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Short, sweet, and very funny, for all that. You've done a lot with a modest page count!
I really like how you've set the stage with a job fair; it feels fitting to all characters involved, and really let you milk the comedic potential of the Solid State Soldiers (I'd abbreviate but then I'd sound like a snake). I do wish just a LITTLE that more had been done with the concept of the career fair, but I think it more than served its purpose.
Re: art, I think a bit more variety in middle/ close/ far shots could have helped the front end of the comic (less because the variety thereof picks up with Kazar's portion and more because (imho) Kazar's style works a bit better than most (definitely including my own) with less variation in how far out the "camera" pans. Beyond that, I think you've done a nice tight job of giving the reader just as much as they need visually to enjoy the read. Especial props to the sequence of kong totally beefing it on the oil slick; the variation of panel styles all mashed up on the bottom of that page made for a very cool arrangement for what otherwise might have been a typical physical gag (definitely heightened by the fall being a death blow).
Intentional or not, Kong's more straightforward death served the second half of the comic immensely. On my first read-through I fully expected the spray bottle would contain some sort of weed poison or fertilizer that would kill King when he drank it, but the last-minute pot crash and trowel-stab turned my expectations on their head in a very enjoyable way. that we don't see the trowel was the murder weapon until the last panel really helps get the chuckle.
Good, punchy stuff. Always glad to read y'all's comics.
The style of this comic was phenomenal - between the texture of the pages and the shades used for the white space, my reading experience was that of having found a really cool vintage ashcan comic.
The character designs are similarly slick - King looks every bit the boyish protag; Kong has a silent dignity to his action and a gravity of presence that make him interesting to behold; Rocket has a perfect "bully" look, and some very cool missile tricks built into the body design, and Sap makes the transition from HS student to unsettling science project killer very smoothly.
The action here is CRISP. Extremely smooth to follow, and forming into some stellar action sequences (Sap punching through multiple floors with the beanstalk and Kong doing a missile dodge and return are by far my favorites here).
The text felt a touch overwrought in places. Never egregiously, but in places I found myself feeling I wasn't getting a lot of bang out of what was being spoken by the characters, or being explained by the narration. I'd almost hazard to say the comic would benefit from losing the opening exposition entirely - lacking the context it gives really wouldn't hamper my understanding of the events of the comic proper, and the reveal of the area around the lab loses a bit of punch when we've already had it spelled out how bleak the world has become in the fiction of the comic.
And as for your opponent OCs.... considering them in a vacuum, they make for solidly interesting starter villains - interesting enough that I'm engrossed in the fights they initiate, but not so overwhelmed by their presence that their demises feel premature. I'm honestly still on the fence, after a few re-reads, about how I feel re: how much rocket and sap have been removed from the context they were created for. I hesitate to go so far as to say that removing that context makes them feel like completely separate characters with incidental surface similarities, but the versions of the characters you've inserted into the comic here work well enough, so little harm done, in the end.
The writing is otherwise strong; you've set up a highly intriguing larger world with your set illustrations alone, and I'm desperately curious to see what more this world you've crafted has in store for King and Kong.
Some of the things i do like about this round, the action and shading and flow that make for an effective story told and how much each part feeds into the comic to make everything feel more complete and gives it a consistent quality throughout, which is impressive to pull off for any doubles comic that is for certain!
However while I do like the action and initial set up for the characters and where things start and end, the middle bits are where the writing specifically starts to fall apart for me. I really did NOT enjoy how more than half the comic is spent with the King character repeatedly telling the audience how much they do not know what is going on, it felt like there was so much more room you could have had for any other lines. When characters are introduced, its fun but when its time to follow our main character King it gets really repetitive for me personally.
I really love the setup of the comic as a big Oculama Youth group convention but unfortunately the characters did seem to get only a tad bit of screen time and the way they go out left me feeling like i could have gotten more out of them, and had them gotten to the ending bit and go out at the same time.
