Grand Opening

Grand Opening

Staff: Jensen Rong and Hojin Chung

Overview:

Trippy, wonderful, adult humor.

Review:

So today I’m looking at Grand Opening by Jensen Rong and Hojin Chung. It’s got a bit of adult humor so skip it if you have virginal sensabilities. Now- I don’t want to spoil the pure, weird, joy you’ll get from this comic so I’m going to encourage you to go and read it before even reading the review. If you want a mini review, “It’s good and damn funny- go read it.”. However, if you need more- let’s jump on in.

Art:

The art is very simplistic and clean with a distinctly eastern vibe. It’s great for the concept and looks solid throughout. Now keep in mind that “simple” doesn’t mean “bad” or “unskilled”. In fact, I’d argue that a clear, clean, concise art style is harder to pull off than a more freehand style and this owns it’s style the entire way though. If it has a weakness the lettering is a little over-simplistic and raw, even for this comic’s art style. Sometimes you can also kind of see the “seams” of the comic showing (a repeated use of a digital brush here, an awkward pose there) but unless you are really a critic you’ll just roll with it.

 

Writing / Story:

So this comic made me laugh on the first page. That’s the hallmark of good writing if there ever was one. It’s basically the reason that I reviewed this comic rather than the 15+ other comics I’ve got stacked up in the review queue. Grand Opening has a very fun, twisted, sense of humor and it goes all out with this. It’s equate it to like Adventure Time or maybe something that belongs on Adult Swim and that’s pretty high praise. Honestly- if there was no art to this I’d still have read this. Good writing transcends medium and I wish people would understand that. The art in this augments the strong writing and illustrates what’s going on. It’s a great use of the visual medium, using dialogue when required and skipping it when actions would visually complete the scene. I’d give you a breakdown of the plot but it’s very trippy and out there- half the fun is the absurd journey it takes you on and telling you what happens would spoil it.

 

Overall:

I know this is a short review… but it’s a damn good comic. I often have far more to say about turds than I do about diamonds and make no mistake- this comic was an absolute joy. I’ve read LOTS of bad humor comics and was starting to believe that this medium wasn’t as conducive to humor. However- this one has opened my eyes and shown me the light. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one- this is required reading.

 

Metrics:

Art: 8/10 [Pro level]

Lettering: 5/10 [Decent]

Plot: 9/10 [You’ll laugh your butt off]

Novelty: 9/10 [Insanity. Just insanity.]

Overall: 7/75/10

Link to Website

Rose

Reviewed by JustKay

Rose2-e1472224543686-300x450Overview

What did I just read? A hot mess, that’s what. A hot mess made by a tweeked out jumpy puppy. I had such high hopes for you jumpy puppy.

Review

‘ello lovelies of the interwebs, today we are taking a look at ‘Rose’created by Cameron Davis. Its almost a solid 30 pages so lets not waste too much time chitchatting and just jump right into the next Indie Comic Review.

Writing

I just can’t even. I mean, wow. Lets put the mangled mess of the story structure to the side for a moment. This comic is a collection of short ones created for the web, which is perfectly acceptable. Some of my favorite comics have in fact grown into their own as webcomics first. However in this issue submitted to us they are all smashed together with only the first one having any real attempt at letting you know that its ended. Good thing too as the next story starts immediately after it, and that one is alright as well, but then everything takes a turn for the worst.

Lets come back to the mangled tangled nonsensical mess that the stories in the comic 34ot2Wissue devolve into. The first story I actually liked. It gave us a sense of the main character, gave us a peek into some of her relationships and who they are, and gave us a fun relate-able story that might have even happened to us as a kid. Second story was a little bit more strange but again it was funny and showed us the silliness of the main character and I can live with those kinds of stories as they serve a purpose. All great, major points were about to be laid down. And then it happened…the de-evolution of sensible mini story arcs into maddening unneeded humor devoid attempts at pandering to a juvenile audience (which frankly is kind of insulting as a reader).

