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plarblman

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Jun 3 16 5:33 PM

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I sometimes browse 1d4chan and I happened across this one guy who was really ranting about a webcomic called Drowtales. Here's the exact description he gave:
When an admittedly skilled bunch of artists make the Twilight of Dark Elf fictions. The Dark Elves are shown to be mostly cute, animesque and angsty nerdy teenagers with express descriptions of love and innocence while hordes of slaves are brought to work, die and be used in Underdark. Somehow our Mary Sue characters get into missions, recapture slaves (while the description insists drow aren't cruel or evil, can you feel the logic fail yet?), give an occasional slave "freedom" for what is worth while angsting over some strangely happy, clingy light elf slavegirl the protagonist manga drow chick blasted with a spell. Basically F.A.T.A.L of webcomics with worse plot and morality confusions than said game, capable of instilling RAGE in neckbeards that would make Khorne giggle. Honestly any encounter with D&D Drow would make the latter run away with disgust. Some have cat ears. All are bisexual. Seriously I am about to blow a vein here. Read FATAL instead.
 

I started reading to see if there was something to it. I don't think I got far enough, but so far I'm pretty meh on it. It's not bad, but then maybe I simply haven't gotten to the parts he was describing (I've gotten as far as chapter 2 and there's 50 chapters total). This comic has the longest prologue I've ever read and establishes a substantial amount of plot before the actual protaganist appears in the story, so at first I was left kind of confused about what direction the story was taking. On the other hand, it was probably a decent way of explaing the politics of the setting and establishing the end goal for the story. Still, I was having Game of Thrones flashbacks where I was left wondering who was who and why they were important. The excessively complex names in the beginning didn't help.

What do you guys think?

 
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#1 [url]

Jun 4 16 9:50 PM

I have been reading this one for years. It's long but not bad. There are more characters perspectives to go through as well more ensemble cast than a single heroine type deal. The hard part is keeping up with which characters are supposed to be where and who is allied with who. Especially when Kern turns that dhit on its head on ya.

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People have a common defense mechanism they employ to defend themselves from the threat of contrary viewpoints. This shield they wield is the act of dismissing such contrary viewpoints by arbitrarily undermining their validity.

Last Edited By: Horerczy Jun 5 16 11:13 AM. Edited 1 time.

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Tarada

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#2 [url]

Jun 4 16 11:19 PM

Drowtales is a comic I've been tempted to try write an article for for a long time, but you'll see that my grammar is awful so I'm a very poor candidate.

I use to be a fan of Drowtales when I was younger but my tastes changed and the whole story kind of has the Girl Genius problem of completely losing focus and bogging itself down with too many subplots and no actual resolution for any one of the hundreds of characters introduced. They've had a few instances where things were actually looking like they might get interesting, only for that subplot to get resolved in the most anti-climatic way possible. The comic also has some major setting issues considering it got retconned several times as the story progressed. The whole thing started off as a D&D campaign, then developed into it's own setting, which changed yet again in the middle of the story. The first chapter's been redrawn three times. The whole thing is also very fetishy, less so now than it used to be but you'll see fan service bleed in even in current chapters. One of those previously mentioned redrawn chapters involved a half-dragon having sex with a 12 year old.

The art is decent, but it still has some major problems with angles, texture and anything that's not drawn by the background artists that's not humanoid. However, it's kind of amazing to see where he is now compared to where he was when he started. The bad part is for a while he had nicer art, but chose to go for less attempts at texture so he'd be able to keep up with his deadline and lost his background artist.

It's worth keeping in mind that /tg/ hates elves in general. Apparently they have had a few instances of drama involving the creator, one of which was an incident where they tried to join the RP forums and make a dwarf nation then got banned when the creator caught on to what they were doing. They've also mentioned having issues with the porn portion of the site refusing to deliver porn unless the creator thinks it's in character.

Alright, back to lurking now that I've gotten my two cents in.

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Shan

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#3 [url]

Jun 4 16 11:49 PM

Your grammar seems fine to me. Also, if you write a review draft, we can all get together to help edit it if you like. Even the best writers have editors to handle that stuff for them (or at least they used to when good writing and editing was valued). We do our best work here as a team anyway, so seriously if you want to give it a go, we will help.

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peabrain

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#4 [url]

Jun 5 16 8:41 AM

Oh boy! This comic brings me back! I read this comic probably about a decade ago, so all the pages I'm familiar with have probably been removed/redone. I've checked on it intermittently throughout the years, but the animu + Drow thing doesn't really mix well, in my honest opinion. A disproportionate amount of the characters seem to be good aligned, which made no sense. There's also a handful of annoying characters that are legitimately mentally retarded or something.

