Once again, I apologize for the late post. I mean to make it a point of habit to have my reviews written by the end of the preceding Sunday in advance from here on in, which means I’ve got a lot of writing to do this weekend. It’s not very professional of me to keep missing my deadlines… especially considering what the following post is going to consider. Don’t expect instant results, but know that I’m trying for you, folks.
So, something new occurred to me while I was considering the letter L a while back. There are currently three comics in the L category, and while one of them is an obvious loser, and while the other two are fairly close in competition, by my rules, one completely trounces the other. These comics, which I shall call LC and LD, both feature superior art, story, and characters to the majority of the comics that I read on the web. They’re two of my favorite comics, and my day usually improves every time there’s an update. However, between these two comics, on a strictly head-to-head basis, LD severely trounces LC. LD is one of the few comics that will be receiving a PERFECT score on my scale, and while LC is amazing, it’s not perfect. Now, here’s where the tricky part sets in: LC updates 7 days a week. 7 days! With better art and story than maybe 2/3 of the internet. LD is lucky to have one update a month, of 2-3 pages at a time. This difference is dramatic, especially when considering a medium that practically demands fresh updates whenever possible. So, why should LD completely overrun LC when LC updates up to 4900% (estimated) more often? This seems ludicrous. Therefore, I’m adding a new BONUS category, called Updates, to the scoring- this is a score out of 0 that can go up to 5/0. This means that it is possible to score a 35/30 in the webcomics contest now, although I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to happen ever.
The scoring has a perfectly solid scale, so let’s go through it and examine it.
5/0- This indicates that the user updates 7 times per week, and is regular with their posting. The holy grail of webcomics, this person either relies on their comic for a living or needs less free time.
4/0- This indicates 5 updates a week, with regular, reliable posting, or 7 posts a week that are not regular or often fall short in either quality or miss the deadlines that they set. Honestly, this is an odd category, as 5/7 days a week is an odd posting schedule. I think I read a comic or two that does keep this schedule, though, sooo whatever.
3/0- this indicates 3 updates a week when regular, or 5 days of irregular or poor quality updates. I would consider this above average and the ideal for the majority of webcomics.
2/0- this indicates 2 regular updates a week or a comic that fails at updating 3 days a week but still tries hard anyways. This is slightly below average, but honestly, I’m still impressed. Being able to update multiple times a week at all is impressive, but I’m much more impressed with three or more.
1/0- this indicates only 1 post per week. For some comics, this is fine, for others, it’s a bit of a let down. You’ve got to have a solid comic to be able to get away with doling out your story in such microchunks every week and still do well.
0/0- Please update more often. Comics that only update this often are often either sub-quality, inconsiderate of their readers, or are writing a comic that is above their means or ability to complete. I’m looking at you, VgCats- one post every month or so? Shame!
With this, LD and LC are brought to more even terms. I’ll update the Webcomics alphabet page pretty soon with this scale, so keep an eye out.
Now, 650 words in, let’s take a look at the comics I’m ACTUALLY supposed to look at today! The two comics up for contention are:
Wasted Talent, by Angela Melick
Wasted Talent is a slice-of-life comic by proud Canadian Angela Melick (Jam) and stars her, her work, and her husband Trevor. Most of her comics are amusing engineering or Canadian jokes, at least, since she graduated college. Angela’s grown a lot since starting the comic, but her sparkling sense of humor hasn’t degenerated since then.
and Widdershins by Kate Ashwin
Widdershins is a bit of a young comic, starring Sid, a cheerful magician with an unfortunate kleptomaniac curse which has gotten him into more trouble than he can handle, and Harriet, a gun-slinging detective hunting down rare magical artifacts for cash. The world of Widdershins is fairly interesting, with a sort of Discworld feel, and the fantasy adventure that the story follows is very interesting.
So, let’s start with what we always start with, story, in the head-to-head.
Wasted Talent – 7/10 Widdershins – 7/10
So, this one’s a tie. While Wasted Talent is a slice of life comic, which traditionally scores low, Jam’s done an amazing job of introducing her unique brand of humor into her comic. I really feel like I’m living her life when I read her comic and she does a pretty good job of parsing her life into mostly interesting comics. On the other hand, Widdershins scores a little lower than it could have because, primarily, the comic is too young for me to have a really good handle on the environment. The artist definitely relies on the “coincidence” plot device to somewhat force the story into the path she wants, mostly with Sid’s klepto side effect. I’m not saying it’s bad, it just hasn’t had enough time to really flush out the characters and show them that their abilities overcome their flaws in a story- they’ve gotten mostly lucky and relied on stupidity to survive. Given another few months, and Widdershins will surpass Wasted talent in Story, but as of now, it’s a close tie.
Wasted Talent – 7/10 Widdershins – 5/10
Here lies a significant difference between the two comics- Jam’s art style is more distinctive and of a higher quality than Kate can manage. While I wouldn’t say that Wasted Talent has the best art ever, I would say that Jam is a phenomenal artist and when the need for higher art is there, she can produce. On the other hand, while Widdershins has a recognizable style, it’s not of a noticeably high quality and has that awkward appearance of a comic that is done by an artist not yet used to regular updating. That being said, I fully believe that Widdershins will be of a higher quality within a year or so- the comic is fairly young and Kate looks like she’s got the talent to improve. I may have to redo this review in a year or so.
Wasted Talent – 7/10 Widdershins – 6/10
Alrighty, characters characters characters! I really like Jam and Trevor. They’re interesting and goofy people, and Jam brings her avatar and husband to life in such a remarkable and beautiful way. The only real reason that this scores low is that there are a whole bunch of unnamed characters who appear regularly in her comic that I don’t get the same sense of understanding that I can get from the cast of Johnny Wander, for example. Widdershins, unfortunately, suffers again from the youth of the comic. While I like most of the characters discussed thus far, all the characters seem to be a little black-and-white thus far. Category A for nice people and Category B for the bastards. I’m waiting for a legitimate moral quandary from someone who isn’t Harriet, (the obvious choice), but honestly I can’t see where it’s going to come yet. The characters have flaws but they’re not flushed out yet, but that’s one of the things that will change with the age of the comic.
Wasted Talent: 1/0
This was actually a bit of a tough decision, on Wasted Talent’s part. Widdershins is a cut-and-dry case- three regular updates a week for the last month, and I can’t recall a point when there was a notable missed set of updates. Wasted Talent, on the other hand, updates sporadically- but manages to keep its claim. Of course, it claims for a weekly post whose day of the week is officially “random”, forcing me to rely on an RSS feed for updates over just checking it every Tuesday evening, for example. That still leaves me wondering- is this comic a 1 or a 0? For now, I chose a 1, deciding the once/week average more important than otherwise, but it’s not an easy answer.
At a score of 22/30 to 21/30, this give us our winner this week- Angela Melick’s Wasted Talent! Congratulations on your victory in an arbitrary competition on a virtually unknown webpage!