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WintreKitty Reviews

Webcomic Critiques

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January 2016

Hacheeachkee by MylCreates


A Machucan named Introproretro Triocto Sketaldaz has lived his life as a slave up until his master unleashes an apocalyptic weapon wiping out the entire planet. Seconds before his race goes extinct, Sketaldaz runs into a mythical chronicler who calls herself Kadi, who manages to rescue Sketaldaz just as his planet is destroyed. Now a planet-less orphan, Sketaldaz takes on his new life as a “follower” of his rescuer. 

Story

I’ve been following Hacheeachkee by MylCreates almost from the beginning. I first stumbled upon this comic on Inkblazers and I was very pleased to see she had moved her comic to Tapastic as well. Giving a review for a comic that I’ve already read and cared about does create the possibility for bias, but it also gives me an opportunity to re-read the comic with a more critical eye.

So let’s break it down and try to be as unbiased as possible, shall we?

The plot is clearly well-thought out and MylCreates has personified her passion for this story clearly from page one. The introduction of the main characters are done smoothly and elaborately, making sure that we have a good sense of who they are almost immediately, so that the plot can move forward efficiently. Myl also introduces the world in the same way, which lays a foundation for what is to come.

Get ready for a history lesson!

Another way that Hacheeachkee is developed is through colour. The majority of the chapters now are currently in shades of black and white. However, as the story progresses and the plot takes a completely different direction, so does the colour scheme. This was a unique way to introduce colours to a comic and Myl did an excellent job.

It’s happening…!!!

But you may be asking, “Wintre, why are you including the colour scheme into the story category of this review?” Well, let me explain. My perspective of the changing colour scheme is that it plays an important role in how the plot is progressing. The world that Sketaldaz (main character) has known his entire life up until that point has been filled with sorrow and defeat. With a sudden and dramatic climax in the story, his world is opened to new opportunities, new friends, and most importantly, a new life. For me, the colour influences this change more as part of the plot than just an artistic choice. Whether Myl was going for this effect or not, well, you would have to ask her yourself. Chances are I’m being your classic English literature professor -reading way too much into it.

Moving on, the use of mixed media has also influenced how the story is told, using one medium for flashbacks and memories, and another for present time.

Vintage

So, the current storyline is well-thought out, and the characters are very well developed. The plot is relatively unpredictable at some moments (not all) and the shock factor is definitely there.

Writing

The characters, world, and plot are all well and good, but how is the writing? Writing plays a crucial role in how these characters and worlds come across.

I feel like I should stop writing this part and it should just be implied by now, but definitely watch for spelling and grammar errors. There are very few comics that I come across on Tapastic and elsewhere that don’t have such errors. Again, I’ll suggest getting multiple people to proofread your pages before releasing them.

Lose*

When it comes down to it, the grammar and spelling mistakes really only deter a professional vibe. They won’t push you away from a comic unless they significantly impair the story. In the case of Hacheeachkee, they are few and far between.

The real issue stands with the flow of conversations, as well as when and where large areas of information are scripted into the plot. Hacheeachkee is broken down in a way that not all of the worlds history, and information about the characters, is thrown at you in one go. It is woven throughout the chapters and flows smoothly in and out of the overall plot. Basically, my point is that Myl is doing well in the writing department.

This next point kind of ties in with art as well, but MylCreates manages to capture grief in a way that really pulls at the heartstrings. By limiting the wording to only what is necessary, plus blocking out the panels to capture closeups, the reader can experience the full grief of a character’s death. *This next image is kind of a spoiler, so cover your eyes if you care!*

All of the feels

Art

Finally, art. MylCreates has significantly improved in art since chapter one. Time and time again I say I am a sucker for seeing a creator improve throughout the chapters. I’ll probably continue to say this as long as a creator continues to do so. Now, looking at the competitive world of printing and selling comics, this may not be considered a good thing and those old chapters should be redrawn. But in the context of Tapastic (or any other free online webcomic site) and the vibe that it gives, I think seeing a creator’s improvements is a really awesome experience.

Early chapter 1
Middle of chapter 1
End of the chapter

With these longer comics, there are lots of areas of improvement that can be seen throughout the chapters, which kind of makes it difficult for me to make suggestions since the improvement is obviously occurring already. One area where this is true is in angles and proportions of the characters. MylCreates never really struggled with this, but there were some areas where she could have improved in the beginning chapters. Now though, she has done an excellent job of not only drawing different angles, but including unique angles into the story to give different perspectives and even portraying different moods and emotions with these angles.

angle
The angle of her upper body doesn’t quite match the lower body
angles dramatically improve
Extend that arm! Work it!

Another way Myl is bomb at portraying mood is with shading. She is a shading wizard (or witch), using it and manipulating it exactly the way I like it to be seen. So many people slack on shading when I believe it to be one of the most powerful tools. Hacheeachkee is filled with extreme shading (sometimes too much) emphasizing expressions, moods, events, and time.

