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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: James V. West on January 03, 2004, 07:12:02 AM



Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: James V. West on January 03, 2004, 07:12:02 AM
Excellent work, Colin!

The current strip looks really sharp. I love the way digital art lets objects like the bat's eyes just POP right out of the darkness.

I wonder if this strip might benefit from having a spacer between panels? I don't know. The problem I'm seeing (which may have been mentioned before) is that the panels are all so dark I have to really take a second look to figure out where some of them are seperated -- and that's not a good thing for a comic. You never want your reader to be forced out of the story to figure out how to read it.

Did anyone else feel that way?

Unfortunately I missed the first of this story. But so far my favorite panel is the one where Rhetta is standing amid the sprawled figures of the cultists. Great shot. And the recent strip, middle panel also rocks.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 03, 2004, 10:13:25 AM
Hello,

I split the above post from Trollbabe comics: old story down, new story up (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=8710).

I've looked at the current story on a number of different screens, and the art varies a lot depending on the browser and monitor. Colin used a lot of subtle grays, and on some screens, it all just becomes black, and on others, the depth within each panel, the folds in the cloaks, and so on all become easy to see.

Colin, when the story's over, it's all going up at your website, right? I'm pretty sure we can figure out some way to optimize its format for the widest variety of browsers possible, so the art can really shine.

Also, just so everyone knows, the current story is not over yet. There's still one more strip to go, to be posted on Monday.

James, you wrote,

Quote
so far my favorite panel is the one where Rhetta is standing amid the sprawled figures of the cultists.


Oh, like that's a surprise.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Retta's name has no "h" in it. A common error in forum posts, for some reason.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: greyorm on January 03, 2004, 02:04:18 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
the art varies a lot depending on the browser and monitor...I'm pretty sure we can figure out some way to optimize its format for the widest variety of browsers possible, so the art can really shine.

You may be able to tweak it a little, but not much. This is (to the consernation of webmasters and web-artists artists everywhere) mostly an end-user problem, as it depends upon the viewer's monitor calibration, phospohors, model, and age.

I have the same problem with my art -- I'm no stranger to e-mails that state my art is "too dark" in terms of contrast, and when I increase the white level in it and repost, others complain it is then "too washed out."

Thus, I use Adobe's monitor calibration program to adjust my screen appearance to that of its print appearance; it is usually pretty close on my end.

Unfortunately, I've seen the same calibrations produce wildly varying output, however, even among professional print companies and even among their own physical printers (frex, an ad I did for a lakeside resort had a perfectly blue lake both on screen and in our printed proof, but came out a shade of purple in the magazine ad), so it is no guarantee.

The best advice is thus this: apologize to the end-users for it and instruct them on how to adjust their view settings to better see the work as created ("If this is too dark..." and "If this is too light..."). Correct monitor calibration by viewers can solve much of the problem.

Frex, Colin's strips look fine to me, with just the right amount of contrast. If I reset my monitor, however, returning it to the factory defaults, the strips appear too dark on screen (but not in print) until I recalibrate.

I know, it's a PITA for everyone, and I await the day of standardization with gleeful anticipation and prayer.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: James V. West on January 03, 2004, 07:00:31 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

Oh, like that's a surprise.


Oh yeah, heh. She's naked, ain't she?
Quote

P.S. Retta's name has no "h" in it. A common error in forum posts, for some reason.


You know, I should have known better. Hell, I lettered the first strip with her in it.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: 6inTruder on January 04, 2004, 01:16:10 PM
I just wanted to chime in a "Me too!" to the compliment hoarde.

^_^


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 05, 2004, 09:20:33 AM
And the story's all done now! Colin, feel free to post the whole thing at your website any time, and give us the link.

You all, uh, recognize the woman in the final strip, right?

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Lxndr on January 05, 2004, 09:41:52 AM
I do.  Which is amazing, since I usually have trouble telling characters from panel to panel, nonetheless story to story.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 05, 2004, 09:42:48 AM
Question...Is that last strip a "meanwhile back at the ranch" moment where we are shown the rising spider cultists deplacing other cults...or are the monks on the ground the same ones that Retta beat up?


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 05, 2004, 09:58:01 AM
Hi Ralph,

Epilogue = "afterwards"

After Retta flies off with the bat-thing, Gwyneth and her little squad of swordsmen, all of them sporting spider amulets, arrive at the bat-temple to kick butt and to take names. However, all they find are the guys that Retta beat up.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 05, 2004, 10:08:14 AM
Thanks.  I do know what epilogue means ;-)

What made it confusing was the panel that showed the wall and gate.  Unless my memory fails me (and the earlier strips aren't there to check) we hadn't seen any compound for the bat guys so I wasn't certain if that was the same place.  Plus, she comments "I thought these guys were tough" and "we won" which could be interpreted as indicating her people just fought the guys.

All of which made for the possibility that the events of the last strip were occuring elsewhere simultaneously.  Which is why I asked.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 05, 2004, 10:37:53 AM
Hi Ralph,

Not off the hook, you aren't!!

