Maybe I take comics a little too seriously.
But Fort Knox is still the crappiest newspaper comic out there. Take a look at this Sunday strip:
Seriously, what’s the joke there? The gumball machine broke, spilled everything, and…? He’s chewing gum. OK. I don’t see a punchline. Is he supposed to be chewing a LOT of gum at once? Perhaps, but that’s definitely not the right way to draw it. You’ve gotta exaggerate things in comics. Make his cheeks about twice (or three times!) that size and you’ve got a REAL punchline, Mr. Paul Jon. As it is now, it looks like he’s chewing a normal amount of gum for a cartoon character.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. This comic has some of the most uninspired character designs out there. The guy in the red hoodie here is Wes, an asthmatic, introverted, bullied kid. His brother Donald is basically a bland remake of Jason from FoxTrot, except with a teddy bear named Castro and no real intelligence. The father and mother have virtually no personalities—the only striking feature of the father is that he’s in the military. The mom is just you’re basic, canned comic strip mother. Also? All of the characters have the exact same face, especially if they’re related. Friends of the main family have minor differences—such as a different nose shape.
The majority of strips are like the one I’ve posted here. No real punchline, no buildup, RIDICULOUSLY bland, and copy/paste drawings. There was even one strip for Memorial Day where the comic “artist” had someone else draw tribute art of WWII soldiers rushing into battle. He then added some crappy, semi-sentimental panel where the father is reading some book about WWII to his sons and saying something “heartfelt.” But really—if Memorial Day is SO IMPORTANT to you that you’d dedicated an entire Sunday strip to acknowledging it, the LEAST you could do is draw your own damn art for your own damn strip. (Now, don’t misunderstand me. Memorial Day is important, but it’s rarely acknowledged in the funny pages anymore. Thus, it’s strange to see a whole Sunday strip dedicated to it, and when you do see it, it usually means that the cartoonist cares deeply about its significance.)
Even Tom Preston’s comic, So, You’re a Cartoonist? is better than this drivel. And that’s saying something.
I told this guy that he spelled ‘wheeze’ wrong, and then linked him to a few pictures of skulls because clearly he has no idea what he’s doing.
This is what I ended up with:
its called a difference in style you cunt, i could quite easily draw him with a generic skull just like i could draw him without hair, in a heap, in the corner of the room! but that would hardly distinguish him from every other reanimated corpse minion in this comic leading to confusion for readers when battles brake out, not to mention the fact that it would be flat out visually boring, also, if its some one’s personal style then there’s no such damned thing as doing it wrong! its called art because there no damned science to it ya two bit shit head.
now would you kindly A. stop critiquing things that dont need it and actually read my story enjoying it for what it is. Or B. stop critiquing things that dont need it and piss right the fuck off
And then he hid everything. The ‘artist’ is 20.
HAHAHA OH WOW
That’s like saying you need to be a good chef in order to tell if food tastes like shit
today at work, i made a double chocolatey chip creme frappuccino wrong. the customer told me, “this shouldn’t look like this”, & i told them what i had put in it. then i realized i’d forgotten mocha, & remade it.
so even though the customer didn’t receive my training & isn’t a certified barista, they could tell something was wrong. art is like that too, it’s a service, in a sense.
The person who drew this comic is an idiot. I really, really dislike people who claim to be “serious artists” but can’t take a polite critique.
Homestuck and How it Manipulates the Internet
I really don’t care for the plot or intricacies of Homestuck. It’s boring, starts off too slowly to really get your attention, has far too many non sequiturs, and more twists than a Shyamalan film. For the record, I did read (most) of it, and I couldn’t follow it, so don’t accuse me of judging a book by its cover here. Even though I can’t stand the plot and the look of the characters, I will admit that the creator (Andrew Hussie) is doing a very cool thing with this project. It can’t be called a webcomic anymore—it’s something new.
I want to say that there will be spoilers in this, because I link to parts of the comic itself. However, I don’t think it will matter if you see them or not, because the plot is just that complicated.
