Friday, April 3, 2009

I loves attention!

Someone out there reviewed Precocious! How cool is that? I'm still amazed anyone comes to the site without me paying them to do so. (Even Rhode Island sent a representative today!)

Since I don't have anything creative to show today (a combo of working on the actual comic and lack of motivation due to grim family stuff) I'll use today's post as a reply to the review. Don't worry, gentle reviewer, it's mostly agreeing and explanation.

I suggest you all go read the review. I will provide some quotes to give you context. Here we go. (Many the quote option doesn't differentiate it much. Time for mark up!)

"The comic started out in about 2008 on a date I for the life of me cannot discern because the author decided not to put dates."

Precocious was launched January 1, 2009, with the full Gender Wars arc completed. They have the 2008 copyright, since that's when they were created, but they weren't published until 2009. I wanted to storm out of the gate fully-formed, or at least as formed as I could be at that stage. It's still in the news items on the front page. ;-)

I intentionally kept from dating the strips. For one, the intro stuff takes place in the summer and the strip launched in winter. I didn't want it to be any more confusing than it already was. Plus, the intro arcs were created for the archives. They are meant to be read in one sitting. Considering the second intro arc came 50 strips into the regular run, the lack of dating lets me rearrange the archive to make it all flow together smoothly.

"Anyhow, What I find curious is how Paulsen decided to use Funny animals to portray the protagonists of this gag-a-day/story (Don't think He's quite decided yet.), but it was probably becuase he felt like it. though he may have a hard time keeping the furry-haters from beating him up."

Oh man, you had to say "funny animals," didn't you? I just learned what that term meant last week, and now it can get me in trouble!

I went with the cute cuddly animal forms because I like them! When I read comics, I favor the "furry" ones (ok, many are "funny animals") because I enjoy the aesthetics. I think they're cuter than humans - and much more pleasing to the eye when an artist is starting out. We all know what humans look like, so a shaky cartoon style of humans just looks wrong. We've seen cartoon animals in so many forms, we naturally accept them much easier.

For me, the Precocious kids are technically "funny animals" - I concede it. They call themselves "people" and never mention species at all. They have hands and feet, not paws. They're cartoons. The only real animal quality they acknowledge is the presence of their tails. (How could they not?) That doesn't make me one of those fur-scared cartoonists by any means. As mentioned, I like furry comics, I welcome the furry and I'm happy to classify Precocious as furry. If that leads me to fursecution (I really love that word) then so be it. If the presence of an animal tail in an otherwise standard newspaper-style strip is enough to drive someone into a rage, then the problem isn't on my end. Like/hate something for its quality, not on account of who *might* also like/hate it.

"Problems with the strip would include the format. I mean, is it gag-a-day like a serilized newspaper (Which judging from the strip style is how it's supposed to feel) or story and arc based with the occasional filler."

You got me here. I do follow the newspaper comic format, and then I indulge in webcomic freedom. One premise often explodes into a meandering story that can span weeks. As a creator, I like to set the scene and let the characters take over - and they're as pompous and verbose as I am!

In the long (long) run, however, this should even out. The bulk of the archives will be story arcs for the first year, since I like to introduce characters as part of a larger story and the strip is still new. I think this is more rewarding for new readers when they hit the archives - and at this stage the readership is still actively growing. Despite my promise, I'm not changing my format yet. April is *another* long story. (It introduces a new classmate, naturally.) Another epic story is planned for the summer - still in its early stages, so who knows how long it'll go - but I've made a vow to make May gag-a-day! The ideal Precocious format, which I hope to establish for year two (I plan ahead) is to keep any stories between one and two weeks, like the dessert violence and Max's birthday stories, and up the one-strip gag percentage.

Having long stories is a bad idea for a real newspaper cartoon, but an online newspaper-style cartoon has the full archive - and any needed context - just a click away. I'd like to think online webcomic readers are a more dedicated bunch anyway.

"I'd personally complain as a fellow artist about his the eyes take up 90% of the characters' faces(Since, you know, ordinary people have FOREHEADS), it's probably a stylistic choice considering it's more cartoony than something meant to be anatomically correct."

Yeah, it's a personal choice. When I sat out to learn cartooning in 2004, I had an image in my mind of the characters I wanted to draw - and the Precocious kids are right in line with it. I like my kids to be cartoony and less realistic. I've turned against foreheads so much I stopped drawing eyebrows!

"The Kids are a bit... i dunno, Their personalities seem fine but they seem to be... Exaggerated versions of what they're supposed to be."

Would you believe this was intentional? And by "intentional" I mean in the same way a new skier says "I'm going wipe out!" and then does.

I refer to the initial Gender Wars arc as the "pilot episode" of Precocious - because it has the same format and pitfalls any TV pilot would have. This is THE first impression - you have to introduce your characters, summarize them, establish themes and move on in the limited time you have. The lazy way to do it is have them walk in, monologue about who they are, and push on - which is what I ended up doing. They most definitely are portrayed as exaggerations early on - although I do want to point out that smart 9- and 10-year-olds who latch onto an identity naturally exaggerate it. (I'm not sure Suzette will ever change.)

I lay down the characterizations and premises a bit strong early because once they're set, they're set. I have the rest of the strip's run to make the characters all nuanced and awesome!

So there's my reply. A bunch of "yup, you're right" stretched into a monster wall of text. It's my way!

In a day marked by bad news, it was incredibly uplifting to see that someone out there cared enough about my strip to write something that well thought-out. I really needed that today.

Hope you all forgive me for the self-indulgent post. It's Friday, so I assume you're all out partying anyway.

No comments: