Logo should go here...maybe





Tuesday, 04/29/2008 03:29:44.

Well, here's another update for you all! (The countless millions of my adoring fans, their adoration flowing all around me, helping push me forward to new lengths!) Okay, maybe not, but whatever.

The above picture actually does have a whole associated little blurb/write-up I wanted to do, but as you can see from when I "drew" this and when I'm actually uploading this, it is very late and I've decided it is in my best interest to actually go to bed right now.

So on that note, I'm planning on updating this at a later date (hopefully tomorrow evening), and as for now, it is bed time for me! Hooray!

I'll be back before you know it! (or care...)

I really should already have been sleeping for many hours.

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Friday, 05/02/2008 03:08:55.

All right, it's in the process of getting written, but once again, I've extended myself beyond what I should. I need sleep. So the adoring fans must continue to wait. Until that magical day arrives, enjoy the above drawing again! Here's even another link to it: LINK!

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Tuesday, 05/06/2008 03:06:29.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!!!

All right, I know I said I hoped to update a couple of days ago, but as you can tell, I have not.

And that right there is the reason why I said "hopefully tomorrow evening." Notice the use of words. Amazing isn't it. Even though I'm later than I want, I haven't lied! I've just been a little later than I originally wanted to be! :)

Okay, so back to what I was actually going to write about. It is related to the picture above! Amazing!

What I wanted to discuss was webcomics in general and the different camps (or categories) you can put different webcomics in. Personally, I put webcomics into four main categories (when discussing quality):
1) Bad art, bad writing
2) Bad art, good writing
3) Good art, bad writing
4) Good art, good writing

To start off with, I should take a second here to note that this is all very subjective. What I think is good art others may think is garbage, and vice versa (same for writing, obviously). So what you see me write about below will be a reflection of my own personal feelings about some specific examples (in most cases you should be able to use this to infer how I feel for other examples, but don't try to hold me to that; I can have a very fickle mood and opinion about these things!).

Back to the list. In general, number one is to be avoided at all costs (unless you like wasting time for no good reason...like me--but that's a discussion for later). Number four is the top of the pile; you want all your webcomics (and books, movies, comics, etc.) to be like that. This isn't a perfect world, though, so good luck finding those! (They are out there, they just hide all reclusive and popular.)

Right now, I want to focus on number three (3 -- in case you're not good at reading written out numbers): "good art, bad writing." This recently hit me again (for the umpteenth time) while I was reading through another webcomic. This one, in particular, is called Marilith (NOTE: Marilith contains adult themes, excessive violence, swearing, and sexual content). Marilith is a story about an assassin named (did you guess it?) Marilith. She kills people for money, and she's trying to get out of the game, sort of. Thus starts the issues with the writing.

First off, I will admit to being a little confused since the story is actually split out into two webcomics and I started with Marilith (which technically is a continuation of the story in Krakow 2.0), but it doesn't change the fact that the writing is, overall story-wise, confusing.

I'll get back to talking about the story as a whole, but I first want to look at a very specific (short) section of the latest storyline. In this section, Marilith has been hired to kill a high school teacher and is about to do the deed. This is the result. So the teacher has been shot in the head, all right. I'm with you, I guess. Now we flip to the next page and get to see who has shot the teacher. Who are these three? Where did they come from? Where did they get those huge assault weapons? Then comes the next page, with a line from Marilith: "Two kids are on a shooting spree." Ahhhh, it's an apparent school shooting situation.

Now I know I'm being a a little harsh on such a short section of the comic (only three (3) pages), but when I was reading it the first time, it really confused me and pulled me out of the story. Now I completly understand that, some times, you want to obfuscate details, hide information, or keep people in the dark for story telling purposes, but this has to be done very carefully, otherwise you simply confuse readers (and a confused reader is a potential loss of a reader). For me, the biggest problem I had with this section was the fact that it really wasn't clear where the shooters came from. Maybe if I'd realized they were wearing school uniforms it would have made more sense sooner, but I guess I just missed it (and I feel it was not made obvious enough). The other complaint about this section is the way the three shooter characters "develop." (They all die in a hurry so I don't know if you can really call them developed characters.) The one short haired guy goes back and forth and he doesn't really seem to fit in (his shift in position happens too quickly, and doesn't seem consistent with what is going on around him).

