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infinitum
08-20-2014, 03:56 AM
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Steven Forbes
08-20-2014, 04:35 AM
Barely interesting.

As a writer, you need a competent editor, because you don't know how to shut up. I barely got off P3 before I gave up. There's a Run-DMC song that fits perfectly here... Anyway, a competent editor would have you rewrite all of the copy, because you do too much telling and not enough showing. Whenever I see an internal monologue, I always think "who is this person talking to? Why are they telling themselves information they already know?" I know you're trying to get information across to the reader, but it's a clumsy info-dump.

You're also overblown in a way that is not sexy. Tone it down. You have a project you "feel a lot of people are going to be talking about in the months to come"? Really? You said that on purpose?

Hubris.

Let the work speak for itself. There's absolutely nothing wrong with selling something, but at least have a first issue out first. It would be like me saying I'm the best editor in the world, and saying that from a busy streetcorner. No one's going to pay attention to me. No one is going to pay attention to this.

You're not doing yourself any favors with the lettering. Hire a letterer after you hire an editor. Sometimes, it looks like you played with the font size instead of cutting words, in order to fit all of your text in there. You also need to work on your balloon tails. Make sure they point to mouths, and sharpen them up more at the end. And in your post, you call it "a solitary confinement", but on the page, it's "a solitary contract." Strange mistake for someone who lettered his own book.

Your colorist needs to finish doing their job. The lamp on the desk is on, facing away from the warden, but there's a shadow on his hand and body that shouldn't be there. Then, the next page, the lamp is off.

I'm very happy to see something new brought into the world. Congratulations. It isn't an easy thing. There are a lot of people who just can't seem to get it together to create something and bring it to the finish line. In that regard, you are ahead of a lot of people.

Now, you need to refine it, and learn how to sell it. The work isn't over, it's just beginning.

Good luck with it.

Alyssa
08-20-2014, 08:06 AM
I welcome your comments

I hope you meant this, because if you post on DW, you're going to get honest critiques! :cool:

Anyhoo, welcome, Michael! Thanks for sharing your work with us. Like Steven said, to have got this far on your project is freakin awesome. Most people can't or don't finish what they start. You've obviously got a lot of drive behind you, and that's only going to help. Making comics is hard.

Regarding your sales pitch... it needs a lot of work. There's a thread here on DW about writing a good pitch. (http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=170939) I recommend you read the advice, especially Paul's post further down (post #13) where he's linked to an archive of some really useful content.

Writing a good pitch is an art in itself. Expect to spend a bunch of time and go through multiple revisions before you get something close to successful.

Regarding the IDEA, this intrigues me. I think you've got a solid idea for a story here, but like Steven said, the execution is lacking (pretty severely). Nothing that can't be fixed, of course, but you definitely need an experienced editor on board. Here's the main problems I'm seeing with the writing:

Info-Dumping
Like Steven said, WAY too wordy. The entire sample reads like a massive info-dump. If you want to grab your audience, you HAVE to learn how to work info into your story without dumping on your reader. Re-read your captions. For seven whole panels, your main character is doing nothing but sitting, and info-dumping. That's the whole first page and a lot of the second page. Sitting, info-dumping. This is an extremely risky thing to do. In comics, you gotta grab your reader ASAP, and not let them go. While the CONCEPT here is intriguing, it's NOT enough to carry your reader through pages of exposition.

But it's not just the captions that are acting as info-dumps, it's the dialogue too. Almost all of the dialogue is info-dumping, making the dialogue sound like the long-winded harangues of mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplashes. Then the hero LITERALLY "takes his turn" and launches into a harangue of his own, while the villain passively stands by and listens. This isn't realistic. This all just concretes the fact that the dialogue is nothing but a thinly-disguised info-dump.

Personally, I find writing dialogue really difficult. But Eric Edson wrote an absolutely freakin brilliant section on dialogue in his book The Story Solution (http://www.amazon.com/The-Story-Solution-Actions-Heroes/dp/1615930841). I highly recommend that book. Here are a few quotes I think might help:

"Every line that each person speaks should be considered an attempt by one character to squeeze what they want out of another."

"Even the very earliest scenes [...] must take place in the present moment. They cannot just be speeches to set up backstory."

"Each spoken sentence is an attack, withdrawal, feint, subterfuge, or quest after something, and a response is required. Generally, a speech should contain only one idea that will force a clear response and help drive the story forward."

"Good dialogue frequently conveys subtext. Not every line written can have subtext, of course, but too much "on the nose" dialogue should be avoided. First drafts are frequently heavy with lines that say exactly what the writer means. Consider any blunt, obvious dialogue you may write in early script versions as the first outline for subtext to come. Then find more interesting ways to say it without actually saying it."

"Dialogue should be brief. One person in a scene gushing monologues at another person doesn't allow for any true contest of wills. And long speeches usually want to explain things. The audience doesn't want to be told, they want to see and experience it for themselves. Dialogue must thrust, defend, parry. Shorter is better."

I've also found it very helpful to read the screenplays of movies renown for the quality of the scripting. Focus on the dialogue, and how characters interact. Do this after reading Eric Edson's book, and much of his advice will suddenly crystallize for you. Guarantee it.

