Thursday, March 6, 2008

It actually was lupus once...

So. The first strip (It's Never Lupus) post-nipple debacle. I actually enjoyed it; kudos to Kurtz for coming up with a humiliating situation I didn't anticipate.

The House reference is very welcome, and while I still find the whole "floating nipple" concept on the "not" side of funny, the doctor goes a long way toward pulling it off.

I'm also fond of Francis' excited expression in the third panel:

We don't see that often enough, and not just on Francis.

I do have a quibble, shocker I know, and it's with the script. In the last panel:

... we are treated to a cliched punchline, where the character maintains his dignity by explaining that it's not a bra, then contradicts himself and "totally" agrees to the original premise. That's so Friends, 1999. Plus, the "wtf" look on Francis' face is so tired -- I'd love it if he had gone back to smiling, knowing the shit Brent is likely to be getting.

Note: I appreciate that Francis is looking at the camera there, and it's exactly what I suggested a character do in a past strip (I'm not suggesting that's why Kurtz did it now), but so often emotion in PVP is nothing but a set of raised eyebrows; it's like a Botox convention around here. If there's a more expressive alternative, I say go for it.

I'm going to do something I've tried not to do for a while, as it has been suggested to me that it might be crossing the line, but in this case I can't help it. I'm going to suggest new dialogue (just for the last panel):

Panel Four

Doctor: Did I say bra? No. I said a sling. It's a clinical assistive device used in these types of injuries.

Panel Five

Francis: (shit-eating grin returns) So it's a bra.

Doctor: Yes it's a bra.

This sets up the humiliation, providing anticipation, and assumes we will be seeing Brent in his new bra. Because if we don't it will be a crime.


Sage said...

The absurdity of this storyline is in full effect and its good. Like Scott (or evil Scott lets call him Garthe in honor of the immortal Knight rider) said its impossible and he took it to the level by furthering the absurdity of need a pectoral sling. Also the creation of the nipplatory system was pretty funny and is something I have to look out for in my own real life.

On my own tangent. I enjoy the continuation of the "realistic" style with his drawing of the doctor and shows that he is continuing to improve. The francis mouth this is picky but I do want to point out Jade's reaction in the first frame is spot on.

R.W.McGee said...

Totally ripped the House thing from my top 10 TV shows list. Glad I could help Kurtz =)

Sean said...

The punchline at the end is exactly the type of thing Greg House would say and NOT a clich├ęd punchline. When combined with the lupus refrence it's even MORE of a tribute to House and his very distinct style of speech. The strip caters to hardcore fans of the show more than the unenlightened reader.

I agree, however with the other conjecture that Francis should have a shit eating grin in the last pannel. That would have made the joke all the more sweet.

Scott said...

Today was an experiment.

I had Francis do the 4th wall break and look at the camera specifically because you pointed out how it would have improved a previous strip with Jade.

Nice try to cover your ass about that at the end of your post though.

This experiment went a long way in validating the way I feel about the direction this site has kind of gone in.

Sage said...

She doesn't really seem to be saying anything, when she should be expressing either surprise (at Skull's perfect willingness to play the patsy -- which she seems to be displaying in panel three, actually), fear (knowing what Skull is in for), or, more traditionally, the fourth-wall-breaking sardonic glare at the audience ("Wotta maroon."). I've tried to portray the latter option here, forgive my crap job:

I don't recall much fourth-wall breaking in PVP though, so perhaps one of the first two is more appropriate. I actually really like Skull's grin in the last panel, and either "surprise" or "fear" would have been a much better counterpoint on Jade than "poker face".

So . . . you took the third suggestion that he made, which he later took back as the WEAKEST of his suggestions and did it in a wholley different situation (a situation of naivity vs. admittance of something funny and absurd) What exactly was "shown" to us with that statement. In both cases the person's face didn't really change (blank stare at Skull vs. blank stare at "camera") so what?

Was it to show him that he can't write a comic strip? I think we can agree thats true of ALL of us or else we'd be doing. I know it gets somewhat negative and picky at points, but what do you expect you linked his site here because it was "constructive criticism" IF thats not what it is anymore come out and say it, dont put it into the strip and go "ha got ya" because thats just plain stupid.

Are all artists that sensitive when it come to criticism? We're not even flaming PVP, I have and most have said that we do or have in the past enjoyed the strip.

Ti Chan said...

The more I read this blog, the more I've noticed certain things about PVP. Much like Jai and Cole's tie, I've become more and more unsatisfied with Jade's expressions in the last month or so. Something about the eyes and brows make her look strange and cold. If you look a while back, like TFSM pointed out, most of her expressions are starting to look exactly the same.