The panel backgrounds in two panels of the final strip are identical to those in the strip two weeks previous, which is still available.

Same backgrounds = same place

"Epilogue" = later

Does the happy meanie dance.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 05, 2004, 11:02:29 AM
eh...you're right.  There is a gate in the panel where Retta calls for the bat.  Must have missed it the first time, perhaps because it was dark and backgroundy.  Not the strongest of clues, and I prefer not having to play sleuth when I read comics, but I'll let you enjoy your dance :-)


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Colin the Riot on January 05, 2004, 10:11:57 PM
Quote from: Valamir
eh...you're right.  There is a gate in the panel where Retta calls for the bat.  Must have missed it the first time, perhaps because it was dark and backgroundy.  Not the strongest of clues, and I prefer not having to play sleuth when I read comics, but I'll let you enjoy your dance :-)


So the door Retta walked out of being the exact door the spider cultists go in was a weak clue?  Just go ahead and trivialize my artistic choices why don't you? :)  

Thanks for the compliments everyone.  As for the strips being too dark, I specifically used only the grey shades on the web-safe palette, unaware of the brightness issue.  

Also, the strip is up in its entirety at http://www.colintheriot.com/trollbabe so go back and check out the whole shebang if you like.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 06, 2004, 05:49:39 AM
Heh...no offense Colin.  As Ron already knows my preference is to have the story put a little more on a silver platter.  I'd much rather each strip be 5 panels than 3 so there could be more information provided.  Matter of taste I expect.  I find explicit clues to be superior to subtle ones in most cases (unless there is a real story purpose to being subtle).

As an example, a big bat symbol on the door would probably have made the difference.  That way there'd be a way to tell "oh this is the bat place" even though I'd missed the fact that it matched the gate from 2 strips ago.  

Or a piece of dialog from one of the spider guys saying something to the nature of "someone's done our job for us"  

That sort of thing.  It just wasn't immediately obvious to my instant gratification mind that these particular cultists were the same ones or a different batch showing parallel action somewhere else.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 06, 2004, 06:22:25 AM
Ralph,

All those kinds of "giveaway" dialogue clues were in fact suggested by Colin and vetoed by me.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 06, 2004, 07:41:58 AM
Yeah...I kinda suspected that...  :-)


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jrs on January 06, 2004, 08:58:31 AM
It's interesting what elements different people use to pick up similarities across the strips.  I didn't notice the doors until it was pointed out.  I *did* note that the bodies in the second panel of the last strip are in the exact same configuration as the first panel of the 6th strip--that was my mental connect between events.  

Julie


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jburneko on January 06, 2004, 09:37:38 AM
Hello,

1) I tottally got that it was the same set of cultists Retta beat up.

2) I totally missed the spider amulets and who the woman was.

3) My actual thought was, "Hey, it's a cameo by Katchoo from Strangers in Paradise."  :)  But then I've been reading that comic a lot lately.

I'm glad to have the explination though because *shock-horror* I actually LIKED this one.  I thought it was over last week and this weeks "Epilogue" made me go "Huh?"  Part of what sold the whole thing for me though was the white-on-black sort-of baroque font used to write the word "No" for the bat's sole line of dialogue.  That, and Retta's hair is drawn really sexy in that same panel.

Jesse


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Lxndr on January 06, 2004, 09:52:52 AM
My only question is: how the heck do you guys know that it's Retta?  The epilogue was easy, but how do you recognize these troll women?


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jburneko on January 06, 2004, 10:08:08 AM
Simple Answer: Retta has long curly horns and light hair.  Tha has short pointy horns, and dark hair.

Complex Answer: Tha is the cool broody Trollbabe who knows what she wants and acts without much deliberation to get it.  Retta is the anoying "free-spirit" Tollbabe who is searching for something and is entirely too caught up in her own self doubt.

Jesse


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Lxndr on January 06, 2004, 10:09:17 AM
So there's only two of 'em?
Okay.  That helps.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: James V. West on January 06, 2004, 03:51:14 PM
Here's my take.

Reading the strips one at a time over a few days or weeks: confusing ending. By the time the last strip appears we have very little recollection of the doorway in the background from a few strips ago.

Reading them all at once: seamless. The visual cues remain strong and everything falls into place nicely.

The "someone's done our job for us" line I think would have elminated all confusion.

But I actually enjoy a bit of subtlety and some mystery. I think the whole strip turned out very well and Colin's artwork really shined.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 06, 2004, 03:57:23 PM
Agreed on all counts.

I also think that those who read comics regularly get more attuned to picking up such visual cues; where those who don't...aren't.

I actually have to conciously force myself to look at the images in a comic because my automatic response is to concentrate on the words.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 07, 2004, 06:12:44 AM
Hello,

Would anyone like to go to the website and read all the stories, in order, at this time?

I'd be interested in several things:

1. Jesse's continuing plaint that the Retta stories are shallow. And Jesse, if you're joking about that, bear in mind that the humor doesn't come across in print.