No Conflict
Despite the exposition that SUGGESTS conflict, and the presence of a fight scene, I still feel like there's little to no conflict in this sample. The villain in this scene? He tosses a wardrobe over using magic. That's it. The rest of the scene features his ass being kicked. There's no conflict there- it's too easy for the hero. There's an appearance of a random bloke in a suit... who does nothing. There's a hint that the hero's boss won't be pleased with his actions, but there isn't so much as a slap on the wrist.

Unjustified Drama
A lot of importance was put on the fact he used the Enoch Dagger. All the exposition explained that this wasn't a normal thing, and shouldn't be done lightly. There was suggestion he was going against the rules to use it. Yet who did he use it on? A Warden who was apparently not even remotely a match for our hero? All the exposition concretes that this Warden is a push-over, yet the hero felt it necessary to use the Enoch Dagger? It doesn't make sense. I feel like it was used to 1) ramp up the drama, and/or 2) set up later events, but the justification (as far as the internal story logic goes) is lacking.

Basic Errors
There's at least one spelling/grammar error. There's also one word written as two. There are basic errors in the writing here that should have been picked up. If there were a good editor on board, these would have been spotted.


Regarding the art, I think the penciller you have on board has done an awesome job. Personally, I can't see where the artist could have done a better job with the script he got. He's a keeper. :har:

Unfortunately, his awesome pencils are somewhat ruined by the colouring job and the less-than-perfect lettering.

I really recommend getting a pro letterer on board. Good lettering isn't easy, and is rarely a job the writer can do well themselves...


In general, the fonts aren't readable (legibility is whether the reader CAN read the text, readability is whether the reader would WANT to). All of the fonts look like they're freebie fonts. They don't look professional, to me.
I find the constant swapping between boxed captions and open captions jarring.
The balloon tails are inconsistent, sometimes with sharp points, sometimes with blunt points. Sometimes the tails are fat, sometimes they're skinny. Sometimes the tails don't point at the mouth of the character. Sometimes the tails are super curled, other times they're super straight.
While this is also a scripting issue, I feel that there's way too many words in BOLD. Emphasis is much better used sparingly.
Like Steven said, it also looks to me like the words don't have a consistent font size. This may be a trick of the eye, given the sheer VOLUME of text per page, but if you're changing sizes to get text to fit, that's gotta stop.
Overall, I think the size of the font might be too large. If you used a highly legible and readable font, you could make it smaller without sacrificing legibility.
Subtle glow effects on text (credits panel) and blurry text (skeleton and gravestone panels) are making things difficult to read.


In my opinion, you need a new colourist. This one isn't ready for the big time, yet. I'm no colourist myself, but here's what I'm seeing, from my amateurish perspective:


The highlights are too "hot". That is, the colourist is blowing out the highlights to such an extreme that all surfaces are losing their character. Skin is reflecting light almost like metal. To have such high contrast in the lighting is drawing attention to itself, and away from the beautiful pencils.
Lighting is also inconsistent.
The soft, airbrushed look is far too overused, and is a big part of what makes the colouring job look amateurish. Again, it's robbing the character of different surfaces. Skin is shaded exactly the same way as clothes, metal, wood, etc.
The biggest problem caused by the soft colouring is the loss of sharp details and contrast. Lines are lost behind soft shading, often causing areas of panels to appear out-of-focus when they should be IN-focus.



I don't normally spend so much time critiquing someone's work, but I see potential here. I think you should work with an editor, letterer, and better colourist to bring this comic to where it should be.

Best of luck!

crognus
08-20-2014, 09:10 AM
Holy wordy. There are some cool ideas. The idea of a dagger that wipes a person from ever existing is pretty awesome. The story and execution isn't. There's no build up to using this weapon the main character is not supposed to use. Why wouldn't you save it for the main villain of the series, or give a better reason why the character NEEDS to use it on the villain? (Maybe the villain killed his family and using the dagger will bring them back? I don't know...it needs something.) This sort of weapon needs to be saved until a breaking point, something needs to force the main character to use it. You took a cool idea and butchered it.

The villain is completely one dimensional. We know he is the villain because the main character tells us. There's no build up here either. You tell us he is the villain, then the main character kills him with ease. If the first villain is a throw-away character and you instead want to highlight the suspense and mystery of the man in the fedora, you failed. You told us that he follows the main character. But there is no character conflict. I don't really get the feeling that the character is really bothered by the mysterious figure. It's fine to have throw away villains in a story if there is another conflict that is interesting. For example, you have a ton of throw away villains in Scott Pilgrim because the real conflict is Scott trying to win over Ramona. But I don't get that feeling in this story.

And yes the dialogue, coloring, and lettering need work too. I just prefer to start with basic story telling before diving into other specifics. Dont' get me wrong, the overall idea is good, especially as a serialized story. Execution is not.

Duane Korslund
08-20-2014, 09:18 AM
I can't really add much to what everyone else said, but on a small nit picky scale...when doing magick spells...turning the words backwards is a little played out. I'd almost prefer to see Harry Potter butchered latin to the backwards thing...but that's just a personal preference of mine.

Create a language...if you work hard enough at it, and if your book really picks up...you'll have a whole language for fans to learn...it worked for the Klingons and Tolkiens elves, it can work for you :)

Komic_Brew
08-20-2014, 02:37 PM
I agree with the other comments here. There's some good stuff, but you need to rewrite it, and get acquainted to the "show, don't tell" technique first. Art-wise, the coloring style needs to be re-designed, IMO.

