Webcomic Book Club Reviews by Jordin The Learned

Characters: Ah characters they can be the high point or the low point of any story. Without out them stories would not exist.
Better Days is a story about characters, revolving around a small family of anthropomorphic cats; a twin kittens, and a divorced mother.
Fisk, the male of the two kittens is more often the pivotal character in most of the stories, a smart kid, as he ages through the comic, so does his seemly boundless wisdom for a child of his age. He is put through many pressures from sources including, family, school, and friends, and his way of adapting, and coming to terms, and conquering these issues are the pinnacle of this web comic.
Lucy, the seemingly younger of the two kittens, is perfectly atypical of young junior/high school girl, worried about her body, its development, her mother, her brother, friends at school, many things I have heard my friends talk about that they worried about in those years.
Sheila, the mother, is interspersed throughout eventually getting more and more story time, strikes me as a wonderful rendition of a single mother raising two very feisty kids, who seem to get into more trouble than most families. She is smart, strong willed, and resourceful, and a superb mother.
This family of cats makes up the main characters mingled with a wonderful assortment of very true to life caricatures.

Story: The comic is made up of various vignettes, each usually leading to the other, or referring to the past.
Each story is a masterpiece of storytelling; they grab you, sink you into the characters, and makes you want to read it to the end. I read the entire archive in a few short minutes, allowing nothing to distract me, it was just that interesting.
Each story is unique, leading from various points that many people may have occur in their lives, from sex at a young age, to a sibling getting sick and hospitalized, to a widows search for companionship.
These stories have many different emotions to them, and though many of them involve sadness, or anger, stemming from such issues as rape and being betrayed, to love and joy, coming from simple things as family and having someone to be there when you need it.

Art: The art is done simply in Black and White inking, however the artists abilities are excellent. Details are intricate and noticeable, the characters are all easy to identify, even as they age. The only character that seems to change design is the mother, from how she is in the first strip.
Great art and good too look at.

Layout: Relatively simple layout, grey background, links to the next pages and previous pages. The ability to read an entire chapter at once is nice, though it might be slow for some slower internet connections; I found it easier, and faster to read. Main page provides links to some other comics that are in the works by the same author. The comic is very self contained, the only other art page is mostly of random images, and there is a links page, profile on author, and a link to a store, the usual fare.

Overall: This comic reminds me of why I wanted to write for the Webcomic Book club to begin with. A wonderful story, excellent characters, great art, easy to navigate page. I like to rate comics the same way i rate books: Would i read it again? for this comic the answer is yes, hence my score: 9/10
Thu Dec 23 2004 08:38 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Charectors: How do i describe the charectors in this comic? let's start with this:
They are boring, cliched, boring, idiotic, selfish, boring, ignorant, and boring.
four roommates living.... somewhere, in something, sit around, and do nothing. wooo excitment! they are never seen leaving the same 3-4 panals, which never change except for the ocasional couch.
charectors range from rip offs from Friday the 13th, to a terrible rendition of Jesus, to gay bikers to "Dubya" who is another lame copy and paste image of George Bush.

Art: The art is better than some, and is definiltly the best part of the entire comic. all the chars have a unique pallet that in some cases even changes from comic to comic. the art is rarely indictive of copy and paste style art, with good facial expresions, and other than the backgrounds a variety of interesting colours.

Story:non-existant. This does happen in other strips as well, however, in this instance it strikes me like the writer is trying to create a story, starts on an arc than gives up. With a few self referential comics back to earlier strips it gives indication about things that have happened in the past. but anything meaningful or anything that might affect how the charectors might react to a situation is quickly lost. (ex. "hey this food has razer blades in it." "ohhh gimme!" next strip "this drink has poison in it" "oooh gimme!")

Layout: Simple 3-4 plain panel layout, news section on home page, the usual navagation icons, links to extras cast etc. nothing new from other strips, except lack of background in strips, this may change over time however.