If I recall correctly, the original comic had a story-line where Ariel, our prepubescent protagonist, goes to a boarding school that only has only male students that try to rape her. A story-line they seemed to have kept is the pedophilia one where the little Drow girl has sex with a dragon-dude. I think they have her transform herself into an adult dragon-woman so it's technically not pedophilia? In any case it was pretty gross and reeked of wish fulfillment to me. (I just went and looked at the chapter and it seems they changed the story. In the original, she changes into an adult dragon-woman and willingly has sex with the dragon-dude. In the new one, she grows wings but does not become an adult, and the dragon-dude tries to get some sweet child lovin' from her. Maybe the child-lovin' comes later now, to build suspense.)

Looking through some of the pages reminds me, as was pointed out, that this comic has a huge exposition problem. There will literally be pages of just text and some ugly background. There's often too much fucking dialogue on pages as well, so that gets confusing fast. The creators apparently solved this problem by giving each character their own glowy text. It's really a stupid way to solve a problem with a simple solution - use less text!

Some characters suffer from the serious animu condition of Sameface, so the artists decided to give all the important characters their own bright, ugly colors so we can tell them apart. I think that was a large reason I stopped reading the comic because it was giving me migraines.

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plarblman

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#5 [url]

Jun 5 16 1:33 PM

So I guess this is a bad comic then. I might do this for my next review (I'd rather get some variety, the last couple of reviews I've done were political in nature and I want to steer away from that). I've only just started reading, but if anyone else here who's been a longtime reader feels like they'd be a better candidate for a write-up, just tell me.

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peabrain

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#6 [url]

Jun 5 16 2:38 PM

It's all on you, bud! I really don't want to have to read this entire mess again. I'd be happy to discuss the review with you here though, if it'd help. I wonder if we can find any of the redone chapters.

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#7 [url]

Jun 5 16 2:54 PM

I'm a longtime reader but I don't feel like it's bad so I don't feel I'd be a better candidate.

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People have a common defense mechanism they employ to defend themselves from the threat of contrary viewpoints. This shield they wield is the act of dismissing such contrary viewpoints by arbitrarily undermining their validity.

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peabrain

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#8 [url]

Jun 6 16 8:56 AM

Someone on their forums posted some of the old chapters if you guys are curious how bad the art used to be - what an improvement! Here's the page I was talking about where the students tried "rapping" her.

It seems like Chapter 4 (the child-lovin' chapter) was scrubbed from the internet. Was Ariel 12 or 10 in Chapter 4? I don't remember.

some gross person wrote:
The sexy part between Rik and Ariel as you all may or may not know was in the daydream section, and so was never seen by most people and it was deleted shortly after its creation I think, too many people were BAWWing over it calling it child porn or some crap.


Luckily, some gross person saved all those old comics and posted them on the Drowtales forum. I'd recommend saving these if you intend to use them for the review at all. Regardless, they're pretty lulzy. Here are the ones where the kid turns into an adult dragon-lady to bang the dragon-dude:

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/hellsion/media/DrowtalesOrigCh4/CDS04_page14_final.jpg.html
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/hellsion/media/DrowtalesOrigCh4/CDS04_page15_CG.jpg.html
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/hellsion/media/DrowtalesOrigCh4/CDS04_page16_final.jpg.html
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/hellsion/media/DrowtalesOrigCh4/CDS04_page17_final.jpg.html
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/hellsion/media/DrowtalesOrigCh4/CDS04_page18_final.jpg.html
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/hellsion/media/DrowtalesOrigCh4/CDS04_page19_final.jpg.html

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plarblman

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#9 [url]

Jun 6 16 9:54 AM

Oh my god, now I understand why that guy was complaining about the animu. That is just 13-year-old-DA-user level bad.

Also, on the one hand at least the actual porn isn't in there (though apparently it got moved to the "fanservice" section). On the other hand, the commentary is pretty creepy, where she straight up admits she's still a child and couldn't fully enjoy it. I feel dirty just reading it.

OK, I'm 100% convinced that this deserves a review. I can't say when I'll get it done, since I'll have to start rereading and taking notes, but it'll get done some time or other.

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#10 [url]

Jun 6 16 10:08 AM

Before we get all review happy over peabrains links I'd like to point out that those links are for pages that are no longer cannon and haven't been for several years now.

That scene plays out quite differently now.

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People have a common defense mechanism they employ to defend themselves from the threat of contrary viewpoints. This shield they wield is the act of dismissing such contrary viewpoints by arbitrarily undermining their validity.

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#12 [url]

Jun 6 16 9:07 PM

If it's deemed bad by all means it should be reviewed I'm just saying it should be by the current iteration not the things Yan has had the good sense to fix.

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People have a common defense mechanism they employ to defend themselves from the threat of contrary viewpoints. This shield they wield is the act of dismissing such contrary viewpoints by arbitrarily undermining their validity.

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peabrain

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#13 [url]

Jun 8 16 7:51 PM

It seems like it wasn't something he wanted to fix but had to because his readers didn't like it?