A good thing I appreciate is that more time is spent with the opponents for the total comic time, which i personally feel is an ideal for OCT comics. A delightfully funny round that was just short of reaching some full momentum
Wow, wow! The adaptation of your opponents into your own world and arc is really well done. It keeps the inherent style of their voices while changing just enough to fit into a serious story. The exposition at the beginning feels cumbersome, but even skimming it the first time and going back it helped establish the comic in an evocative way. The split scene can feel distracting at points, but the timing on it is quick and never lingers so long that you forget the other scene or feel truly missing. Really lovely stuff, my only criticism is that if the story does end here, it would feel incomplete. Excellent!
Holy shit that doctor beat is so funny. By the same token as the other, bringing such serious characters down into an absurd low stakes world (while losing none of the lethality) is masterfully played up. The setting of the school job fair is fun and immediately interesting, a great excuse for every weirdo in the world to show up. And that immediately gets used great! My only issue with the whole thing is that the split of characters' appearances make it feel like two separate comics, with only Kong keeping them together (and he disappears after that first page until the second half.) But that also gives the comic a fun anthology feel! If this continues on, would love to see that either pushed harder or changed up. Super!
Writing this as I read, if the langauge is weird that's why: First off, cool setting. I like getting a little worldbuilding. Your action is really good, it's easy to understand what goes on, but I think your poses are very stiff, and I would enjoy perhaps seeing more sound effects. You have a good balance of dialogue to narration to action, but I think a lot of your dialogue feels stilted, at least to a degree. Perhaps that is also due to myself not particularly enjoying this sort of "manga"-style internal narration, like when (king?) speculates to themself, wondering who they are and why they're there. Your characters have a fun dynamic, I think it will be fun to see how they change and work together going forward. To improve what you've already done, next time I would like to see you pushing your poses and action to new degrees, and see more sound effects used. I think sounding out your characters' dialogue (and especially internal dialogue) will help your language flow better.
Writing as I read.
I really like the school fair setting, and you've done well in writing a short comic that doesn't try to do way more than it can. Seeing you write a far less serious story than your opponents makes for a good change of pace, a lot of the comics in this tournament take themselves very seriously. You write well, but I think the events in your story are rather disjointed - it is one event, and then a different event, and they are definitely related, but it doesn't exactly feel like one event leads to the next. Did you write your story together, or did you write each of your parts separately, and just stitched them together in the end? Knowing that you use different art programs and therefore cannot necessarily match your art styles, I think it would be good to have seen both of your parts use colour. Going forwards, please keep doing the comedy stories, and I would like to see you try to unify your art styles a little - maybe both of you could put work into the same pages occasionally, or try to at least colour the whole comic? I don't know how well it would work, but I think it's worth a shot.
Excellent stuff from top to bottom. Everything brought to mind classic pulp adventures in the best way; the backgrounds were consistently solid and the use of light, shading, and spot blacks was top-tier.
The only real knock I can think of is that Rocket's and Sap's backgrounds as students wasn't really touched on. You did a very good job of integrating them into your mythos in believable and organic fashion, but that did stand out a bit to me. Page 13 also had a bit of awkward paneling; I'm not really sure where the "Allegiance?" bit fits into that exchange.
Nonetheless, laudable work.
A fun little bite-sized adventure. I had a good time reading it; the stethoscope gag in particular got a smile out of me.
I'm honestly not sure how to fill the remainder of this review; the jokes landed and there weren't any issues with readability. In the context of a tournament, at least, it would have been nice for Sap and Rocket to set up some sort of through-line to follow in subsequent rounds, but I'll admit that's not entirely necessary for a gag-focused approach. A bit more of Kong's character outside of just being a stick-in-the-mud lackey wouldn't have gone amiss, either.
Teenager-ifies your commandos. This job fair setup is magnificent.
DO A FLIP KONG. I love the magnificent arc in that panel followed by the FALL panel where the lines are all doubled, you really feel the CLANGGG. Incorporating this technique into my mental library.
DO IT. TAKE THE SIPPY. DRINK THE PLANT WATER THE WATER FOR PLANTS.
King's life expectancy just got shorter than that sprout on Sap Ling's head.