Overall: A dud, uninteresting charectors, bland stories, lame jokes. The only redeming quality is the art, but it is not near enough. It is still relativly new, however, i do not plan to continue to read it to see if it improves. 2.5/10
Wed Dec 15 2004 11:18 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art:

at the start the art was very basic, and partly crud. no background no variation. But it developed and became better. indeed it is not as good as some but it grew to be visually intresting, with a large variety. Backgrounds developed and changed, details grew and were kept together. well done.

Story:

The story is half of what makes this comic shine. Its the development of a comic, from creation as charectors get added, to end when they all leave. It has a very definite start, (let their be light!) and end (let there be darkness!) It develops changes twists and turns. It creates new ideas which have never been used in comics before. A varying Fourth wall, direct interaction with other dimensions. very facinating to watch develop.

Charectors:

The other half. The charectors are wonderful from start to finish. They ponder their own existance, develop their own stories and attitudes. It's great to see the detail of the devlopment, as they literally fight with their own creator the comic artist, and debate even his ideas as he writes them. they have their own personalities and seem even to suprise the author at times.

Page Style:

Pretty plain. white background, nothing very viusal. the load up was annoying at times. and once in a while the whole site seemed to be down making it impossible for me to read the comics. nothing really grabbed my attention.

Overall:

8/10 A good story, well designed and well finished. Slow at times, and some stories on religon got tedious, but still well developed.
Wed Oct 01 2003 09:29 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art
The art is plesant, done completly in grey-scale, the details are very precise. With the first few chapters what really caught my eye, were the fish. the details and placement of said fish made for very intresting scenes, giving a kind of sureal look to strip. After that the backgrounds continued to be expanisive and expressive. the actual human drawings varied in complexity, but with a lot of variety. and like all good webcomics, extremmly expressive people.

Story
Very nice story, and to say it, a very human story. High school and relationships are something pretty much anybody can relate to. The ones depicted in this comic are realistic, not blown to soap opera proportions like some comics, or reduced to side notes like others, this is very real, and plausible.

Chars.
Again as in story very real, the charectors act, and react, like humans. They talk about their past and act about their future in realistic matters. Happy moments and sad moments, moments that they will remeber for maybe the rest of their lives. fone well, written well, and expressive.

Page Layout
A diffrent background then usual, an orange tartan. placed on top with a black and white and grey comic, the colours kinda of mix, and kinda don't. the large page scroll to read down made for a longer load time then most. But it does usually finish a small or larger story arc at the end of each of the chapters which take up the entire page.

Overall
8/10 good story, pretty nice art, intresting page design. A few elements could have been left out. but overall a wonderfully done story.
Tue Sep 16 2003 07:29 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art
Very nice art, well drawn and coloured. Each char, even though, almost always dressed alike, due to uniform or what have you, all have very diffrent and real faces. Porportions, and momvent are all very well drawn, to a realistic scale. the backgrounds as well, though usually a dull desert, is still given rich detail, and colour where needed.

Chars
Though realativly short in the lines of char, there still is given a chance to understand the various chars. though there is little or no backstory at all for nearly all of them, due to thier simularity with real life people, they are able to be understood. Each char, does not really develop, per se, but is still given a chance to portray their part in the story which is what stories are all about, Charector.

Story
It is hard for me to critique the story, i can see that it was well done, and made with effort, just it never stuck to me, the fight of the little people against their oppresors. Same shtick that has been used for a long time. an antaganist joins the protaganist, and learns to like them, and they him. then the antaganists freinds show up and they fight. The lone girl alone and dying out to save her people against the oppresors. it just seems to have been done before, just put into a diffrent setting. the thing i liked the most was the title chars, however, the spiders, and the faceless many who run them, i think they are a wonderful addition to the story.

Page Design
Hmmmm part marks here, as when the first time i read this i was using a 56k modem, it was slow, choppy, and sometime it would stop loading and due to the page design i didnt realize i was missing some images that were supposed to load. The variance of adding the little pop up was an intresting touch, though it took me a second or two to realize that it was supposed to happen instead of me thinking the site was spamming me. but thats my fault. Sometimes hard to read or navagate, but as well sometimes had a good layout, and was simple.

