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  1. #1
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    Comic Critique *New pages added (28-29)*

    I've been contemplating putting this in here for critique for some time since I know that this place isn't as much for comics, but in any case any sort of critique would be helpful.
    This comic is ongoing and really slow so any in-depth story critique might be hard (but if there's something that you feel you should understand during these pages but feel that it was poorly explained/executed I'd love to know, or that the dialog is stilted etc), but if you notice anything art-wise, and especially things that might persist in several pages (as opposed to some first page wonkyness) would be really helpful. I'm planning on spending most of my vacation catching up with this and targeting all sorts of problem points.
    I'll attach one page through the CA thing and rest from Photobucket and hope that they show, but if they don't you can also find the comic from these places:
    http://www.drunkduck.com/Gore/
    http://nightmarehound.deviantart.com...ge-1-175048481

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    Last edited by TinyBird; October 24th, 2012 at 04:10 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Looks good. Obviously you more or less know what you're doing art-wise, so the following suggestions (all about the writing) are as always highly biased by my own personal prejudices as a reader:

    1. I realize that the slowness of the pacing (very popular in indie comics these days) is some kind of deliberate choice on your part, but reading this is a lot of work...just way too many reaction shots and unnecessary exposition panels. Judicious editing-out of about half the panels here would make it much easier to read.

    2. The entire story seems to be about the personality friction between the various characters---which I just have a hard time getting into. If the characters had some kind of larger goals, I think I'd engage with it a lot more easily. (Please don't respond, "Oh, the 'larger goals' don't come up until Volume 5." I want a hook NOW.)

    3. I feel like I've seen these characters many times before--the Plucky Even-Tempered Stablehand has to escort the Haughty Young Noble (and there's a good chance they become an "Odd Couple' : http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OddCouple .) I need more uncertainty to keep interested: what are some elements of their characters that don't fit those stereotypes?

    So: speed it up, give me a larger arc, give the characters more depth. I'm not suggesting that you rework anything you've posted, but those are my suggestions going forward.

    As always, just my two cents.

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  5. #3
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    I like the colours. The lines look a little unrefined in places, which seems good in the forest shots but sometimes a little crude when it comes to characters and animals. You don't always leave quite enough space in the word balloons.

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    I like them. Art-wise I'd like to see a little more of a consistent approach to the way you separate the foreground and character elements to the background. Thick bold black lines for fg and thinner color lines for bg.
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    There also times when you are over detailing the backgrounds or scenes somewhat unnecessarily and adversely to the readability of the panels.
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    You might also try mixing your panels up a bit more by trying different layouts based more on verticals, triangles, parallelograms, or even other geometric shapes than the more somewhat standard formats you are currently using. Throw in a full or partial splash occasionally. Just thinking of ways you might keep it interesting and yeah, not enough room on some of the bubbles and I am also itching for a little less talk and a little more action.
    Oh crap...I just quoted Elvis.

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    I like it overall, there are a few things i don't understand though.

    When the duck pecks him on the back, whats happening there? Its just seems out of place and unexplained to me. Is it just supposed to be cute, or is there a running joke here? Its just an odd transition as is. Also, another example is on the last page, why does he need to bandage himself up, from getting grabbed by the shirt collar? It seems your going for a samurai look there, but I just don't get why. Maybe thats coming and I'm jumping the gun?

    So I think your on the right track, clarifying the art and story in needed, but the basis is cool and I enjoyed the read!

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    @Giacomo
    Aha ha ha ha... Actually the slow pacing less of a deliberate choice and more like I just didn't notice how exactly slow the comic is until page 13 when it took over 10 pages just to go inside and out of that castle (there's surprisingly lot that I don't notice with this thing). I feel like I have a bad habit of doing something more of a really choppy animation, where (the library-thing is a good example) instead of moving to a scene I have to not only show the character on outside and inside the door, also show him going through it.
    So I really need to work on chopping at least one or two of those, along with the reaction images...