2. Whether understanding what happens - including points of mystery - is an identifiable issue within individual stories.

3. What underlying issues or plot points are crossing between the two characters' adventures, encounters, and experiences.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Tim Alexander on January 07, 2004, 08:31:09 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Would anyone like to go to the website and read all the stories, in order, at this time?


Sure, just did.

Quote
1. Jesse's continuing plaint that the Retta stories are shallow. And Jesse, if you're joking about that, bear in mind that the humor doesn't come across in print.


I'd need some references to some of Jesse's posts to make a decent evaluation on this, but I don't know that Rhetta's stories are really any more shallow than Tha's. Tha seems to be a more mysterious character, with Rhetta being a bit more accessible, but that's tangental to the actual content of the story in a strip. I think Rhetta's stories have plenty of depth.

Quote
2. Whether understanding what happens - including points of mystery - is an identifiable issue within individual stories.


I had no trouble understanding what was going on within a single story when reading all the strips in sequence. I have no idea if that would be the case if I had read them as each strip came.

Quote
3. What underlying issues or plot points are crossing between the two characters' adventures, encounters, and experiences.


Holy Trollers jumped at me as a major crossing point for the two stories. Certainly the visions reference Rhetta's journey across the sea and to the Goo Feud, maybe they're also tied to visions that the Musician talks about in the first strip. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the rogue troll in Holy is the one released by Rhetta at the circus as well. Nothing else jumped out at me as crossing over but I'm certainly engaged in what I feel are the various threads that are hanging. Questions like:

"Are the Prophet troll's visions and the Musician's visions related?"
"Is Tha's only interest in the birthroot as a child, or is it more?"
"How the heck does Rhetta know the bat creature?"
"Who are the people who show up after Rhetta's stomped the cultists?"
"What's with the spider cultists, and where's the avatar going to end up?"

As for issues, obviously both threads are dealing with the 'babes as outsiders. Tha appears to be trying to remedy this through the birthroot; Rhetta seems less inclined to address it directly/conciously, but some of her choices (re: release of the troll) point towards it. I have to admit that the changing art does make it more difficult to draw comparisons across strips. I really like the changing art, though I have my favorites, but it makes picking up visual cues across stories all the more difficult.

-Tim


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jrs on January 07, 2004, 08:42:20 AM
Ron,

1. In general I enjoy the Retta stories more than the Tha stories.

2. I do not have any difficulties understanding what happens in each story although occasionally the action in an individual strip is less than clear.

3. I don't see any crossover until the Holy Trollers strip, and no direct links between Retta and Tha.  References between the two story lines that I've noticed are the Green Goo Swamp, Aiga, and the spider cult.

I did not immediately identify the blonde in The Naked Helpless Sacrifice Scene as Gwyneth.  (You id'd her earlier in this thread.)  Going simply by the comics, I could also id her as Inge.  

Julie


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Tim Alexander on January 07, 2004, 09:03:01 AM
Quote from: jrs
I did not immediately identify the blonde in The Naked Helpless Sacrifice Scene as Gwyneth.  (You id'd her earlier in this thread.)  Going simply by the comics, I could also id her as Inge.


Obviously I missed this as well, I had even read this thread. Admittedly I read the thread without any context of the stories so it never clicked.

-Tim


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jburneko on January 07, 2004, 10:18:08 AM
Hello Again,

Hmmm... I'm not sure if I've ever asserted that the Retta stories are "shallow" per se.  I remember saying at first that I had trouble identifying "meaningful choice" but I think I have handle on that.  My confusion has more to do with a) I occasionally seem to overlook certain key dialogue or art elements that I don't notice until I've read the entire complete story a third or fourth time and b) my own cynicism about the nature of authored stories relative to difficult moral choices.

Now, I just find Retta anoying on a personal preference level.  She's so full of self-doubt (as driven home by the end of Sex and Death with Music and A Day a the Circus) it drives me crazy particularly when she hasn't been faced with any particularly difficult choices... at least not compared to Tha.  In fact, I find the bit at the end of Holly Trollers where Tha muses, "But who are my people?" to be a bit out of place.  That seemed like a very Retta thing to me.  It may be an issue that Tha faces in her personal pursuits but I don't think she would ever verbalize it, even to herself.

I have to admit that part of why I LIKED the last story so much was how it began.  I derived a bit of sick pleasure out of seeing Retta shot full of arrows with the captions seeming to attribute he rather dire set of circumstances directly to her "philosophy", so to speak.  THEN these awesome cultists show up and drag her away into the night. Could it get any better?  

If anything I think the fact that I HAVE read so much into these two characters should say something.

Criticisms that probably won't go away:

1) Too.  Damn.  Slow.

2) Too.  Damn.  Subtle.  This is particularly bad when combined with #1.  As I said, sometimes it takes a second or even third reading of the story in its entirety before I think I fully "get it."

3) I still can't get behind the jokey slang.  Everytime it gives the strip a kind of forced "hip"-ness it doesn't need.  Even muted slang such as "weirdos" or "freaks" instead of "goofballs" would have worked for me.

