton of 'the' comics your going to have to get in line with? If it was with the R's it would be later in the alphabet, but easier to find. Again this comic is not for everyone at Zuda and doesn't have to be. Do a comic you really enjoy doing, and hope you find a fan base out there. If you finish at the bottom of the pack you still did what you wanted to do. So congrats to Harry Pujols for not making it a zombie penguin in hopes of having a better chance to win. What the fuck! [see it is funnier bleeped], I changed my grade here to 4/5 stars and a fav, just for the fact I would read this reguarly if it won.