"This experiment went a long way in validating the way I feel about the direction this site has kind of gone in."

Scott's comments of late have been making me worry... I wanted to say this. I don't see a problem with where the direction of this site is going. A lot of the anon who just insulted Scott every few posts have more or less left. Along with it is the people who are going to support him regardless of what point has been made.

What's left is a good group of people who try to back up what they feel about something with reasoning. It's no longer "This comic sucks cause I said so." It's points on what they feel is weak and how to improve it.

Even TFSM has started changing in how he views things. If his comments show that he's wrong, he'll edit his blog to show so (such as the eyes in Man Down and the Red Dawn thing.) He's showing to be more flexible and...

There's more I could say, but I think my tangent is finished.

neddy said...

I think the implied "breaking of the fourth wall" with Francis was too subtle to really make it work in this case. And the house reference was way too obscure... I've seen House many times and I didn't get the reference.

I agree that a grin, devilish or no, would fit the situation better.

Anonymous said...

Scott's always been terrible about receiving any kind of criticism that isn't spoken with his dick in your mouth. (Thus, y'know, muffling the criticism and making the important comments ignorable.)

Anytime I read a comment straight from Scott, I cringe knowing that such a childish, immature adult exists.

I've been around PVP enough to see him chew out people that try to support him (but oh no, they threw some criticism in!). I've seen him bitch about Tim Buckley (and Tim's got a much better personality. He doesn't shit on Scott every single time he hears his name. Hint hint, Scott.).

All Scott does is cry when anyone says anything against him, and instead of being the MAN he is and making good arguments with people, he resorts to the most childish and immature comments I've ever heard in my life. My nephew, who is 5 years old, could make a more mature argument.

I just WISH this comment would make a difference. I WISH that Scott would read this and say, "You're right! I am a pussy!" and grow a pair overnight.

But alas, it will not happen.

Look, I create art in a digital medium distributed via the internet, that is then judged by people also on the internet. I am judged by the harshest, most nit-picky, sometimes irrational people in the world. But do I CRY everytime someone does it? No, I thank them for their comments, MATURELY stand up for my work if it is attacked without constructive criticism, and continue from there.

All I'm saying is that Scott needs to grow up. He acts like either a 5-year-old boy, or a 14-year-old girl.

Either way, he's socially impaired in some way or another.

And I'm fully aware that this post is more of an attack than constructive criticism. But quite frankly with Scott's shitty attitude displayed here and elsewhere over the years, someone needs to put him in his fucking place.

Oh, and the "Come out to a con before you judge me" comment? Yeah, it's really easy to be fake around a bunch of strangers in real life. But over the internet, your true self comes out, and your true self is one of the most irritating people I've ever met.

And really, the "friend made the bad comments" excuse was absolutely deplorable.

I'm just going to come out and say it: Fuck you, Scott Kurtz.

Unfortunately I forgot my password, so this is DoomDragon6.

evan said...

I agree that the breaking the fourth wall was too subtle.

I got the House reference from the title, but not from the actual strip proper. Was that supposed to actually be House? If so, then the last panel is really the only panel where his dialogue was reminiscent of the Hugh Laurie character. That's assuming he would be talking to his patients in the first place, which in itself is out of character, but necessary to get him in the strip.

Assuming that isn't supposed to actually be House, though, I felt this was a fairly well written strip. It made the concept of the dislocated nipple funnier than it was previously, because an idea that's just totally impossible and irreverent isn't funny. Now, take something completely impossible and throw in a bit of real world possibility, and now the reader has something to latch on to and is able to appreciate the humor in the impossiblility. This strip gave the ludicrous premise somewhat of a grounding closer to reality.

"His nipple is dislocated and has entered his bloodstream. He might die.": too out there. "His nipple is dislocated. he needs to wear a pectoral sling (bra)": enough real world grounding to give a funny mental image.

The one complaint I have with the strip is the doctor's expressions in the last two panels. Or, rather, expression. It doesn't change at all from where he's indignantly scolding Francis to when he's calmed down and levels with him.

As for this strip being an "experiment," I really don't care. If Scott feels this site isn't doing a good job of critiquing his work, then good riddance. Beyond his actually posting the strip, this community doesn't need him here. This is a place for discussion and critique of the strip, and Scott's reaction to the critiques herein really aren't the point. It would be nice if he took note of some of the things some people here have to say and agreed and made some changes, but that isn't ultimately the point.

However, if Scott can't handle the criticism he receives in this space, then he really has to come to terms with the fact that he just can't accept criticism in general, and should stop looking at any boards directly related to his work. While there are points of view expressed here that i tend to disagree with, personally, most of the opinions expressed, both by TFSM and the commentors, tend to have merit.

