Saturday, April 25, 2009

The kind you don't bring home to mother/ what is it with the loooong titles this month?

You put the word 'the' in front of your title...

The kind you don't bring home to mother is another April Zuda comic from Ryan Estrada. It got 3/5 stars from me good, but not my go to genre especially in light of some of the competition this month. Here is the synopsis: Julia Hobson is smitten, and she's not about to let a little lycanthropy ruin her love life. David Duncan is the man who loves her too much to let little things like his fearful friends, his prejudiced parents, and the fact that Julia might eat him get in the way of their romance. Every month, for one night, the moon is full, and the werewolves roam the Earth. This story is not about that night. It's about the other 29 nights a month when those same werewolves are just ordinary people, leading ordinary lives.

It's like a werewolf comic where you never see the werewolf

Humor comics are not usually my go to genre and their are other comics this month that are more my style, hence my rating. That being said everything about this comic is well done art/ colors/ writing/ letters. It is a humor comic strip you could find in the Sunday funnies, that fits well on Zuda, and with web comics in general. A werewolf comic where you never see the werewolf as a furry has it's own appeal. The script writing with the jokes is pretty sharp -it's a sit-com all the way. The parents worries about their son catching lycanthropy from kissing, and being insulting as hell while trying to cross a cultural divide, was humorous. Here's some raw meat/ don't let the dogs smell you/ I'm sure Ryan has a million of them. Screen 3 panel 1 the creator here has a real grasp of his style, and I loved the expressive looks. Uncomfortable silences aren't the easiest thing to get over in a comic, but it was done well here. The eyebrows and mustache of 'Dad' can't help but remind readers of Groucho Marx. His dead pan delivery of lines was one of the high-lights. The loving look from Mom to Dad in the last panel of screen 3, reminds you to pay real attention to the art.

no yiff's about it

This strip was saved from generic funny web comic Ziggy tribute hell, by the control Ryan has of his own style. Look at the various expressions on Mom's face in screen 5. The dialogue is witty, but you could take all the word balloons away and still follow the story. Ryan wrote this comic the way Rodney Dangerfield used to do his act: joke after joke after joke... The thing is I honestly don't know if this comic could keep my interest over another 52 screens??? It is nice to see another romance on Zuda, but I'd want more dramedy elements to work their way into the story. Silver bullets, puppies, super wolf hearing/ no she's just setting on the other side of the door all funny lines and quasi-sight gags thanks to the art, but it didn't make me fall out of my chair. Which has happened before with other comics.

David's not a furvert right... Right???

I tend to compare all the month's Zuda comics against each other, but try to not compare them to past month's contest -because that would serve no purpose. Sometimes you can't help compare a comic to what has come before in the same genre line -it happens. In either case T.K.Y.D.B.H.T.M (<- that's a bitch to hunt and peck), is good, but not as good as other Zuda comics I have read. With just 8 screens it doesn't rise to the level of other April 09 comics, or what's in the Zuda graveyard for me. If the comic wins and I see some other twists and turns in the story my rating for it could go up. If you like humor comics this title will be a 5/5 and a fav for you no doubt in my mind.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earthbuilders Zuda review/ plant a tree for your tomorrow

Earthbuilders is another April Zuda comic done by: Cuervoscuro, RGLlarena, Axel, and Sobreiro
most are former Zuda competitors. Here is the synopsis: The Terraformation of Mars was completed more than two centuries ago and since then a new age of humanity has begun: an age where space has been conquered, one planet at a time. The so-called Earthbuilders, elite members of the Terraformation Fleet, have created new – and sometimes better – “Earths” wherever they land. Dead planets are given new life, tailor-made worlds for specific communities or corporations and even places that recreate what life was like on Earth millions of years ago. A glimmer of hope in humanity's quest for finding native alien life-forms appears when a sudden alteration in New Sapmi's weather patterns forces the Earthbuilders to investigate what’s happening in that frozen planet. What starts as a routine investigation soon turns out to be a nightmare. For the first time the Earthbuilders face something not even their knowledge and technology might prevent: an event that will cause the planet’s mass extinction.

The screen 9 test wasn't passed

The screen nine test meaning your so into the story you find yourself clicking for screen 9 when you know it isn't there. You've became so caught up with the story you don't even realize what screen your on, that's what it takes to get a favorite from me. This gets a 3/5 stars from me, because I do like sci-fi but I like more information up front and less action movie side tracks. I'm looking for a greater payoff in the first 8 screens story-wise that I didn't get here. More hints about what makes your colony under attack story different from others that have came before it. Earthbuilders is good but it didn't manage to grab me as a reader considering the other competition this month. The monsters on the last screen weren't scary enough, to be a great cliffhanger. The dialogue set-up to the last screen punch line was fine, I also liked the perspective. The last scene with mutants climbing out of the blood/ooze (I guess), looked like fish stew, or Manhattan clam chowder gone rancid. A little bit disturbing, but you needed the last screen to be a lott'a bit disturbing. I thought the bright colors made the monsters less scary, but improved the look of the landscape and the people. The letters are just big enough to be read in small screen, so no real problems there. The art that doesn't involve monsters, was very well done, and the dialogue was good as well. The 8th screen was a misfire but up until that point the pacing fit fine with Zuda.