    Oooh, ouch. The Odd Couple trope really hits the nail to the head, and coupled with the really slow pacing I actually find it really hard to get anything about the characters shown (though it's just as likely that there isn't anything to show).
    I never really thought I would get anywhere with the comic so in a way there's nothing much to be expected even in Volume 5 aside killing even more stuff but well, if killing stuff is important in this then it would really make sense to get to it sooner rather than later.
    I hate to admit that these were things that I hadn't really considered at all, so hearing these was extremely helpful.

    @vineris
    Hmm, I hadn't really thought the lines before so it's very likely that there's several parts that are also just plain sloppy. Also yeah, the word balloons... My eternal enemy that feels like they always take too much space and fill up all the art.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blankstate View Post
    I like them. Art-wise I'd like to see a little more of a consistent approach to the way you separate the foreground and character elements to the background. Thick bold black lines for fg and thinner color lines for bg.
    There also times when you are over detailing the backgrounds or scenes somewhat unnecessarily and adversely to the readability of the panels.
    Oh, those look so much better! Those are definitely things to revisit in the older pages and yeah especially that bird was a really bad decision that caused trouble even during drawing but it never occurred for me to just remove it because cute bird omfg gotta have picturesque crap.

    You might also try mixing your panels up a bit more by trying different layouts based more on verticals, triangles, parallelograms, or even other geometric shapes than the more somewhat standard formats you are currently using. Throw in a full or partial splash occasionally.
    True. I'm guessing I'm avoiding everything fancy because of the "hey I'm a manga artist look at me I'm using manga panels even though I have no understanding why these panels are the way they are" thing in here and I don't really want to be seen as a manga-artist again so I'm overcompensating the standard comic layouts to the point that it hurts the comic itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnailsPace View Post
    When the duck pecks him on the back, whats happening there?
    You mean the one before the orange panel with the duck kwaak? Yeah I'll have to edit that because the duck is just jumping to the dragon from the other guy's hands, but I can see that they're so close that it can be confused to the duck pecking.

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  12. #7
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    Hmm, I can of course only give a reader's view that's all. I must confess I am biased because I loathe comics, of all sorts- because I never ever understand what is going on.

    I actually managed to follow that one pretty well, maybe because it is slow enough for me to cope just one thing really confuses me. The son, just before the blonde knight enters the room, what is he looking at when he has this flashback to his childhood? I first thought he is secretly painting something, but all the map references made me wonder whether it is a (kinky) map? I don't understand what you are trying to say.

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    I actually had to stop reading because I found the pace too slow, so I probably suffer from comic impatience.

    I like the art though. It's dark and rich and the detail in it is what makes it special for me, because a lot of the time I find comic book art like this to be too simple. Not that I'm an expert, just going on what I've seen around the internet. I did struggle to follow who was who though, and I wonder if thats because you've got a style going on in it that makes the characters look pretty similar to each other. Or maybe I should be paying more attention. Either way, I felt I should point it out.

    Sorry I didn't stick with it to the end - I might come back at a later date. I really just wanted to post my thoughts because I owe you a critique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    [B]I hate to admit that these were things that I hadn't really considered at all, so hearing these was extremely helpful.
    I hope I wasn't too negative in my comments. I do, however, strongly encourage you to think more carefully about the story as you go forward.

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    I experienced the paneling as quite stiff as well, often because the perspective, general colors and shapes are the same across several panels or even whole pages, for example the page with the duck and the sword. There everything is seen from exactly the same height and from the same side of the animal. You can definitely keep the scene with only small changes if you're going for a funny moment, but that only works once in a while. If you don't want to add other geometric shapes, maybe look at Donald Duck comics and see how they by varying the background, perspective and placement keep everything dynamic. The following page is almost exclusively in the same room and with only square panels, but it still doesn't feel stiff.

    Comic Critique *New pages added (28-29)*

    And here an example of how to create variation from a comic I read a lot when I was younger, The Phantom by Lee Falk (yes, I admit that I laughed at his clothes even when I was a kid). The quality of that comic varies greatly between different illustrators, but I find this page quite well done. Here, some of the tricks used are silhouetting, placing a panel over another, dramatic changes in perspective, different was of dividing the picture, and variation of the amount of details (leaves, screens, wall etc).

