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Grimjac

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Nov 26 16 1:35 AM

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I won't say I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster; at best I'm an occasional reader, first-time poster. I've been coming 'here' for a few years now, checking on various webcomics when and as opportunity arises. I don't always agree with the reviews; many times I do.

However, being bored over the long weekend, I spent a few hours reading through a bunch of reviews, and something struck me as...odd. This being BWW, I don't expect positive reviews; if the comic wasn't bad, it probably wouldn't be here. Some of my favorites certainly aren't; a few I used to follow rabidly are (LICD, Questionable Content, Sinfest, etc...for reasons I generally agree with in their review).

But it strikes me as odd that most reviews are horrific in their opinion on the art. No matter what style, no matter what story, the art is generally slammed. Granted, some of the webcomics here deserve it, looking like a spastic five-year old got hold of their crayons...if not bodily excretions...and made a masterpiece for Mommy.

It does seem like it's an unspoken rule for a review, though..."Oh, yeah, and the art sucks." I am far from an artist; I couldn't even draw XKCD, never mind LICD or GRRL POWER. However, I do know what I like, and I happen to like some of the art that's panned. I dropped Questionable Content for the SJW Dramafests, but the art fit the story...or found itself comfortable. Not sure of the correct terms, but JJ found a style that was consistent and `fit' the comic, and stuck with it. Is it photo-realistic? No. Is it life-like? No. Does it *have* to be? I don't believe so.

Critiquing art is such a fine line, since art is mostly subjective. 'Peanuts' kept the same art style over how many years? One might call it `iconic'; there was no need to change or `evolve' since it fit the story and was recognizable immediately as Peanuts. Same with many long-running old-style comics.

Change in art style is not *always* a good or necessary thing. `Calvin & Hobbes', `Doonesbury', "Bloom County'...I would say the un-evolving art is a plus to those comics. Likewise for a strip such as `User Friendly'; it doesn't need to be more than it is. It began as it went on...the reviewer may not like it for a particular reason, but there is no Ultimate Guide To Perfect Art. Iliad likely started out with a few crude doodles and some nerd jokes to tell and constantly refined and evolved his drawing skill until he was capable of rendering his characters in a photo-realistic manner...but was it necessary for the strip to do what he intended? Would the nerd jokes be more interesting or meaningful to non-nerds if it was drawn by Whelan or Vallejo?

I'm not sure how the reviews/reviewers work, what the process is for getting a review posted. Is there any kind of oversight? Some of the reviews seem a trifle...personal (and I'm being conservative by saying `some'). I lost track of how many times an artist/writer was labeled a mysoginist-pedophile-racist-etc in the various reviews. In my opinion, which is worth absolutely nothing to anyone but me, that seems to be slightly less than constructive criticism or an objective critique. Sure, a comic like Shadbase (or site; I don't think it can actually be called a webcomic) lends itself to those charges, but the majority of every comic reviewed? I don't think a comic with a nagging wife or well-endowed female who wears revealing clothing is automatically mysoginistic. As well accuse any comic with a male who drinks too much or is a rabid sports fan or gym fanatic to be misandrist. There really *are* people like that out there in the real world; why shouldn't they show up in webcomics?

In opposition to the established doctrine: *tell* me why you think the art sucks; if it's because the art hasn't changed, tell me *why* you think it necessary. *Why* do you think so-and-so is a pedophile? To really upset the status quo...I am sorry, but webcomics are a visual medium. However, you must keep in mind that so is the written word. "Show, don't tell!" scream the reviewers...completely forgetting the *vast* majority of human interaction is via speech. How do you present that in a `visual medium' such as a webcomic? By writing *words*. Exposition. Not to the exclusion of the pictures, but to support...as the picture should support the words.

To sum up: webcomics are like any other form of art; much of it is up to the interpretation of the viewer. BWW is a good reference for readers in many ways; I personally think there's a little too much vitriol and not enough objectivity in many of the reviews. I'm not a frequent enough visitor to state it categorically, but maybe the vitriol is their schtick. Sure, a lot of the comics here *are* horrendously bad and deserve a lot of venom, but many reviews read, in a nutshell, "I didn't like it, so the art sucks, the artist is a pedophile, and you're a sick monkey if you read it."

