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#248519 - 01/15/03 03:13 PM Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Furilius Pitch Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 199
Illustration by A.KOUPAL


I've just begun a weekly Webcomic "Book Club" patterned after conventional book clubs where a group of folks will discuss a new webcomic each week. These won't be high-falutin' critics, just fans ranging in age from 14 to 50 who will post to a forum thread over a period of a week to discuss a particular webcomic.

I don't know how successful it will be. Our first "meeting" begins on Sunday, January 19th where we will discuss "Shifters" by Marie Tary and James Strocell.

Anyone is welcome to watch the proceedings. It will take place here.

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#248520 - 01/21/03 11:14 PM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Furilius Pitch Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 199
Well, the first meeting of the Webcomic Book Club got off to a great start on Sunday and the discussion will continue throughout the week as new avatars add their analysis.

So far, our colorful crew of assorted species has had this to say about the webcomic "Shifters" by Marie Tary and James Strocel:

Webcomic Book Club Summary Reviews of Shifters by Marie Tary and James Strocel
"the script needs to be refined, and the characters given more time to develop. At this point, they've been thrown into so many situations that everything has been a reaction."
Review by Benor | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"It was amusing, but I had some serious issues with it. First, the characters are all very similar-looking. Second, the lettering, as Zen 133t said, is teeny, especially in the first panels. Was it just me, or did the art style change after that? Third... aaugh. The panels all ran together. In several places, I wasn't sure where I was supposed to look next... four panels would be laid out in a square, with all dividing lines perfectly in line... ...sudden shifts in art styles...the goofiness doesn't work in the more serious fight scene."
Review by Tamlin Bowers | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"Shifters is an amateur's learning piece, where we get to see the creators stumble and grow in the various aspects of their craft."
Review by Tenran Kitsune | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"Shifters is at its best when the story is around interpersonal interactions."
Review by Pingu the Great | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"The art was frustratingly inconsistent…The only consistent artwork was the backgrounds, which were consistently awful."
Review by The Phantom Critic | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"It wobblingly follows the blatantly White Wolf derived plot…worn, mediocre, and over used."
Review by Kajamir the Giant | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"surprisingly violent and adult. This is no kiddie comic…The balance between drama and comedy was right on."
Review by Pendleton P. Pomeroy | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

"i loved the artwork…the storyline didn't catch me much."
Review by Zen l33t | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shifters

Submit your own review of this title | Submit a title for review | Title Index


* * * * *
Want your webcomic to be the talk of the week?
Post a link to your strip below and be prepared for a week of burning ears!
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#248521 - 01/22/03 08:10 AM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Psiogen Offline
Member

Registered: 08/26/01
Posts: 104
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Ooh, nice idea.
I'd submit one of my creations, but my current story is only a quarter done, and my previous one is already painful for me to look at. :rolleyes:
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#248522 - 01/22/03 12:52 PM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Furilius Pitch Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 199
Psiogen,

Since each week's webcomic is selected in turn by one of the members, it may be several weeks or even a couple months before I would be able to choose another title. When do you anticipate your current project being completed? I can still keep it on my list as either my next or one-after-next selection.

But please note that the link in your signature took me to a site that was down (I'm assuming that's where your current webcomic is supposed to be).
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#248523 - 01/25/03 11:32 PM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Psiogen Offline
Member

Registered: 08/26/01
Posts: 104
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
It's down cause it's hosted on Keenspace, I'm afraid.

The current comic probably won't be completed until some time this summer, unless I magically acquire a huge whack of free time. A page a week is sloooowwwww.
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#248524 - 01/31/03 10:42 PM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Furilius Pitch Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 199
Psiogen, I'll keep your strip in mind for a summer offering then, but please let me know which strip you refer to as your "current" story as there are several on your site. Also, although I can now reach the site, several of the comic strip images in "Mnemesis" are showing up as broken links.

Moving right along…The second meeting of the Webcomic Book Club offers unanimous praise for what may well be one of the best written webcomics out there, "Shaw Island" by Zach Stroum.

* * * * *

Webcomic Book Club Summary Reviews of Shaw Island by Zach Stroum
"I could have done with more facial expressions, but again, the writing is the main aspect of this comic… Shaw Island is its own little place and while fantastic in nature, there's also something quite real in it. I would find myself thinking 'I know what this guy is feeling' to 'I have a friend like this."
Review by Kajamir the Giant | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

"the whole thing smacks of "Clerks", just not in New Jersey. There's the same self-deprecating sarcasm, the oft deep looks into life, and a bevy of quotable quotes."
Review by Pendleton P. Pomeroy | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

"The art itself is good, matching with the layout for a steady, "Newspaper" feel. It's nothing that I'd simply marvel at for hours mind you."
Review by Teri Dehvis | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

"I've only time to read four or five comics on a regular basis, and this is definitely one of them…The artist has managed to merge elements of absurdity (like the hamsters and crabs) with serious realism (like the characters reactions to their various failed relationships)…It's consistently funny, intelligent and original."
Review by Karol Luis | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

"I KNOW it's a good strip when I print out a copy so I can show it to the [real life] culprit of whom I am reminded when I read it…This seems like a *gasp* intelligent comic. (Hope I haven't just ruined it for anybody.)"
Review by Sekhmet | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

"It's just beautiful how it works sometimes, and very funny…Things never go back to 'normal', they go back to stable…Things that have happened before can and will affect the latest storyline, something that is nice to see after reading gag-a-day strips."
Review by Benor | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

"a nice mix of a continuing storyline and one off jokes…i loved near every strip with the hamster king"
Review by Zen l33t | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Shaw Island

Submit your own review of this title | Submit a title for review | Title Index


* * * * *
Be sure to drop by next week as the Webcomic Book Club takes a lesson in "Demonology 101" from Faith Erin Hicks!
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#248525 - 02/01/03 12:19 AM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Psiogen Offline
Member

Registered: 08/26/01
Posts: 104
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Ooh! I quite like Shaw Island. How come I've never heard of this before?

