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WintreKitty Reviews

Webcomic Critiques

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April 2016

Wingless: The Dovecote Princess by S.A.


A dark fantasy story about a named Ephelia who wants to be a knight. 

cover

Story

Wingless: The Dovecote Princess by S.A. confused me. Not because the story lacked anything –because it doesn’t. It is a fabulous tale about a young naïve girl too stubborn to adhere to the advice of those around her (your typical heroine story). It opens with a powerful intro and offers a strong unique concept. What I found confusing was the art and writing style chosen for this tale. Both of them clearly work, but I’ll explain what I mean in the corresponding sections.

awesome concept great intro

Before I continue, I need to address that although this comic looks cute (pardon the image above), it isn’t. It is 100% NSFW because of the amount of violence and detail presented with said violence. All images that I will be using as examples in this review, will be taken from the Tapastic version of this comic which has been “censored” –I use this word lightly since the censoring doesn’t really do much in the long run. However, this review is based on the uncensored version.   

Onwards!

As I mentioned, this comic is fabulous. I’ve known about it for some time, but it was another one of those reads that I never really picked up for some reason that I no longer know. The plot is very complex and in depth. There are a lot of “spider webs” that will eventually link together as the story progresses. Oddly enough, this comic moves fairly slowly even though it doesn’t feel like it. With Wingless already on chapter five, we have yet to get to the main story arc –Ephelia is still on the road towards her first destination.

still going...
This is the end of chapter 4 and we have yet to leave a similar location to where the story began.

The way that S.A. has made the story move allows for a slower plotline without the reader truly noticing. The main character is undoubtedly unaware of her situation. This has allowed S.A. to create scenes that leave both Ephelia and the reader wondering, “What the heck happened?” With this much power over the character and the readers (more so the character than the reader), S.A. has allowed the plot to move towards its destination at a slower rate, but still leaves the reader satisfied by providing adrenaline-pumping scenes that gradually release more information about Ephelia’s “condition.”

Writing

As for the writing, it is pretty solid. I saw little to no grammar and spelling errors, and it has some truly beautiful monologue moments.

beautiful writing
Ouch. Truer words have not been spoken (at least in Ephelia’s case).

There are some instances where there are too many speech bubbles on one page with lots of conversation from either one character, or multiple conversations. For the most part, these don’t really deter you from the comic. More show less tell, but the tell isn’t really an issue in my opinion.

Remember how I said that the writing can be kind of confusing? Well, I think it has to do with the fact that the writing feels slightly juvenile at times, but the words that S.A. chooses are not geared towards a younger audience. In fact, they have a very sophisticated vibe. I think this confusion in the writing is tied to the art style choice. My brain wants to associate cute with innocent, but that isn’t the case here.

language
Well, maybe it’s a character thing. Ephelia feels pretty juvenile compared to Bouquin… the book (lol).

 Art

The art that we are presented with is very cutesy, but the story is not. What we are left with is a contrast in storytelling styles. Our minds have difficulty associating violence with innocence. When you see a comic like Wingless, the first thing your mind does is try to comprehend what it just saw. The next stage your mind will go through determines whether you continue reading, or walk away. I’d like to think a good number of us walk away. However, if you are anything like me, you find contrasting styles intriguing (plus I kind of have a dark soul).

grusome (filtered)

S.A. took a risk by combining two very different styles together, and although my brain finds this confusing, my mind is pleased. One question I have to ask though, is whether the amount of gore that is presented is necessary. For the most part, I’d say yes. The story revolves around the violence, and it adds to the contrasting style conundrum. That being said, there are moments where I’m not sure you need that much blood and guts to get the point across –especially if it prevents the reader from understanding what is happening in the scene.

Aside from the violence, S.A. brings in some astounding backgrounds, opening up the comic to beautiful landscapes. Wingless is also in full colour. Although this does add to the dramatization of the violent scenes, it also debuts S.A’s pretty colour palettes and talents in shading and detailing.

backgrounds
You almost forget about the horrific scenes with these shots.

