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WintreKitty Reviews

Webcomic Critiques

Month

May 2016

Demon House by Joanne Kwan


“Tula is a student just trying to get through her senior year of college. Little does she know that her new rental is inhabited by demons. Watch as she juggles her social life with her friends and new roommates.”

cover

Story

Demon House by Joanne Kwan doesn’t waste time to jump straight into the plot. It’s a lovely story about a girl who knows who she is and doesn’t let anyone tell her otherwise. This comic is filled with uplifting scenes and will put a smile on your face straight from page one.

One aspect of Demon House that truly makes it unique is the main character, Tula. She has an amazingly positive attitude towards the world that no one else has. Not only is this what makes the comic so uplifting, but it also is the reason why it is so hilarious. Her knack for making the world a more positive place –even when other people would run screaming in the other direction –is what really makes this comic stand out as a great read.

humour

Writing

The writing is what truly makes this comic so fabulous. The conversations between characters are quick and witty, and they are probably the smoothest and most natural conversations I have seen in a long time. I can’t stress enough how important the writing is, and how much of a difference it can make if it flows fluidly from one panel or scene to the next.

conversation level is on master

Kwan does an excellent job at making sure the writing is clear of any errors in terms of grammar and spelling. Obviously, there is always going to be that one mistake that seems to get by everyone on your team. Just remember to keep proofreading and getting people to read it over for you, specifically looking for those little errors that may slip by unnoticed.

spelling error
I can’t believe it either…

Aside from that, I only have positive things to say about the writing in Demon House. It is an easy read, and although it may have a lot of speech bubbles on some pages, they aren’t overwhelming, and I would amount this down to the fact that Joanne Kwan’s writing feels so natural.

Art

Most of what I have to say about Demon House is all praise. The art is no exception to this. I love the simplistic art style –I think it adds to the warm feeling that this comic already portrays –and although the designs are simplistic, Kwan demonstrates that she is still very capable of creating some fabulously unique characters.

characters
Cute… yet still terrifying.

Looking at the comic layout itself, Kwan does an excellent job creating smooth and even paneling that make for easy reading. The comic also has plenty of different angle shots that compliment each scene and keep it interesting.

paneling
Mixing up the perspectives is a great way to add more character to a scene -especially when they are mainly conversational.

Kwan also does a great job with shading the characters and environment. The shading and highlighting is a blocked design, which compliments the overall simplistic art style.

shading

Conclusion

I can’t express enough how lovely this comic is. Demon House by Joanne Kwan will make you smile all the way through from beginning to end.

I’d recommend this comic to anyone who needs a little bit more love and laughter in their life, or to those who enjoy either of those things (which hopefully is everyone).


If you want to check out this comic, you can find it on Tapastic or on Tumblr.

Weaker Sides by lifemachine


“This is the story of Kyoko and Ashley and their fateful meeting on a gentle summer night. Hailing from Canada, Ashley Brooks moved to Apeldoorn, the Netherlands to become a nurse. He spends his free time gardening, tending to wounded woodland critters and drinking perhaps a bit too much. His peaceful life gets a firm dose of upheaval when he encounters a confused young lady on a quiet country road. The world takes on new shapes and colors as Ashley and Kyoko become part of each others lives, discovering what it is they lost, and how they can retrieve it.”

cover

Story

Weaker Sides by lifemachine is another one of those thought-provoking comics that you could read over and over again and get different information from it with each read. It is important to take your time with each page as you piece together each panel and the deeper meanings they hold.

stylized

Weaker Sides is a stylized comic, and although the overall plot is very clear, the way the story is told through the art and writing can be interpreted in many different ways. In a way, this separates it from the “traditional” stylized comics, which are highly interpretable and sometimes the story is very unclear. I honestly love the way lifemachine has built this story. It’s quite remarkable.

writing 2

Writing

Lifemachine uses multiple styles of writing to tell this story. There is classic comic-style-conversation between characters, and then there are poems, monologues, and more nontraditional writing that are highly stylized.

writing

I saw one or two grammar and spelling errors throughout the entire comic that were not intentional. Lifemachine clearly takes this comic seriously and made sure that the writing was as good as the rest of their work –I’m happy to say that they were definitely successful in this area. The use of Dutch and English also added some great character to the writing, and unfortunately my Dutch is beyond rusty, so I cannot tell if there were any errors in spelling or grammar there.