    Comic Critique *New pages added (28-29)*



    Hope it helps and that it gives you some ideas. Of course, you'll have to see what works with your way of storytelling and drawing, and shortening the story will also cut out some of those panels which seem very alike.

    I didn't really mind the slower pace, though speeding it up won't hurt either. The story does feel a bit predictable. I did laugh a few times, like when I realized that "Gore" was a name (first I wondered why the heck someone wrote gore all over the first panels) and the part with the dudes asking "you had a kid" and "you even had a WIFE?". Gore does look a bit ridiculously big, but that's a stylistic choice. I'm just not all that into ultra-macho-big dudes.

    Last edited by EagleGrove; May 2nd, 2012 at 03:45 PM.
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  19. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post
    The son, just before the blonde knight enters the room, what is he looking at when he has this flashback to his childhood?
    Oh, that's supposed to be a tapestry, just to note that he really has lived in the castle. Pulling the camera back to show the whole thing might've helped on that though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Candra H View Post
    I actually had to stop reading because I found the pace too slow, so I probably suffer from comic impatience.
    I did struggle to follow who was who though, and I wonder if thats because you've got a style going on in it that makes the characters look pretty similar to each other.
    Well, I suffer from that too a bit, especially with comics that are heavy on dialogue, I just end up skipping ahead usually. For the characters I have noticed that many of them end up getting fairly similar face shapes and bodybuilds (especially the two-bit background people), so I definitely try to get more range of variation for that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    I hope I wasn't too negative in my comments. I do, however, strongly encourage you to think more carefully about the story as you go forward.
    Oh trust me that wasn't negative at all! (Let's just say that you can't top me when it comes to giving negative critique to myself. But on the flip side I can't really trust all my own critiques, especially when they start to contradict each other, making it possible that I'm just vindictive against my own drawings.) I can only wish I got more that sort of crits.
    Comic Critique *New pages added (28-29)*

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  21. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleGrove View Post
    If you don't want to add other geometric shapes, maybe look at Donald Duck comics and see how they by varying the background, perspective and placement keep everything dynamic. The following page is almost exclusively in the same room and with only square panels, but it still doesn't feel stiff.
    That is true actually, and I really must dig up my old Donald Duck comics. At least the ones made by Don Rosa! I really marvel how tight and relatively short he can keep the comics while still putting the occasional reaction panel in there.


    (yes, I admit that I laughed at his clothes even when I was a kid).
    OI. You don't laugh at the Ghost Who Walks.
    ...Except if you've seen the actual movie about him, then it's okay I guess. I also read quite a few of the Phantom comics when I was really young (so I don't really remember a lot but...)
    In any case that page alone had good stuff to remember, at least for later points of the comic.

    Gore does look a bit ridiculously big, but that's a stylistic choice. I'm just not all that into ultra-macho-big dudes.
    I have to admit I partly made him ultra buff because all my other characters were girly-boys and boyish-girls (and none of them wore armor) so, an excellent chance to try something new!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    That is true actually, and I really must dig up my old Donald Duck comics. At least the ones made by Don Rosa! I really marvel how tight and relatively short he can keep the comics while still putting the occasional reaction panel in there.



    OI. You don't laugh at the Ghost Who Walks.
    ...Except if you've seen the actual movie about him, then it's okay I guess. I also read quite a few of the Phantom comics when I was really young (so I don't really remember a lot but...)
    In any case that page alone had good stuff to remember, at least for later points of the comic.


    I have to admit I partly made him ultra buff because all my other characters were girly-boys and boyish-girls (and none of them wore armor) so, an excellent chance to try something new!
    Ah, Don Rosa is amazing! Didn't they print hardcover albums of his stories?

    Edit: I found a site with Don Rosa's comics! Link.

    He won't harm children, so I guess I'm safe I really like the comics though, I'm glad my dad kept them. Even my mom read them! The good ones are great inspiration, and since most are all in black and white they're an even better source of techniques, since the artist couldn't "cheat" with colors.