Pose for Vogue 

Hacheeachkee also has an odd amount of detail where you wouldn’t necessarily expect it. There can be scenes that seem relatively bare of detail, and others that are heavy with intricate designs –but never to the point where it overwhelms you. In fact, MylCreates seems to know exactly when and where detail is beneficial to the scene. Again, this is impacting the way the reader experiences the page.

Oh sh-! Oh.. ew… ughhh… that’s fabulous.

I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned this already, but the first thing you notice when you see Hacheeachkee is the unique character designs. Yes, they are humanoids, but I think they are unique enough to see the differences from your typical character designs which helps make Hacheeachkee stand out.

Creepy, yet somehow adorable

Moving the attention above and beyond the characters, the backgrounds portray just sneak peeks into the fantastical world Hacheeachkee offers. I wish there were more full background pages or large panels to really get a sense of what their world looks like. Currently, I don’t really have a good breakdown of what their building structure or any other part of their environment looks like as a whole. What you can see though, is very nice.

I want to live there, fancy-schmancy
Can you just, move out of the way so I can see your city? Please?

Conclusion

I’m pretty sure you know what my stance is on this comic. I’ve been following it for a long time now, and my overall opinion is pretty positive. MylCreates offers a story that is very detailed and has a clear plot. She compliments the storytelling with improving artwork and the gradual inclusion of colours. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

I would highly recommend Hacheeachkee to the majority of people. There is quite the shock factor at times (no spoilers), but just a heads up, it may be considered disturbing to a few of you… Or all of you at some points.


Check out Hacheeachkee by MylCreates on Tapastic

If you want to see more of Myl’s work, click here

Foxy and Wolfy: Chaos by The F&W Team


When a recent spike in demonic activity leads to the murder of their friend, Misaki Kimura and Amaya Bellerose begin their investigation into the reason for his murder. Through the use of special keys, that open gates from world to world, they fight to purify corrupted souls from demonic influences and destroy lost souls that are beyond saving. Can they uncover the reason for the recent spike in the human world’s demonic activity and put the spirits of darkness to rest, or will they, too,  become lost in the darkness that seeks to envelope the world?

First thing I want to voice before I start this review, is that the website can be a bit finicky at times. Please don’t let this deter you from reading the comic. Just come back and try again a different time. Also, sorry about the quality of the images. That was a technical difficulty as well, and I’ll try to fix them when I get the chance.

Story

F/W (Foxy and Wolfy): Chaos is created by a fairly large team, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to them as the F&W team. F/W: Chaos has a fascinating world with great concepts and ideas.

Cleansing spirits and releasing them.

However, those concepts feel as if they were never fully formulated. It’s as if the reader has been thrown right into the middle of the plot. This can sometimes work, as long as there is a character in the story that has no idea what’s going too, so that the world can be explained to the readers without any hiccups in plot or conversation. That isn’t the case here. A friend of the main character has been murdered in the very beginning of the story, and it feels as if I’m missing some vital parts of the plot.

The subtle emotions and the long speech take away from an otherwise dramatic scene.

The attempt of intrigue for the plot is definitely there, though. Starting off a story with a big action scene is always a great way to try and bring people into reading a comic. It just needs a bit of tweaking in the introduction so that the reader gathers more information than what is given. It is currently too vague.

It’s important to remember to take a step back and ask yourself, “If I didn’t know anything about the world and the characters, would I be able to understand what is going on?”  Build scenes in a way that they verbally or physically tell the reader what is happening. This is especially important in the first chapter.

Writing

Aside from the vague concepts, the writing is actually not bad. Occasionally the conversations felt too formal, or scripted. A common area that people struggle with here is introducing new characters.

I would be very uncomfortable in this conversation. Why are we all talking so weird? And why are you trusting a demon you just met?

Also, don’t forget about culture and human nature in conversations. Keep in mind that when, for example, the humans encounter a demon for the first time, they would probably be cautious, or feel an immediate threat. It is a bit odd for them to greet the demons by asking them to be friends. On top of this, they should also be very weary of some sort of trap if a demon invites them to a dinner party. These demons haven’t proven anything to the humans that they can be trusted. If you were in that situation and knew the history of demonic violence, wouldn’t you be a bit cautious?

Make friends with the enemy. Brilliant.

Moving on, watch for grammar mistakes. I don’t recall seeing any spelling errors, so that’s awesome! There are a few areas where, because the language is so formal, it sounds strained and scripted. Some sentence structures could be rearranged to help with the flow.

Bring that last speech bubble before the second one (after she introduces her name), and the sentence will become more fluid.

Also, read the conversations out loud. Do they sound natural to you? If not, try running the script with someone else and freeform it a bit. Improvise the script. That tends to be a much more natural dialect and you can get some good tips from it for future conversations.

Pardon me?

Art

Onwards to art! The F&W team reveals their strength lies within the artwork. There are some absolutely gorgeous panels in F/W: Chaos. The colour combinations are also fantastically bright and complimentary.