On the other hand, the reviewers have gotten far more snickers out of me than most of the comics they've reviewed. They're *good* at the bashing.
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Shan

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#1 [url]

Nov 26 16 2:02 AM

As best as I can understand it (so any of this could actually be wrong), in terms of what gets reviewed here, someone (as in just about anyone) can propose any webcomic for a potential review in the forums. That's followed by whether or not the candidate qualifies for a review and assuming it gets that far, the next step is to review the draft and suggest: 1. accept 2. modify and rereview 3. not accept/delete. I guess most of those that get this far go through step 2 a few times and then go to 1 or 3. My understanding is that even though there's no absolutely formal structure, a form of consensus has to be reached at each stage to go to the next one.

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Long Tom

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#2 [url]

Nov 26 16 4:38 AM

I don't slam a webcomic's art unless it's genionely bad.  In fact, oftentimes the art may be the best part of an otherwise bad webcomic.  Of course, there are cases of too much vulgarity, such as too many shots of genitals, or ridiculously huge breasts and so forth.  Art doesn't have to be Rembrandt-quality; it can be minimalist, but that has to be done right.  My judgment is based on how the overall effect of the pictures is.

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Sindy

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#3 [url]

Nov 26 16 8:11 AM

There's a lot I would respond with, but I'm short on time and have better things to do, so I'll just pick the things that actually annoyed me.

It does seem like it's an unspoken rule for a review, though..."Oh, yeah, and the art sucks."(...) Is it photo-realistic? No. Is it life-like? No. Does it *have* to be? I don't believe so.


There is a bunch of art that's rated a 5 and I'd personally rate a 3. I'm the biggest asshole around the forums when it comes to art (I didn't write any reviews, though). For a non-artist, art is a simple case of "does that look remotely human and the expression remotely what it's supposed to convey?", while for an artist, the question is "does that person know perspective, anatomy, color theory, does that person follow the rules they set for their own style or draw haphazardly, does that person use the paneling and page layout to its best, does that person aim to improve or address mistakes or leave in the dumbest mistakes out of obvious laziness? Does that person vary poses, expressions, features, camera angles?"
he answer, for most webcomics in existence, and especially most webcomics on BWW is "no". It has nothing to do with realism. It has everything to do with everything else why the art is almost universally considered bad or "meh" or "could be better".
Some reviews are written by non-artists. Others by artists. Sometimes the non-artists ask on here for advice from artists on how to rate the art. Sometimes they don't. Shit happens.
You're just lucky they're not asking me, because the score of 4 and 5 won't ever be given out, and the score of 0 would be a thing.
.
you wrote:
.but was it necessary for the strip to do what he intended? Would the nerd jokes be more interesting or meaningful to non-nerds if it was drawn by Whelan or Vallejo?

also you wrote:
.I am sorry, but webcomics are a visual medium.

Lol.
.
I lost track of how many times an artist/writer was labeled a mysoginist-pedophile-racist-etc in the various reviews. In my opinion, which is worth absolutely nothing to anyone but me, that seems to be slightly less than constructive criticism or an objective critique.

This was repeatedly covered over the forums from a million people saying how X isn't misogynistic/pedophile/perverted/a jackass.
If people can't be bothered to look threads up and see why said tag happens, or if they don't care about these, then all the power to you. But I personally can no longer be bothered to explain this the millionth time for someone who won't budge anyway.
.
.I am sorry, but webcomics are a visual medium. However, you must keep in mind that so is the written word. "Show, don't tell!" scream the reviewers...completely forgetting the *vast* majority of human interaction is via speech. How do you present that in a `visual medium' such as a webcomic? By writing *words*. Exposition. Not to the exclusion of the pictures, but to support...as the picture should support the words.

This one genuinely pissed me off.
Don't fucking use terms you can't wrap your head around.
Dialogue AND "show, don't tell" aren't mutually fucking exclusive
"Telling" refers to when the narrative points to something that should be obvious from the art, or writing, but is not. "Showing" is when stuff is clear WITHOUT someone spelling it out for you like you're a fucking retard (or they're a fucking retard for not being able to hint at it or draw it)

EG:
A girl is crying.
Telling: Have a character go "Oh no Jane is crying"
Showing: Drawing her crying, or if it's a story, "Jane was wiping her eyes with her sleeve and sniffing".