    Ah, okay, then Gore is a-okay, balance is necessary. (His name is really BEGGING for puns!)

    Last edited by EagleGrove; May 2nd, 2012 at 05:11 PM.
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  23. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    @vineris
    Hmm, I hadn't really thought the lines before so it's very likely that there's several parts that are also just plain sloppy.
    Well, a sloppy page that's done is better than a hundred perfect pages that remain in one's imagination. Keep going, fix it when you're putting your first book together.

    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Also yeah, the word balloons... My eternal enemy that feels like they always take too much space and fill up all the art.
    Have you considered doing a few comic stories without words?

    Anyway, what I do is put the word balloons in first. That way I'm not tempted to squash them off to one side or commit other atrocities to them (which you do not do, so good going there). Also, it saves me from putting a bunch of tedious crosshatching underneath them.

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  24. #15
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    I love the comic medium! It's great to see a big bite of comic pages here to crit. I agree with most of what's been said, plus the colours are a bit dark on my screen so details are lost. Vasara could do with some highlights. Also I lost the plot at a couple of places. Doing comics are hard though, I think they're the hardest kind of narrative creative output to master. There are images and words, and then it's pacing and the most important bit, what happens between the panels. And they take TIME. So kudos for sticking with it and for posting!

    Btw, why is it that when I go to your Deviant-page I can only see the featured pic Sleepy Hallows Eve? To see more I have to click on that and go to "other images by Nightm.Hound". How do I get to your gallery?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleGrove View Post
    Ah, Don Rosa is amazing! Didn't they print hardcover albums of his stories?
    Yes they did, at least here in Finland (they practically had to after Rosa did the Finnish-specific Sampo comic)!

    (His name is really BEGGING for puns!)
    Ha ha, this whole comic actually started from a "pun" about how silly it would be if someone mistook the words "Hyperboria" and "hypothermia"!
    Though unfortunately I'll always have to consider that all puns I use can be translated at some degree to Finnish.

    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Have you considered doing a few comic stories without words?
    I actually have done those (I did couple stories about shrews that only said "tsik tsik" so all dialog could be just couple words) and I have bad habit of doing comics without words and then adding dialog as the last thing which probably explains why they don't go together as smoothly as I'd want..

    Anyway, what I do is put the word balloons in first. That way I'm not tempted to squash them off to one side or commit other atrocities to them (which you do not do, so good going there). Also, it saves me from putting a bunch of tedious crosshatching underneath them.
    Yeah, I try to do that but then I always end up forgetting that there's a word balloon there and put all these precious details which I have to cover up... I always draw the backgrounds fully because I can't predict too well what shape and size the word balloon will be. Some English words have hideously long Finnish translations and vice versa.

    Quote Originally Posted by _Devilry_ View Post
    Also I lost the plot at a couple of places.
    Mind pointing out where you got lost especially?

    Btw, why is it that when I go to your Deviant-page I can only see the featured pic Sleepy Hallows Eve? To see more I have to click on that and go to "other images by Nightm.Hound". How do I get to your gallery?
    Because I don't want to look at my new work in my front page, but you can get to the Gallery by clicking the "Gallery" tab which should be above the featured pic/pageviews, between "Profile" and "Prints". (or just write gallery after the da link: http://nightmarehound.deviantart.com/gallery/ ) And then Browse if you want to see everything~

    Last edited by TinyBird; May 2nd, 2012 at 07:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnailsPace View Post
    Also, another example is on the last page, why does he need to bandage himself up, from getting grabbed by the shirt collar? It seems your going for a samurai look there, but I just don't get why. Maybe thats coming and I'm jumping the gun?
    Oh yeah, I forgot to answer this one, yeah this part will be answered later (in Volume 5) so it's mainly some sort of foreshadowing.

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    Hello guys,

    Here are some thoughts from me. They are more concerned with the storytelling, rather than the art itself, so sorry if I’m going a bit off topic.