So, those are my thoughts.

Jesse


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: xiombarg on January 07, 2004, 12:13:39 PM
I have to admit that while I enjoy some of the individual stories, the more I read them -- and I generally catch up with them all at once when they're posted as a full story on the website -- I understand less and less what Trollbabe, as a game, is supposed to be about. The strips confuse me, rather than make things clearer.  The more I read the strips, the less of an idea I have as to how Trollbabe should be run.

Each story just seems to... stop. It's like a bunch of D&D adventures, only even more rambling and random.

Should I not be trying to use the strips to understand the game?


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Lxndr on January 07, 2004, 12:20:18 PM
Ron has made previous commentary that Trollbabe-the-comic-strip has less-than-nothing to do with Trollbabe-the-game (or at least, that was my interpretation of his commentary).  So, barring connection from Mr. Edwards that's my recommendation.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jrs on January 07, 2004, 12:35:46 PM
The discussion about Trollbabe the comic versus the game is here:  Trollbabe Comics Musings (starts about 2/3's down the first page with Jesse's 4th post).

Julie


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Colin the Riot on January 07, 2004, 12:38:40 PM
Quote from: Tim Alexander
Quote from: jrs
I did not immediately identify the blonde in The Naked Helpless Sacrifice Scene as Gwyneth.  (You id'd her earlier in this thread.)  Going simply by the comics, I could also id her as Inge.


Obviously I missed this as well, I had even read this thread. Admittedly I read the thread without any context of the stories so it never clicked.

-Tim


that's funny, because in the script, it was Inge, and Ron made the decision to change her to Gwyneth.  Now, neither of those characters have an identifiable "thing" to use as a clue.  The closest I found is in the last strip for avatar, Gwyneth's hair hangs in her face, but that was all I got.  If it was Inge, it'd be even harder.  

And as for the spider cultists, in Rod's strip, they wore standard robes with no markings, so I really couldn't just have them in those robes.  I did initially, but Ron's (correct) thought was too many cultists in robes.  

I have to say the epilogue was the weakest strip, because I just didn't have anything strong to be able to tie it into Rod's strip.  I think that's just a consequence of the nature of the project.  Overall though, I think what I did was successful.  As a comic illustrator, I try to be aware of the space in between panels, and whether or not I give you enough visually to create that action in your mind.  How did I do?


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jrs on January 07, 2004, 12:47:01 PM
Well, that's interesting.  I was re-reading the comics and when I got to the 2nd panel in the 3rd strip of Avatar is Plenty, it immediately brought to mind the recent epilogue.  I *knew* the folks in the epilogue were somehow related to the spider cult folks in Avatar is Plenty, but I was not certain that the woman was meant to be either Inge or Gwyneth or someone else.  If Ron hadn't specifically mentioned Gwyneth, I probably would have gone with Inge until proven otherwise.

Julie


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: xiombarg on January 07, 2004, 01:42:18 PM
Well, even if it's not useful for understanding the game, as a comic, I find it singularly unsatisfying. The funny stuff doesn't make me laugh -- it makes me smile, at best. The "deep" stuff just leaves me scratching my head and going: "What's the point?" Not that I'm confused, but I'm like: "Okay, that's kinda interesting. Too bad you didn't develop the idea beyond the barest outline."

I think some of it comes down the the exact same problems Jesse mentions.

To answer Ron's questions more directly, I find Rhetta's and Tha's stories to be equally shallow. I don't have any problem understanding the individual stories (tho sometimes two readings are required), but in the end, I usually end up saying: "So what?" Even when an interesting issue is raised, it just sort of drops.

(Actually, I take that back, in terms of always understanding the stories. Two bits I've never gotten, no matter how many times I've read them: First, in the Green Goo Feud, I have no idea what Rhetta's solution is supposed to be. How do they "have" the Goo after what Rhetta does? Why can't the feud continue? And in the Birthroot Bargain, I don't understand Tha's solution. Is it that she kills the hunter who killed the wolves, so they go away? Sort of cutting the Gordian Knot? But even if I understood those I'm still left with: "So what?")

Where an issue hasn't been dropped, it's been too slow, and STILL underdeveloped. Seeing the Spider Cult come up again, for example, didn't excite me much, since they didn't really DO anything, and the dialogue hints at... well, nothing at all, really. I would expect cults to fight each other. Rhetta's relationship with the bat-thing has a very boring "just so" feel to it. I mean, I certainly didn't expect Rhetta to be a meek sacrifice.

What issues are crossing between the two character's stories? Aside from the spider cult, very little, as far as I can tell. And again, even the crossover I see makes me go: "So what?" Okay, sure, in Holy Trollers, Tha cleans up some of Rhetta's messes, but all that really does is prove they exist in the same world. It doesn't really enhance any themes that I can see, or serve any real point, other than to have another random scene that kinda stops after a bit. In other words, the crossover doesn't improve the story at all.

