Friday, 23 January 2009

Zuda Update - January 23

Safe Inside (Current Rank: 1) - No Change
We Make Clouds (Current Rank: 2) - No Change
Love The Dango! (Current Rank: 3) - Up One
Lifespan (Current Rank: 4) - Up One
Lasers Dragons and Lies (Current Rank: 5) - Down Two
Sea Dogs of Mars (Current Rank: 6) - No Change
Legacy of the Wanderer (Current Rank: 7) - No Change
Project: Warhawk (Current Rank: 8) - No Change
Maladroits (Current Rank: 9) - No Change
The Devil's Cross (Current Rank: 10) - No Change


I'm still more than a little astounded by this month's placings, but seeing Love the Dango! crawl its way up gives me hope.


Safe Inside is as pointless on later readings as the first. The implication from the synopsis (which I prefer to not have to read to understand the point of an entry), is that it's ostensibly a zombie strip. Now, I'll readily argue that the best zombie tales are the ones where they're there to serve as metaphor or other driving element, but they actually have zombies in them. This entry plays up the punk/kid terrorist angle talked about at the end of the synopsis, which I have a number of problems with; punk was current when I was 12 -- that was 28 years ago and this strip is set in the future with robocops. That "rebellious way of life" could be summed up as swearing, doing drugs and living in squalor. Bombing is more of the radical early 70s. Isn't rap/hip-hop a more likely touchstone for urban, oppressed teens and more likely to find connection with modern readers? Also, I'm really not interested in embracing self-described romantic saboteurs as heroes. The bad creative choices at the start don't give me any confidence that this strip would play out into anything worth following. That it's in first surprises me.

We Make Clouds still doesn't hit my funny bone, but it's an example of hitting its marks in its entry. We see the cast and we get a sense of the tone the creators will be running with. It's still not my preference to win this month, but it's far preferable to Safe Inside. I wouldn't take that as much of an endorsement, though. It's like being forced to choose between getting a blow job from Anne Coulter or an eel.

Love the Dango! is making its way up -- which is great. It's kinda like Rosario Dawson showing up as a surprise third choice in the above scenario. I was worried that the Zuda crowd wouldn't go for it and I'm happy they are. Two more spots to go!

Lifespan still hits me as just plain stupid. It's a well-enough done strip, but the impossibility of its premise just sits there like a cancer. Name a religion that wouldn't oppose this? Anyone with money and a brain would oppose this. It's sheer idiocy for a politician to try and make a career on something only supported by the poor and suicidal. Just the religious nations across the globe, and I include the US, Canada and Mexico in this group, would stop this dead in its tracks. No mention is made of the inherent contradictions; if people work to afford their 77 years, are the unemployed shot? What about the mentally ill or the severely handicapped? If you're in the hospital, do the medical bills count against your lifespan? Would there be doctor-accountants stepping in and killing patients when the costs met the life allowance? What if you die early? Do the extra years get passed on like an inheritance. All those barriers aside, how does the transition from a capital-based economy to a lifespan economy even begin? How does one open a Life Bank?

One last dig at Lifespan: I would see the ultimate expression of a Lifespan as a world were everyone lives a live fast die young life. That would wreck the economy & environment faster. Good SF posits a plausible reality, bad SF doesn't. Lifespan is bad SF.

Jumping down to #7, Legacy is still the best looking strip this month. I have to think the cliché ridden story is what's killing this entry. Perhaps the creators aren't promoting this strip as much as the other entries, either. I'd like to see Rand1211 partnered up on a better, more original and engaging story.

It was interesting rereading the strips as certain impressions just grew stronger this time round

11 comments:

Metsuke said...

it irks me when text balloons break the panel barrier, maybe it is a pet peeve, do you agree?

J. Longo said...

Wow....hurm....There sure is a lot of "bone" involved with our write-up, there Richard. Thanks?

Richard said...

In my opinion lettering is best when it's essentially invisible or completely a piece with the page. Balloons breaking borders bother me when it's result of poor planning or placement.

~R

Richard said...

J.,

What can I say -- Dick is an alternative to my name.

~R

J. Longo said...

Ha! Touché!

Shannon said...

"No mention is made of the inherent contradictions; if people work to afford their 77 years, are the unemployed shot? What about the mentally ill or the severely handicapped? If you're in the hospital, do the medical bills count against your lifespan? Would there be doctor-accountants stepping in and killing patients when the costs met the life allowance? What if you die early? Do the extra years get passed on like an inheritance. All those barriers aside, how does the transition from a capital-based economy to a lifespan economy even begin? How does one open a Life Bank?"

Damn. I knew I should have crammed all of that into the 8 pages. Damn me to hell!

Tyler James said...

Not a big fan of this month's offering I take it? Good comments and critiques, though.

