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Author Topic: [Trollbabe comics] Naked Sacrifice story  (Read 19137 times)
jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2004, 12:35:46 PM »

The discussion about Trollbabe the comic versus the game is here:  http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=8341">Trollbabe Comics Musings (starts about 2/3's down the first page with Jesse's 4th post).

Julie
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Colin the Riot
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« Reply #31 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?
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Colin Theriot,
a.k.a. Teh Clawring Crabe
jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #32 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
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xiombarg
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« Reply #33 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.
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
quozl
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« Reply #34 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.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Valamir
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« Reply #35 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.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #36 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...
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Tim Alexander
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Posts: 304


« Reply #37 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
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6inTruder
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #38 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 ^_^
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James V. West
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« Reply #39 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 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.
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6inTruder
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2004, 06:32:25 PM »

Quote
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]
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Lxndr
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #41 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.
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #42 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
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xiombarg
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« Reply #43 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 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
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Tim Alexander
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Posts: 304


« Reply #44 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.
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