See, even with the "connections", it still feels like a bunch of random scenes. And there's nothing wrong with that -- I love short stories, for example -- but those scenes don't seem to have much of a point, or much narrative punch, tho some of them are drawn real pretty. (As an aside, I LOVED the art in the latest story. It's the story itself that gives me problems.)

I don't have any reason to invest myself emotionally in either of these characters. They barely seem to have a personality at all. I keep reading the comics mostly because I see people whose opinions I respect raving about them, but in the end, the experience is hollow.

Now, perhaps Ron is building to a grand overall unified plot, but usually, in literature and comics (especially in comics), as one builds to that point there's interesting stuff along the way. That is, at least some of the seemingly-unconnected scenes are worth it on their own, and that's not the case, here. Reading the stories in order and in full just makes me go: "Perhaps this would be a better novel than a comic."

Edit: That's probably whinier than I intended, because I've been sitting on this critique for too long, perhaps, for fear of hurting people's feelings. So take it all with a grain of salt. My apologies if I've been inappropriate at all.

Second Edit: Re-reading some threads, perhaps my problems come from the improvisational way Ron is composing these things. But if they're improvisational, why are they so LONG and slow? I would think you'd want to keep things short and rapid-fire.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: quozl on January 08, 2004, 09:59:15 AM
Just so Kirt doesn't feel alone, I agree with his post 99.9%.  Of course, I feel the same about most comics so I'm pretty sure I'm not the target audience for these.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 08, 2004, 10:16:55 AM
For me I think my only issues with the comics (which BTW, Ron, I do quite enjoy) boils down to different artistic preferences between Ron and myself rather than any inferiority in the comics themselves.

But since the question was raised.

I would like to see future strips be 5 panels instead of 3.  There is a certain artistic elegance to adding space contraints and forcing the artist to make the most of the limited space available, but I think that is over ridden by resulting jerky pacing.

Some have commented that the pacing of the stories are too slow.  I don't find them to be so...once I get through them.  But it often takes me so long staring at a panel trying to figure out what just happened that it *seems* slow.  The Birthroot Bargain is one example...the crucial scene with the ghost wolves and killing the hunter took much staring and scratching before I finally figured out (I think) that Tha ascended to the spirit world in the form of a wolf, allowed the undead hunter to "kill" her thus becoming fully dead and freeing the undead wolves to become fully alive.  The insertion of two more panels with simple text boxes like "with his spirit finally at rest, the ghostly hunter goes to his final rest" type of thing.

I think adding panels would increase the rate of comprehension (multiple reads seem to be a common theme here) and thus increase the apparent rate of pacing.

I'd also like to see (and think we're beginning to) more of an ongoing story arc arise rather than the Lone Ranger effect of riding off into the sunset after each.  I'd like to see whether Retta's bizarre solution ended the goo feud.  I can't imagine how stealing all of the goo would cause the other side to say "aw shucks, guess the sheep won't do us any good now" instead of "those bastards trying to starve our flocks, will finish them off this time".  In fact, I'd love to see Retta return to the village with the Skorlings were victorious and only a crippled beggar (the "cute guy") left to tell the tale and curse Retta's name for escalating the conflict and then leaving.

I'd like a better peak inside the character's heads.  What was Tha trying to find in the library?  I'd rather have known that going in.  Even if what Tha wants to accomplish with the Birthroot needs to remain secret for the future, I would have at least like to have known what the hell it was...what properties it was supposed to possess.  As it was the VERY cool birth root story wound up (so far) feeling much like a typical "hunt the McGuffin" story.  Something as cool and twisted as "Birth Root" deserves better than McGuffin status.

But then I'm biased.  I have never encountered a story told in comic form that IMO couldn't have better been told in prose.  I'm one who believes that a picture is worth a 1000 words...only if talking still lifes.  For action, words convey so much more, so much more clearly (then still pictures...motion pictures are another matter).  

My truely ideal comic wouldn't be a comic at all.  It would be a fully illustrated novel, where all of the characters and settings are brought artistically to life on each page, but the actual story is told with words...left side text.  Right side picture.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: xiombarg on January 08, 2004, 02:10:25 PM
I find Ralph and Jonathan's responses to be interesting, because while I agree with their critique of the Trollbabe comics -- especially Ralph's comments about the low number of panels making the pacing seem slow -- unlike either of them, I am a big fan of the comic medium, and webcomics in particular.

In fact, after I finished my post, I wondered if I was becoming the "comic book guy" of webcomics. Something of a worry of mine...


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Tim Alexander on January 08, 2004, 02:22:25 PM
Hey Folks,

This:

Quote
I am a big fan of the comic medium, and webcomics in particular.


As well as the rest of Kirt's initial post makes me wonder what he's comparing Trollbabe against. I'm not much of a comic guy myself, at least not strip comics. I've got rememberances of Peanuts and Dagwood from my youth to draw on for comparison. The closest thing I can compare to Trollbabe is say Dick Tracy or Brenda Starr, and I have to admit that I find Trollbabe more interesting than either of those. That said, it's very possible I'm missing a cavalcade of stars out there. Any references?