Lastly, Wingless can be kind of comical in its over-dramatization of character expressions. Another factor that might add to the internal confliction that one might have towards this comic, yet I find it oddly endearing.

nice expressions
She reminds me of the muppet, Beaker, here. Anyone? No? Okay…

Conclusion

To conclude, Wingless is not a comic that everyone will enjoy, but it is a comic that I wish everyone would. It’s a horrifically lovely story that was clearly cared for with many hours of hard work and planning put into it to create a detailed plot. I will continue to follow along with Ephelia’s story, but I do hope she reaches a more progressive point in the story soon.


If you want to give Wingless: The Dovecote Princess by S.A. a read, check it out here:

Tower25 by Pj Patten


Tower25 is an autobio comic about addiction, being homeless, the struggle within, and finding the strength to stand up again.

cover

Story

Tower25 by Pj Patten is a magnificent story that opens your eyes to a life on the streets and the hardships that Pj Patten experienced during those times. As this is an autobiography, I’m not going to tell you any of the details of the story. This is something that you need to read and experience for yourself, as Tower25 holds a lot of emotion in each page.

Writing

Pj Patten doesn’t bother with fluff or nonsense when writing his story. He writes it with his heart right on the page. He leaves us with the same emotions that he probably was experiencing himself.

Yes, there are errors, but something that you typically don’t see in comics, is the evidence of fixed errors. PJ Patten didn’t throw away a page merely because of a spelling error. He just scratched it out and continued on. Personally, I’ve got no problem with this. Not for this story.

mistakes

He actually had some pretty clever ways to cover up these errors, which added even more character to a story that is already filled to the brim.

Art

The art in Tower25 is very rough. The lines are broken, the panels lack structure, and the form is unconventional and distorted.

But it works.

I’m sure this comic would look great with crisp lines, perfectly formed buildings, and paneling to break the page up neatly –but it would lose its feeling of raw emotion. There’s something about the simplicity of the artwork that leaves the reader vulnerable.

white space

vulnerablePj Patten’s use of analogies and imagery add to this feeling of vulnerability. He tosses the reader around in a cycle of despair and longing, reaching for something, anything to grab hold of that can take Pj out and away from that lifestyle. Imagery is a powerful tool.

great imagery -edit black lineimagery part 2

Now, from a more professional perspective, I’d say that the use of white space is not manipulated properly. There are many times when there is too much white. Also, using a straight edge to clean up some of the lines will make some of the images more visually pleasing.

nice art

 

Overall, the art has a long ways to go before I would consider it acceptable in a competitive market, but it definitely doesn’t deter you away from Tower25. As I’ve mentioned already, I really do think that the roughness of Pj Patten’s artwork adds to the emotional impact of his story.

Conclusion

Tower25 does not have a professional atmosphere to it. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There are errors in both the writing and the art.  However, because of the sheer amount of emotional impact that Pj Patten has created with this comic and his life story, none of these mistakes matter. If anything they help add to the raw beauty of a life lived in hardship.

I would recommend this comic to everyone. It isn’t a terribly long read. It is thought-provoking and powerful. Take a few minutes out of your day and experience life in someone else’s shoes.


You can read Tower25 by PJ Patten here.

Buckle: Slave & Monster by Viro Veteruscy


When the socially isolated school bookworm “Natelle” is given a demonic collar, her life is forever changed when she battles various monsters by using Buckles to turn into a monster herself! She collects their souls for her Master but for what purpose…?

Before we begin, please keep in mind that although this review is SFW, the comic is not. Please don’t read this comic if you are young, impressionable, or easily offended. 

Story

Buckle: Slave & Monster by Viro Veteruscy is a story about a girl who is a slave to a demon-like creature. The plot is layered in sexual innuendos and just straight-up vulgarity. Personally, I don’t think there is ever a time where another person should be belittled for their appearances or personality, so I struggled while reading this story quite a bit.

At least she acknowledges the terrible comments…

Normally I can deal with one character being offensive as they are generally meant to be hated by the readers. In Buckle, it feels like these comments are made to add comedic relief to the comic. I found little humour in these situations.

This comment is never appropriate.

Aside from the sexism (towards both men and women), Veteruscy offers a fairly well-developed plot for Buckle. Although there are some serious plot holes, with little to no background offered for the world, it is pretty clear what is going on. You know who the main characters are, what their purpose is (to an extent), and there is definitely going to be some character development as the story progresses. These are all very important factors to take into consideration when building a story.