Rob Norton
08-20-2014, 08:28 PM
did he delete the art? was there something here to see...? I want to see...

crognus
08-20-2014, 08:50 PM
Wow...ya. I think it got deleted. I hope didn't take it too personal. :(

Alyssa
08-20-2014, 09:19 PM
Ugh, it's times like this that make me want to avoid helping folks with critiques, ever.

Alyssa: *spends inordinate amount of time writing critique that is hopefully of use*
Michael: *deletes post and promptly disappears*

Charles
08-20-2014, 09:26 PM
Aw, sheesh! I only got to briefly view this thread, this morning, before I went to work, and now that I come back and track it down, the art's been deleted.

I know that I didn't agree with Steven's opinion on this.

I hope that they will get reposted.

Charles
08-20-2014, 09:31 PM
I hope that the artist returns. Here's a link to the Google cache for it:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:emiLz6riKaEJ:www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/showthread.php%3Fp%3D1833108+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

Steven Forbes
08-20-2014, 09:37 PM
Oooooh!

Look what Steve done diiiid....

He started an avalanche, and now the creator deleted their post.

I'd feel bad, but if a creator is going to cut and run now, with a limited viewing of his wares, imagine how he'd react to a deafening silence of readers, not having any readers at all, or if the readers only came back and said how bad the effort is.

I'd also feel bad if I were a nicer guy. However, we all know how that goes...

Charles
08-20-2014, 09:49 PM
Oooooh!

Look what Steve done diiiid....

He started an avalanche, and now the creator deleted their post.

I'd feel bad, but if a creator is going to cut and run now, with a limited viewing of his wares, imagine how he'd react to a deafening silence of readers, not having any readers at all, or if the readers only came back and said how bad the effort is.

I'd also feel bad if I were a nicer guy. However, we all know how that goes...

Stick to editing, Steven. Your self-flattery routine could use some refinement.

That aside, I trekked over to the Atlas Unleased Publishing website, to encourage him to return. I certainly don't share your view that it was barely interesting. In fact, the storyline was one of the more interesting that I have encountered on the Digital Webbing forum, of late.

There's a lot about this, that I like, in fact. Are there areas where I have criticisms to offer up? Absolutely.

I don't buy a lot of comic books, these days. This is something that I could easily be tempted to buy. But, if the person posting it bails out, then what's the point of going to the effort of posting at length on it? Sure, others might be interested in reading my comments (or, maybe not), but the person that I offer critique up on art for is primarily the artist or creator.

Charles
08-20-2014, 09:52 PM
Ack!! I see that the plan was to print it horizontally, instead of vertically. I'm not so sure if I like that idea. It might be fine, though. I just want to be able to read each page it, without scrolling.

Steven Forbes
08-20-2014, 10:14 PM
Self-flattery...?

I... I...

Le sigh...

ponyrl
08-20-2014, 10:20 PM
^Blunt, like sacasm, never translates well online. :(

Charles
08-20-2014, 10:36 PM
^Blunt, like sacasm, never translates well online. :(

Not true. It often translates well, depending upon the delivery of it, and upon the familiarity of the corresponding/interacting parties to one another, and upon one's experience with it in the online medium.

As with anything else, some will pick upon it (or the value that inheres in it) quicker than others.

Bishop
08-20-2014, 11:00 PM
Yeah, right.

crognus
08-20-2014, 11:06 PM
Yeah, right.

The soul of wit is brevity. :)

Alyssa
08-20-2014, 11:16 PM
http://38.media.tumblr.com/51596ba28a370f5e4896640b76d7dc61/tumblr_najxa3Y4WW1tp42tfo1_500.jpg

Rob Norton
08-20-2014, 11:24 PM
Ugh, it's times like this that make me want to avoid helping folks with critiques, ever.

Alyssa: *spends inordinate amount of time writing critique that is hopefully of use*
Michael: *deletes post and promptly disappears*

don't feel down...you offered an wonderful, thoughtful crit, and they didn't want to hear it. cant change that.

rob

Rob Norton
08-21-2014, 12:01 AM
see...now after all the crits offered and not being able to see the story...but thanks to Charles, I HAVE seen the story..
I don't think it was quite as bad as some made it out to be.

my first reaction was that YES..it looked way to wordy. so so much being said. but I dove in reading. honestly, I was interested enough to keep going. the concept was surprisingly more interesting that I thought it would have been. but I also thought the execution was ok to. maybe there was to much inner monologue/exposition, but I thought it was at least written well.
I can imagine this material in the hands of alan moore or warren ellis, and they woule probably trim it down and make it better, but I think we have to give the guy credit for what he did do.
the artist is pretty damn good.
the colorist wasn't my favorite, but I have seen much worse... it honestly didn't stand out as horrible as some have made it sound.
and I didn't notice anything wrong with the lettering, at least in terms of anything that stopped my and took me out of the story. not saying the problems you mentioned don't exist, im just saying, as a causal reader, nothing jumped out at me.

its hard to get any traction in comics...to get something done. written, drawn, colored, lettered... I know I wish I had the time to devote to a solid project I believe in and get it done in the time frame needed. but its just so damn hard with everything else in life coming at you. wife, 2 kids, one on the way.. lame job I hate but have to keep. I hate telling someone whos work I respect that Im not his guy cause the times not there(you know steve :O)

but they made some good strides here I think. credit where credit is due. they did more than a lot of guys I know that say they will do this and that.



so...I don't know. its a shame he tucked his tail and ran. kinda makes me think he deserves to have his feelings hurt if he is so easily injured. grow a thicker skin sir.

on the other hand, as some of us know, its hard to put so much time effort and love into something that you genuinely feel came out well, and to have someone tear it down so quickly.. its hard to hear. ive been there. im sure we all have been. but I try to learn from what I heard. so..i don't know...