Art

Again, I mentioned that the comic is very stylized. This creates a difficult, yet unique situation for me. It is harder to critique stylized work as it is so interpretable. There are no clearly set rules that an individual has to follow in order for this type of art to work. Maybe that makes it easier, but it also might make it harder. Personally, I believe that if the artwork conveys a message, or some type of feeling for the reader (which Weaker Sides definitely does) then it is a success.

art

The techniques that I can discuss include the panels. Lifemachine has done an excellent job breaking away from the norm and really implementing the panels into the storytelling. The panels speak as loud as the words do, and in some cases, even louder.

paneling

The use of multiple mediums has also worked very well for this comic. They are sometimes integrated together on one page or panel, and other times they are completely separate. In both cases, they help convey the story and feelings that lifemachine is most likely striving for.

art 2

Conclusion

Overall, I would highly recommend Weaker Sides by lifemachine to anyone who likes comics that aren’t entirely clear, but still have a foundation set for the development of a storyline.

Lifemachine not only mixes art mediums, but also writing styles. Make sure you take each page and panel in carefully, as they all were created with a lot of thought and care.


You can read Weaker Sides by lifemachine here.

Haytham by Ana Karenina and Alexandra Garcia


“Annibal tries to uncover the secrets of the two islands and Haytham, so he can save the people that he loves. But he can’t do it alone, will he find a way to defeat Haytham?”

cover

Story

Haytham by Ana Karenina and Alexandra Garcia wastes no time to jump right into the plot and introduces the main characters straight from page one. In fact, it feels as if we are thrown directly into the middle of the story. A lot in the plot has already happened before the story even starts.

Although the comic has a relatively fast pace with lots of action scenes thrown in, the placement of where the story begins threw me off. Yes, we are slowly given more details as the plot progresses, but I feel like this isn’t something we should be slowly figuring out. It should be something that we read and experienced with the characters so that those first big events feel more emotional and connected to the reader.

intro
“Lots of things”… like what? A bit more background information about both characters would have been helpful. 

In view of the fact that we were thrown into the middle of the story, I’d say that reading this comic twice may be beneficial –especially if you read it over a long period of time and not all the facts are remembered from page to page.

Aside from that random introduction, the story is rather enjoyable. It has a very “Naruto” vibe to it that a lot of people may really like, yet it remains original enough that it does not mock or rip off the series.

naruto vibe
“Sasuke, I love- er… come back…”

Writing

The writing in Haytham is beautiful. Everything that is written down is important, with little to no filler conversations that take away from the storyline. The conversations also flow very smoothly from panel to panel and from page to page.

The one issue that I have (that gets me every time) is the grammar errors. Please, get someone to proofread your story before you upload it. Preferably someone who knows a bit more than the basics to grammar rules. This isn’t directed just at Haytham, but to every comic I have ever reviewed –and comics I have yet to review. I understand that there may be one or two errors on rare occasions. It happens –but there really shouldn’t be more than that.*

grammar
I’d love the way this man speaks, if he wasn’t grammatically incorrect (“But” should be “Just”, and both “it’s” should be “its”).

Alexandra Garcia truly has a wonderful style of storytelling and she does a magnificent job telling the audience what they need to know in particular scenes. She also utilizes the scene itself to show what is happening rather than using words all the time. An example of this would be facial expressions.

emotions.PNGArt

I would say that Haytham’s strength lies mainly in the art. Looking at page one, you might not gather that the art was the strongest point. That is, until you see how much Ana Karenina has improved over time, plus the use of colour for particular scenes –two things I have a soft spot for.

art 1art 2art 3

The coloured scenes are probably my favourite part of the comic. They are absolutely stunning with fantastic colour combos, shading, and detailing.

damn these colours are on fleek
“…you need colour first.”

Haytham’s beautiful artwork is complimented by perfect paneling. Ana Karenina uses the classic panel designs to create crisp scenes that are easily followed and sequence smoothly from one scene to the next.

paneling

The last thing that I find truly astounding in Haytham –and the part that will probably make me continue to read this comic just so I can see more of it –are the gorgeous backgrounds. Karenina just loves to throw those scenic shots at you as often as possible, and they are certainly helping this comic in my books.

backgrounds

Conclusion

Overall, I thought Haytham by Ana Karenina and Alexandra Garcia is a great story that holds a lot of secrets. Although I would have liked it to start at a different part, it is still easy to follow and an enjoyable read. The artwork that this comic offers only adds to the story and shows you how much Karenina has grown since page one.

If you are looking for a comic with a long-form plot that will probably play around with your emotions quite a bit, then I would highly recommend Haytham.


Check out Haytham on Tapastic!

*I am open to the idea of proofreading pages for people. If you are interested, you can message me via Tapastic or email and I’ll give you further details on how that’ll work.  

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