You can have aaaaaaaaaallllll the fucking dialogue you wish in a comic, hell, make it a block of text, if you write it well, you won't upset anyone if you don't spell stuff out. Likewise, if your entire comic is art but just with "Jane is crying" in a bubble instead of her being on the panel, crying, that's telling, not showing.

For fuck's sake, if you don't know what a term means, don't argue that people use it wrong and attempt to correct them from your high horse while being completely off and only showing how little you know about the topic. Seriously. Being a smartass is annoying even when said smartass is right, let alone when they're wrong, like in your case.

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SmashLampjaw

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#4 [url]

Nov 26 16 2:07 PM

I've relocated this challenge to existing reviews to the Challenges to Existing Reviews subforum. I'd like to hope the reason is obvious.
.

Grimjac wrote:
To sum up: webcomics are like any other form of art; much of it is up to the interpretation of the viewer. BWW is a good reference for readers in many ways; I personally think there's a little too much vitriol and not enough objectivity in many of the reviews. I'm not a frequent enough visitor to state it categorically, but maybe the vitriol is their schtick. Sure, a lot of the comics here *are* horrendously bad and deserve a lot of venom, but many reviews read, in a nutshell, "I didn't like it, so the art sucks, the artist is a pedophile, and you're a sick monkey if you read it."
Examples would be good. I actually do agree with some of your points (particularly about changing art is not an inherent requirement), but speaking abstractly about [what I think are] over 100 reviews undermines the case you're making.

.


Issues composing posts in Yuku's editor?  See this guide to using BBCode.

Last Edited By: SmashLampjaw Nov 26 16 2:11 PM. Edited 1 time.

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fallinq

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#5 [url]

Dec 13 16 8:13 PM

SmashLampjaw wrote:
I've relocated this challenge to existing reviews to the Challenges to Existing Reviews subforum. I'd like to hope the reason is obvious.
.
Grimjac wrote:
To sum up: webcomics are like any other form of art; much of it is up to the interpretation of the viewer. BWW is a good reference for readers in many ways; I personally think there's a little too much vitriol and not enough objectivity in many of the reviews. I'm not a frequent enough visitor to state it categorically, but maybe the vitriol is their schtick. Sure, a lot of the comics here *are* horrendously bad and deserve a lot of venom, but many reviews read, in a nutshell, "I didn't like it, so the art sucks, the artist is a pedophile, and you're a sick monkey if you read it."

Examples would be good. I actually do agree with some of your points (particularly about changing art is not an inherent requirement), but speaking abstractly about [what I think are] over 100 reviews undermines the case you're making.

Dave Cheung's work comes to mind for the "the artist is a pedophile, and you're a sick monkey if you read it" bit, but the art sucking wasn't the main feature of THOSE reviews.

My review of "My Name is Alice" talks a lot about the art, but that's because the art, particularly how it's difficult to to tell what's happening, is the core failing of the comic. It really wouldn't be bad enough for a full review otherwise, imho.

http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/My_Name_is_Alice

And that review is actually pretty subdued in terms of insults, mainly because I didn't think the author deserved them. But we do review to entertain as well as inform, so some degree of "accentuate the negative" is going to happen and it's best to go into the reviews understanding that. This is Hell's Kitchen, not Iron Chef.

So yeah, it would be nice to at least get an example of the type of review Grimjac is talking about.

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#6 [url]

Dec 30 16 10:47 AM

Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

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#7 [url]

Dec 30 16 11:02 AM

Pink Rabbit wrote:
Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

I too think that there is always the possibility the artist learns from the review and improves. And as a fellow artist, I know that there is no better way to gain new fans than to take into account their (reasonable) criticisms. We people like seeing characters grow and we like to see artists grow as well! So it is good to let people know the effort you are doing and be open to suggestions.

My problem is when the artist thinks they are above from critique. Specially if it is someone who actually went to art school (Andrew Dobson, or the author of Zoophobia). Like? Dude, you went to art school, you are supposed to know how to take a critique! You are also supposed to draw better than me, a fricking amateur who didn't have the opportunities you did, jerk.