Charles
08-21-2014, 12:22 AM
I'll make a few observations, here, about what was presented in the initial posting (now edited to zero - blank space), since I have the benefit of a Google cache page of what was originally posted, but later redacted.

First, while this comic offering has garnered what appears to be its first set of critics, in spite of their attempts to rain criticism down, I still like what I encountered.

Think about that, for a minute. You have several rather capable critics articulating a number of precise criticisms. Steven Forbes is very well-versed in the art of delivering criticism, but in spite of his years of expertise in this field, and even with the sum totality of his criticism rendered in a forthright manner, I remain unpersuaded of his initial assertion that what was presented was, as he characterized it, "Barely interesting."

If that is the case, then why did I find it to be quite interesting, this morning, and why do I still find it to be interesting, even now, in the aftermath of Steven Forbes rendering summary judgment of it?

Could it benefit from an editor's touch? Sure, it probably could - but, then again, so could many of Steven's forum postings in this very same forum.

Steven says to let the work speak for itself. On that particular point, I fully agree. As to his assertion of hubris, you sought to introduce this forthcoming comic to this forum's inhabitants, and you sought to cast it in a positive light. The accusation of hubris is a strong judgment, one not supported by the evidence. You introduce it, and BAM!! The very next posting, you're guilty of hubris. I would counter-argue that context matters. The hubris charge strikes me as melodramatic banter, nothing more. I wouldn't place any weight in that judgment, for it is too harsh, in light of the fact that you were merely introducing the work to an audience-to-come.

Steven said that, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with selling something, but at least have a first issue out first. It would be like me saying I'm the best editor in the world, and saying that from a busy street corner."

Yet, as an analogy, it is a deficient example. For example, what magical rule of anything says that there's absolutely nothing wrong with selling something, but at least have a first issue out first? That's simply Steven waving his verbal wand of ipse dixit around. Upon what authority is his assertion based? Nothing, aside from his mere opinion.

Another example? How is it like him saying that he's the best editor in the world? In truth, it's not. That's just Steven's chosen take on it, one which stretches analogy to the limits of credibility.

But, if you bother to look past Steven Forbes in his Judge Dredd mode, I think that you'll find that his criticisms as a whole are not entirely without merit.

As for Alyssa's criticism about the "pitch," I don't take an introduction in a forum for a comic not released, yet, as the actual pitch which will accompany the actual launch of the comic. In any event, if we let the work speak for itself, then the work shouldn't be confused with the pitch, any more than it should be confused with any other marketing technique or gimmick. The pitch is a non-issue for me, at this juncture in time. Additionally, one can have a great pitch, and a sucky comic book. I prefer reading comic books to reading pitches, anyway.

On the charge of info-dumping, I can see why they would say that. But, the part of me which likes what I am seeing isn't particularly bothered or put off by it. There is no single recipe to creating a sellable comic book. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that I am of the mind that there are multiple different problematic areas with what is presented, the drone of the naysayers is not drowning out the little voice inside of me that is crying out to read more.

Some comic books have more meat on the bones than others. This one, here, I think has more meat on the bones of its writing, than, say, its coloring or its lettering. Hence, why the info-dump, such as it is, doesn't really register with much negative impact. Perhaps for others, it does. But, I'm liking the story a whole lot, and I'm fairly certain that I am still capable of mustering criticism on a dime.

If what was presented sucks so damned bad, then why do I like it so damned much? I like your critics. I respect them. I grasp what they are saying. I even follow their blogs. But.....I'm still loving this comic!

When I skimmed over the first posting in this thread, this morning, before heading off to work, I didn't read Infinitum's introduction. Thus, even before I read what he wrote about it being a cross between Dr. Strange and James Bond, I had already largely come to just that conclusion. I haven't read Warren Ellis' Avatar series, Gravel, so I can't speak to that, either way.

The coloring isn't horrible. There are even portions of it, in fact, that I like quite a bit. But, all things considered, the coloring shares a trait in common with many sub-par amateur comic books that I have encountered published by small independent creators. Namely, it resorts quickly to, and relies heavily upon, the neon range of colors.

The cosmic blue panels, for example, do not bother me all that much. Panel one on page one, however, has that bright neon pink swiftly transitioning into that yellow, for the sky. That looks like crap. Plus, the lettering atop it is fighting to achieve maximum visual contrast. It will never make it.

My chief lament with this comic, as far as what I have encountered about it, thus far, is that I honest to God think that you have a fairly solid storyline, but that you run the risk of getting this comic off to a less than solid start, by saddling it with the coloring that it is presently being treated to.