Overall
7/10 good chars, and art, somewhat intresting variance on story. Short yet explanitive.
Sat Aug 09 2003 02:24 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art:
Very basic art, line drawings, not much detail, static, but enough to get across the point of the comic, and enough thought to know the artist wasn't just drawing randomly, but was drawing what she needed to make her comic. not a lot of varietym, but was not really needed.

Chars:
The stoires in this comic revolve around one prime char with some reaccuring chars in a few comics. The char is portrayed as the Artist herself, and goes through her trials and tribulations.

Story:
A diverse amount of stories, ranging from a variety of diffrent events that happen in a teenage life. Now i personally could not touch on any of these subjects, i did not feel for the char at all. I found the stories to be static and full of angst, but did seem to have a quality of reedeming, and helped the readers discover diffrent aspects of life.

Page Design:
slighlty diffrent then alot of comics, a kind of hard to manage archive, but that doesnt really matter due to no particular order. most were startadrd click to proceed comics, one or two had a sup menu of diffrnet comics, and one was really annoying to dig through, with hidden procced buttons.

Overall:
5/10 This comic was not for me. i found no realtioon to the char, didnt feel any intrest in the story, or the outcome. It does have qualities that i coudl see others might appriciate, but it just didnt seem good to me.
Sat Aug 02 2003 03:28 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art:

The art was interesting, almost all penciled in, it seemed to me to be incomplete at times, rough drawings, though drawn well that looked like were just put up. Rough edgings, unfinished drawings, lines through lines. The actual art was nice, well-proportioned humans, very nice facial expressions, and wide range. But nothing spectacular

Chars:

Uninspired chars, that I really couldn't get into, too much back story that is implied but never said, references made to past occurrences that never seem to come into context. A lot of past, not enough present or future. Unknown agendas, that while interesting did not go anywhere, pointless conversations. I did not get a feel for any of the chars.

Story:

Jumpy story that seemed to more bounce then flow, again it seems to pick up in the middle of a story and never finish it. The first act completes a story arc, but one that is suspended with no beginning or end. It just seems to be and is taken for granted. I just didn't get the point, I understood that they were telling a story, but not where it was leading.

Page Design:

Horrible, disjointed pages broken up chapters, you have to go through 4 pages from the homepage just to get to the comic, standard white background for all the comics. most of the images reformatted when I looked at them, so it took me multiple tries to view the comic.

Overall:

4/10 Good art, though it seemed to be thrown up uncompleted, with a story that was insipid. Page design that was atrocious. I've tried reading it 3 times before and never could get through it, only reason I did this time was to get the review done. Definitely will not read again.
Sat Jul 26 2003 10:04 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

This is the third time writing this reveiw, as the bloody comp keeps crashing on me, so lets hope this one works.

Art:
The art is very nice, i enjoy how colourful it almost always is, ahs a lot of background which is nice to see, as i think a lot of daily comics dont have that as much. A nice vareity on the chars, you can tell almost all of them apart with ease. Loved the cat, drawn beutifully in so many diffrent situations.

Chars:
Not your average lot, for the most part a bunch of moody sex obbssesed, violent people. Who for some reason are just wonderful. I found them enduring and rooting for them no matter how much trouble they managed to get themselves into. And a wide variety as well. Loved the cat, wonderful little bugger, so many diffrent possibilities.

Story
uhhh Intresting stories, usually broken into parts that ran for a few days, but most of them refered back to themselves in later events. Very strange humour at work here, from abortion, to goth, to gaming, to Canadian trap door alligators, this has it all. All tonuge in cheek as they make musicals involving scantly clad devils, hunt lions with air guns, date, game, whatever, they always manage to please. Loved the cat, seen often only in bit parts, playing a dish rag or a pillow, but does manage some majo roles as well, well done.

