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PVP Guest Art is Awesome

July 30, 07 - 04:29

I rarely post here, but when I saw Lewis' recent post, I knew I had to provide a counterpoint. First, a disclaimer: Lewis hates puns. I don't think he even understands how puns work. When I first showed him the "headphones" strip on PvP, I had to explain the double meaning several times. Even after he understood it, I explained it a few more times. Given all this, I think he was unfairly biased against the joke. His post isn't motivated by any concern over a pun being used twice. He's just upset that it was a pun.

Here's something interesting, though. Before either of us read the guest strip, Scott Kurtz mentioned it on the Business of Webcomics panel at Comic-Con. Lewis and I were both in attendance, and when he heard the joke there, before having had time to think about it and decide to act disdainful of puns, he laughed out loud. The simple humor of the "headphones" idea won through, and now he regrets having reacted to what he considers a base pleasure.

Ben - default - one comment / No trackbacks - §

PVP Guest Art is a rerun

July 30, 07 - 04:14

So, while Kurtz was away, he had some guest art done which involved what can loosely be termed "a pun." I was more than a little dismayed to find out that the punchline had been used before.

That is the sum of my in depth investigative reporting for a while.

Lewis - default - one comment / No trackbacks - §

Why did Keenspot have a panel again?

July 29, 07 - 9:54

For my first comic-con retrospective post, I pose the following question: Why did Keenspot have a panel?

Let me start by saying that I am not generally anti-Keenspot. There are some keenspot comics I like, and some I don't, and for the most part, I am not particularly concerned with Keenspot itself one way or the other.

The panel offerings this year for webcomics were slimmer than last year. There was no Blank Label panel, and instead of the Webcomics 10X series there was just "Business of Webcomics." I asked some of the gentleman at the Dayfree Press table why they were not having a panel, and was informed that their panel request had been denied because there were too many other panels.

Now, if webcomic panels at comic-con are going to be a scarce resource, then the Keenspot panel was a total waste of that resource. Now, I am not opposed to panels which are (almost) exclusively Q&A, as the Penny Arcade panel and the Dumbrella Panel both used that model, and were quite enjoyable. If I recall correctly, the Dumbrella panel was in a larger room than the Keenspot panel, and managed to fill a larger percentage of those seats than the Keenspot panel did.

The Keenspotters had one announcement at the outset, something about phones and animations or something, followed by a pretty uninformative Q&A session, in which a good portion of the questions were of the form, "I enjoy your comic, how do you feel about that?" I could complain a bit more about the nature of the questions, but since that sort of complaint is regarded as more subjective than one about allocation of resources, I will simply say, Keenspot could have accomplished everything they did at their panel just as well at their booth, and I would have much preferred to hear from the folks at Dayfree, or, Unshelved, or the same sort of webcomics how-to panels that were held in previous years, and I guarantee they would packed more seats than this one did.

I want to reiterate again, I am not complaining about anything having to do with Keenspot other than the way this particular panel was run (though I have heard horror stories about some past Keenspot panels as well). I am not attempting to criticize their content/comics, their business model, their logo, or Bobby Crosby. My only point is that their panel was quite dissapointing.

My next updates will undoubtedly be more positive.

Lewis - default - No comments / one trackback - §

Lowering the Bar

July 25, 07 - 05:49

Today's installment of Control Alt Delete is the new worst CAD comic ever. If there were an award for botching a comic in the peculiar way that CAD tends to (we can call this award a Caddie), this comic would be the all-time strongest contender.

Allow me to (over)explain what is wrong with this comic, and how it exemplifies CAD perfectly.

(1) The premise isn't actually that bad. The idea of Bomberman attempting to deal with airport security is actually pretty amusing. Sadly, however, Tim Buckley is on the case, ready to sap whatever comedic potential is had by this premise.

(2) Don't tell the joke that well. See, if you notice, the word "Bomberman" is used multiple times. But, the entire joke hinges on you already recognizing Bomberman. If you don't recognize him, then there is no joke, and if you do, then you don't need his name to be repeated multiple times in the second panel.

(3) Cram in awkwardly written "bonus" jokes. The federal agents call him "Bomberman Al Hussain." See, it wasn't enough that they thought Bomberman, a man whose essence is to drop bombs near-constantly, might be planning some sort of airplane bombing, that wasn't funny by itself (hint: it was), instead we need a ham-fisted attempt to associate bombing with a stereotype of a terrorist (i.e. that he is arabic).