The coloring isn't horrible. I have seen much, much worse, for sure. But, the coloring isn't on par with the story. Criticisms of the writing don't bother me too much, simply because I think that the story, itself, has both strength and depth to it. I'm wanting more, in spite of everything that others are finding wrong with it.

I want the next page. I want the next chapter. I want the next story.

A little over a week ago, I posted the following comment about coloring in independent comic books in another thread.

"...much of the coloring in independent comic books is nothing short of downright horrible."
SOURCE: http://digitalwebbing.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1832378&postcount=10


Hence, why I think that you really should give strong consideration to having someone else do the coloring. Without a top notch colorist, the Dr. Strange aspect of this comic is going to end up with a severely handicapped wow factor attached to it.

Take a cue from your character, Maximilian Cortes. This colorist is not an adept. You won't do this comic book a favor by pretending that he is. This book has some substance to it. Don't sucker punch the Dr. Strange aspect and qualities, by utilizing color that underwhelms.

The lettering, in fact, is stronger than the inking. Alyssa's criticism of its legibility is not an opinion that I share, in many instances, but I do share that particular criticism, in numerous instances.

I just love the way that you handle the casting of spells! But, just sitting and staring at the spell lettering hurts my eyes. Again, it goes back to the colorist's penchant for resort to the neon range. It is negatively impacting the visual contrast of these pages.

I like the action sequences, from an art perspective. I especially like the fact that the book gets us right into some heavy action. I don't care so much that the exposition suggests conflict that really isn't there, or that is fairly minimal. I see it another way. What we get, here, is an introduction - in more than one way.

Cortes made short work of the warden. This is, as you said, only the first adventure. Personally, I liked the duel sequence between Cortes and the bad guy. It's a brand new comic, for me. You got me into the action, and you showcased some critical components of how this comic will proceed. I like the James Bond relationship with Cortes' boss. That quasi-Phantom Stranger guy, I wasn't so hot on how he appeared, but you had me with the spell casting. I like that strong Dr. Strange quality, that Strange vibe, that you have going on with it.

The lettering in the white dialogue balloons is the best. The yellow in the narrative boxes is too bright. Again, it attests to the shortcomings of the colorist. I don't hate the colorist. He has some skill with coloring. But, they simply are NOT the right person to color THIS particular comic book. You do want to create a product that will sell, don't you? I really wish that a top notch colorist here would color one panel, just to show you the difference, so that you might better comprehend just exactly what you are about to sacrifice on the visual chopping block, and maybe not even know it.

You've got Cortes in a prison jumpsuit. I understand why. BUT...the comic book doesn't gain much in the way of colorful or visual interest, with him in that particular garb.

The coloring is washing over your lines. It's drowning the art.

The quick resort to that dagger kind of undercuts the importance of it. But, here's what clinches it for me. I don't know what all is yet to come. I sense a bigger magical scheme in the works, here. But, you can easily devalue objects of interest, by quick, casual, or frequent resort to them.

The Phantom Stranger-looking dude, in the close-up of his face, that's second-rate art, right there. Even the star of this comic book, he's not top notch. But, again, the color is weighing this one down. I don't have the black and white artwork to compare it to. The coloring of the skin across multiple characters in multiple panels is deficient. It's having a strong and negative impact on the visuals.

If you want this comic book to be treated as a top notch commodity, then you need to treat it, as such, also. I'm willing to buy it - to subscribe to it. I'll even buy it with the current coloring - if you price it right.

I'm getting tired, here, and this is growing longer by the minute. So, I am going to pause my comments, here, for now.

Come on back, though.

Steven Forbes
08-21-2014, 12:54 AM
Besides the comments that are damned near too long to read, I just want to clear something up. Well, a couple of things.

First, I'm not the end-all, be-all of anything. My "summary judgement" is just my opinion. That's all anyone ever has. It just happens to be that my opinion is an informed one. That's all.

Second, the "hubris" comment was for what he wrote in his introduction, not for posting the work.

"...a new series debut we feel a lot of people are going to be talking about in the months to come."

That's the line I quoted from, and that's the hubris I was talking about.

If you're going to try to take me to task, Charles, at least do it correctly.

In the end, you enjoyed the comic. I'm happy for you. It did it's job for you. I didn't like it because I couldn't get through the wall of text, and I didn't like what I read.

So, we'll agree to disagree here, and leave it at that.

Charles
08-21-2014, 05:11 AM
First, I'm not the end-all, be-all of anything. My "summary judgement" is just my opinion. That's all anyone ever has. It just happens to be that my opinion is an informed one. That's all.

Oh, I fully agree that it is just your opinion.

As far as informed opinions go, even people with informed opinions are wrong, at times. Furthermore, it is one thing to have an informed opinion. The conveying of opinion held is a thing distinct from the opinion, itself.


Second, the "hubris" comment was for what he wrote in his introduction, not for posting the work.

"...a new series debut we feel a lot of people are going to be talking about in the months to come."

That's the line I quoted from, and that's the hubris I was talking about.

Understood.

If you're going to try to take me to task, Charles, at least do it correctly.

I'll try to keep that in mind, Steven, should the need ever arise.

In the end, you enjoyed the comic. I'm happy for you. It did it's job for you. I didn't like it because I couldn't get through the wall of text, and I didn't like what I read.

