Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zuda review My T-Shirt Fairy Tale/ The tie-in merchandising possibilities alone are amazing

My T-Shirt Fairy Tale was a September Zuda comic done by Adrian Ramos that finished 3rd. Here is the synopsis: U sells t-shirts for a living. Cursed by an evil wizard, the only way to break the spell is to be kissed by the fairest girl. He has settled into a comfortable life as an underpaid and unloved slacker working at his cousin’s t-shirt store, Wits-On-Chest. That’s when he falls for Felix. She is preceded by a reputation of having a fickle heart, breaking young guys’ hearts. They go out, have a great time, and really like each other; possibly even more. There’s a problem, though—she can’t let herself have a happy ending. She too is cursed by an evil witch, doomed to go from one relationship to another. She’ll never be able to find a sweetheart for herself, unless she wants her face to swell up, her skin to breakout and eventually die. Together, they will try to find a way to break the spells that keep them apart, and give this t-shirt fairy tale a happy ending.

Impressive start, but not enough friends to win the vote

My T-Shirt Fairy Tale got off to the early lead, but it couldn't hold on. It also was far more cute than what you would expect to win on Zuda. The art is charming, and fits this type of story well. Having narration sight gags on everyones T-shirt's was also a original touch. All the lettering is legible, and the colors help the art/story. Reading the comic it's told in a style similar to the Teen Titans cartoon. The number of sight gags/backgrounds hi-jinks all work very well. The pace moves along very well for a comic on Zuda, the creator knows he only has 8 screens so no wasting time. The one-two punch of snappy dialogue along with the subtext of a scene being written on the characters shirts was very smart, and funny. You can just enjoy the cuteness, but theirs more to the story if you want to re-read it a few times. Screen 4 is my favorite screen out of the entire comic. You have a eating fries isn't sexy joke, and then panel 5 has a 'sexy lips' panel. You also have to be aware of the various shirts and signs throughout this comic, really read it a couple of times. The way it works the various non-traditional narration don't just apply to the characters, but can also to the readers with 'date tips'. The color scheme also matches what is taken place in the panels.

Win or lose originality, is always welcome on Zuda

You have to love the various narratives, and the way their a part of the story. It doesn't feel forced, and the creator pulls it off too well for it to be gimmicky. At the end of the date U moves in for a kiss from Felix. The timing, and the build up to this were well done, I wanted to click to the next screen to see how bad he would bomb. Theirs a nice visual of U seeing (along with the readers) his life flash before his eyes, because he knows this is a big thing. it ends with 'GAME OVER' wrote in the background as U gets the rejection. All of the different types of lettering, and well done shifts in panel layout does remind me a little of The Spirit. It's not there yet, but give Ramos some years, and it will only get better. Screen 7 serves to remind everyone about the Fairy Tale curse elements of the story, just in case they've gotten lost in all the cuteness. It was a smart thing to have the pages of the book U was reading become part of the larger comic, the colors helped a neat story-telling device give this comic something extra. Screen 8 is some impressive sequential artwork, that sums up Felix's ailment as being allergic to happy endings. U vows to help her, if she'll help him, and that's where the story ends on a good cliff hanger. A very smart, original comic, the subject matter wasn't my thing, but you can't not be impressed Adrian Ramos' work.

Zuda review Incarna/ With all this blood, how could it go so wrong?

Incarna was another September Zuda comic done by David Gunawan that finished 9th in the voting. Here is the synopsis: In 2013, the Demon Gate, a portal that connects our world with the underworld was opened, all the creatures and the spirits of the dark–realm are now able to cross through the gate, spreading terror and death upon mankind, turning the world into a land of chaos, a hunting ground with all humans as their prey. Now, after 60 years since the gate opened, the world has turned back into the dark age, technologies, cultures, civilization, everything has been swept away. Among the survivors, there are some people with supernatural abilities; some stands for humanity and salvation, and others stand for their own ambition for power, ignoring everything including their own humanity. Between those leagues there is a man who stands alone against the darkness, Gabriel Raves, he has a demonic power in his left hand. The origin of that power is still unknown, even for Gabriel himself. For years he has been wandering alone in search of his forgotten past, until he met Yuki Ishimori, a female-ninja with high level of exorcism skill, in search of her father’s murderer. Their different goal has led them into the same path, the origin of the darkness itself.

The slaying the dragon part of it was cool, everything else looked too Photoshoped

It starts off with a beaten bloody girl [Yuki] showing a suspicious amount of leg, along with a flashback/dream on a ancient warrior, finding a ancient sword, after slaying a dragon. The dragon slaying sequence had a nice gold tone to it, the rest of the colors of this comic were mediocre. When even the blood is bland looking, you need to rethink your color scheme. Yuki awakens and sees someone dead, in a panel that wasn't helped by the fake looking shadows, and bare walls. Screen 2 did have one very nice looking panel sequence, at the top where Yuki is depicted opening her eyes as she dreams/remembers the legend about the sword. On screen 3 you find out the dead guy is Yuki's father, and she runs to cradle him. Panel 3 reminded me of the Dragon Ball Z/Pokemon cartoons when a character is about to start dueling. The whole idea of a girl seeing her father cut down also reminded me of old Asian action films where that seemed to be a staple. Someone always seemed to be yelling out 'FATHER', or 'MOTHER' to someone who was about to assume room temperature -so that was a nice bit of nostalgia. Panel 6 looked like the creator was playing around too much with Photoshop when he colored it. This gets followed up with some nice childhood flashback panels, which tell me sepia-tone is the way to go for this creators future colorist efforts. Screen 4 reveals in a flashback that Yuki and her father were attacked by zombie ninjas. Their design makes for some very cool looking monsters, I was really impressed with that. The fight scene art looked stiff, and I was surprised zombie ninjas had red blood. Too many special effects like a see through blade swish took me as a reader out of the story.

A different story structure could have got a fav from me

In the next screen You see a cool blood soaked panel of Yuki killing ninja zombies, then rushing to her fathers aid. This is where things get wonky as hell. She sees her father stabbed through the chest by the new super bad villain, but his back is to the readers, we don't see the fathers face. In the last panel the father says: 'good-bye my child..." David might have been going for a serene acceptance of death look, but it came off weirdly unemotional. If readers could have seen his face before on this screen it might have made a difference. If he had been shown accepting he had been stabbed, stunned silent, or even in anguish that last panel on screen would have had more emotional panel. If that last panel had actually showed Yuki's father in some distress (since he screamed, got stabbed through the chest and all), it would have worked better. Screen 6 had some good sound effects, and some confusing art. I think some hooded demon creature just randomly showed up, and blasted a hole in the guy who killed her fathers chest (nice gore by the way), -which is weird- you'd think they would be on the same side??? Yuki attacks the 'hooded one', but he/it knocks her out then splits with the rest of the evil horde. Another cool black and white/gray tone flashback/forward to her in front of her father's grave stone??? It ends with some T & A shots of Yuki getting dressed up like Chung-Li before going out to get her revenge. Instead of all the dreams/flashbacks/flash forwards convoluting the cliff hanger ending, their could have been a more interesting way to do it. If the story had not gone the non-linear narrative route, it could have ended with Yuki on the floor covered in blood, the evil demon creature having gotten away/won. It would have been more of a done-in-one story which is rarer than the cliff hanger, and thus gets more appreciation from me. Leave things ambiguous if the girl lives or not, and cut back on some of the information in the synopsis. That would have been more impressive than a standard type ending. If you don't pull off all the time jumping well, you just end up with confused readers who can't get into your comic.