One more mention of crapping your pants would have been gratuitous

As it stands it wasn't so much humorous, as showing the awkwardness of the characters, and the situation, which I liked. We got a silhouette on screen 2, great I love those elements used in a story. The most interesting screens of the comic were not the monsters, it was the information we got by way of dialogue on screens 3 and 4. The planet having a sterilizing effect on the populace was a nice twist in the story. The human down loadable man was also a nice touch. The reaction of fear at the thought of a robot/android, among their ranks is a plot point I'm sure the creators will come back to. Screen 4 also had the best screen composition. Art-wise we had cutouts to some monster with a actually scary arm. The last panel here a extreme close-up of the eyes was excellent. The monsters look kind of like rose colored versions of the Thing from Fantastic Four 1. I liked Tor doing the O.M.A.C. Brother Eye thing and seeing what was going on around him. Tor and the Doc shit their pants, I laughed. What Tor was seeing wasn't a "No No NO" more like a "What is that" to me.

Earth Day on Mars

Nothing about this story was bad: art, writing, colors, and letters were all very professional. The problem was nothing about the 8 screens made me go "OMFG I have to find out what's next", or even a "I'm fairly curious as to the eventual outcome". That could change if the creators win, and I read more screens. I was more interested in the anti-android prejudice being explored, or the that old/ but looking so young question being gone into more. I'm guessing the creators didn't want a 'talking heads' comic and decided to spice it up with half the submission being the fight. This could also serve to introduce the threats on this planet and lead up to the extinction event foretold in the synopsis. Unfortunately I would have enjoyed this comic more if it was a talking heads comic. I don't usually feel that way, but after screen 4 it was all down hill in my enjoyment of this story. I was really enjoying the dialogue helped by the art, and finding out more about this world and it's characters that way.

What does the future hold?

I'm sure the pacing was helped along by the Zuda vets being apart of the creative team. Sci-fi is a genre Zuda could and probably will go into more as time goes on. Earthbuilders is a solid 3/5 stars, and if it wins I'll give the updates a read so it could go higher in the star count with me. 8 screens just wasn't enough for this story to earn a favorite from me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spy6teen Zuda comic review/ Tell her she hits like a girl, I dare 'ya!

Spy6teen is another April Zuda comic done by CitizenTim, Shushubag, Tinkfan 83 (in her second Zuda comic this month), and gonzogoose. It got a 3/5 stars from me, everything is good, but their were other comics this month more to my interests as a reader. Here is the synopsis: In High School, no one is ever who they seem to be. Everyone holds a secret. Information becomes key to survival. Espionage fills the hallways as secret coded notes are passed back and forth, containing highly classified information that could be devastating if it falls into the wrong hands…It’s a dangerous minefield-- even without the involvement of shadowy government agencies! Cally Calhoon knows this better than anyone. Recruited into a mysterious government agency called the QUAD, she works as an undercover field agent attempting to dismantle a worldwide terrorist organization known as The Chaos Imperious. Cally balances a delicate tightrope of her high school life and her spy world. But as she delves deeper into missions of exotic locales, mysterious agents, and dazzling deathtraps, the startling scope of the Chaos Imperious plot begins to unfold before her; challenging everything she knows about her past, present, and future…oh yeah, and to make matters worse-- no one has asked her to the dance yet!

At least she's not a cheerleader

At first blush Cally looks like a cross between Solo (from Marvel), and Kim Possible (from the mouse house), but empowered teen spy girls kicking butt is a nice little entertaining sub genre. The story is from a genre that's easy to recognize, then it goes off into it's own directions, which is a good thing. It's a pretty common comment from me this month, but I was impressed with how well this stories pace fit the 8 screens, with a neat 'twist' ending to top it off. I'm already a fan of tinkfan's colors from another comic this month, and she continues to impress. The art actually fit's the story very well, it's fluid which it has to be for the action scenes. The writer has a script that starts getting down to business after a screen to set up the characters other life, and a full page establishing shot. I hate text box thought balloons, but CitizenTim didn't go overboard, and they were well written. In small screen they're so many panels on the page and the font is so small, it doesn't read well at all. In full screen though it just gives you the chance to really enjoy the Aztec ruins which are drawn so well, kudos to shushubag. I mean how often are the backgrounds really that awesome in any comic? I also really enjoyed the team of creators came up with a giant spider creature as an opponent for Cally. WHOO-SQHISH was the sound made when said spider met his fate.

That voice inside your head is just a distraction

I thought panels 1, 2, 3, and 4 on screen 5 were drawn out too much just so we could read Calley's deep thoughts. Switching things up with a few less panels here for the layout wouldn't be a bad idea either. The bite sized portion art work here hurt, instead of helped. Not an awful thing, but it could have been done in a different way to earn a higher score from me. That being said it's beyond difficult to make every screen of the 8 screen's kick ass equally. Cally's rival and her had some good dialogue/ villain banter. The colors were great throughout, I'm a fan of Lisa's style and hope to see her back on Zuda. The hey look behind you joke is funny, but it also shows these are teens fighting it out. Nice closing line with her saying tell people you got your black eye from a girl. The way this was used on the last screen was genius.

