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WintreKitty Reviews

Webcomic Critiques

Month

August 2015

Oops Comic Adventure by Jeramy Hobz and Cyndi Foster


A young street urchin named Oops, living in the medieval city of Castlebury, stealing what he can to get by in a dangerous and very lonely life. But when he steps in to save a small rat from death something inside him awakens; a powerful magic that is able to revive the creature, granting him size and even a voice; but such a feat comes at the cost of Oops’ ability to speak. With only an ancient watch lid serving as a hint to his past, Oops and his new friend (named Plague) set out to learn the truth behind Oops’ life and new abilities, but magic is heavily banned, and the feared King Hectric Tepper won’t show mercy just for him being a child…

Story

Oops Comic Adventure is one of the most innocent comics I have read in a while. This comic is oriented to children, but I would say any person could read it and be pleased with the story (kind of like Pixar). If you want to get the full effect of this comic, I’d recommend reading it in standard page format if you can.

Oops Comic is written by a unique combination of artist and writer, husband and wife, Jeramy Hobz and Cyndi Foster. Being able to create a comic with your life partner has a huge advantage when it comes to symmetry between writing and art. There is already chemistry between the creators, and their compatibility shows in their comic.

As for the story itself, it has clearly been thought out well ahead of time, with fabulous characters and designs.

The one thing that I would like to see more of is Plague’s personality. I find that the giant rat focuses too much on comedic relief at times, almost to the point where I get annoyed at the character. This feeling was especially true at the beginning when he was first introduced. Abrasive introductions can really deter readers from characters and it is hard to get that first impression out of your mind.

That being said, I don’t hate Plague. I just need more depth from him at times. But I’m not sure that’s the point. He was created from certain parts of Oops, which I’m guessing included his personality. So what Plague is, is what Oops is not (anymore). By creating Plague, Jeramy and Cyndi have split one character into two. The concept is very unique, and I am looking forward to seeing how they play with it and explain it more in  future chapters.

Writing

As for the script, or the writing, what I like to see in a comic is flow from panel to panel, page to page. Oops Comic definitely nails this.

In fact, what makes the writing so well-done is how the art compliments it. For example, the introduction is done with a narration. Simple enough, but they make it so much better by adding the flipping watch lid to it. The flow has gone from decent, to incredible with one simple trick to connect the panels and pages.

The writing is also very simple. This is key for Oops Comic because its audience is young. The benefit of this for older readers is that it makes for a really easy and quick read. So yes, there are a lot of chapters, but you can get through them fairly quickly. Also the story is fun, so that helps.

One issue I have is that there are a few grammar and spelling errors throughout the comic. They are very scattered and I think I only spotted three or four. They don’t interfere with flow or understanding of the story, so I nearly missed them. Especially if you are a fast reader, you might not even notice. Nonetheless, they are still there and should be addressed.

Art

Now onto art. My overall impression was that Oops Comic Adventure has a very classic comic feel. It follows along with a very simple character design and uses big bold lineart to make the characters pop.

I love this style, there is no confusion about what you see. A nice change in this style was the way the characters are almost a different art style compared to the backgrounds. In certain scenes, the backgrounds had great detail while the characters remained simplistic. Normally I might say this causes for an awkward combination, but it works here because the linework remains in the same style even though there is more detail in the backgrounds.

The simplicity of the character designs can also be seen as a con, however. In some scenes, specifically character close-ups, it would be nice to see more details in their faces and postures. The backgrounds are non-existent in these close-up scenes, so it would be cool to see a transfer of art style from the backgrounds into the foregrounds for these particular moments.

Jeramy and Cyndi also take full advantage of the paneling and space available to them. They jump their characters out of panels, and they spread scenes across horizontally, diagonally, and vertically. Having free range of panels allows for a unique flow from one scene to the next. Add angles into the mix and you’ve got quite the manipulation of space.

Moving on to the issue of Oops being mute, it can be difficult to convey what he is trying to say. A lot of the times the information readers need can be grasped from what Plague or other characters are saying. However, there are moments when Oops must take the spotlight to explain something, and it is always spectacularly well-done. Exaggeration in both the face and the body is key in this aspect, and it is used perfectly to get the message across.

One thing I’d say that could be improved on is the graphics in some of the pages, specifically older pages. Some of the writing and scenes feel grainy –luckily this isn’t the most difficult thing to fix.

As may be well-known about me now, I like to see people grow with web comics. I like seeing how artists have progressed from step one to where they are now. Oops Comic shows Jeramy and Cyndi’s growth from when they first began very clearly. It is a wonderful thing to see how people fit into their comics and create something so entirely unique to their own style.

As kind of a side note, I personally believe this comic should be in colour. It practically screams “Colour me!” and I really want to take some markers and pencil crayons to it and go wild. It looks like a colouring book and my inner child –who am I kidding as an adult I still love the idea of colouring books.

Conclusion                   

All-in-all, I would highly recommend this comic to anyone looking for a good family-friendly read. The comic is long, but because of its target audience, it remains a quick read. I would recommend reading this comic in standard format if you can (aka use a large screened device) to get the full effect. In fact, the best way to read it would probably be in book form.