Yan wrote:
Also, the original chapter 4 contained a specific scene that was important for me to show. As it was representing the Drow race evil nature from a human perspective. Unfortunately I received a lot of negative feedback for years after, due to this specific scene. So for this remake, the scene is tamed down in hope that the shock will be lessened.
link

I'm by no means an expert on Drow, but I used to read about them a lot (War of the Spider Queen, anyone?) and I was the matron of a Drow house on a NWN RP server (plz don't tell anyone). It's been more than a decade (yikes!) but I sincerely don't remember pedophilia being a part of "evil" Drow culture. This still stinks of wish fulfillment to me.

Child-lovin' aside, I'm actually enjoying re-reading through the new chapters. They're a remarkable improvement on the old ones. I'm still noticing a lot of Engrish (definitely not as much as there used to be, though), some pages have very difficult-to-read-text, and they kept Blueberry for some reason.

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#14 [url]

Jun 8 16 9:33 PM

He's been trying to differentiate his drown from the forgotten realms drown for a while now. Bit yeah his French Canadian roots cause lots of Engrish.

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People have a common defense mechanism they employ to defend themselves from the threat of contrary viewpoints. This shield they wield is the act of dismissing such contrary viewpoints by arbitrarily undermining their validity.

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plarblman

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#15 [url]

Feb 21 17 8:57 PM

Hey, I bet you guys didn't expect me to get back to this now, did you?

I'm 2/5 of the way through and I'm getting a good idea of how to review this. Lots of grimderp, cognitive dissonance, and just plain poor writing choices abound within. I've got a shitton of notes as I'm writing a synopsis of each chapter, but I'll likely not use most of it in the review because a lot of it is unimportant.

Also, just like Shortpacked I'm going to need a section for all the gratuitous lesbian porn included on the site.

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plarblman

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#17 [url]

Feb 22 17 8:46 PM

4/5 done. Would you guys like some highlights?

*The aforementioned pedophilia scene, which remains a constant for this character.
* this shitnugget actually being important to the plot
*Ariel murders a slave that she was responsible for buying in the first place, and forgets to feel remorse about it for a dozen or so chapters
*Ariel abusing her shapeshifting powers to get new abilities up the whazoo.
*Looks like one of the artists got lazy and used poser for a panel or two
* Good art one page... bad art the next!
*Happy Naked Slaves!
* "I hate mommy's men so I'm going to be a lesbian!"
* Santa clause ready to fuck up some Drow
* A political debate that goes on for 13 pages until we get to the actual point of this scene
*Mel being a dumbass in general.
*Syphile spending her entire existence bitching and moaning impotently until she gets offed.
*Elves don't menstrate, apparently
* Drow viewing humans as an infestation BUT WE'RE TOTALLY COOL WITH OUR TOTALLY NOT A SLAVE HUMAN HELPER YOU GUYS
*WALLS AND WALLS OF TEXT
*"NOOO! NOT BOOOB! THAT'S MY FAVORITE MAMMARY!"
*Anticlimactic resolution to subplot
*THIS FUCKER AND HIS FUCKING SLUT ELF SHOWS UP OUT OF THE BLUE JUST TO TAUNT ME. And then he vanishes into the ether once again.
*BITCH PLEASE.

You can probably tell my patience is wearing thin.

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plarblman

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#18 [url]

Feb 23 17 6:54 PM

Ok I'm done reading. It's a slog but I've taken note of all the key pages I want to mention. I'll start writing the review tomorrow.

If you want to read my descent into madness, read my sandbox. I basically stopped carring to write anything down after chapter 47.

Last Edited By: plarblman Feb 23 17 7:03 PM. Edited 1 time.

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ohitsyou

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#20 [url]

Feb 24 17 9:12 PM

Ive read some of this comic, and I'm kind of confused who this comic is for.

Allow me to explain:

The comics setting is very Tolkienesque; wars, elves, large cast of characters, backstories galore, etc. Personally, not a fan of Tolkienesque fantasies, but I understand that a lot of people do like Tolkien, so hey, enjoy what you like! 

So then why would a comic with a western influence in setting and themes use an anime style (for the most part) in how it looks? It just dosent mesh well, when you can have a brutal death scene in one panel, and have a chibi art style in the next. I'll admit I dont like chibi, but chibi should be used in a gag stories, not in your main motherfucking drama story! I just dont get the anime style choice.

Actually, thats half true; I get the feeling with the amount or blood and gore in this comic that the author was influenced by 80/90's anime OVA's, which for the most part were very bloody exploitation films. Most were stupid, but there is a certain charm to some of them, if just to see some creative demented violence like seeing a half-human/airplane hyprid get ripped in half by two twins sharing an  exosuit. Sometimes you got to appease your inner id.

So great, maybe the author was influenced by these ultra violent OVA's, and wanted to implement that in his fantasy webcomic. Great. However, my problem is that if the author was influenced by these OVA's, why did he choose the big eyed chibi artstyle? Yeah, those OVA's were anime, but they were animated in a semi-realistic way. You know, people had well-proportion body shapes, eyes that looked like eyes, and not take up half your head etc. So, why not use the semi-realistic look as your default artstyle? If gives the story more impact then your bug-eyed loli's being eviscerated left and right.

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