    First of all I really like the moments of comic relief. Like when the guy looking for Gore in the beginning finds himself surrounded by strange beasties, alone. Also the people eavesdropping on Gore’s conversation with the king are hilarious, especially their expressions when found out. I really think these moments fit well with the style of the comic.

    Secondly, I don’t think the storyline is that hard to follow. Shure, there are gaps here and there, but I just assume that they will be explained later in the comic. Everything don’t have to be explained right away. It takes away the suspense and it would also be very boring with characters having to explain everything all the time. Also another reason for why I find this comic easy to follow is because, to me, it is a cliché. ( Sorry, I’m not trying to be mean, clichés are not always bad). Thus I don’t mind gaps in the storyline because the cliché fills in the missing bits.

    Clichés are interesting and maybe something to consider when drawing/planning your comic? Using a cliché knowingly can be a great aid as you don’t have to explain everything, people will usually understand anyway, as they recognize the cliché. Also if you use a cliché and then don’t follow it you can surprise the reader to great effect (or, you can just miff them out if it is done badly).

    So, that was my two cents, thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    I actually have done those (I did couple stories about shrews that only said "tsik tsik" so all dialog could be just couple words) and I have bad habit of doing comics without words and then adding dialog as the last thing which probably explains why they don't go together as smoothly as I'd want..
    Oh yes, I loved Gordon Shroo! One of my favourites. I can't remember if I knew you did that one or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Mind pointing out where you got lost especially?
    Between page 12 and 13, because I didn't see the hand reaching out (colours and lines forms a dark whole on my screen). And the part with the duck. Btw it would be easier to crit if you put numbers beneath each page.

    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Because I don't want to look at my new work in my front page, but you can get to the Gallery by clicking the "Gallery" tab which should be above the featured pic/pageviews, between "Profile" and "Prints".
    Ahaa... *duuh*

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  33. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Oh yes, I loved Gordon Shroo! One of my favourites. I can't remember if I knew you did that one or not.
    And I did two little "magazines" of Shroo Tales (while being bored at school) which was basically the same but with improv

    Quote Originally Posted by _Devilry_ View Post
    Between page 12 and 13, because I didn't see the hand reaching out (colours and lines forms a dark whole on my screen). And the part with the duck. Btw it would be easier to crit if you put numbers beneath each page.
    Ah yeah. Those pages were done before I re-calibrated my screen and many of the pages went a lot darker, especially Gore's armor (though if the whole hand with the glove parts is black then that might be your in your screen but if it's just too dark and confusing then it's on me). I'll have to edit those colours (and the duck part).
    I also added page numbers but since they're so small I'll later add them to the actual images (especially if I continue posting the pages to this thread).

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    I think the biggest thing you need to work on is anatomy and perspective. I think it would benefit you to do some serious perspective work. Because I have studied perspective its glaringly obvious to me, but the average person will be less bothered by it, but still notice it. Find the horizon line and the vanishing points and maybe even try some grids. Once you get a better handle on perspective you can "fake it" better.

    As for the characters, the cartooning is cool but its still a little weak when it comes to anatomy, Being more informed about the anatomy will make your cartooning seem more natural.

    I really like your painting style. I think you should push atmospheric perspective more and focus on making small marks in in the background and bigger ones in the foreground. Sometimes you use the same size/complexity of marks throughout the whole piece.

    Storywise, I stopped reading by the third page. This may function better as a page a day thing, but I kept scrolling down waiting for something to happen. It seems like you spend a lot of time writing comedy at the expense of the plot. If there is an audience for this, by all means go for it, but I really wanted to the characters to do something but they just kept talking.

    Again I like the art, just think it could be strengthened by studying some anatomy and perspective. I didn't really get into storytelling because I think that was touched on earlier. If you have any questions just let me know.

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  36. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelharris View Post
    I think the biggest thing you need to work on is anatomy and perspective. I think it would benefit you to do some serious perspective work.
    Yeah, it's one of those things that I too see as a glaring bother, especially in all indoor panels, so I was wondering that no one hadn't pointed it out yet.