HYSTERICAL KILLS IN THIS COMIC. ROCKET JOCKET CHECKING FOR A PULSE ON KONG AND THEN WALKING OFF AFTER WAS A NICE TOUCH.
In conclusion: HGRUISHUFIUESHIEU PURE COMEDY PACKED INTO A PRACTICAL AND PETITE PAGE COUNT.
Ohoho the off-white background colour. The greyscale tones. OOZING style!
Rocket Jocket's intro pose and lines are like. Chef's kiss you immediately know what this character is about.
I'm pogging at everything happening right now. DID KONG ROCKET JUMP.
I don't know what else to say but I'll try. Banger lineart and composition support the more serious tone of this comic, but y'all did great adapting your opponents' designs for the superhero genre (actually, great way to plan for a variety of opponent designs and backstories). I can't wait to see where y'all are going with this (assuming y'all don't die) in future rounds with the setup for this big mystery. Wondering what King's power is (to be revealed). Loved the rocket vs rocket.
What a comic! There's an impressive level of polish here, especially given that one of you was out for the count with COVID for most of the battle time. I genuinely have no idea how you achieved this many polished pages under those circumstances, your workflow must be tight has hell. It's not super common to see halftones used for digital work, and I think they really sell the pulpy vibe you were going for. The spot blacks balance things out very nicely. I think your setup for the plot was really fun, and is interesting framing for their story going forward. Your action shots are also awesome-- page 18 was a standout for me.
I stumbled on the writing a little, to be honest. I think the root of the issue was that towards the end, almost all character action had to be punctuated with dialogue-- there wasn't a huge amount of narrative work being done by the art alone. An example of using the art successfully is in pages 4-5-- a lot is going on here that isn't explicitly stated but is doing narrative lifting; King's visible confusion, Kong doggedly walking through the halls like a very calm juggernaut, it's great. In contrast, I think 12-15 shows characters just saying exactly what they think and standing much like a shounen TV show; the art is just background for that dialogue for the most part. I think there was a lot of room here to characterise King in this situation that kinda got missed. I wanna know more about these mysterious guys!!
23 pages on their own is super impressive, genuinely crazy, let alone under 2 week illness pressure. While I do think there was room for tightening and making less pages do more work for you, I think you two are a killer combo and I can't wait to see what you can do when operating at full capacity
you MAD LADS!!!!!! Despite being the shortest entry this round, I think there is a lot to love here. The premise of a job fair is really fun and silly, and tbh I love the tone contrast with your opponents characters. The page 2 Kong death gag was SO fucking funny, Jocket Rocket is among my fav characters and I liked Sap Ling's very grounded and mild personality in comparison to the others. They're a cute duo!!
I think there was a missed opportunity in characterising the job fair and the school the characters are in with a few extra pages just for flavour-- I wanna know more! I wanna see Jocket picking on more nerds and Sap engaging with their peers a bit, so I can learn more about them,and also to give King and Kong a bit more context and presence in the story. Don't get me wrong, I think Kong immediately slipping and eating shit is SO funny, but I still reckon there could've been more room for him to breathe. The paneling was also quite densely packed on the first two pages-- some important elements like Kong slipping were relatively small on the page. While it still totally worked, it'd be cool to see some panel construction with hierarchy of information kept in mind, just to see how it pans out in this style.
Despite all that, I still really enjoyed this comic, and it got maybe my biggest laugh this round. I'm actually quire fond of this character duo and really want to see more of Oculama high!! Go go go!!!
phew boi you two pulled out all the stops and did your homework on everything that makes the early 80-90's manga/anime great down the the manga paper coloring! the setup leaves a lot of mystery to whats going on with solid state soldiers duo but keeps me hooked to see even more of their story unfold! not to mention you took two of the slap stickiest characters and turned them into total badasses and gave them both ample room to shine; all while pushing the narrative through at a steady even pace that kept up with the action you had going from two separate fights. I am so looking forward to more from this team and the evolving plot if the story continues!