-Tim


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: 6inTruder on January 08, 2004, 02:33:49 PM
Quote from: Tim Alexander
As well as the rest of Kirt's initial post makes me wonder what he's comparing Trollbabe against. I'm not much of a comic guy myself, at least not strip comics. I've got rememberances of Peanuts and Dagwood from my youth to draw on for comparison. The closest thing I can compare to Trollbabe is say Dick Tracy or Brenda Starr, and I have to admit that I find Trollbabe more interesting than either of those. That said, it's very possible I'm missing a cavalcade of stars out there. Any references?

Are you asking for comics in general, or web-comics specificaly?

Cause for web comics:
*cough!*www.megatokyo.com*cough!*
www.nuklearpower.com
www.reallifecomics.com (not really the greatest, but I REALLY like some of the stories he's done involving in-group conflict)

And as for print comics:
*cough!*Akira*cough!* ^_^
I hear excptional things about Sandman, but I've yet to get past the art style.
Kare Kano (which is yes, a High School romance, but I think it is very intelligently written)
If you can dig them up, Roachmill was pretty cool if a bit... Odd. (I had to seriously DIG for mine. And then pay through the nose a bit. But gods I wish I had the roxor illustrative skills to I could try carying the line on myself)

Of course, this all probably had nothing to do with what you wanted, but whatever ^_^


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: James V. West on January 08, 2004, 04:39:45 PM
I like the 3-panel layouts. Ron's asking a lot of his readers, to be sure. We have to sort of fill-in-the-blanks quite a bit in some of these stories. But it's unique, and appropriate I think. This is a comic inspired by a game and what is a game but what might be? I like being trusted enough to visualize things that aren't happening in the panels.

I don't read a lot of webcomics, but The Circle Weave (http://www.circleweave.com/) comes to mind for a good fantasy tale.

Other comics I'd recommend include Goodbye Chunky Rice, Box Office Poison, Usagi Yojimbo, Creature Tech, and Slaine to name a few.

Someone mentioned not liking the art style in The Sandman. The series has a bazillion different artists throughout, so you should definitely give it a whirl. It's by far one of the best series I've ever read.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: 6inTruder on January 08, 2004, 06:32:25 PM
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Someone mentioned not liking the art style in The Sandman. The series has a bazillion different artists throughout, so you should definitely give it a whirl. It's by far one of the best series I've ever read.

coolcool. It's also competing against my manga habit and the other series I want to read (like Cerberus).[/quote]


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Lxndr on January 08, 2004, 06:55:05 PM
I don't get it - what in Holy Trollers is a cross-over between Tha and Retta?  Is the rogue troll Aiga?  If not, what is this supposed cross-over?  I never got that (nor did I ever get that the troll in the Circus piece was Retta).  I was honestly under the impression that this spider-cultist cross-over was the very first action-crossover, though the Green Goo swamp had been mentioned more than once.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 08, 2004, 08:50:36 PM
Hello,

The captive troll in A Day at the Circus was released by Retta. This is the same troll that Tha kills in Holy Trollers.

What's very hard to explain is that I don't make any distinctions between "obvious" and "not obvious." You're not supposed to see this kind of connection, and you're not supposed not to see it, either. I'm interested in whether someone sees it, sure. But I'm not sympathetic either to (a) "I didn't see it so you failed" or (b) "I don't see anything so it must not be there."

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: xiombarg on January 09, 2004, 07:58:15 AM
Well, this is why I worry that I'm the "comic book guy" of webcomics. It's tough for me to keep the number of potential webcomics to point you to down to a managable number.

Regardless, I'll try pointing you to comics that I think have good pacing and make maximum (or at least reasonable) use of the power of the webcomic medium. Also, I'll try to limit myself to comics that have a serious side, i.e. aren't mostly "gag a day", tho many of them have that element to them to a greater or lesser degree.

http://www.sluggy.com
http://freefall.purrsia.com/
http://boymeetsboy.keenspot.com/
http://www.schlockmercenary.com

Hmmm, that was shorter than I expected, possibly due to the last contraint I put on myself. (Also, I couldn't include Eversummer Eve (http://www.eversummereve.com) anymore, which was an excellent example of pacing and plot, but now has archives only accessable if you pay for them. The pages currently viewable don't do it justice.)

Note how all of these comics make maximum use of both art and text to let you know clearly what's going on, and there's a plot twist in nearly every strip. (Boy Meets Boy is particularly notable because the plot twists are often NOT subservient to a gag, as it's more or less a soap opera strip.) Also, note how most of them use more than three panels -- in fact, they usually vary the number of panels to fit what they're doing. They make maximum use of the space they've alloted themselves, tho they're not afraid to cheat, either, or use "Sunday strips" to expand outward. In all cases, page back about a month so you can get a feel for a "typical" strip as you go back.