(4) Overexplain the joke. See, that third panel? In case you didn't get it before, the third panel is there to make sure you understand that the federal agents are concerned that bomberman might be planning to bomb something.

(4) Confusingly dated attempt to be hip. So, notice that in panel 3, which was already noted to be superfluous, there is a god damned all your base reference. Thanks Buckley, welcome to six years ago. Way to jack yourself in to the heartbeat of internet culture.

(5) After the punchline, make sure you have an additional panel (or in this case, an additional two and a half panels), ruining whatever comedic effect you might have been going for. Consistently, Tim "Ham-Hands" Buckley will include additional dialogue, overexplaining the joke, or in the case of the fourth panel here, distracting from the joke. See, the only reason that the agents are beating up bomberman in the final panel is because Buckley had to fill a fourth panel, and had already overexplained in the second and third panels. Thus, without the ability to do so in the fourth panel, he had to turn to a different and unrelated "gag": the assault of bomberman by the feds.

The sad, sad moral: Look at the comic and just read the first two panels (ignoring the final speech bubble in the second panel). This excerpt from Buckley's comic is in fact, the concise, comedic version of the joke. It is, however, ultimately buried in a sea of Buckleyesque flailing, which distracts from and ultimately intereferes with any humor the strip might have had.

Congratulations, Tim, no one knows how to butcher a joke like you do.

Lewis - default - fifteen comments / one trackback - §

Recommended Reading

July 23, 07 - 4:37

Today's Unshelved is quite good. This is a fitting recommendation for me to make, as I met the minds behind Unshelved approximately one year ago, at Comic Con in San Diego. I look forward to running into them again. If you're going to Comic-Con, you should try and find them because they are friendly fellows, fun to talk to, and the wares they have to sell are worth buying.

Lewis - default - No comments / No trackbacks - §

San Diego Comic Con

July 19, 07 - 11:59

My cohort Ben and I will be attending the festivities in San Diego. Feel free to look me up if you will also be there, and also, recommend things that would be good for purchasing to me. I don't know what I'm going to buy yet. Last year I had a mixed strategy, some stuff I knew I was going to get, and a plan to pick up a thing or two that managed to catch my eye. This plan worked pretty well, so I am looking forward to a second round of fun and purchasing.

Does anyone know if Paul Notley of "Bob the Angry Flower" is going to be there? I got a book from him last year, and that was a really good purchase, so I'd probably buy another of his if he is there.

Lewis - default - No comments / No trackbacks - §

An open letter to Jeph Jacques

July 06, 07 - 05:24

I've decided that I am going to start writing my posts (or at least some of them) as open letters. So while this is currently the only one of these I have posted, that is because I am just now starting to do these, and the format is not specific to this particular content

To: Jeph Jacques, creator of Questionable Content

I realize that I don't know you, and that, consequently, we don't have the sort of relationship that would warrant me giving you unsolicited advice on the creative direction of your very successful webcomic. However, in spite of this fact, I feel compelled to give you some unsolicited advice on the creative direction of your webcomic.

I think it would be very good if things started happening in QC. Now, now, I know what you're thinking: Things do happen in your webcomic. Fair enough. But I am talking about the introduction of some substantive plot-arc type events.

I am far from an expert about storytelling generally or in the comic medium specifically, but I can report my own reactions and experiences regarding your webcomic, and overwhelming, it feels like nothing is going on. Ideally, I think, what needs to happen is something that shakes things up. Like the time when Marten started dating Dora and Faye started seeing a shrink. That was good. That was something happening. It was good because we had been in this holding pattern of Marten crushing on Faye for a long time, and suddenly finally, something was happening.

I have forgotten where I heard this analogy originally: imagine the characters as standing on a platform that is precariously balanced on a single point (like a see-saw, but where it can rock in any direction). What makes for compelling narrative is for something to shake that platform, so that everyone has to scramble around trying to restore balance. With compelling characters, it is interesting not just to see how they scramble, but also how things have changed when the balance is restored. But the key is that they can't just chill out on the platform the whole time. We want to watch them react to something upsetting their balance.

This has probably gone on a bit too long, and I don't mean to be overharsh, but it's just, I really want something big to happen soon, because I like Questionable Content, and am starting to lose interest in following the story.


Lewis Powell

Lewis - default - two comments / two trackbacks - §