Back to the over arching story of Marilith (this is probably my biggest complaint--the above section is what originally sparked this idea, but it really is pretty nit-picky). When you get down to it, you know there is a story there, it is just very hard to actually find. Consistency and a continuing plot are what this comic needs! This is caused by the following: for most sections/storylines, there has been litte, to no, progression along the main plot of the comic. All they seem to be doing is going out on these individual little missions that don't really matter, you just see a lot of people get shot and die. And when there are explanations and actual plot movement, it seems to be all jumbled up. For me, this is a lot of what Marilith is: It will give you a glimpse of the story, then BOOM! it's gone and you're back to relatively pointless blood (& guts (& violence (& swearing (& shooting (& oversized breasts))))).

If you're looking for some one elses take on Marilith, here is a decent review of it: http://comixtalk.com/praise_the_lord_and_pass_the_ammunition.

So after talking for ages and ages (and ages ... (and ages)), how does this relate to my "drawing" above? Well, just let me explain! "I'm going to hunt down the ice cream man!" Let's start with some questions. Who is the ice cream man? Hunt him down? For what? To kill him? Or does this guy really want some ice cream?! Maybe he just wants to beat him up! Did the ice cream man harm him? Some one he loves? Does any of this matter? Who is that guy anyway? Should we care about him? Is he even the good guy?!!

Do you see the point I'm starting to make here? Have I asked enough questions? Yes? (Did I debate for far too long to make that a "No" or a "Yes" for that last question?) Have you lost the point I was originally making yet?

My line for the guy above was an example of a lack of clarity, and lack of information. At this juncture, we have no idea who this guy is, who the ice cream man is, and why this individual would want to hunt the ice cream man down. With none of this information, the line becomes nonsensical (and pointless) -- besides being the point of my whole topic (a pointless point!).

So I guess the main take-away from this whole writeup is to be cognizant of your story and what you are trying to tell people. If you have a main plot or over arching story, any break from that should come with thoughts of: Why? And, is this explained enough to not confuse people? Or, do I have plans for this that will make sense in and interesting and/or important way? Is the timeline being kept consistent? Is the story still consistent? These are all important questions that you should be able to answer. Without that information, it is easy to see your story/comic collapse into chaos and unrest! (Unrest, I say!)

Now that I'm finally done with this, hopefully it makes some sort of sense. I guess I originally set out to do a little write-up on something that bugged me a little bit (and I also just wanted to get myself writing, again--it's been a long time since I've had any writing assignments!). Looking at it now, I think I kind of went a little bit overboard. I also feel I rushed the end of this a bit. I've been working on it for quite a few days and really wanted to get it done and out the door. It also doesn't help that I'll be heading out of town on Wednesday (05/07) so I wouldn't be able to put this up until after I got back on Monday (05/12)--if I didn't get it done. But still, hopefully it isn't too bad. I'll be working on it (my writing, that is)! Hopefully you enjoyed this, at least well enough to not be terribly bored! Hey, if you want, let me know! schultz [ at ] shouldbesleeping [ dawt ] com

Well, either way, once again, it is way late, and I really need to get to bed (I should be sleeping). My eyes are heavy, and I've got to be up for work tomorrow in far too few hours to be good for me. So this is where I leave you.

Next time on "SHOULD BE SLEEPING": Stephen discusses category number one (1!), and how a 56k modem has saved him countless hours a week for almost two years running. (And hopefully he's learned to take it easy on the writing and not make it so difficult on himself! Or have it take so long...)

P.S. Beware the UNREST!



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