Where the conversation struggles with flow, the paneling and art do not. They help move a scene from one motion to the next with excellent precision. The reader is easily able to fill in the spaces between each panel, making the scene move with ease.

One thing I’d say is a common mistake in a lot of comics, is matching script to art. Sometimes the emotions of the character don’t quite fit with what they are saying. Make sure that these two match and the scene will have a much stronger effect on the emotions of the readers.

I expected more anger in her face, more grief.

Last, but certainly not least, is the movement and action scenes. These are magnificently done –which is important considering that the comic does revolve around them. The F&W team has a clear understanding of proportion and the usefulness of different angles. These have been used to their benefit, especially during these action scenes.

Brb. Kicking some demonically possessed butt.

 

Conclusion

Overall, I think that F/W: Chaos has some great potential. As this is only the first chapter, I’m sure more information will be explained and given to the readers as time progresses. There is a lot that is inferred that the reader can catch on with quickly enough if they already know something about magic girl style comics.


 

If you want to read F/W: Choas by the F&W team, check it out here!

Battle-Bug by Hijack Press


Harvey Hayakawa lives in a city populated by monsters, robots, aliens, witches, wizards, animal people, and, most frightening of all, New Yorkers. It’s his job to make sure the sun rises on the urban sprawl each day and not a smoking hole in the ground where a metropolis of millions used to be.

Harvey is BATTLE-BUG.
Japanese superhero.
New York attitude. 

Story

Battle-Bug by Hijack Press offers a nice twist to your classic superhero comic. The world Hijack Press creates is alien-friendly with wildly creative superheroes and supervillains running around causing havoc for the multispecies planet.

The story is comical and well planned out in each chapter. One thing that is unique about this story though is that each chapter is distinctly separate from the previous one. The only thing that really remains the same is the main character. It allows for the feel of a collection of shorts, but also demonstrates its ability to function as a longer format.

Unfortunately, by having distinctly singular chapters, Hijack Press has limited the amount of character development that can occur. However, there are ways to incorporate character growth even without overlapping content. This remains particularly with the main character, Battle-Bug, as he is the only one that is present for each chapter.

Looking at each chapter individually, Hijack Press does a wonderful job incorporating humour and wrapping up each event. Although relatively vulgar in nature with the excessive swearing, the humour is definitely present and adds the perfect environment to an otherwise dangerous world.

 

So graceful!

Writing

As mentioned, the story has a lot of swearing. Personally, I think the swearing isn’t always necessary, it could be lessened for sure, but it doesn’t really take away from the overall story. It gives you an idea of the type of character Battle-Bug is as well, which adds to his personality and helps explain his careless behaviours when attempting to help out the city.

One area that should be looked into is the amount of dialogue on some pages. At times, it can become quite lengthy to read. The biggest thing with this is unnecessary dialogue. There are points in Battle-Bug where a conversation feels like a filler and can most likely be cut out without influencing the storyline at all.

Yes, the puppy is cute. But when a page already has a fair amount of conversation, is this necessary?

Like I mention in almost every single review I write, watch for spelling/grammar errors. I didn’t catch too many, but just make sure there is someone to proofread for you so that they can catch those things you didn’t see yourself.

Art

As for the art, as a whole, I think that having a cover artist and a comic artist actually isn’t helping. There becomes a certain expectation when the cover art is exceptionally well-done. There are a few things that I noticed that Hijack Press struggles with in the comic art, but not in cover art. One of these things is proportions. Unfortunately, the artwork feels rushed or even incomplete in the comic art next to the cover art.

The comic art feels rushed and incomplete, with some proportion and angle errors.
cover art
Proportions are perfectly done in this unique pose found on the cover art.

The colouring in Battle-Bug is also fabulous because of how unique the colour combinations are. One thing I’d have to say is be careful with consistency in colour choices. There are some instances (particularly in shading), when they are different in sequential panels.

Unique colours

Careful with keeping the same colours throughout each panel. This rule also applies for shading.

Continuing with panels, Hijack Press does a good job making it clear which panel follows which and they remain relatively straight forward and simple. There are a few nice touches thrown in here and there that make a scene pop out at you.

 

The last thing I want to comment on and to end on a bit of a bang, are the action shots. Superhero comics rely on excellent action shots and Hijack Press does not disappoint with Battle-Bug. They have created gorgeous action shots by implementing unique colour combinations as well as clean paneling. The end result is a scene that stands out amongst others that is like candy for the eyes.

*O*

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading another superhero comic. I was a bit concerned at first since they seem to all be the same thing in the end, but Hijack Press managed to show a different twist to what you may normally see in a similar comic story.

Aside from the excessive swearing, the script isn’t terrible, and the art is on par. The unique colours are what really makes Battle-Bug pop out for me and definitely brings the intrigue. I look forward to seeing where Hijack Press continues to take the story.


Read Battle-Bug on Tapastic!

Hijack Press:

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