Richard said...

@Shannon,
it's not that it's not there, but that the massive day-to-day changes that I can casually think of aren't even touched upon. If you had thought of all the real, intractable opposition to such a profoundly suicide-friendly societal change beginning in the 70s you should have addressed it in your 8 pages. As it is, I really don't think you HAVE thought of them, which makes me suspect you wouldn't be able to craft an interesting year-long SF strip off of this premise.

Put it another way, a writer should be able to communicate a plausible reality within the alloted framework. In this, I think you failed. You obviously succeeded well enough to garner the support and appreciation you already have.

Good luck.

~R

Richard said...

@Tyler James

Thanks.

I do like Dango, but I have liked other strips in previous months more.

~R

Shannon said...

Richard,

Fair enough. I had many people write and state that I over explained the comic. I then had people tell me I didn't explain enough (you're in that camp). I accept the old saying "You're damned if you do. You're damned if you don't."

I would like to, if I may, address your questions. I have addressed two already over on Zuda, but there is nothing wrong with clarity.

Lifespan started out as a 96 page, four issue, story arc I wrote. I spent months crafting the world, the rules, and the characters and envision this as a comic book for print. Being an aspiring writer who knows no one in the industry, I turned to zuda to publicize the concept and hopefully gain support. Sadly, I now had to trim away 90% of the story and somehow condense it to 8 pages. I am very proud of the end result and make no apologies for it.

If people work to afford their 77 years, are the unemployed shot?
People choose to work. When they are born, they are given 77 years credit. They don’t have to do anything. But if they want to “earn” more than 77 years of time, they better work, have a rich parent or they will go hungry (die).

What about the mentally ill or the severely handicapped?
Taxes still exist. Taxes are still used (and misused) for people in need. Churches still help people in need.

If you're in the hospital, do the medical bills count against your lifespan?
This is indirectly answered on page 7, panel 2.

Would there be doctor-accountants stepping in and killing patients when the costs met the life allowance?
If I showed up to the hospital and I only have a one week “lifespan” credit left, but the surgery was going to cost two weeks worth. The doctor wouldn’t even see me (kind of like in the US if you don’t have insurance). But to directly answer your question, no, doctor/accountant won’t kill you.

What if you die early? Do the extra years get passed on like an inheritance.
This was asked early on in the comments section. This is what I posted: “Yes, money is willed to relatives. Sadly, Paris Hilton would have a much greater life expectancy in this world than most of us would.”

All those barriers aside, how does the transition from a capital-based economy to a lifespan economy even begin?
Really? This has happened throughout history many times. The most recent I can think of is the fall of the USSR. Socialism to Capitalism.

How does one open a Life Bank?
The same way you open a checking account.

We can go back and fourth all day long about how, why and what if? Of course there are going to be loop holes. Of course it’s not perfect. I mean, how does Superman bang Lois Lane without blowing her back off? Does he have a special rubber? I truly don’t mind the fact that you don’t like this comic or the fact you call it stupid. But to imply that you are the first one to ask these questions or that I don’t have answers to them is a false assumption.

Here is the original condensed version of the script I wrote used to find an artist. This document is dated September 19th, 2008. The first page is just a brief overview, that ask the same questions you do… but with answers.
http://www.shannoncronin.com/zudaLifespan.pdf

PS. Sorry this turned out to be so long.

Richard said...

Thanks for trying to clarify, Shannon.

I guess the real problem I have with your project isn't the ill-defined way lifespans translate into economy, but that this was achieved through a global political process over 13 years (with no apparent escalation in the global crisis) when, in our world many of the issues faced were ignored and we survived anyway. Global warming is still debated in political circles and overpopulation is still only an issue within the third world.

To sell the concept you need to sell the crisis big enough to overwhelm opposition to the change. You posit a world too much like our own that essentially shrugged its shoulders at the crisis driving your alternate reality. It's an ALTERNATE reality, you could have easily made your crisis more severe; Yellowstone could have had a partial eruption devastating the global ecosystem, a small-scale nuclear exchange in the mid East, or nuclear power plant failures in Europe or even a space-object impact large enough to cause serious climate change would allow you to destabilize the field enough to play with your idea more.

There's a great number of logic gaps that just can't be overcome with your premise. Using Superman as an excuse only proves you don't get it; the very existence of an alien superbeing come to earth and living among us dramatically changes the reality of any story he's in.

You stimpulated an identical version OUR world in 1973 started down a radically different, pro-suicide, pro-state murder form of global Fascism at the behest of a few guys in the UN.

LOGAN'S RUN played with similar elements, but worked becuse it pushed it's storytelling approach into fable. SOYLENT GREEN aslo tread upon similar turf, but was smart enough to realise that it had to create a world where eating processed people was a plausible, albeit secretive choice.

~R