I did, indeed, enjoy it. That's one of the good things about comic books. Different material appeals to different people.

So, we'll agree to disagree here, and leave it at that.

Sure thing. It's not the first thing that we didn't agree on, and it likely won't be the last.

infinitum
08-21-2014, 05:17 AM
I'm back.

I wanted to collect my thoughts before I came back to respond. Truth be told, my partner (who I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in New York City with, and who also happens to be my editor on ToTS) wanted to debut the series on the Atlas Unleashed website first. He was not happy that I previewed the story on DW, so, in fairness to him, I removed it from DW and will not be reposting it. I will, however, post it on the AU website close to the dates of New York ComicCon. At best, in putting the story up on DW, I was guilty of harmless overzealousness and high enthusiasm to promote TIP OF THE SPEAR.

Having said that, I will address the points brought up in everyone's posts and dispel some misconceptions:

To Alyssa, thank you. You are correct on some things you said, incorrect on others, but the delivery of your message showed constructive criticism and compassion and support for a fellow creator. How you say a thing is just as important as what you say, if sometimes not more so, and I am more appreciative of how you said what you said to me than how Steven said what he said, though much of what you both said were the same things.

As much as I appreciate the sales pitch advice, I'm not pitching this idea to a Hollywood film studio, at least, not now. Who knows what the future will bring? But I especially thank you for the recommendation of the book "The Story Solution." I'm all for improving my craft, and whereas my story seems wordy now, it was four times as wordy when I first started. My editor worked very hard with me to whittle it down to its bare bones, because he, like you, saw potential in my story. I am aware of the info dumping. Trust me, the amount of it I used was necessary to help introduce the story, the characters and the premise within an 8-page limitation. Even if I had 24 pages to work with, it would be no less challenging. You are absolutely right when you said making comics is hard. But my use of exposition, making the villain a push-over, the appearance of the stranger in the fedora, the use of the Enoch dagger on such a weak antagonist -- all of it was deliberate, part of a greater plan down the road.

My colorist is experienced, having worked on many titles for Zenescope, and I am happy he has enhanced my story the way he has. As for my lettering, I am not a novice at this. I have been a comic book letterer for well over 25 years, having worked on ZORRO, GODZILLA, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, ALIEN NATION, TWILIGHT GIRL, VAMPIRELLA, PENTHOUSE COMIX, THE BIG BOOK OF THUGS, THE BIG BOOK OF LOSERS, and many other titles. The font I used for TIP OF THE SPEAR is a ComiCraft font named Moritat, and I used it to help set the look and feel of the series from anything else in comics, and in that, I believe I succeeded.

Other than that, I appreciate your criticisms, whether I agree with all of them or not; but more importantly, I appreciate the kindness behind your criticisms, and I thank you for that.

To Charles, Rob Norton and all the other posters, thank you so much for your comments. Please know that I did not "turn tail and run" as initially thought, and the overall critiques have made me more determined than ever to see TIP OF THE SPEAR through. This story will see print, and the second installment is near completion as we speak, as I am developing Max Cortes' third adventure. So to most of you, thank you for your words of support, except for:

Steven Forbes, whose comments I found to be mean-spirited and insulting in its delivery. Anyone with thinner skin than mine would have felt absolutely crushed by your words. Perhaps you attempt to wound people in this manner to make up for your own shortcomings as an editor, a writer or as a human being. I would be easy to take the low road and fire back a scatological response such as "fuck you," but that would sink me to lower than your level. So instead I will basically express my pity on you, and say that you are within your rights not to buy the book when it comes out if it is not your cup of tea.

Me Ke Aloha 'O Iesu Kristo
(With the love of Jesus Christ),

Michael De Lepine
Director of Operations
Atlas Unleashed Publishing

Innovation, Inspiration...
Lift the weight of the world!
www.AtlasUnleashed.com

Facebook: Michael De Lepine
1.310.220.7807 cellular

Steven Forbes
08-21-2014, 06:25 AM
Steven Forbes, whose comments I found to be mean-spirited and insulting in its delivery. Anyone with thinner skin than mine would have felt absolutely crushed by your words. Perhaps you attempt to wound people in this manner to make up for your own shortcomings as an editor, a writer or as a human being. I would be easy to take the low road and fire back a scatological response such as "fuck you," but that would sink me to lower than your level. So instead I will basically express my pity on you, and say that you are within your rights not to buy the book when it comes out if it is not your cup of tea.


I am, as ever, the bad guy. Nevermind the acknowledgement of the difficulty of bringing something new into the world. Nevermind the congratulations. Nevermind the well wishes.

It's okay. I can live with it.

(And really, saying you're not going to say "fuck you" because it sinks to lower than my level...is really saying "fuck you." You might as well have said it.)

You still need a competent editor. You could have gone about the info-dump a different way, instead of trying to crush the reader with words. You could have tried to gain their interest. Less is more. If this is "bare bones"...you still have a lot of work ahead of you. You and the editor should have found a different way.

If you've been lettering for 25 years, it doesn't show in these pages. It looks amateurish, for reasons already stated. You should either work on it, or hire a letterer. I know a few that are looking for work.

