Thursday, 5 March 2009

March Zuda Reviews

New month, new Zuda web comics contest. I think March is stronger overall than February.

Children of Armageddon
First strip hits a nice high standard (for zuda) of drawing the environments and props right off the bat. Whether he’s using photo reference or something like Google Sketchup to get the cars and stuff to look that tight is irrelevant as it holds up quite nicely. His figure and facial features need work, as does the coloring. Something about a few faces in this strip really reminds me of Evan Dorkin’s work. The lettering, often a problem with Zuda entries, is a little cramped with most balloons being too small for their contents as well as suffering from some bad placements here and there. The story didn’t do too much for me, but it certainly doesn’t make me averse to reading more if it wins.

The first couple of screen look impressive, but we screen after screen of 2-panel pages, little story or characterization and a sudden drop in art quality midway through. 14 panels! It really feels like this was cut up from a three-page regular comics page sample. There’s some nice work in here, just not enough to make me care.

Doorman Bill
It’s David Lynch’s Harry and Tonto without the cat. This strip hits it underground comix stride pretty quickly, but it doesn’t do anything for me. This is really a case of the strip being what it is, but what it is isn’t something I gravitate toward. I don’t find anything in this strip objectionable or decidedly sub par, but I don’t find anything too intriguing yet, either.

Dracula vs. Santa
A very nicely done strip; reads solid and the art is attractive. It’s one of the top two or three this month and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t win. Its mix of popular icons with comics references should hold an audience quite well.

Kharon: Scourge of Atlantis
I’m a long-time fan of heroic fantasy comics. I’ not a fan of 80s fantasy animation as comics, though. Bad drawing and garish coloring aren’t selling points. Decent colors probably would have helped the drawing in this case since there’s no depth to the art and it looks like it was all inked with the same pen. There’s not much of a story here, as much as part of an event. I don’t expect this to do well, but I have been wrong before.

Lani, the Leopard Queen
Long-time comics pro, Geof Isherwood turns this strip in. Solid drawing and storytelling are a given here, so it all comes down to story, which is a little thin. We get a strange dream sequence, which is dismissed as a bad dream. We don’t get to learn Lani’s current situation other than she sleeps on a cot and has a monkey for an alarm clock. The creator states he wants to craft a web comic for the whole family, which makes me think he really hasn’t done his research into Zuda and its market. I don’t know how much Geof has written before, but he really didn’t start his story off with much of a bang and I think he’s looking at a real uphill battle from here.

Maintaining Bohemia
Weird art, weird characters, and weird story choices. None of it clicked into comedy for me.

Panda Force
So. . .pink. . . .

The Dirty Mile
Action-y piece with the confidence to bring its own style to the table; I like it and it’s one of my faves this month. It nicely introduces a raft of characters, clearly giving us a taste of who they are and what they might play into if the strip continues.

The Rejects
It feels like a slapstick version of Millar and Romita Jr.’s KICK ASS. I feel more potential for this strip than I can explain from reading it. It’s a gut feeling that the art and writing will improve sharply as the strip continues.


Slide said...

Thanks for the review and seeing our potential. I am in a constant state of trying to improve my art. If you want to see some more recent stuff (last two months) check out my deviant site. Thanks again.

Shannon said...

I always look forward to your reviews. For me, this month's top comic is Doorman Bill. I don't think it will win, but it's my favorite.

Chris M. said...

Thanks for the COA review, Richard. I do use considerable reference material for the cars, equipment, etc. I just hate faking some of that stuff, especially the vehicles. Someone had a viewer online of vehicles that you could manipulate in a 3D space. So I used that for some of the different car angles (I probably should have tilted the PT Cruiser a bit more).

Never heard of Google Sketchup, but now I'm intrigued!

I'm not sure if I get the Evan Dorkin comment though. Though maybe it's the Steve character. I did give him some mad Milk and Cheese eyebrows.

Thanks again.

Diego Tripodi said...

Hi Richard, thanks for taking the time to review "Doorman Bill", it's much appreciated!

mfdood said...

I dig the reviews. I find your dislike of Deadly interesting, because for me, it's one of the tops this month.

It really hinges on what you think a Zuda submission should do. I think the top thing is to intrigue me, which this does. It set a mood that just drew me in, despite the lack of panels.

Shannon said...

mfdood, I agree. Comics are like music or movies. Sometimes I sit back, scratch my head and wonder aloud "You like that shit?"

I personally think this month's strongest comic is Doorman Bill. I think it's original, the art fits and the dialogue is great.

The fact that last month's title, Indie, came in only one spot lower than Doorman Bill's current rank shows the different tastes people have.

To me, Indie was the worst comic I have ever read on Zuda. I fucking hated it. But enough people liked it more than the other three below it so maybe I missed something.

RKB said...

Hello Richard, i was working on a upcoming post for my blog and wanted to get other Zuda reviewers opinions in there as well as my own.
It's about what is your favorite Zuda comic that has won a contest, and why you like it so much. If it's updating has it lived up to your expectations?
Also what's your favorite Zuda comic that didn't win a Zuda contest and what did you like about it so much?
If you could find time to write that out, I would really appreciate it. You can e-mail me at:
thanks for reading this.