Page Design:
Not bad page design, the archive was easier to use than most, showing the dates, as well as title. Basic black which seems to fit well with the comic. Loved the cat, hey i had it in every other catagory

Overall
8.5/10 Funny people, weird situations, good writing, good art, good read. Loved the cat.
Thu Jul 24 2003 02:05 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art

The art in this comic tends to change a lot, almost every story line actually, but for the most part it is always well done, a few parts are drawn rather differently and harder to read. I thought the variance was a neat addition, and varied it was, from cartoon style, to pencil sketching, to even just little happy faces just speaking text on the page, it was always different and adding more of a feel of each story arc.

Chars
The Characters in this story are, I think, very well written, they do tend to follow a stereotype, but that is how the chars. are created, they grow and expand, still staying within the bonds of their characters but changing to be a bigger more dynamic person, the characters are one of the things I really enjoy about this comic, they are expressive, destructive, able to be hurt, physically and emotionally and even spiritually. They just seem so much more real, and you can understand them, and even feel from their perspective. Very well done.

Story
The Story is very diverse in this comic, and each seems to resolve around specific and named story arcs, each which usually brings whole new elements into the comic. A wide variety, though almost entirely revolve around a science fiction theme, from vampires, to aliens, to black ops, time travel, etc. but there are elements which aren’t. A fight against cancer, sordid back stories, love triangles, you know all the usual things that make stories great. A great blend of differences, and always something new, interesting tie-ins to other comics, and a great enveloping unfolding story.

Page design
Very intresting page design, usually just white with comic on top but it changes, again a very good use of diverse mediums, the use of scrolling to page to add elements, sideways, or downwards, this was particularly effective in some of the earlier strips.

Overall
8/10 Wonderfully done comic, well written almost always well drawn, very diverse elements, a pleasure to read, and to discover what is going to happen next
Sat Jul 12 2003 07:29 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art:

The art was very well done, good use of colour and shading in all the panals, each charactor was given individual faces and expressions, which sometimes is hard to do in a webcomic. the background, foregrounds, chars and actions were all well drawn and inked, the use of shadows and lines are very well intergrated.

Chars:
Very good charectors, they fit the story perfectly you can understand each one, and there are no inconstinces in their actions, the minor chars do there job, and depart the majors follow through on the story. Digger being the main char has the most exposition, his running monolouge helps inflate his char and allows us to know why he does the things that he does.

Story:
A short but well developed story, dark gritty, filled with crime and other nastiness, well done! written well and portraied superbly by the chars, i but cut and dry, boy meets girl, boy wins girl, girl shoots boy, etc. you know how it goes. descriptive and explicit a good job all around

Page design:
Not bad, a plain white background, two arrows back and forward, the comic was uniformly the same size and usually had a dark look which stood out well on the white, so there was no reason to change anything.

Overall:
8.5/10 A very well done short comic, good chars, well drawn and a fun read.
Mon Jun 30 2003 01:04 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art

The art in this comic was well done. Completly in Black and white, it is well inked, and in depth. The backgrounds in particular are very well done. The monsters are also very diffrent, an intresting change from the normal beast. The people are likewise detailed, creating a very visual comic, as most of it comprises the images this is a good thing, alot of action sequences, all combined to a very nice effect.

Chars

As most of the comic is taken up with action sequences there is not alot of room for talking, most pages where his is talking there is alot of exposition in them. The title char, the Exile from Kriss, named Read, is well drawn, and follows through the story reasnably well, he comprises about 90% of all the action sequances, but subsequently only has 2 lines in the entire comic (2 i counted, well 3 including a .....) the rest of the charectors, have about as many line, except for the king of the land, who talks for about the last 5 panels straight. The villagers, are a well done group, for as little time as they are in it, you can read the charectors well, and have an understanding of their choices, throughout.

Story

The story is alright, hero sees parents killed before his eyes, gets driven into exile, grows up alone in the forest as a protector of the innocent, saves village, becomes royal whatever. it has been done before, there is nothing spectacular, or failing in the story, sadly it is a bit short and not much room for expostion, or background.