I don't attempt to wound anyone. I'm giving you the truth, from my perspective. I could wax loquacious and drone on ad infinitum (see what I did there?) like Charles, but I saw no reason for that. It would basically have been a deconstruction of how bad I found it, from panel to panel, line to line. That would have been enough to crush someone. I spared us all that. If I had, though, that would have been an attempt to wound.

I have shortcomings as an editor, writer, and human being. We all do. There hasn't been anyone born that doesn't have some shortcomings. I don't try to wound, and I don't try to hide anything. I'm pretty good at what I do, and I'm always striving to be better. I'm happy you have a thick skin. Could it be thicker? Sure. Because instead of saying "Well, Steven, I see what you're saying, but I disagree for these reasons...", you basically come back with "fuck you" and some sort of pity.

My response to both is: okay.

Just because you found the comments mean-spirited and insulting doesn't mean that they're wrong. You already acknowledged that Alyssa and I said the same thing, so you're not going to listen to the message because you don't like how the messenger presented it. And to that I say: okay.

You've still got work to do. You might even need to find a different editor. It doesn't look like this one is helping as much as they should. Either that, or you're too stubborn to listen--especially if this was cut down by 3/4.

Again, good luck with it.

Charles
08-21-2014, 06:41 AM
My colorist is experienced, having worked on many titles for Zenescope, and I am happy he has enhanced my story the way he has. As for my lettering, I am not a novice at this. I have been a comic book letterer for well over 25 years, having worked on ZORRO, GODZILLA, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, ALIEN NATION, TWILIGHT GIRL, VAMPIRELLA, PENTHOUSE COMIX, THE BIG BOOK OF THUGS, THE BIG BOOK OF LOSERS, and many other titles. The font I used for TIP OF THE SPEAR is a ComiCraft font named Moritat, and I used it to help set the look and feel of the series from anything else in comics, and in that, I believe I succeeded.

Thanks for the list of comic books that the colorist has worked on. I'll try to look them up, as time allows. The Google cache of your initial posting listed the credits as:

Story & Lettering: Michael Anthony De Lepine. Pencils & Inks: Aaron Palsmeier. Colors: Stephen Schaffer. Edits: Mark Mazz.


Any chance that you have links hand to the various works that you point to that Stephen Schaffer colored?

I've already tracked down his deviantArt gallery. From that, alone, he certainly seems to be capable of better coloring than what these pages here evidence. I would like to look at a broader selection of his past work, though, just to compare.

LukePierce
08-21-2014, 06:53 AM
Steven Forbes in his Judge Dredd mode

This has to be quoted as the phrase of the day.

Steven Forbes
08-21-2014, 07:14 AM
That happens to be a nice turn of phrase.

Someone also once said that I had December in my veins. I used that as my signature for a long time.

crognus
08-21-2014, 09:02 AM
I agree with Charles the story could be interesting, but I strongly agree with Steven and Alyssa that it is wordy. Perhaps I was more harsh than I should have been, but to give you an idea of what I mean by wordy this is how I would write the first couple pages. Since the art is finished, I left out panel descriptions.

PAGE ONE (five panels)

PANEL ONE

MAX-CAP: I feel my current mission is coming to head soon.

PANEL TWO:

MAX-CAP: I’ve only been a week, but to someone like me…

PANEL THREE:

MAX-CAP: A week can feel like an eternity.

PANEL FOUR:

MAX-CAP: When you’ve practiced Magick as long as I have, it’s hard not to use. It can become a compulsion if you’re not careful.

PANEL FIVE:

Max-CAP: My name is Maximilian Cortes, and my mission here is to kill the warden of this prison.

------------------
PAGE TWO(four panels)

PANEL ONE:

MAX-CAP: I was repulsed by Warden Francis Beech’s file, and when my employers said he had to be taken out...I agreed.

MAX-CAP: But when they told me he considered himself an adept, I was incredulous. Adepts aren’t fakes who pull rabbits out of top hats like Blackstone or Copperfield.

PANEL TWO:

MAX-CAP: They can topple governments with their magic, and they are frighteningly real.

MAX-CAP: I just have to be patient.

GUARD: The Warden wants to see you in his office--

Guard: --Now.

PANEL THREE:

GUARD: Prisoner Cortes is here, sir.

BEECH: Thank you, Mccracken. That will be all. No need to stand guard outside.

CAP-MAX: Wow--He’s even more repugnant up close.

CAP-MAX: The stink of his mystical aura is unbearable. Ever smell a tire as it burns?

PANEL FOUR:

BEECH: Cortes, Maximillian -- Serving four consecutive life sentences for murder…

BEECH: Don’t know how you dodged a lethal injection, but I’ll have you begging for that before long.

BEECH: I’d offer you a chair, but that implies I have respect for you as a human being.

MAX-CAP: BEECH THINKS HE’S THE CAT THAT SWALLOWED THE CANARY --

crognus
08-21-2014, 09:08 AM
I know you probably think that leaves out information, but all that information comes up organically as the story unfolds. We see Umbra at the end. We see, through the battle, what sort of magic he means. We see that Beech is a racist later. Etc. It also builds a bit of mystery, which makes us want to read on.

Charles
08-21-2014, 12:03 PM
I could wax loquacious and drone on ad infinitum (see what I did there?) like Charles

In an age of drone warfare, it's not sufficient to just drone on, anymore.