(Oh, and yes, Mnemesis is my "current story" and yes, Keenspace is still busted. The auto-updater is inserting this bizarre frankensteinian domain name into its links... :rolleyes: )
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#248526 - 02/08/03 02:44 AM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Furilius Pitch Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 199
The third meeting of the Webcomic Book Club found members mixed on the merits of "Demonology 101" by Faith Erin Hicks.
* * * * *

Webcomic Book Club Summary Reviews of Demonology 101 by Faith Erin Hicks
"The story itself was good, but there was something lacking that made it not worthwhile to actually suffer through the slow server."
Review by Teri Dehvis | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Demonology 101

"the high school scenes, (not when they were talking about demons, but when they were being everyday kids) i enjoyed, as it did mesh with my experiences of high school."
Review by Zen l33t | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Demonology 101

"There is very little action in the comic, which it could have stood more of, and I feel it could stand to step away from the dreariness formula, which goes: Brooding weak heroes, someone malevolent attacks them (Isaac or Lethe related), good guys get beat up, something outside their control comes in to save them. I would like to see the good characters start holding their own and show some strength."
Review by Kajamir the Giant | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Demonology 101

"The characters in this story are well written and described, they do not seem to falter from their ideals or change their character design without reason; their evolution as they go through their trials and tribulations is well done and has improved as the comic has progressed."
Review by Jordin The Learned | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Demonology 101

"The story was just interesting enough to keep me reading, but not quite enough to get me excited... I felt it needed something more...more suspense, more action, more horror, more soap opera, or some special kick. It seemed to skirt all of those traditions without being particularly strong in any one."
Review by The Phantom Critic | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Demonology 101

"The black and white [art] fits the subject matter well, but isn't oppressive…Demonology moves fast. But it gives you time to breathe first, setting up the conflict and giving you some clues about the players."
Review by Benor | Read Full Review | Read All Reviews of Demonology 101

Submit your own review of this title | Submit a title for review | Title Index


* * * * *
Next week, the Webcomic Book Club explores the galaxies of "Space Opera" by Lois Spangler and Marie Del Rio!
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#248527 - 02/12/03 02:23 PM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
Furilius Pitch Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 199
Does the Webcomic Book Club cruelly stomp on people's dreams?

The Webcomic Book Club is facing a minor crisis this week. Our intent was never to be cruel and squash the dreams of aspiring cartoonists (who are we, anyway?—certainly not influential journalists). The core problem lies in the fact that on the web you have professional-level comics, first-timers and everyone in-between all mixed-up on the same playing field. We want to select from everything that's out there, find the undiscovered gems, and offer our candid commentary. I don't know if there is a way to do this without occasionally coming off as "webcomic bashers". Case in point— our current discussion of "Space Opera" . Some key questions that have come up:

  1. Should we notify creators that we will be discussing their work?
  2. Should creators have the right to refuse being the subject of discussion?
  3. Should we attempt to only review "professional-level" webcomics? And if so, how does one make that determination?
  4. Should we offer only constructive criticism and avoid nasty comments (even if that nastiness can sometimes be entertaining)?
  5. Is the entire concept of a webcomic book club (or our version of one) just a bad idea (for x reasons)?


Most contributors to this Comicon forum seem to be webcomic creators. You're the ones creating the works we'll be reviewing. What are your feelings? Don't creators want this kind of feedback, even at the risk of it being negative?

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#248528 - 02/12/03 03:00 PM Re: Webcomic Book Club (Jan 2003 - Jun 2005)
modernfear Offline
Member

Registered: 04/13/01
Posts: 910
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Most book clubs I've ever participated in didn't try to take a good sampling of every book that was out there -- they limited themselves to a). classics, or b). new works that have garnered a lot of positive attention.

On the other hand, the point of those book clubs wasn't to critique the work, it was to raise the cultural profile of the participants ("Today we'll be reading Adam Bede ..." for example doesn't have a lot of room for "Here's how George Eliot could have made it better ..." in part because George Eliot isn't alive, and even if she was, she'd have no access to the book club's proceedings).

The idea for those kinds of book clubs is that the book itself is worthwhile by definition, and the conversation is about how the book fits into the reader's own cultural understanding of the world, rather than on the relative quality of the work or lack thereof (though this does come up from time to time, it's a side issue -- an internal politicking debate about what worthwhile book should be chosen next, is how it usually manifests itself).

Another kind of similar "real"-world arrangement, though, is the creative workshop. That's what they do in creative writing schools, for example: the creator puts his/her work up on the block, and the other participants, who are also creators, talk about ways that they think it could be made better. The key here, of course, is that *the creator* puts the work up on the block. He or she knows what he or she is getting into. I personally have found workshops to be very helpful in polishing my own art (prose fiction, that is). Especially the savage ones.

I think that both kinds of "clubs" could be very interesting and worthwhile experiments within the webcomics community -- and maybe the problem you've run into with yours is that you're trying to be a hybrid of both. And maybe those two animals don't mix very well. I dunno. Just my thoughts.

Joey
www.moderntales.com
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