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WintreKitty Reviews

Webcomic Critiques

Month

June 2015

Hearts by UltHamBro


In the Age of Games, people don’t play soccer or basketball, but poker, dice and board games… Juan, a total prodigy at playing cards, is going to participate in the greatest event in the planet: the Great World Games Tournament!

Story

Hearts by UltHamBro (or Ultimate Hammer Bro), is a webcomic about card and board games –specifically focusing on the art of cheating. It is not necessarily an original idea, but the fact that cheating is encouraged and people are praised for these abilities, is a unique twist.

UltHamBro uses an intelligent start to the comic by introducing the concept via frames. Each frame is a close-up shot of the previous one. This series of images gives enough background information to the readers to know that the story is about games and that cheating is an important element.

However, the introduction as a whole is relatively boring. It does not create a strong inclination towards the characters, and if you just read over the first page to see if you want to read more, you may pass it up. There is no real draw towards the story (unless you have an obsession with card/board games).

The introduction does not make a story, and this is an important fact to remember. An introduction is used to draw in an audience and to help set the scene. The latter is clearly accomplished. The rest of the story (although not very far along) flows smoothly with a clear plot.

Writing

Aside from a boring introduction, the overall writing is remarkably well done considering it is a translated comic. Some of the awkward conversations between characters could be blamed on a translation error. The issue becomes grammatical, and flow from one conversation to another could be improved with help from an English-speaking editor. This needs to be clear however: all sentences make sense. The issue comes from the way the sentences are presented and therefore interrupts the flow from page to page (very subtle).

Art

Looking at UltHamBro’s art, it is clear that he struggled to find a style in the first couple of pages. I’m actually slightly disappointed by the fact that he decided to stick with “subtle color shading” as I had preferred gray-scale. That being said, some depth to the shading would help improve this art style dramatically and create a more impressive appearance.

Personal preferences aside, UltHamBro’s art is very clean. The lines are smooth and the panels are distinct. These features allow for an easy deciphering of characters from backgrounds, and flow from scene to scene. UltHamBro also uses lines to draw the eye in, and these same lines can also be used to add drama to a scene.

There are some areas that could use improvement, however. One area that most (if not all) artists struggle with is anatomy. Getting proportions right can be incredibly difficult and takes a lot of training and practice. UltHamBro could work on proportions of the upper body to the lower body, including head and feet sizes.

Some of the angles that are used in Hearts can also be a little awkward. I can understand the need for dramatic effect, and making someone look large and intimidating can be done from an angle looking upward. This is a difficult angle to master though as it usually ends up looking out of place and making the reader uncomfortable.

To add on to the understanding of anatomy, is the understanding of objects and object composition. Understanding how an object is put together is just as important as understanding how a person is put together. It needs to be proportional. For example, it is generally agreed upon that when a person sits, that person’s legs should bend at approximately a 90 degree angle when sitting upright. Now, this isn’t necessarily true depending on the size of the person, or the size of the chair/couch/etc. But it can be taken as a guideline and tweaked from there as necessary.

What may play a role in some of the anatomy and object difficulties could be the simplicity of the art. UltHamBro shows that he does have the necessary skill to create more complex drawings, and I think that if given the time, the outcome could be phenomenal.

Conclusion

Overall, I think that Hearts has a nice twist to a classic plotline and the potential for a great story. I find the art to be a little too simplistic, but UltHamBro proves that he has the ability to improve dramatically in this area as well if a little more time is spent to add depth and detail.

If you are looking for a comic that you can watch an artist grow from start to finish, I would highly recommend Hearts. This comic is not very far along yet, so catching up to the new pages will not take you long.

Links

Make sure you go and read Hearts by UltHamBro here!

DiscoBleach by Matteo Ferrazzi


Gag a day comic with no recurring characters. guaranteed superior to off-brand comics*

In general, I enjoy reading gag-a-day comics as much as your average Joe (or plain Jane). Every now and then you come across one that really gets you chuckling.

I’ve never reviewed a gag-a-day comic before, so this review may be a little different than others. There is no worry about flow from one page to another, and no worry about the main character’s personality not coming through.