You don't have to be legal to kick ass

Everything (quite naturally) has been leading up to the last screen. I really enjoyed the ending because it brought things full circle, and of course set up Cally next adventuresome hi jinks. Give credit to the writer for some well written text box thought balloons, that helped along the visual narrative on screen 8. Of course in the last panel we see Cally's last opponent is a student at her school too, setting up some nice conflict. Panel two on this screen reminded me of some old layouts Steve Ditko used to do for Shade and the Odd Man. The artist also draws a mean black eye, good character design the whole way through.

Bring it on

A good comic, but only a 3/5 from me based on it not being a fav kind of story of mine, and the strength of the competition this month. Even if it doesn't get your vote it does deserve a read as a fun story.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mecha-Simian Zuda review/ A mechanical monkey with no cymbals? I call shenanigans!

Mecha-Simian is another April Zuda comic this one done by: Rich lovatt, gwor, and tinkfan 83. Here is the synopsis: Mecha-Simian is the last survivor of his people. Trapped in a cyborg replica of his own destroyed body with his sentient ship for company, Mecha soars through the galaxy in search of the evil General Karakas and his minions – no matter where they hide. He may not be the brightest banana in the bunch, but what Mecha lacks in smarts he makes up for with heart and determination and some really shiny metal bits. And so, armed with only his trusty blasters, a mechanized tail and a sunny disposition, Mecha will never rest until Karakas is brought to justice!

He may be funky, but he ain't chunky

Mecha-Simian is a light hearted Sci-fi comedy action story that earned a 3/5 stars from me. Nothing in this strip is bad, (all pretty good actually, except for the sfx:) but it isn't my kind of humor or genre. I don't like monkey stories, I just don't like them. Much like zombies stories I'm not in the fan base, or in the audience the creators are going for here. That along with humor not being my genre, meant this story couldn't grab me as much as some of the other comics this month. Their were a lot of things I liked, some things I didn't, but it all pretty much evened out into my rating. I couldn't really like or root for the title character enough, to equal the enjoyment I got reading other Zuda comics this month. If light hearted, wise-cracking, action filled whimsy, has the same effect on you, as Crossed does a gorehound with a porn addiction -you'll love this comic. I would like to see all these creators back on Zuda with a monkey free submission, I'd think that would be cool as hell. What they have to get great praise for is how well they adapted their story to the Zuda format. It is a self contained chapter in a longer story which doesn't leave the reader confused about the direction the comic will go in come screen 9. I also thought the creators here got the right mix of action/ words/ back story/ and future plot points in their story.

Is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys still a saying?

The art right away reminded me of Keith Griffen, nice to know gwor is also a fan. I thought the action fight scenes were particularly good panel composition. Screen 4 especially the last panel, impressed me. You can't draw Sci-fi if you can't draw space ships getting blasted, and gwor had no problem at all meeting that prerequisite. It's a cross between Keith Griffen lately, and his Trencher/Images of ShadowHawk period, this vibe is helped along by the coloring. Tinkfan 83 has another comic in Zuda this month which shows TF can adjust her coloring style to fit the comic being worked on. Good for both comics for getting someone who has the goods. Their is a lot of wordage in this comic, but it's easy enough to read, and flows well. The problem Rich isn't in your abilities at characterization, I think most readers will get what Mecha's about easily enough. The problem is you did such a upfront job on showing us Mecha (the writing is good), I could recognize it really wasn't my thing. My favorite part of the writing was the ship keeping it pithy and snide. I also did like the banter between Mecha and Raban.

How do you say: "the letters are too pale and ghostly" in M.S.L. (Monkey sign language)

Will the letter of this comic please come forward and identify yourself... I don't have a problem with see through letter balloons, or sound effects being used to show a sound either fading out, or fading in. I think it's a nice alternative to really small whisper fonts. I do have a problem with sound effects you can see art through for no discernible reason. I also have a list:
Screen 3 Panel 2: KRA-THOOM

Screen 4 Panel 1: BOOM [this is even more obvious when you have ZKOW's going off all over the page that are not transparent.]

Screen 5 Panel 5: FWOOSH [the other sound effects don't surfer from this problem, and the art was hurt, not helped by FWOOSH being see through so we could see little bits of the robots on their way out the chute.]

Screen 7 Panel 3: KRAK-KOOM

Screen 8 Panel 3: KRA-KA-KOOM [nice explosion art wise, but it couldn't have been that loud if I could see through it.]

Not all the sound effects were see through, so tell me what happened here?

Ray Stevens should do a song about this comic

You know what I liked, and what I didn't, again not my genre go to read. Readers who like this kind of story, it's something more to their taste, will really enjoy it. As it is you impressed me enough to get a 3/5, and have my interest in future non-monkey centric comics you might do.