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Long Tom

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#8 [url]

Dec 30 16 1:57 PM

UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:
Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

I too think that there is always the possibility the artist learns from the review and improves. And as a fellow artist, I know that there is no better way to gain new fans than to take into account their (reasonable) criticisms. We people like seeing characters grow and we like to see artists grow as well! So it is good to let people know the effort you are doing and be open to suggestions.

My problem is when the artist thinks they are above from critique. Specially if it is someone who actually went to art school (Andrew Dobson, or the author of Zoophobia). Like? Dude, you went to art school, you are supposed to know how to take a critique! You are also supposed to draw better than me, a fricking amateur who didn't have the opportunities you did, jerk.

I cannot help but be reminded of how Andrew Fraser got so upset when we criticized "Bridgette's Belly", which among other things was badly-drawn...and the irony was that he did have art-related college degrees, but not in drawing.  Also of how the author of "Demon Battles" was originally upset, complained on her DeviantArt page, got sycophantic responses from her readers...and then she determined that my criticism was valid after all, and decided to scrap her old webcomic and redo it in a much better fashion.  Ironically the webcomic did not have a bad basic idea or story, but the art was really wretched.

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#9 [url]

Jan 1 17 4:11 PM

UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:
Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

I too think that there is always the possibility the artist learns from the review and improves. And as a fellow artist, I know that there is no better way to gain new fans than to take into account their (reasonable) criticisms. We people like seeing characters grow and we like to see artists grow as well! So it is good to let people know the effort you are doing and be open to suggestions.

My problem is when the artist thinks they are above from critique. Specially if it is someone who actually went to art school (Andrew Dobson, or the author of Zoophobia). Like? Dude, you went to art school, you are supposed to know how to take a critique! You are also supposed to draw better than me, a fricking amateur who didn't have the opportunities you did, jerk.

True, artists should be able to take criticism on their work whether they have an art degree or not. Harsh review is one thing, but I also think the reviewer should include something constructive in the review,like "The art is really bad here, but the artist needs to improve on how to draw (insert anatomy,perspective,background etc)"

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#10 [url]

Jan 2 17 8:46 AM

Pink Rabbit wrote:
UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:
Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

I too think that there is always the possibility the artist learns from the review and improves. And as a fellow artist, I know that there is no better way to gain new fans than to take into account their (reasonable) criticisms. We people like seeing characters grow and we like to see artists grow as well! So it is good to let people know the effort you are doing and be open to suggestions.

My problem is when the artist thinks they are above from critique. Specially if it is someone who actually went to art school (Andrew Dobson, or the author of Zoophobia). Like? Dude, you went to art school, you are supposed to know how to take a critique! You are also supposed to draw better than me, a fricking amateur who didn't have the opportunities you did, jerk.

True, artists should be able to take criticism on their work whether they have an art degree or not. Harsh review is one thing, but I also think the reviewer should include something constructive in the review,like "The art is really bad here, but the artist needs to improve on how to draw (insert anatomy,perspective,background etc)"

Isn't that what we do?

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Long Tom

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#11 [url]

Jan 2 17 9:17 AM

UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:

UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:
Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

I too think that there is always the possibility the artist learns from the review and improves. And as a fellow artist, I know that there is no better way to gain new fans than to take into account their (reasonable) criticisms. We people like seeing characters grow and we like to see artists grow as well! So it is good to let people know the effort you are doing and be open to suggestions.

My problem is when the artist thinks they are above from critique. Specially if it is someone who actually went to art school (Andrew Dobson, or the author of Zoophobia). Like? Dude, you went to art school, you are supposed to know how to take a critique! You are also supposed to draw better than me, a fricking amateur who didn't have the opportunities you did, jerk.

True, artists should be able to take criticism on their work whether they have an art degree or not. Harsh review is one thing, but I also think the reviewer should include something constructive in the review,like "The art is really bad here, but the artist needs to improve on how to draw (insert anatomy,perspective,background etc)"

Isn't that what we do?

