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-A run down of why most comics end up dead after just a few pages.

Hyping It Up Before It Exists
:bulletred: A lot of people will put up promotional artwork, covers, character references, and other related work for their comic before putting up a single page. People often say if you want to write a book or you want to lose weight, it's best that you not tell anyone. When you tell someone you plan on doing something, they will praise you for it. The problem is, you are now receiving praise for something you haven't actually done yet. You don't have to work for that praise; the mere act of saying you will do something rewards you the same external way you would get for actually doing it. Sadly the result is many people are content to stop there. It's not even a conscious decision, but a lot of people will get caught up in the hype without realizing how hard making a comic actually is. Hold off putting up anything related to your comic until you at least have a few pages up; it will be worth the wait.

Spoiling Their Own Plots
:bulletred: Alternatively, don't put up any work that explains your comic, the characters, or their backstories. The reason for this is a comic should stand alone, without additional material explaining things to us. However, many people will give away important details about their story before it even comes up in the comic. Don't tell us your character's history on their ref sheet, reveal it to us over time so that it impacts the story. Don't tell us that someone will become the bad guy eventually, let us find out by their actions. If you haven't shown the event in the story itself, you shouldn't put it anywhere else. Don't spoil your own story.

Working Without A Plan
:bulletred: Don't make up your comic as you go. Too many people start with a vague idea, and go only so far as planning out each page as it comes up. This is why so many comics waste pages upon pages with nothing happening. I've seen comics where several pages are spent showing a character getting up and walking over to something, with nothing else happening. An entire page wasted. Each page takes countless hours to make, and when a weekly update is a far-fetched idea for most casual comic makers, that means it may be another 2-3 weeks before you see another page. Don't waste your pages. Plan out your story several pages in advance, so you know where it's going. Don't waste panels on pointless dialog or pointless scenes. On a related noted...

Not Managing Time and Effort Properly
:bulletred: Stop wasting your time and effort on unnecessary details or scenes. You need to find at what pace you can work that is best for your quality, and well as quantity. It's a common saying that artists want to focus on quality over quantity, but when you're telling a story the better story is the one that is finished. Not the one that stops at the beginning, or two chapters in. You won't be able to make every page as high of quality as your regular artwork; that's just not realistic. Simplify your art. I'm not saying for you to scribble and slap on colors, but find the balance that works for you, and your story. If it takes you one month to make one page, that is 12 pages a year. Where is your story going at 12 pages a year? Refer back to your script often, and keep in mind how long each page takes, and how long it will take your story to reach each plot point. Plan and draw accordingly.

Irregular Updates
:bulletred: Pick a schedule that is realistic for you to work at, and update your comic according to that schedule. When a person says they will work on it 'whenever', that tends me mean 'rarely ever'. Set deadlines for yourself, and make a habit of keeping them. It's very easy to put something off when you have no due date.

Wanting To Change Things
:bulletred: Even when a comic does get past its first 10 pages, too many creators want to go back and make changes. Either to the art or the story or the characters or what have you. But this often starts a loop of constantly editing without progress. Fixing things like typos and off-model errors is one thing. But don't go back to change your story. Yes, the longer it takes to tell your story, the more it will evolve on its own. Instead, force yourself to build upon whatever already exists. Imagine that you have laid down the foundation for a building. You can't change that foundation, only build upon what is already there. The best stories are those that have placed some limitations on themselves, and you will find that if you are creative enough, you can work around whatever elements you disliked to use them in your favor. As for art, most comics have bad art at first. But your time is better spent progressing the story, not retreading old waters.

Starting From The Beginning (IE: Birth)
:bulletred: We don't doubt your character was born from another living being. You don't need to start from their birth to prove us this. Unless your character is a child for most of the story, there's no reason we need start with their childhood. Events that happen in their childhood can be brought up later, but start the story where the story begins. Not where your character began.