Page Design

The page design is fine a soft brown colour to offset the black and white of the comic with an intresting stylized girl in the corner, all the pages to the story are accesable from the bottom.

Overall

6/10 not too bad story, great art, some well done chars, some who could use a bit more work, a good comic, overall
Thu Jun 26 2003 10:58 AM | Read All Reviews for this title


Art

Well the art was pretty sub standard, mostly as it only contained clip arts, that you get with most typing software, they do not change, except for maybe small details like a bigger stomach after eating, no variety, no work, no effort.

Chars

I dont know if they even had names, the chars are static, unchanging and only seem to exist to say how bad, stupid, and horrible the world is, in stark and often foul language.

Story
The story in this one is indeed a special case, as it all revolves around modern news, in america. As i am no American, and followed little of what they are talking about, most of it made little to no sense to me.

Page Setup

The page setup was unchanging for the entire comic, the only thing that changed seemed to be the background colour, which at times made it very difficult to read

Overall

4/10 I cannot give a high score to this strip, i realise it is inteded for a specific audiance and i am not part of that, so my remarks could be biased on the part of not knowing the situation.
Sun Jun 22 2003 06:55 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art:

The art in this comic is very well done, the inking is terrific and every page is very detailed. the artist seems to enjoy drawing the nearly nude figure of adolecent girls, but at least they do it well.

Story:
the story was a good, if a bit cliched; an orphan girl on her way to stay with old relative in the middle of strange woods, gets into an accident and wakes up in a strange land and finds she is one of the 'chosen'. At times it seemed to jump a little bit, and was a bit hard to follow, and the occasinal cliche was thrown in, (bully beaten by scrawny girl, who tells father, father gets mad at son for losing to girl etc.) but overall it seemed to be thought out, and sounds like it will continue into a good story.

Chars:
The charetors in this comic, have not really been given a chance to be defined yet, and no history or back story has been given for any of them. The title char, seems to be the most developed at least, and fits the bill rather well of a teenage girl, the other charectors, we seem to know little or none about, but hopefully they will receive more time on page.

Page Setup:
Well i think it was just me, but 90% of the time when i tried to veiw on the the comics, the image would partially load then stop, making me hit refresh, up to at one point 5 times just so i could see the whole comic, now as im on a Dial-up modem this was a long process for the large images in this comic. Now agreeably this might just be an instance of problem with my computer, so i dont know. other than that the page was well done, and being able to click on the comic to advance was a useful abitily.

Overall

7/10 this comic has potential to grow, the pages and stories up so far are well done, and are a enjoyable read, with time this can grow to be even better.
Sun Jun 08 2003 07:50 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Art;
The art was..... intresting, the meduim was almost always the same, but there was alot of short term experimentation with a variety of diffrent forms, noir, sureal, comic, pencil, ink, it was intresting to see the wide variety.

Charectors:
I enjoyed the charectors they were well written, and designed. they all had individual backstories, that were fleshed out in one way or another over time, they did not 'grow' or develop much, but in this it was not required.

Story:
This was not a story based comic at all, they had short runs that ran from a day to i think at least a month, but none that really reflected back on each other, but they did make sure that each arc, was diffrent, and everytime usually changed a value (breaking fourth wall, new art, story type, charector driven, etc.) so it stayed intresting, that had quite a few intresting arcs, one i noticed is the instance where i particular strip ran away, and was missing from the archives, i found this to be a novel, and fasinating concept. The constant attempts, at reader attention, and the total disregard for the fourth wall barrier, was an good twist and they intergrated it well into the comic.

Page Design:
A very simple design, with no real varation at all. the main problem i had with this is that the only way to advance to the next strip was at the top of the screen, and as some (not many, but some strip scrolled pretty far down the page) it was a slight inconveniance but nothing major.