One thing I would recommend when writing this story is to remember to add some background information to the world. Although it may seem clear on what is going on, there are some unanswered basic questions that need to be addressed. Think of it this way: if the reader can answer who the main characters are; what the main character’s goals are (or have some idea of the direction they are going); when the story takes place (probably the least vital); where the story takes place, then you have a happy reader. Why a character is trying to reach a particular goal isn’t always necessary as it can develop and be revealed as the story progresses. To simplify, if all the background information is provided (who, what, when, where, and why) then the readers are less confused on what is happening in the story. Once the first chapter is complete, most of this should be easily answered by the reader. Of course, this isn’t a set in stone rule, but keep it in mind when plotting out your story.

For clarification, Buckle has the who, what (for one of the characters), and when. There is little explanation as to where the story takes place and the why feels like it will be revealed over time (probably as a plot twist or character development scene). The one that needs to be addressed to make the reader more comfortable with the story is the where.

Writing

As a reminder, information does not have to just be told with words. Buckle does a lot of explanations with words, especially in the first few chapters of the story. This causes some conversations to come across as awkward or corny. Veteruscy does improve in this area as the story progresses, even implementing some more imagery to help the story develop.

The villain would have been more intimidating and vicious if there wasn’t constant commentary.

Like most webcomics, grammar errors are present so just make sure you pay attention to these and get people to proofread your work before it is released. This is something that occurs mainly in the first few chapters.

There were also a few instances where the words were very small. The way these were used were clever, as they were commonly for whispering, or side comments. However, unless the purpose of these is to represent mumbling, or incomprehensible vocals, they should be slightly larger so that they can be read easily.

Art

As I mentioned above, Buckle does have some nice scenes that provide some information via imagery. There are some great imagery moments thrown into this comic to amplify terror and evil. Veteruscy compliments these by soaking the pages in rich colours. Each scene and character is bold and vibrant.

“I’d like some evil with an extra side of terror, please.”

Buckle also has some creative designs thrown in for the demons and other characters. Although the demons tend to be relatively unoriginal concepts, they do have twists to them that make Buckle unique.

One thing I would have liked to see less of was how scantily clothed (or not at all) the characters were. I would classify these under unnecessary nudity. Now, if it was the case that the characters clothes ripped during transformation (and ripped in a logical fashion), then I would consider that nudity acceptable. However, these characters transform into entirely new clothes, or no clothes at all. Remember to ask yourself, “Does this add to the telling of the story, scene, or event?” If the answer is no, then make sure you keep that in mind before continuing with a particular design. Video games are a good example of this (primarily female characters). Many of them are scantily clothed when they should probably be wearing some form of full body armour.

However, how you decide to dress and present your characters is an artistic choice. How the readers react to that shouldn’t be your concern in the long run.

The same can’t be said for basic artistic rules, though. For example, it is important to follow vanishing points. There were a few scenes where parts of buildings or characters did not continue down the same vanishing point. Break out that ruler and make sure things align! Your page will thank you.

“See, this is why we take our time with installing windows…maybe they won’t notice.

Veteruscy makes up for these little mistakes by having some nice clean panel designs. Straight lines, clear, and easy to follow the flow from one panel to the next. These all help the reader read each page smoothly and eliminate any awkward conversation breaks due to panel placement errors.

I originally was going to use this as an example for something else…

The last thing I’d like to highlight with the art is the facial structure. For the most part, it was very nice, with large eyes, small mouth and nose –a typical design. The one issue I have here (and maybe it’s just me) is that the profiles are very flat. I’ve noticed that this is a very common artistic choice when using this design style. Personally, I’d like to see more depth to profile shots. It may add a bit more to a scene if the face was a more standard format.

She’s trying to be so serious, I almost want to feel the proper emotions for the scene. If only her face wasn’t so… flat…

Conclusion

To conclude, this comic should not be read by young audiences or those that are easily offended. I personally would not read this comic again, but I would not write it off for everyone. There is some great plot opportunity in this story, with a clear direction. I believe Viro Veteruscy has put a lot of time and effort into the development of this story.

Buckle also offers some nice artwork, with bold, gorgeous colours. There has been clear improvement from page one, and I’m sure that Veteruscy will continue to improve as the story progresses.


 

If you would like to read Buckle: Slave & Monster by Viro Veteruscy, check it out on Tapastic!

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