Monday, February 11, 2008

Witholding Comment

I haven't had much to say lately, especially with regards to this latest storyline. I'm waiting to see what unfolds. (FWIW, I would not agree that today's strip is a worthy follow-up to the divorce story. I'm waiting to see if it keeps going.)

The sudden end of the divorce storyline was ridiculous, I don't care what anybody says. The last strip actively signaled the end of the story, rather than leaving us looking for more. ("This is like the end of every Boston Legal." -- how does that not scream "I'M DONE HERE"?)

The previous strip would have been a perfect stopping place ("Can I please put off facing that just a little bit longer?"). It would have been a great segue into other content, while signaling we weren't done with the divorce.

The interstitial stuff I can take or leave. Actually, I can mostly take it, since it was nice to see other characters, and the one-off strips are where I think Kurtz' strengths lie. (Except for Bulldog and Cooch. If I were Kurtz' editor, I'd tell him to save those all up for longer stories; they aren't great filler. IMHO, they'd be a lot better if they weren't modeled on Brent and Cole -- that way they'd be true non sequitors. Then again, I'm not sure that's true. It's kind of a clever shtick to play dress-up with your regulars. It just doesn't work somehow.)

The new styles I can mostly take as well. My knee-jerk reaction was that the new characters looked awkward next to the existing style, but I'm sure Kurtz realizes it, and I'm more than willing to put up with an artist's exploration. It's interesting to watch at times, in fact, and I really liked the Cartoonists Society strip. (Coming as it did after Bulldog and Cooch, it felt like reading the NYTimes right after a brochure for stereo equipment, despite the sour grapes odor wafting from it.)

And Iron Man Kid? I say live and let live. I'm a geek too.


Anonymous said...

New comic (tough-love) touches on the divorce again. It was the first comic in a while to make me laugh out loud. That might have been partially because I'm following your blog, however.

crs said...

I enjoy reading this blog, and all, but let me say that I'm quite glad you're not Scott's editor. Almost every change you propose here would take its bizarre edge away from PvP and turn it into a pool of mundane soap operaness.

Ditch Bulldog and Cooch? Pass up a chance for an awesome Boston Legal reference? I don't think I'm the only one who saw that and assumed that there would be more to come... storylines always fragment in this strip.

I'm glad you aren't his editor because you would have made him cut down the "opening sequence" strips for the Jade Fontaine Mysteries, and that would have deprived this world of some great comedy. I could *hear* the crappy 80s theme music playing over those strips.

Anonymous said...

Awesome boston legal reference? Never watched it.
Bizarre edge? Is that code for not making sense?

I agree that the sleepover should have ended at khan. I did like some of the non related strips after that, the spit one was great.
I'd like to see more bulldog and cooch, but in a longer story.

Spork said...

If they're in Brent's home, and not the office, what the hell is Brent's dad leaning on?

John said...


I think you may be misunderstanding TFSM's point, at least on some levels.

It sounded to me like he enjoyed the Boston Legal reference well enough, but it siganled an ending to the storyline, while nothing was resolved, and that was his problem. It seems to me that Kurtz's biggest difficulty is his pacing, which many an author have problems with.

Anonymous said...

Hey, now. Quit it with the reasonable blog entries. You're starting to entertain me, damn you. ;)

evan said...