As a random addendum, the other thing that makes me the "the webcomic guy" is I have very stong opinions on the subject. Please take anything I say with a grain of salt. ;-D


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Tim Alexander on January 09, 2004, 09:13:33 AM
Hey All,

So I've knuckled down and done a little reference reading. Ok, ok, it was comics, but it was reference reading none the less. Having done so I think I can see where some of the criticisms are coming from. In looking at back at some of the Trollbabe strips I think there are few places where an extra panel or two, or a Sunday Layout might have made the story a bit more clear. I also think that some of the treatments really just could have gone a couple more strips to flesh out an idea. It's current form is lending itself to be taken over time rather than in the completeness of a given story. I'd guess this will in the long run make it less accessible to folks who are picking up a random strip, but I could be wrong. I'd also be willing to believe that this was an intentional stylistic choice for entirely different reasons, but that's my take on it's effect. More than anything though is that I feel like Trollbabe isn't quite sure what it's saying yet, but I feel like it's getting there, sort of opening vignettes to set the stage for the overall plot. Having read these first stories, I'm willing to wait.

-Tim

P.S. - Thanks all for the webcomic references.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: jburneko on January 09, 2004, 09:27:45 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
What's very hard to explain is that I don't make any distinctions between "obvious" and "not obvious." You're not supposed to see this kind of connection, and you're not supposed not to see it, either. I'm interested in whether someone sees it, sure. But I'm not sympathetic either to (a) "I didn't see it so you failed" or (b) "I don't see anything so it must not be there."


See, this baffles me.  It baffles me in the same way that your assertion that Sorcerer was not a teaching text baffles me.  If the point isn't to make sure these things get across to the reader then what IS the point?

Jesse


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 09, 2004, 10:13:04 AM
Hi Jesse,

My only point is that I like writing the comics (more or less as they are, although I'm learning about how I like them best), working with the artists, and posting them.

Whether someone else likes them is very much up to that person. Feedback of different kinds gives me food for thought, some of which might affect my later choices, and some of which might not. I do like getting the feedback and with any luck people enjoy knowing that I read it and think about it.

There isn't any other point, since they're free. Your only "obligation" (to use a rotten word for it), as I see it, is to decide whether the stories are fun enough to visit the page.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 09, 2004, 11:18:04 AM
Yup.  I can 100% appreciate that, which is why I've tried to avoid being overly critical of the comics, and wanted to make sure to point out that alot of my criticisms are just personal artistic differences of opinion.

However, I did want to make one small nudge of a comment here.

These aren't just comics.  They're Trollbabe comics.  And Trollbabe is a commercial product (soon to be one of even larger scale than previously).

That to me puts a slightly different spin on the purely personal and "isn't any other point" philosophy you note above.  The tie in to a product line makes things a little different.

I'm not sure you can expect the minds of the reader to seperate Trollbabe comics as an artistic exercise in personal comic experimentation, from Trollbabe comics as promo piece.  Especially when they are tied so closely together on the website.

I think alot of the criticism of the comics stems not from a deep artistic critique.  But rather from a violation of reader expectations.  We have Trollbabe the game and everything regular readers of this forum have read about the game juxtaposed with Trollbabe the comic which doesn't seem to have much, if anything, to do with Trollbabe the game.  

You may, of course, be completely indifferent to reader expectations in this matter, but I think its the source of a good bit of the dissatisfaction (or more properly -- not DIS satisfaction, but less-than-full satisfaction) with the comic.

I personally would like to see a much closer comic to game tie in.

I'd like to be able to read the comic and identify A-HA...that's Retta using an ally re-roll and succeeding but being discommoded.  A-HA the conflict in this comic was done at such and such scale which the conflict in the last strip was done at this other scale.

I'd much prefer the comics read like transcripts of actual play.  I think that's a fairly understandable expectation for readers to have given that the comic is published on a game site and promoted on the game's discussion forum.

YMMV, of course, but it might be something to consider as you seek to push Trollbabe to a broader commercial audience.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 09, 2004, 12:32:36 PM
Hello,

The mondo-big point I made in the GNS forum, with the excerpt regarding Lord Gyrax and Javenne-the-dragon, seems to be missed.

You can't tell anything about play from reading a story on its own. Since that's impossible, then writing a story in order to illustrate how play might be conducted is just pissing in the wind.

""But Ron, can't you use the atmosphere and style to demonstrate the atmosphere and style of a Trollbabe game?"

Nope. It's a comic strip of Trollbabe, which is to say ... well, let me put it this way. "Vampires," right? Now let's do a role-playing game about vampires, and say we come up with something like Vincent's Hungry Desperate and Alone, the only vamp game I've even remotely been interested in playing for the last fifteen years or so. We play it and it's all dark and angsty and grim.

Now let's do a comic strip ... and for some reason, it turns out to be layered with humor and lightness that comments on the darkness and angst. It's more like a satirical cartoon of the same subject matter than a re-enactment of the role-playing, and yet it doesn't just parody the subject matter either.

Why is that? Hell, I dunno. I don't control the "some reason" in the above paragraph. All the fiction I've written presents a weird combination of breezy and dark that has its own atmosphere and style.