Creation Myths, Dreams, and Ancient History
:bulletred: Similarly, we don't need a story on how the universe began. If your made up religion is seriously important to the plot, then show it being important to the actual plot (meaning the conflict of your protagonist). Bring it up when it becomes relevant, but don't give us a history course from page one. Besides being a tired old cliche, it takes too long for the actual story to start. We are not here to learn about the world's religion, we're here to see the characters and their journey. The longer you take to start that story, the less invested we will be. This is also why you don't start on the ancient history about some ancient war. It's less time for the reader to get invested in our protagonist and their conflict. Focus on their story, not the one that happened years ago. And never start on a dream sequence, because it's wasting space and does not progress anything. It's wasting time on events that didn't happen, and misleading the reader unnecessarily.

Uninteresting Protagonists
:bulletred: A bland protagonist will bore both you and your audience. Remember there's more to a character than a few tacked on traits and a backstory. A good protagonist has flaws (not just physical ones) and will develop over time. Their decisions and mistakes fuel the story. A character who is always right and always makes the right choices is not relatable.

Not Earning Our Sympathy
:bulletred: You will not have our sympathy, investment, nor attachment from page one. You will probably not have it for at least 15-20 pages. What this means is that whatever horrible tragedy you show us before then will have very little impact. If anything, it will come off a bit silly and forced. If you start your story by showing us the evil overload slaughtering children, or our protagonist mourning the loss of their parents, it's not going to have any affect on us (the audience). We don't know these characters yet. We don't have any reason to feel sorry for them. You have to build that relationship between the characters and the audience. So save the tragedy for later, when it will actually meaning something to us.

Starting For All The Wrong Reasons
:bulletred: Creators most commonly quit their comics because they become bored. That's also because they started their comic for the wrong reasons. A writer makes a story because they have a story they want to tell, that needs to be told. It's not because they want to show everyone how awesome their story is, or to impress everyone with how cool a character is, or to come off looking dark and edgy. They have a story that they love so much, have poured so much of their soul into, they simply have to tell it. They are driven to tell it. Artists don't realize how mind-bogglingly time consuming it is to make a comic, especially as a hobby. It is a labour of love, and if you don't love your story, there is no way you're going to get anywhere.

Not Having Fun
:bulletred:  Too many comics start off way too seriously and take themselves way too seriously. Yes there is a time for drama, and being dark and edgy. But you have to earn that first. You have to enjoy what you're doing and have fun with it, which means not making all of your characters brooding tormented souls. So many of the best stories have found their balance by starting light-hearted. Once they have earned their audience's attention and investment, they start to become more dark and serious. But you have to earn that first. Both from your audience, and yourself. You have to be entertained by your own characters, and your own story.


Written by:
:tea: Songdog-StrayFang

Featured Comic: Blade

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 5:29 PM
Blade comic cover updated by MQSdwz35
Blade page 2 by MQSdwz35 Blade page 14 by MQSdwz35 Blade page 20 by MQSdwz35

Overview

A story of a black, blue-eyed wolf pup with a knack for surviving where other wolves cannot is adopted into a new wolf pack after she is separated from her mother, the original blue-eyed wolf.

Critique & Review

Songdog-StrayFang
Blade is the story of a random wolf pup that was found in a snow storm, randomly adopted, and that’s about it. A comic that has taken 4 years to produce 23 pages, and that is as much as can be said about the story as far as an overview. So let’s get into the nitty gritty.

The character Blade is a blue eyed wolf pup. Everyone makes a big deal over the fact that she has blue eyes because it’s unnatural, and apparently something something ancient story something something. Ignoring the cliché of the super-special-rare-blue-eyes nonsense, the fact that it’s being called attention to as ‘unnatural’ at all is kind of baffling. Yes, blue eyes on an adult wolf is unnatural. So are puppies being born in autumn/winter instead of spring, so are wolves having red eyes, so are wolves have visible sclera, so are wolves adopting orphans, so are wolves knowing what a blade is, and so are wolves having an alpha hierarchy that is portrayed more as a monarchy with inherited heirs. But the comic never calls attention to any of that being unnatural.