Overall
8/10, a great comic, with new stuff and intresting stories, they could have been longer, or a bit more plot developed, but they still made an excellent strip none the less.
Wed Jun 04 2003 06:38 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Well i tried to read Book one, but couldnt get anywhere, entire pages missing, pages going down, so i had to just give up, and i really hate doing that while reading comics, just skipping ahead, but book two:


Art:
Fantastic, some of the best art i have seen in a webcomic, it was very detailed, and the added bonus of animated are was a very unique and fun addition

Story:
Sadly ther is not much of a story, the set the standards for a plot, and then just seemed to jump from place to place in a bunch of pretty pictures, not very moving, but has potential.

Chars:
The charectors are intresting, but again they do not seem to move much, no develompment of any kind, and no real concept of who they are, there is a geek who wants to do experimants, (why?) a girl who decides to go with him (why?) and a robot, seems to have no real point but to repeat what others say.

Page:

The page was simply done, and well interfrated into the strip, when it had diffrent backgrounds and such. the animation was well intergrated, but sometimes made for weird load times, the one strip with the expanding next button was a cool touch.

Overall:
6/10 i didnt like not being able to read the first book, and the story didnt go anywhere. but it is a well done strip, and has many good points as well, it deserves a look.
Sun Jun 01 2003 04:08 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

So i might as well post my reveiw that i was in the middle of doing:

Story:
The Story to Space opera, is close to that an Opera in Space, strange creatures thrown together on a ship and traveling the galaxy trying to get to wherever they need to go next. It has the usual requisites, a furry, a slightly off child, a sentient computer that looks female, girl who sneaks on, buxom female, male with mysterious past, and his best friend everything that is needed in a webcomic. A few things seem to be pulled from other comics, but they are mixed in with the current story.

Art:
The art is quite well done, with not a lot of difference in styles over the year and a half it has been up, it still looks good, you can see the changes that occur naturally through experience, and unlinke some comics I was able to easily tell all the characters apart, the art was set for the scene and there are some really nice backgrounds. They are well drawn and well done.

Characters:
As stated above the group of characters is a bit clichéd, but the are written well so that they fit with each other, and a few new things that are completely unexpected, (Mr. Toast for one thing. (I wonder if the toast reference is from Timmy's 'Bread' in Stubble?) they seem to develop well, as the characters meet new situations, once again we have have to sit through flashbacks but for the most part they are relatively short and help introduce new chars.

Page:
The page set up is pretty good, the basic black helps of set some of the colours, and the status bar and rants a la Megatokyo, can be good reads, the quotes are usually good, even if they do not seem to have any relevance to the story.

Overall:
7 out of 10, another webcomic I had never heard of before, but is added to my list to keep reading, it is a good mesh of story and art, it could use improvement, and I will continue to read it.
Mon Feb 10 2003 10:49 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Demonology 101
Hicks, Faith Erin


Synopsis:
The story of a young demon, her guardian, and her friends as she attempts to go about her regular daily life.

Story:
The story is well played out, though it does tend to jump a bit, it has not long drawn out flashback scenes which is gratifying. It has been alluded that the story takes some bits from popular pop culture icons, but what modern day comic does not, some of the allusions are quite different then most (quotes from Terry Pratchet). The concept of a high school girl who suddenly finds herself beset with troubles and finds she is different then everyone else is not new, but this is a slightly more original take on it than most.

Characters:
The characters in this story are well written and described, they do not seem to falter from their ideals or change their character design with out reason, there evolution as they go through their trials and tribulations, are well done and have improved as the comic has progressed.

Art:
The Art is well done. It like all other comics improves and changes as it progresses, the original versions of the first chapter are not available anymore so I am unable to make any assumptions about them, sometimes the fact that a few of the main characters looked very similar became a detriment and was difficult to follow who was who. The pages were not overly large or hard to load.

Overall:
It is a well written and drawn comic with interesting and diverse characters, I had just only recently heard of it before it became a selection for review, but I will continue to read it with pleasure.
8.5 out of 10
Mon Feb 03 2003 01:51 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

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