Awesome Boston Legal reference? I think it was a particularly shoddy reference, at best. I don't know that I'd even consider it a reference, really. Just blatantly having characters say "Look, we're acting like them television folk" isn't a reference, in my opinion. If there were cues to the reader that it was a Boston Legal reference without actually having the characters come out and say it, then yes. Or even showing the characters' cognizance of the reference they're making without flat out stating it. I guess I prefer my references to be allusive.
I have to agree that, for the most part, the best PvP strips are the one shot jokes. I've never found Bulldog and Cooch funny, but at least it's parody, or referential to a source material.
I don't have a problem with the contrast between the art styles of the newer characters, as long as the regular cast starts to catch up. Take a look at some of the early strips and, while they're obviously recognizable, the characters look nothing like they used to. I think they look better now than they did, and I have no problem with Kurtz transitioning the strip to a different art style. However, if there is no intent to update the regular cast, then side characters should be drawn the same way. There is a world they inhabit, and unless there's a specific reason in the plot for characters to look so different from the rest of the world, it should be more uniform.
TFSM, I think you do a great job of critique here, and for the most part even the commentors of this blog do a good job of sticking to honest criticism as opposed to just flaming. I'm glad Kurtz linked here. You're in my daily bookmarks. keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I still can't get over what a freakin' cliche Brent's parents are. Picking up on the post in the other thread (Dan B's, I think) about how Scott is basically drawing two different kinds of strips in PvP, how are we supposed to respond to the new "deeper" versions of Brent, Cole, and Jade as opposed to the ridiculous triteness of beer-drinkin', hard-talkin', woman-lovin', straight-shootin' Rip? How is Brent Sienna even a logical offspring of a dad like that? Not that children can't differ from their parents ... but are we going to get any insight into what the manly-man Rip thinks of his Starbuck's-drinking, Mac-using son?

I don't mind 2D characters; I don't mind 3D characters. What I do mind is being asked to unproblematically accept their coexistence in what is supposed to be a unified webcomic universe.

Anonymous said...

I think the new art is fine but at the moment (and for the last few months) I think Scott needs to stop working on his drawing and start working on his writing. The story lines and jokes are the main reason why we read, not the art. The art could be fantastic, but if the story sucks then there's no point.

I agree with TFSM, when I saw the break in the divorce story line I thought that was probably going to be it. I hoped it wouldn't be, but the way the writing cut the story line it made it seem like that was the end of it. Scott needs to do a better job on transitioning us from one thread to another, instead of these abrupt hops that leave the reader going, "wtf, mate?"

faz said...

I think the least believable thing here is that Jade and Brent have "FANTASTIC" sex.


Anonymous said...

The "tough-love" comic could turn out to be a pretty terrible way to reintroduce the divorce arc.

I say "could" because I have to see where it's going.

Kurtz wants to show more emotional development, and from the looks of today, it seems like Cole will sheepishly go back home (with hilarious results! [eyeroll]).

So all Cole needed was a kick in the ass from a macho tough guy. No release of emotion, no counterargument, just a kowtow to Brent's dad...because he's a man's man and told him he better do it, damnit! God help us if Kurtz tries to throw a curveball and show that Brent's parents are having marital problems as well, and Rip's words are just a front.

On the other hand, maybe Cole was just too afraid of saying anything at that moment and will actually engage in some introspection. So to be fair, I'll withhold calling today's comic terrible.

crs said...

Fair enough... Many good points.

But the Boston Legal reference didn't have to signal an end to a story. When Murphy Brown, er, that Schmidt gal, got kidnapped and held in a crazy guy's basement, and they ended the episode with one of those balcony scenes, did people assume "oh, I guess that's the end of that plot"?

And as for "bizarre edge", yeah, in some ways, I mean when it doesn't make sense. When things go just a bit askew from reality.

biiirdmaaan! said...

I don't really understand how people are complaining about how Brent's parents are two dimensional. They've been in five strips for crying out loud. I'm not sure how three dimensional you could make them in that amount of time.

It seems like it's about enough time to paint their most important traits in broad strokes, which is what Kurtz did.

Seejak said...

biiirdmaaan's right. Read the first five strips of the comic and then tell me how deep the characters seemed at the start.

Jai said...

Tell me how deep the characters seem after nigh onto ten years.

The Duck said...

Nope, still hate Iron Man kid.

TheOriginalJes said...

I don't know about you guys. But, I enjoyed today's strip.

Although I do think a divorce, now, would have been a better, more dramatic choice for the private events in Cole's life. The fact the SK is focusing on how his private life effects Cole's workplace persona, and is irrevocably changing the core of the man he is, makes for an interesting subject, to me.

It seems to me that Cole's wife will be an out-of-strip character, whom we may never meet. I'm not sure how I feel about that, yet.

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