I get that the main character is suppose to be a kid (though what age the creator can’t even seem to agree with themself) and I get that she is suppose to be in love with food. You had so much to work with to make a funny series with a wacky food loving main character. Instead you distilled her down to the bare minimum of what could be considered a realized character and made her a cheap cardboard cut out for the lolz. But you even managed to mess up the lolz!

Art

I actually don’t have alot of gripe about the art. Its a very Sunday morning comic strip feel to it, which is fine because (in theory anyways) it goes with the kind of story you want for a quick webcomic. I’ve actually seen alot of comics in this style that utilize its strengths to help further their antics and make a really great comic out of it. Personally I really like comics in this style because they tend to be the light hearted silly antic driven ones that you need after a tough work week. If the writing had been there, if the plot and characters had at all provided a base for the art to go off of, I think this would have been a really enjoyable read.

RvWU26Ah7X58inpF7k907xRNS1cGOlLGpnu07Ex1frTzNejbHkZtVcGYIZbrOchrVery much the standard comic font for the lettering but it does seem to be appropriately broken up. Not alot of complaint here either accept for my normal pleads to see something different (and function) that enhances the reader’s immersion into the universe. So as far as art and lettering go this comic finally gains some points.

Novelty

If this had been what it should have been, a humorous tale of a young girl in love with food who love herself, it would have been awesome. You don’t see alot of comics that portray a young girls relationship with food in one that isn’t over obsession (looking at your Rose) or an unhealthy one. It had such potentially to be a fun meaningful comic we don’t often get. Well we definitely didn’t get it here either.

Overall

I had really wanted to like this comic but it just kept hitting me over the head till I gave into not liking it. I can’t emphasis enough how insulting it is for a male to write a female main character and not even take the time to at least make her a person and not a whiny gluttony driven poor attempt at humor. Art I can forgive because it fit in with the feel of the series, its an issue made from a webcomic. Standard bland lettering is kind of the majority of what I see for these reviews, that’s fine. But the writing destroyed any chance this series had. Didn’t even give it a chance just shot it right in the face before it even left the starting line.

Metric Breakdown

Art: 5/10 [Quick Sunday paper comic strip art, goes with theme]

Lettering: 5/10 [Standard font, pretty baseline]

Writing: 1/10 [It has writing]

Novelty: 3/10 [Hope its not a repeat]

Overall: 3.5/10

A More Colorful Review – Rat Queens

rat-queens-vol-01-releasesOverview

Ever played a game of D&D and gotten hit by something from the GM that made you think “how screwed are we”? Well meet the badass, nonstop, crazy action and antics that come from that moment constantly happening in comic form.

Review

Today we are going to be talking rodents. Okay not real rodents more like Volume 1 of Rat Queens. Story by Kurtis Wiebe and art by Roc Upchurch take us on a journey of D&D proportions with a gang of gals that will blow your mind. Published by Shadowline Online and Image Comics.

Writing

Okay so the story is a little more then hetic and demands some series attention to keep up with everything that is going on. Its very unapologetically fast paced and perhaps borders on jumpy. But you get the feeling that is just how the characters lives are and come to accept it as another story telling device. Definitly not a comic you want to pick up just to have some fun with for that reason though. However it is throughly entertaining, if a little heavy especially if you really are paying attention to the details. We’ll get to a little bit more about that in the art section.

I mean a gang of women that just destroy shit, what’s not to love. You get the feeling that 13592412._SX540_the group has a lot of backstory together and a strong bond because of it. But you also get a feeling that each individual has a ton of backstory that maybe the others no nothing about. I’m pretty sure we are going to get to see at least one persons backstory come to the forefront in the next volume but I won’t ruin anything with spoilers on that. It does leave room for some interesting developments as a group dynamic though so it should be fun to watch play out.