There really isn’t anything to discuss for the story, because it doesn’t exist. Nor do characters. I cannot tell any of the characters apart, and none of them have personalities anyway. The mysterious orphan/possibly chosen one plot is so ridiculously overdone to death I don’t think I even need to bother complaining about it.

Art wise, the comic is lacking. I’m a little suspect by the subtle variation of the artistic style. Some of the artwork on the older pages are better than artwork on newer pages.

Ignoring all of that, the comic has some major issues on a technical standpoint. The text is awful. Early on they use illegible default MS paint red and blue for font, and by illegible I mean that I could not read some of the words. The sentences are rarely capitalized, punctuation is a mess, and overall it looks sloppy. The panels zoom in on faces way too much, and characters seem to jump around the panels do to a poor direction of panel orientation. The whole thing is rather disorientating for the reader, and makes the comic itself difficult to follow.

On a final note, the characters suffer from the ‘Dull Surprise Syndrome’, meaning in short that they often lack emotional expressions. The expressions are muted and dulled to the point where sometimes I don’t know if the facial expression is meant to match the mood or not. The eyes are almost always wide and full, and not enough is portrayed through facial distortion or body language (which is big with animals).The only time the characters do express facial emotion is when the style jarringly switches to a deformed ‘cartoony’ style, which looks horrifically out of place and clashes with the story.

PaintedCricket
Blade is the story of a wolf pup, as far as I can tell, also the titular character. The story begins with the introduction of the pup and its being found by a wolf of its new adoptive pack. The pacing at the start is slower than it needs to be, but it's not beating around the bush as most other comics do. At some point that seems not too long into it, if you've begun reading right now, the problem is introduced; something that's been killing off whole wolf packs and has claimed the life of the alpha of Blade's adoptive pack after he'd gone to investigate the strange occurrence. The story does pick up a decent pace in the later pages; soon after the introduction of the problem, there begins to drop hints that are not painfully vague nor absurdly in-your-face drops.

There is a severe problem within the panels where more than one character is speaking and it is not the lack of speech bubbles in the first half of the comic, nor is it the font choice (thankfully); it is that much of the dialogue is backwards in a top-to-bottom manner. It isn't terribly confusing, as there aren't walls of text in any but one panel, but as they are large pages, you will scroll a bit before realizing there was another piece of dialogue. It is not confusing as to who has said what, however, since you can usually match the gesture to the dialogue, although it would rely of being familiar with certain lines and uses of them.

Some things are biologically right, some are wrong. The carry of the wolf pup is the most accurate thing you'll see. The wolves are mostly dog colored, with masks, white, ticking, minimal color on white, and socks. The new alpha is probably the most infused with dog blood of all of them. It gives me the impression that the strangest eye color to find in this pack is green, not blue, but I am probably the only person who would notice.

There's an obvious use of tropes here with the "stories of the blue-eyed-whatever" (at least they didn't call it a prophecy); an adoptive pack; and an external, possibly intangible, menace. It does have me worried because, despite the plot being a rather standard one for canine comics, it is the sort of plot that never seems to get finished and I am not quite confident in it. If there were a way to resolve this plot, I'd love to see it done

There is a notable typos and lack of punctuation, but the dialogue is understandable, if a bit standard or generic. The humor is alright and not terribly out of place where it is inserted. There is a considerable change in the art style more than once, as there has been large expanses of time between scenes. There's a small plus in that it affects the pacing, by forcing the artist to introduce the plot sooner rather than padding and filling the pages with nonsense, but there's the con that it's been years. If the artist had taken years to create the comic and published all at once at the end, it would be alright. I do recommend a use of character redesign; not in the colors, which I have already grown used to the use of, but in allowing for there to be a use of more varied features as pure lineart.

In the end, while it is a comic that hasn't been terrible to read, it is not one I would follow, mostly because of lack of material, the update pace, and that I will usually take interest at the point of divergence between the standard and what makes a familiar story unique. However, it is salvable and the quality has been on a slow but steady climb upwards in quality, but it would need to get further or faster before saying for sure.