The way I see it, if someone likes the strip even a little, it's value added to the website. That's where the game/strip connection begins and ends. As for expectations about that, I can only shrug.  

Best,
Ron


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: James V. West on January 09, 2004, 12:59:34 PM
When I started working on Black Wing I ran into this problem. I was doing comics which were supposed to be the inspiration for the game. But I'm still finding the voice of the comics, so how can I do the game until I find that voice? And when it's found, how can a game speak the same way? I'm of the opinion that it can't. All it can do is explore similar turf.

On another note, in the Green Goo Feud: Retta canals the goo so that it isn't a sticky mess anymore, thus, no need for goats to eat it. That's how she makes peace. I think.

And I didn't get that Aiga was the same troll that Tha kills. Aiga didn't strike me as a murderous troll for some reason. The one in Holy Trollers was more like a monster.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Tim Alexander on January 09, 2004, 01:10:06 PM
Quote

On another note, in the Green Goo Feud: Retta canals the goo so that it isn't a sticky mess anymore, thus, no need for goats to eat it. That's how she makes peace. I think.


I thought she just dammed it so they could control it. If they then steal the sheep the sheep can't feed because the goo isn't all over the place. I think Ralph's point about that maybe not stopping the conflict is pretty valid though.

Quote

And I didn't get that Aiga was the same troll that Tha kills. Aiga didn't strike me as a murderous troll for some reason. The one in Holy Trollers was more like a monster.


It was the headless bodies that tipped me. I feel like whether Aiga was a monster can go a couple of ways. Either the killings were somehow self defense, which I'm not keen on, or Aiga really was a murderous troll who just happened to be vegetarian. Aiga didn't eat humans, but she/he didn't mind killing them either.

On a final note, the one unfortunate thing about the comics and the game bearing little relation is that the game includes the characters and some of the scenarios dealt with in the comics. The plot for the circus strip is essentially mentioned in the Trollbabe text. The connecting lines are pretty strongly drawn, if obliquely.

-Tim


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Valamir on January 09, 2004, 01:13:25 PM
Quote
You can't tell anything about play from reading a story on its own. Since that's impossible, then writing a story in order to illustrate how play might be conducted is just pissing in the wind.

""But Ron, can't you use the atmosphere and style to demonstrate the atmosphere and style of a Trollbabe game?"

Nope.


I don't think its possible for me to disagree with you more.  To the point where I understand what you're saying from a sentence structure perspective...but the words are absolutely devoid of meaning.  You might as well have typed this in cyrillic its so foriegn to me.

We're not talking about identifying premise here.  

Of course you can convey atmosphere and style in a story or comic.  That's what stories and comics do best.

Of course you can structure the action in a comic to align with the kind of action the game promotes.  Of course you can illustrate the resolution of that action in a way that mirrors the way the resolution works in the game (by highlighting the use of a magic sword if magic swords are important to the game, by highlighting the vampire drawing upon his inner rage powered by the blood of innocents if there's a rage and blood mechanic in the game, by having characters remember a spell and using it if rerolls from remembered spells are a mechanic in the game).

To suggest otherwise...I'm totally baffled and unable to even process the idea.


But as to your shrug...that speaks to the core point.  Its a promotional tie in to a commercial product.  I'll leave it to you as "Ron in the artists hat" to discuss with "Ron in the businessman's hat" and come to your own decision on priorities, of course...but if I were wearing the businessman's hat and I were about to launch a new commercial product, I'd darn well expect more than a shrug when I pointed out to the guy in the artist hat that the comic doesn't promote the product very well.  And maybe hopeing that people might like it a little and that would carry over in some way to the game...no.  Ralph in the business hat would not be satisfied with that.  Ralph in the business hat would want the comic to get people so excited that they promptly click the "buy now" button.  If it doesn't then it fails as a promo piece.  And if it isn't a promo piece it shouldn't be tied into a product and the rest of the seriel numbers should be filed off.

YMMV obviously, so don't take this as a lecture, just illustrating what my position would be.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: xiombarg on January 09, 2004, 06:08:55 PM
No problem. So long as I'm opining on this thread, I'd like to mention two Sluggy Freelance stories in particular I'd like to point to as Trollbabe references: Fire and Rain (http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=020114) for breaking out of the box, and the Punyverse Saga (http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=010611) for use of about four panels, and, later, breaking out of the box as well.

Now, Pete has been doing webcomics for a long time, so it might be unfair to hold Trollbabe to someone who's been at it so long, but this lets you see where I'm coming from. Plus, even the very early stuff (http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=970929) serves and an interesting model.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: greyorm on January 10, 2004, 08:26:27 AM
I don't know, Ralph. I get what's Ron saying, and it seems pretty "non-cyrillic" and apparent to me. I also like the comic, though, as a comic, as a visual, creative exercise.


Title: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 10, 2004, 12:38:01 PM
Hello,

Ralph, I can't help you with the cyrillic part ...

... but long ago, the Publisher-hat and the Artist-hat had a very big fight about this and the publisher is still nursing his black eye.

Best,
Ron