Art

I’ve got to say Roc does some truly fantastic work. The colors in the background dynamically change to fit the scene and serve to enhance the storyline. And if you pay attention they use the art to further the story even more by embedding hints to things in the art throughout the volume about how things might turn out. Its worth reading a few times just for that fact. See if you can spot them all!

I also have to give a quick shout out to the use of panels in this comic. They weren’t just all squares or full pagers. There were quite a few unexpected panel set ups that were used very well for their purposes which really show a thought out plan between writer and artist when it came to the series. Kudos.

RatQueens_02_CVR_A_VIRGINAgain, I’m sure I’ve said this alot, standard lettering font. But at least with this series the bubbles are the correct sizes and you can in fact read everything. They aren’t confusing to follow the order of either which helps maintains the flow of the story. In fact they occasionally use the order of the text bubbles to guide the eyes over the art to reveal new things.

Diversity

Well I mean it is a dwarf, a smidgen, and two magic users. But even better is that despite it essentially being the “how screwed over are we” D&D game from hell personified they still managed to throw in diversity in a a few forms. The most obvious of which is their color pallet for characters is diverse. They don’t stand beside the misguided and horribly wrong notion that alot of fantasy stories do, in that there can only be one color. In the main group, the sub groups, and even the background characters of the town we see the use of different skin tones used freely. More impressive to me is that they slipped in some queer characters as well. Yes its not a comic that strictly handles anything that could make it be wholly diverse focused (except for the badass ladies taking names all over the place) but still the creators felt it was of a high enough priority that it comes through in the series. Kudos for the extra care in making a believable world.

Overall

A good read that I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of. Lots of action, twists that never seem to end, and plenty of room for development of story lines and character growth. Plus I mean a ton of battles and just generally all of the awesome things from a good D&D campaign encounter.  What’s not to dig?

Metric Breakdown

Art: 8/10 [Lends itself to the verse, little hints throughout]

Lettering: 6/10 [Standard fare]

Writing: 7.5/10 [Lots of action, love direction, occasional feels a little rushed]

Diversity: 7/10 [I mean just look at the cover]

Overall: 7.13/10

Beauty in Chaos: GalaXafreaks Park Vibes

GalaXafreaks Park Vibes

Comic by Andrew Pawley

Psychedelic Cruise
galaxafreaks-park-vibes

GalaXafreaks Park Vibes is a psychedelic cruise with good feeling and satisfying ride. The weak hooks make the ride a little bumpy, but not any less fun. There’s definitely room for more of this guy.

Art

The art is absolutely fantastic and downright psychedelic. It’s a high-intensity palette with plenty of hot colors and high contrast moments. Each panel is so full of energy, even the dialogue follows suit. Most of the characters speak with bubbles that pop out like stickers on a poster, but many of them have their own artistic choices. This art works well in the comic just as well as it would on a poster. There isn’t a spot in the comic that breaks the artistic mold. From start to finish, it sticks to its premise.

Comprehensibility

The writing is as psychedelic as the art with heavy influences from the hippie age. It’s not always the easiest to read, but it fits the style and carries the story forward. If nothing more, it really lets one in on the characters’ personalities. The writing takes a few wide turns. Bouncing from one end of the spectrum to the another, but buckles down and brings all together after introductions are met.

One character has an exclamation point as a part of his name, and even the overall style of the comic doesn’t really make up for how awkward it feels at times. It took a couple read-overs to recognize it wasn’t the end of a sentence. Introductions are met quick, characters are named up front and their personalities are ever-present. Mystery doesn’t move this story, but a nice cliffhanger at the end drives a want for more.

Cohesion

Great art, good writing, and a handful of simple characters drive the story. It can feel a bit hard to keep up with when the comic is bouncing between worlds, but that doesn’t detract from the comic in any monumental way. Without digging too deep, it’s easy to brisk through the panels. This one’s worth reading for something quick and beautiful that leaves a nice desire for more. The amount of direction in the art as a whole brings the entire piece together.