Except when the webcomics are totally irredeemable, like "Billy The Heretic" or other atomic-bomb rated ones.  Of course, even horrible webcomic writers might later mature and disown the dreck they wrote when they were younger.  We deleted "Dume" when the author politely asked us to, since he had not worked on it in years.  Even Immelmann has done better art and webcomics lately than he did years ago,

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#13 [url]

Jan 2 17 8:01 PM

UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:

UglyHyena wrote:

Pink Rabbit wrote:
Personally I will never make a review of any comics and post it on BWW, ever. But I also don't think the reviews should be too harsh. There's a difference between poor art and bad punchline comics to offensive and down right horrible comics. Don't just dish out how much you hate it and tear it down, but put in some constructive criticism as well.

I too think that there is always the possibility the artist learns from the review and improves. And as a fellow artist, I know that there is no better way to gain new fans than to take into account their (reasonable) criticisms. We people like seeing characters grow and we like to see artists grow as well! So it is good to let people know the effort you are doing and be open to suggestions.

My problem is when the artist thinks they are above from critique. Specially if it is someone who actually went to art school (Andrew Dobson, or the author of Zoophobia). Like? Dude, you went to art school, you are supposed to know how to take a critique! You are also supposed to draw better than me, a fricking amateur who didn't have the opportunities you did, jerk.

True, artists should be able to take criticism on their work whether they have an art degree or not. Harsh review is one thing, but I also think the reviewer should include something constructive in the review,like "The art is really bad here, but the artist needs to improve on how to draw (insert anatomy,perspective,background etc)"

Isn't that what we do?

Yes now that I think about it. I don't always read everything in a BWW review, and like Long Tom said, some comics are just irredeemable.

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BigBurkhart

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#14 [url]

Jan 4 17 1:33 PM

Grimjac wrote:

In opposition to the established doctrine: *tell* me why you think the art sucks; if it's because the art hasn't changed, tell me *why* you think it necessary. *Why* do you think so-and-so is a pedophile? To really upset the status quo...I am sorry, but webcomics are a visual medium. However, you must keep in mind that so is the written word. "Show, don't tell!" scream the reviewers...completely forgetting the *vast* majority of human interaction is via speech. How do you present that in a `visual medium' such as a webcomic? By writing *words*. Exposition. Not to the exclusion of the pictures, but to support...as the picture should support the words.

To sum up: webcomics are like any other form of art; much of it is up to the interpretation of the viewer. BWW is a good reference for readers in many ways; I personally think there's a little too much vitriol and not enough objectivity in many of the reviews. I'm not a frequent enough visitor to state it categorically, but maybe the vitriol is their schtick. Sure, a lot of the comics here *are* horrendously bad and deserve a lot of venom, but many reviews read, in a nutshell, "I didn't like it, so the art sucks, the artist is a pedophile, and you're a sick monkey if you read it."

On the other hand, the reviewers have gotten far more snickers out of me than most of the comics they've reviewed. They're *good* at the bashing.
 

Between mentioning Grrl Power by name, which is my only review (so far) on the site, and the "Show, don't tell" line which I used verbatim in my review, I kinda feel like this is pointed at me, whether directly or indirectly. In an age where the written word counts as speech, you may be right about the vast majority of human interaction being communicated via speech, however, speech is not the only method of communication. Not in the slightest. Humans can have entire conversations without a single word uttered. A master storyteller can weave a glorious tale with nary a word. Comics have the potential to show a tapestry of emotions that words alone can't. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. Now, do I expect that of all these webcomic artists? Not in the slightest. However, I do expect them to at least have some awareness of their chosen medium. Sometimes exposition is needed. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's better to hold off and tell the story a little bit at a time. Sometimes a flashback is warranted, though some may see that as cliché. I personally don't as long as it's entertaining. Now, it is indeed possible to have TOO MANY words on a page. Large blocks of text are ugly and unappealing to the eye, and when they take up a good portion of the page, it really ruins what could have been.

Now, I don't know anything about this pedophile stuff, but I'm sure there are artists who are, and I'm going to stay the hell away from that topic because it personally disgusts me.
 

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#15 [url]

Jan 4 17 7:08 PM

"BigBurkhart wrote:
Sometimes exposition is needed. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's better to hold off and tell the story a little bit at a time. Sometimes a flashback is warranted, though some may see that as cliché.

Off-topic but when I have my own webcomic I will try to see if I can pull the Cowboy Bebop structure and have as little exposition as possible.

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