I’m a comic puritan, and by my definition, a comic is a page of drawings with text within the panels themselves. When this is not the case (as it typically is with the Family Circus or Dennis the Menace), then the dialog directly corresponds to what one character is saying. Actions of characters are either depicted in the panels themselves, or described by another character (including the good ol’ Narrator Box). With this definition in mind, Homestuck is not a comic. It’s closer to a picture book. However, because Homestuck is identified by its fans as a “webcomic,” I will call it as such for simplicity’s sake. That, and some of the more extreme fans would probably tie me up and burn me alive if I called it anything but a webcomic.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, an artist can take a comic panel and go absolutely insane with it. We’ve seen animated panels before. We’ve seen flash animations paired with popular music to make fan music videos. We’ve seen flash games that are made to look like NES or Sega games. And of course, we have a TON of webcomics, that are either fancomics or original or something in between. Every one of these things would not be possible or nearly as widespread without the personal computer and the internet. Despite all these new “inventions,” webcomics have remained relatively the same as their printed predecessors. Any webcomic invariably follow the ancient formula—a story is told by a combination of dialog and pictures. The biggest change is the addition of one or two animated panels, which are usually thrown in for the sake of the punchline. Despite having multiple ways of adding media to pages on the internet, creators of webcomics have stuck to the basics. This is obviously not a bad thing. More often than not, comics are excellent without all the added bells and whistles. With that in mind, the ultimate, dream-like goal of many cartoonists is to get published in a book. Therefore, many cartoonists cannot afford to add anything to a strip just so it looks fancy online.
This is where Homestuck starts being different. Hussie takes the idea of a webcomic and fully embraces it, and disregards the notion of having Homestuck being published on paper. Right off the bat, Homestuck begins with an animation, albeit a simple one, and the majority of panels in the comic move at least a little bit. Generally it’s something funny to look at, like someone flailing his arms wildly or “screaming” in frustration. Even if the animation is short and jagged, it does add something to the “panel” itself. In some cases it fleshes out a character.
One could argue that with such simple animations, a comic could still be printed on paper with little expense. That’s true. However, Homestuck soon began incorporating Flash animations with original music themes. Even if you aren’t too pleased with the art of Homestuck, they’re still impressive to watch. Not only are they well-done, but they’re generally very important to the plot as well. So important, in fact, that you really can’t skip to the next page without ending up confused. The music is pretty good as well, and though it’s all electronic, it spans different kinds of genres.
Further proving that Homestuck could never successfully be printed is the addition of Flash minigames. That’s right—there are points where you’re forced to play a short game (with lots and lots of dialog, as if the comic didn’t have enough of that already) if you want to understand what’s going on. Take this one for instance—if you skip to the next page without playing the game, you’ll have literally no clue what’s going on. You may know who the characters are and what they’re doing, but what made them do that? The minigames are indeed entertaining, and add depth to characters. Another interesting thing to note is that Hussie had guest artists draw the portraits of the characters for these examples, as well as many other pages. It’s definitely fun to see the characters in the styles of other artists, and it’s a welcome change from the “bases” the Hussie uses for all the main characters (armless round-headed people).
And this is why Homestuck is at least innovative. As far as I know, no other creator has incorporated other media to this extent. Is it a good thing? I think so. New art forms are always welcome, and using the internet to its full extent is something to admire. Perhaps this explains Homestuck’s popularity, which has grown exponentially since its release in 2009. Will it continue to grow? That’s more than likely, simply because of all the attention (even negative attention) it gets. Hussie knows exactly how to appeal to his main demographic, and he makes it look easy. Whether or not the popularity growth is good depends on your opinion. At the very least, this will inspire other artists to test the limits of the internet by incorporating all sorts of things into their comic pages.
We only have to wait until some brave comic artist is willing to do what Andrew Hussie has already done. Whether or not Homestuck is “good” or worth the long read won’t matter in the future; it has already left its mark.