Don't get left behind in the drone wars!
Drone on - ad infinitum!

Don't hide in your Twitter bunker. Pick up your copy of Judge Dredd: The Drone Wars, today!

crognus
08-21-2014, 12:16 PM
Judge Dredd: The Drone Wars

Page One.

Panel One.

Exterior establishing shot of a drone factory. It is an establishing shot so it is from the exterior. It is exterior to to establish the location. The location is a drone factory. There is a drone outside the factory. He is standing outside.

CAP: Outside a drone factory.

DRONE: So here we are at the factory.

ponyrl
08-21-2014, 01:43 PM
In an age of drone warfare, it's not sufficient to just drone on, anymore.

Don't get left behind in the drone wars!
Drone on - ad infinitum!

Don't hide in your Twitter bunker. Pick up your copy of Judge Dredd: The Drone Wars, today!

:laugh:

Alyssa
08-21-2014, 11:02 PM
I'm back.

I wanted to collect my thoughts before I came back to respond. Truth be told, my partner (who I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in New York City with, and who also happens to be my editor on ToTS) wanted to debut the series on the Atlas Unleashed website first. He was not happy that I previewed the story on DW, so, in fairness to him, I removed it from DW and will not be reposting it. I will, however, post it on the AU website close to the dates of New York ComicCon. At best, in putting the story up on DW, I was guilty of harmless overzealousness and high enthusiasm to promote TIP OF THE SPEAR.

Huzzah! He didn't ditch and run! You have no idea how happy that makes me, Michael. A ditch-and-run seemed at odds with the amount of work you'd put into your sample, which required staying power.

Having said that, I will address the points brought up in everyone's posts and dispel some misconceptions:

To Alyssa, thank you. You are correct on some things you said, incorrect on others, but the delivery of your message showed constructive criticism and compassion and support for a fellow creator. How you say a thing is just as important as what you say, if sometimes not more so, and I am more appreciative of how you said what you said to me than how Steven said what he said, though much of what you both said were the same things.

Thanks dude, I don't like making folk feel bad. I always wonder whether I should litter my posts with cute puppies and kittens so folk know the sentiment behind my words. :har:

In the end, I'm just trying to help (in all fairness, Steven is too). You're free to take or discard the advice.

As much as I appreciate the sales pitch advice, I'm not pitching this idea to a Hollywood film studio, at least, not now. Who knows what the future will bring?

Don't be too quick to dismiss perfecting your pitching. Get it right, and you'll get the attention of readers, comic creators, and comic-related websites. All of these things can help boost your presence and (hopefully) sell more copies. Forget about Hollywood. Let's say you bumped into the CEO of a printing company in an elevator, and bottled up inside him is a generous printing deal, and he loves comics. But you don't get his offer because when he asks you, "Oh, you're making a comic? What's it about?" and your pitch fails to get him excited, you miss out.
I've managed to keep a roof over my head because of consistently bumping into the right people and getting them interested in shit I do. :har:

But I especially thank you for the recommendation of the book "The Story Solution."

You're welcome! It's focused on writing screenplays for movies, but the principles absolutely apply to novels, comics, and graphic novels. It's a bloody good book.

Other than that, I appreciate your criticisms, whether I agree with all of them or not; but more importantly, I appreciate the kindness behind your criticisms, and I thank you for that.

Welcome. I buy almost exclusively creator-owned works, so trying to help indie creators do good work is in the interests of expanding my comic collection. :har:

Regarding your comments to Steven, one more piece of well-meaning advice: the comics industry is small. Even if someone pisses you off, probably best not to bite back (yes, you didn't bite back as bad as some folk have, but still). You never know; maybe someone interested in collaborating with you/ publishing your work/ selling copies of your comic/ etc might be best buddies with the guy, and therefore disregard you in future. Lost opportunities. ;)

Best of luck with your series, dude. :cool:

Charles
08-22-2014, 06:50 AM
Judge Dredd: The Drone Wars

Page One.

Panel One.

Exterior establishing shot of a drone factory. It is an establishing shot so it is from the exterior. It is exterior to to establish the location. The location is a drone factory. There is a drone outside the factory. He is standing outside.

CAP: Outside a drone factory.

DRONE: So here we are at the factory.

Wrong kind of drone. Plus, you forgot the comma after "So" in that last line.

crognus
08-22-2014, 08:02 AM
Wrong kind of drone. Plus, you forgot the comma after "So" in that last line.

Aw man :(

So, the comic wouldn't be redundantly droning on and on about drones getting endlessly cloned at a drone factory?

Charles
08-22-2014, 09:09 AM
Aw man :(

So, the comic wouldn't be redundantly droning on and on about drones getting endlessly cloned at a drone factory?

No clones, just drones.

D for Dredd. D for Drones.

Dredd kills people. Drones kill people.

You're new at this, aren't you, Crogus?

crognus
08-22-2014, 05:10 PM
No clones, just drones.

D for Dredd. D for Drones.

Dredd kills people. Drones kill people.

You're new at this, aren't you, Crogus?

Ya, unfortunately, I have this obscure medical condition that makes it hard for me to discern the difference between Cs and Ds. It sometimes has quite adverse effects. Last summer, my family and I were supposed to go on a boating trip. I kept asking people about places with large, massive harbors. I did not find what I was looking for.