That being said, the majority of the aspects in comics that I focus on are relatively general and can apply to almost any genre.

So let’s get to the point, shall we?

DiscoBleach is not my kind of humour. I found a few of the jokes insensitive –not to the point that they were insulting, however –but the overall impression from each strip was “meh.”

I need to make one thing abundantly clear, though: I have high standards for comedy. It has actually gotten to the point where I only make it a third of the way through comedy movies nowadays and then switch it off because I find the humour immature and boring.

I know a lot of people who would absolutely love Matteo Ferrazzi’s sense of humour. Even if I may not get the punchline, or have difficulty finding the humour in a certain topic, I can appreciate the cleverness behind some of the strips.

Matteo also manages to show that he and his team understand layouts that work for his comic strips. The paneling is clean and flows nicely from scene to scene.

DiscoBleach starts off with very simplistic art at the beginning, and you can see that there was some debate over which art style would be best. However, I think the most recent comic strips work best to help deliver a final product.

simplistic art

My overall impression of DiscoBleach is that –along with a lot of the webcomics I have read –it improves over time. The last few strips feel much more solid as a concept to me than the previous ones, with obvious punchlines, and an art style that feels comfortable.

Would I recommend DiscoBleach to people? It depends. Gag-a-days are not appreciated by those people who do not get the author’s sense of humour. So, yes, I would recommend it –but only to those whom I know would find Matteo’s comedy funny.

I believe that DiscoBleach has a very positive future, and the last few comic strips act as a teaser to what can be expected.

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If you think you would enjoy DiscoBleach, give it a read at Tapastic!


Want a review for your comic? Leave a comment below or send me a message at wintrekitty@gmail.com.

Rapturous Arcane by Moyo Bear


A girl name Moneo whose life is filled with twist and turns of paranormal activity until an unusual event turns everything she knows into an adventure that she never imagine.

I was generally surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Rapturous Arcane. Although there is something about it that I find off-setting –and it bothers me that I can’t figure out what it is –the overall impression I get from this story is very positive.

Rapturous Arcane has relatively good flow from panel to panel, making each page fit nicely with the next. I find it odd how many webcomics I come across that have choppy page transitions. It may be because of a one-page-a-week updates that causes the flow to be lost, but either way, Moyo Bear manages to generally have smooth transitions.

Grammar mistakes can be a hindrance in the flow in conversations as well. The few grammar errors that are present in the script could easily be fixed and does not hinder the overall reading experience too greatly. With careful editing beforehand these can be avoided.

As much as I enjoy the plot and find that it is fairly clear, it irked me that in certain points the plot moved too quickly. For example, Moneo seems to have just been introduced to this new side of the world she lives in, but then all of a sudden she seems to be very aware of everything going on around her. This may have been a false face in front of other characters in the beginning, but she also left the audience confused on what she did and didn’t know, which causes some conflict between the main character and the audience later on in the story.

Another example that is less complex than this is when the two other main characters ask her to move in with them, even though she just met them –although granted, she is homeless.

As for the artwork, Moyo Bear does a good job creating a simple, yet interesting art style. She uses gorgeously bold colours (some depth to the colours could help improve appearance though) that complement each other nicely.

There are some proportion errors throughout the webcomic, most of which occur in the first few chapters.

On sites like Tapastic, I love to see artists improve and grow overtime. Moyo Bear proves that hard work and dedication can pay off in the long run. You can see her improve in her artwork throughout the course of Rapturous Arcane.

Moyo Bear is able to depict emotions, moods, and movements without using words to help. This can be a tricky thing to master, and she is certainly on her way there.

Although my overall opinion of Rapturous Arcane has me pleasantly surprised, there still remains one thing that throws me off from truly loving this comic. It may be that the events that occur in this world aren’t really explained, but I think it may be deeper than that. This odd feeling does not, however, stop me from recommending Rapturous Arcane to new readers. It is a lovely new concept that offers great promise for Moyo Bear’s future.

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Read Rapturous Arcane on Tapastic!


Want your own comic review? Leave a comment below or contact me at wintrekitty@gmail.com.

 

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