ughhh if your opponent has everything I love to see in building a potential trilogy of comics, Your comic has absolutely everything I love about saturday morning cartoon one episode takes and has the absolutely funniest death this round( I mean really the checking for the pulse made me laugh our loud IRL my cat looked at me so funny) and that lovely humor Ive come to cherish from either of your comics and the setting and plot work so well for such serious opponents and was able to keep me highly entertained for such a short showing and thats really the only "bad" thing I have to say about this lovely comic is its over so quickly but quick and fast really does work for this pair but I also would have liked your pair of OCs to interact with each other at least a little bit to setup for the next comic. absolutely lovely and funny comic
Genuinely impressive showing for getting taken out by covid (i hope you're feeling a bit better now, eric). The art is obviously super solid; the halftones are really, really effective here and its all super crisp even in the pages that didn't get 'em.The movement is also very clear, which i appreciate- i'm not much of an action comics person and i can sometimes get lost, but this is very easy to follow.
I think next round i'd like to see a bit more story about these two (and the opponents)- the start was really solid but i don't feel like we learned too much about what was going on by the end aside from fighting/it'll happen next episode. it doesn't have to be the whole deal, but something to grab onto please!
I need to know what the writing room looked like here because water based deaths is so out of left field? i love it, honestly. I nearly wrecked my entire shit slipping on a puddle on the gym floor at work last week, so i'm truly having a "that could have been me" solidarity moment with kong here. I feel you buddy.
Really enjoyed your 4 panel jokes/tension sequences- Jocket getting out the stethoscope, King deciding whether to steal the spray bottle- and i'd love in the future for you guys to expand that a bit for context in more pages!
Beautiful inkwork. I'm not gonna lie knowing the caliber of style and use of spot blacks and inkwork that can come from the both of you, you're definitely a formidable team. Granted it got kinda loosey goosey near the end, but I'm left wondering if that's just the press of deadline or the urgency of the stakes where the characters find themselves in the story. With so much personality in expression and action, I am left wanting for the same type of distinction in your special effects font. You gave us a little in the beginning but in the big action scenes by the end, the SFX are non existent. Page 3 is a good example. Drawing out that 'bang bang' on your own and adding some urgency to it with some cracks in the font to telegraph we're breaking through a test tube would've been great.
I will say you show some great love to your opponents. Jocket's intro was explosive- literally! And Saps bursting vine introduction really makes them look cool. Your dialogue I think balances between complimenting what you have page to page and also carrying the story by being too expositive when your artwork should be doing that job.
Short and sweet, which funnily enough is unexpected in this first round, but no less welcome! I think the job fair was a clever setting to show off your opponents recruitment zealotry in a tongue in cheek way
With how tight your page count and story was, I definitely wish there was more spitshine added to your pages. Getting a better view of the job fair and more of the booths/class of characters in this space would've been fun. Seems a shame the only booths we significantly see are yours and the opponents for when its relevant.
For a tournament and format where the expectation is a big blowout fight and death, seeing death by a backstab of trowel was pretty danged funny.
The plot sets up the stakes thoroughly and follows up with quickly seeding some big promises like the origins of the amnesiac skill resonance for King and his apparent helplessness for this round. Didn't feel like King pulled much weight at all this round but i do get that's most likely deliberate for the overarching story being set up. It's ok if he just wants to be a talker for now.
As for the opponents some liberties have definitely been taken with their backgrounds to fit the story as other weapons made in a lab but what a fit it is! One other thing that sticks out to me is Sap Ling's death being far less dramatic and more straightforward compared to Jocket Rocket, perhaps slightly more emphasis on what was in the rocket's payload and the results of that or complications from King being constricted could have helped there.
The environments here are something i love to chew on, could do with a few spots of colors but hey 2 week budget restrictions can be pretty difficult.
Huge respect to any comic that keeps it short but fits a gag on almost every page. The wish for water, consequences of slipping on water, delicious looking pesticide, and a trowel + pot related overreaction. Job fairs surprisingly bridge the school setting and whatever King and Kong are up to into a more comedic setting.
Admittedly the pages being bifurcated like that is a bit of a big shift but it comes with the territory of quick duo collaborations. One thing i'd have wished for is getting every page colored but adjusting the workflow to be more collaborative might not have been in the cards in such a timeframe.