Extras

Blade page 6 comparison by MQSdwz35 Legend of the Blue eyed wolf by MQSdwz35 cry to the moon by MQSdwz35 Blade animation by MQSdwz35

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THE THREE MAIN RULES:
:bulletorange:Contribute NEW* comic pages to the Featured gallery.
There is NO page number minimum to submit to group.
Submit mascot art, comic art tutorials, and contest entries to the proper gallery folders.
* no more than 1 month old

:bulletpurple:Submit your cover or first page of your comic (if you have no cover) to the ★Favourites section of the club for cataloging.
:onfire:DO NOT SUBMIT COVERS TO THE GALLERY!:onfire:

:bulletorange:Only submit comic pages, useful tutorials for a canine comic maker, contest entries for this group's contest, or fan art of our mascot. No character sheets, WIPs, photos, non canine, or other off topic work.
The group name sums it up: comics with canines in them.
* Canines is a board term here including:anthros/weres of canine type, fox, dingo, African painted dog, maned wolf, jackal, coyote, dog, wolf, mix breed, fantasy/mythological canines, and created species with canine traits. Hyenas are also accepted.

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Comments


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:iconhaildawn:
HailDawn Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Just discovered the old comic reviews and are loving the criticism. I myself am writing my own canine comic as a warm up story to get feedback for, to help me practice and learn for any stories i create in the future. (Also to practice with art) It's like studying a talent or sport; you can know everything about it and go through it again and again in theory but some things you just have to learn through real life trial and error. :)
Reading the reviews for existing comics is really helping me find out what to avoid and what to stick with. 

If any of the reviewers have time, (i've noticed no reviews have been written since september) would it be possible to take a look at what I have for my story so far? I would love some feedback on it. Right now i'm still in the thick of writing it all out so now would be the best time to change anything if I was going to do that. 
Thanks!
Reply
:iconsongdog-strayfang:
Songdog-StrayFang Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Student Writer
I am glad the past reviews have been helpful. Technically speaking, the reviews never stopped. It's just we haven't received any requests or recommendations for reviews in awhile (admittedly I turned down an offer to review a comic a long while back for personal reasons, although I don't know why no one else chose to do it instead).

But what you're asking is an odd request. A comic script is something really hard to review, as it generally only makes sense to the creator. I can't see the actions or the layout, see the emotions characters are supposed to carry. Comics are meant to be visual, after all. If you're writing it out as a story first, then we're talking a different beast entirely. Prose and comic are two very different mediums, and cannot really be compared. You can incorporate different things in writing that cannot be done in comics, and vice versa. I cannot review writing as if it were a comic; I'd have to review it as writing.

I can certainly look at what you have to get a better understanding of what you're working with. But I can't make any promises about what sort of feedback I could give.
Reply
:iconhaildawn:
HailDawn Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah yeah, I see what you mean! It's not written like a novel at all because that would be harder for me to put into comic form when the time comes, but I did write down what actions would be taken and such to help me get an idea of what to draw each time. Basically like a written guide for people who cant see the comic. :P I just would love to get some feedback on it before I do start to draw it so I can fix some mistakes before I go to all lengths to draw it out only to take it out again later.

I'll go ahead and note you then. :) 
Reply
:iconzinyawolf:
ZinyaWolf Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist
hey if I join and submit comic pages here. Do I put all the pages on featured ? or put the newest page that's been submitted to DA?
Reply
:iconpaintedcricket:
PaintedCricket Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Try not to overwhealm the gallery. A few features of the old pages and then sending in the new ones as they come would be best, if there are many.
Reply
:iconzinyawolf:
ZinyaWolf Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist
so is it cool if I just put two pages of it in Features?
Reply
:iconpaintedcricket:
PaintedCricket Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes--that'd be fine =3
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconwalagu:
Walagu Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014
Hellaaaaa, I dont have a canine comic just yet, but me and a friend are getting there! I really like this group so far, and the critique! Just wanted to tell you all  appreciate this group haha
Reply
:iconfaolanwolfstar:
FaolanWolfStar Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconpaintedcricket:
PaintedCricket Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice to know someone does ='3
Reply
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