There is most likely a fair amount of this comic yet to go, so make sure you are okay with long-time-frame-works-in-progress before reading it.


You can read Oops Comic Adventure on Tapastic in both standard and vertical format, or check it out on its main website.

There is also a patreon for Oops Comic, so make sure you give that a look and consider supporting it!

Jeramy and Cyndi can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, deviantart, and tumblr!

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Shadowbinders by Kneon & Kambrea


Steampunk! Fantasy! Romantic comedy! It’s about a teenaged girl named Mia White who is transported to the fantastical world of Belatyr courtesy of an antique ring that her grandfather left her. There she encounters a powerful, brash and egotistical young mage named Crimson Rhen and his crew on board the famed airship ‘The True North’. Adventure, hilarity and teen angst ensue.

Thank goodness I have been following this comic for a while now, because it is one of the longest comics I have reviewed thus far. Nonetheless, it still takes a while to go through the comic again to pinpoint specifics.

Story

Shadowbinders is a very complex story with overlapping plotlines. For people who don’t like long comics, this may not be a good one for you. Shadowbinders has a very long story –which makes sense since it is almost two stories in one. Kambrea and Kneon do an excellent job of combining these two stories into one, giving it a feel similar to that of Narnia.

Actually, Shadowbinders feels like a mix of a lot of different classic stories. Narnia, Treasure Planet, and one other that I can’t quite place my finger on… maybe Star Trek? Either way, this combination works well.

One of the features that makes the combination of two stories work so well, are the smooth transitions from one world into the next. Kambrea and Kneon prove straight off the bat that they are capable of capturing these supposedly tricky scenes.

There is one issue that I have with the story. It is a controversial issue in the fact that it works, but I feel like it shouldn’t. The problem is that we aren’t always with the main character. Yes, there is technically more than one main character, but I always assumed that Mia was the one the reader would follow around –and for the most part that is true. But every now and then when she leaves her “Narnia” and goes back to the main world, the readers remain behind with the other main characters. It works, but I get this feeling that we should only know what she knows.

One thing is for sure though, Kambrea and Kneon know how to make an entrance! Their introduction to the comic begins with a bang –quite literally!

Writing

Tearing apart the story now and looking at the details via writing, it is very well done. Kambrea’s thoughts and direction for the plot are well addressed and are clear. The writing is clever and humorous.

The humour is also very present because of the clever writing style. I am a stickler when it comes to adding humour to a comic, and Kambrea does it right by incorporating it directly into the plot instead of just throwing in a joke for no reason. By creating a character that uses humour, but also incorporating a serious side to him, Kambrea has created depth. And character depth determines (in my opinion) whether a story will last. Humour and seriousness go hand in hand for characters that are comedic relief –this has been shown time and time again in great movies and comics.

To wrap up the writing section, Shadowbinders also has few to no grammar/spelling errors that I can remember or saw when glancing over it again. Thumbs up from me!

Art

And now on to art.

From an overall impression, the artwork is good, the colour choices are amazing, and there are some pretty unique character designs.

Looking closer, some of the character proportions could be better, with some scenes appearing stiff or just slightly off.


To tie in with proportions, facial angles can also be improved upon. With the little bit of drawing I have done in my life, these are tricky. It takes a lot of time and practice to get this right, especially with the human face.

Moving away from proportions and zooming back out to an overview of the entire story, it is pretty clear that Kneon’s talents have grown. Time and again I tell you I am a huge fan of watching people grow in their work, and Kneon is no exception. He starts off strong in his artwork, but continues to improve throughout each chapter. To be fair, they do have a lot of chapters. It makes sense why his improvement would be visible.

One thing that stayed the same however, is his impeccable ability to create stunning backgrounds. I find it sad that people don’t take the time to create beautiful backgrounds to complement their foregrounds. It is always a treat when I read a comic in which its creator put just as much effort in the background as they did the foreground.

Kneon utilizes his backgrounds in way to make sure they don’t pull the reader’s attention away from the scene they are reading. I like this. You can appreciate it, without being distracted by it. Point proven with his gorgeous action scenes. Minimizing the background allows for more focus on the action that is occurring.

Last, but certainly not least, is my favourite feature in Shadowbinders. Faces. Kneon is not afraid to pull faces. The emotions are real, and the emotions are intense. There is no fear of keeping the girl “pretty”, but rather the focus is on “normal.” It is unbelievably refreshing to see a girl whose face is contorted in surprise, or fear, or sadness, without the shame of appearance. It is a different kind of beauty, and it is the beauty I prefer.

Conclusion

I am a bit biased here. I was already subscribed to Shadowbinders before Kneon and Kambrea requested a review. Of course I would recommend it to people, I love this comic. It has a good mix of humour, grief, and most importantly, a very well planned plot.

If you are in the mood to sit down and read for a while, I would suggest Shadowbinders. It is a long read, and I’m assuming it still has a long way to go!


Please go support Kambrea and Kneon by reading Shadowbinders on Tapastic, or on its main site.

You can also support them and their comic via Facebook and twitter.

PS. There is even a wiki page!

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Want your own comic reviewed? Leave a comment below or email me!

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