    Sometimes you use the same size/complexity of marks throughout the whole piece.
    Yeah... I have a weird hang-up of only using one size of brush through the whole inking, something that actually extends to everything else (let's just say that traditional painting became suddenly easier when I realized that I could use several brushes, as opposed to just one) which is definitely a problem, so I need to make a mental note on that.

    It seems like you spend a lot of time writing comedy at the expense of the plot. If there is an audience for this, by all means go for it, but I really wanted to the characters to do something but they just kept talking.
    But this is something that really disturbs me since several people have touched upon it, both here and elsewhere, that there's comedy or humor written in this comic when in reality there's maybe three jokes written in these pages thus far so I don't know exactly how blind I am to my own storytelling here (since the same happened with the overall slowness thing too, though that one I might credit for not actually having a set page limit the first time that ended up dragging the whole thing so I'll be using page limits from now on) but it's pretty disconcerting.

    In the end I re-did most of the remaining thumbnails for this chapter, and managed to shorten it couple pages and make it bit more dynamic. The end will kinda stay as this sort of overly-long info dump unless I prolong it even further by adding action in the middle of it of which I'm not sure whether that's a good idea after getting this far in the middle (and it won't fix the slowness of the start unless I re-do the whole chapter), but the second chapter has no thumbs done so I'll try to make it as tight and action packed as I can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    But this is something that really disturbs me since several people have touched upon it, both here and elsewhere, that there's comedy or humor written in this comic when in reality there's maybe three jokes written in these pages thus far so I don't know exactly how blind I am to my own storytelling here
    What, three jokes in all of these pages?? In the first four pages I see four jokes. Not that there's anything bad with humour. The eavesdropping for example is really funny.

    About the hand on page 12, it forms a whole with the guy so it looks like his body got a bit wider. I see at a 2nd glance that it is indeed a hand reaching out, but you could easily emphasize it with a general lighter or darker colour.

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    Well, take a look sitcoms. Sitcoms work because the environments are boring. There is nothing to focus on but the characters and their interactions. When you put them in armor and give them swords and powers I keep waiting for dragons and wizards to attack them. You can have an action comedy and make it work, but when the characters are dressed for action, I want action. You can mix the genres, like in movies like "How to train your dragon" but the action and comedy were in fairly equal parts and even mixed together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _Devilry_ View Post
    What, three jokes in all of these pages?? In the first four pages I see four jokes.
    Okay, maybe four and a half (definitely putting the limit on five) jokes overall in these pages. I don't know, maybe I'm just so blind to my own work but aside five things nothing was intended to be funny and I don't find any of it funny myself. I mean I wasn't thinking that I'm writing some epic drama here but I was thinking it to be like average-neutral stuff so I am genuinely perplexed. But this is getting bit off-topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelharris View Post
    When you put them in armor and give them swords and powers I keep waiting for dragons and wizards to attack them.
    Duly noted and makes sense.

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    Well here's the newest page sketch in a state that's clear enough to make sense of. Still going on with the reaction images but there was originally two of them! Now only one. (Progress, I swear.)
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    I cannot for the life of me figure out what is going on in panels 3, 4, and 5.

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    @Giacomo: I think he looks up and notices one of those creatures that were with Gore. Panel three: Holding sword and looking up, we're looking down. Panel four: We're seeing that dude's back and we're looking up with him and see that... creature. Fifth panel, we're up on that cliff and see both the creature and the dude from above. I think it's pretty clear, but then again I might see everything wrong xD

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleGrove View Post
    @Giacomo: I think he looks up and notices one of those creatures that were with Gore. Panel three: Holding sword and looking up, we're looking down. Panel four: We're seeing that dude's back and we're looking up with him and see that... creature. Fifth panel, we're up on that cliff and see both the creature and the dude from above. I think it's pretty clear, but then again I might see everything wrong xD
    Yup, those are correct (though I can totally understand if panel 3 makes no sense to anyone). I better refine the sketch further, so that it's actually as clear as I would do it before inking to make sure whether there's an actual issue in the clarity of the panels since the camera does jump around quite a bit, or if this was just my sloppy sketching.

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