I want posters of this one; make more!

A More Colorful Review – BashBack

Overview

When the world decides to beat down on the Queer community, the Queer community punches back. In this series full of violence, sex, language, and angry queers you better watch who you decide is worth a beating because they just might punch back.

Reviewtumblr_nejv76iCfG1qg4b06o1_500

This week we will be looking at Issue #0 of BashBack. A comic about a Queer Mafia written by Lawrence Gullo and Kelsey Hercs, with art from Fyodor Pavlov. This is an indie comic in the purest sense so if you’d like to get your hands on a copy after the review you can by their tumblr as they have recently done a Kickstarter to do the first physical prints of their comic.

Writing

The plot of the story is very much about showing and possible bleeding off some of the anger the Queer community has. When you are constantly attacked, degraded, and disregarded for who you are its really hard not to be pissed off and wanting to do something. In this series the writers focus that into a story about the Queer community protecting and providing for their own even if it means going outside of the law to do it. They are a Queer Mafia, a buffer between the hate groups and their people. It is really a very compelling story even if some of it comes off as extreme I believe that fits write in with the writers point for the series. All of the story elements pull you further into the world and you feel the justification, and perhaps the justice, behind the characters actions.

Screenshot 2016-05-26 14.54.17Man does this series have alot of characters! And its only Issue #0. Now while not all of them get fleshed out in this issue you get enough a feel for them both through the art, and their interactions with the main players of this issue to really make me believe there is alot there the writers can explore in future issues. Heck even what I consider to be the 5 characters this issue put in the spotlight already have alot of background and identity baked right into them. The way the talk, they manner they go about protecting people, their interactions with each other all of it serves to make you feel like these are fully realized people. Really interested to see how they make this work for them down the line.

Art

In contrast to the brightly down cover they’ve opted for purely black and white art inside. Which seems very strange at first but makes sense. They are trying to invoke that gritty feel that was achieved by other media left in black and white. The series is reaching back into the media knowledge of mafia and trying to put that to use to help us slide into the story line. Considering its all in black in white it is rather beautifully done, they don’t lose details because of it. Their characters are all still distinguishable and come with their own unique details that stay consistent through out. So of the club scenes or those with a lot of background art do seem to meld together because of this choice though.

The lettering feels a bit like maybe they left that for last in the production pipeline. Bash-Back-John-Doran-Beating-660x1001
Spelling mistakes, places where the lettering goes outside of the speech bubbles making it hard to read, and weird ordering of those speech bubbles make a few parts way more confusing then they would have been. For the most part that’s really the only things that added confusion to this series for me. They even used a very generic font throughout it that while readable didn’t really feel like it fit in the universe they were building. I think they very much need to polish and buckle down on lettering for their issues moving forward.

Diversity

This series does a great job with this. A large portion of the queer spectrum is represented, multiple races are shown in the forefront, and body types vary. With this only being Issue #0 of the series I very much look forward to seeing how they keep up this pace moving forward. The main character is dealing with being trans in a world that is actively hostile against him, but seems to hold his own after finally finding a ‘family’ that accepts him. I really hope they take the time to explore all of the potential pressure points the queer community has that they have seem to set up for in this first issue.

Overall

I think this will be a really interesting series to keep an eye on. They’ve set themselves up with a fantastic cast of characters, a really interesting universe, and a foe of bigotry that could take an endless number of shapes without having the story lines become boring and repetitive. I do think there is room for improvement and polish with the lettering and probably even with maintaining details in larger scenes. But this series really does kick the major leaguers in the balls with its daring.

Metric Breakdown

Art: 7/10 [Lends itself to story, so details lost]

Lettering: 5/10 [Spelling errors, outside bubbles]

Writing: 8/10 [Huge character cast, lots of potential]

Diversity: 8.5/10 [Great show so far, lets see what they do with it]

Overall: 7.13/10