Also, once you've put your work out there, it no longer belongs to you. Oh, sure... you have ownership of intellectual property, and no one else can use it without your permission and such, but once it's published it belongs to the public. Just ask Salinger.

Anonymous said...

Lupus, huh? Sure, it could be a big reference to House, even with the character standing right there, but I find this strip from Ugly Hill a few days ago interesting. The lupus reference precedes this strip by several days.

Anonymous said...

I just thought I would point out that the post Scott's supposed friend made three blogs ago was written in exactly the same style that Scott writes in himself. Either he's had a profound influence on his friend's writing style, or Scott was pulling the same crap that buyers on ebay use when they decided they didn't really want that item they impulse bid on.

Also, Scott is fat.

Anonymous said...

"This experiment went a long way in validating the way I feel about the direction this site has kind of gone in."

What exactly is this statement supposed to mean? That with his art decisions in the last panel of the latest strip, Scott has demonstrated that PvPmakesmesad gives bad advice? Or good advice? Or what?

Scott, you continue to confuse readers, both with in-strip jokes that need endless explanation and out-of-strip commentaries that seem increasingly confused and passive-aggressive. Or just plain old aggressive, when you're writing as your "bad friend," that is.

Are you doing OK? I'm concerned. Or as you might put it, "Your recent statements have gone a long way in validating the way I think I feel about the kind of direction you sort of seem to be going in maybe."

The Duck said...

Yep, sometimes it is lupus. Both my mom and mother-in-law have lupus, but who's counting?

I'm not saying this because the strip upset me at all, I'm just pointing out that lupus actually is a disease that people get diagnosed with, and it is a serious thing.

Also, I must say that I think the way Scott presented the dialogue in the bra strip was better than your proposed changes FSM. It didn't make me laugh or anything, but I appreciate the absurdity of statements such as "nipplatory system", and this whole story arc.

Anonymous said...

House caricature = unrecognizable without the word "Lupus" in the title to clue us into the joke.

Recent reliance on TV & movie caricatures (e.g. Barney Miller) in art style = going back to the same well too many times.

vaultkeeper said...

It was a good gag, it made me grin. Thinking about Brent in a bra also made me smile.

I like the proposed dialogue change but don't think Francis' expression should change. Looking at the camera made this all the more funnier for me.

Ti said...

Duck, I wanted to say this. I hope you aren't really mad, because frankly EVERY disease is serious to whoever has it, I am sure, but to kinda call every disease we perceive as serious off limits... it's a little unfair.

ANYWAY, I don't the TFSM had anything wrong with nipplatory system, just how the set up at the end was.

And I don't think dialouge improvement would have changed it a whole lot. but I agree with evan that the lack of facial expression change in panels confuse me. Even House, if that who it's refrencing, would have a smirky grin. Sheesh, House wouldn't have cared one way or another if someone called the device a bra, but that would make for bad setup, I suppose.

The lack of expression tend to happen a little more than I like lately. TFSM points out a lot that some of their facial reactions don't line up with either the dialog or the feeling of story, and this makes things hollow.

Jai said...

So, It's never lupus. I agree with a large amount of what's been said about this strip, but as a whole I think it's a pretty solid strip. In fact, it appears to me TFSM liked it. It seems extremely odd for Mr. Kurtz to then fire off a "It was an experiment based on your previous advice! I took your advice but you're still criticizing me! Now here's a really ambiguous statement that I can come back later and interpret in any way I feel like, and woe to him that interpreted it differently!" comment. Yes, "nice try to cover your ass" right back at you, Mr. Kurtz.

As regards that bit about "I took TFSM's advice and look where it got me," it also seems to me that the situation Francis is in here is much, much different than the one Jade was in with Skull (Which prompted the suggestion). While I actually think It's never lupus works out pretty decently with the "4th wall stare", it is annoying that Mr. Kurtz has applied advice from one specific situation to a vastly different situation where that advice is entirely irrelevant and then say "Aha! That was a test!"

Back to the actual strip, though.

I have a quibble about how you can't see the PVPized House character's left pupil in the first frame. It's pretty weird. And I don't like that House has the exact same expression for the last two frames, but I can live with it.

Something that worked surprisingly well is the third frame's "behind the head" vantage point of House. Casting everything but the edges in shadow is a nice effect, and I'm glad that copying the head from the previous panel and painting everything but the edges black (And, of course, adding the ear area highlights) worked out so well. That's a pretty cool trick. You might think I'm trying to be snarky, but I'm genuinely impressed with how good the result of that simple modification looks.

To be picky, though, perhaps an open mouth should have been edited into that "behind the head" profile, as all of the other characters you've drawn that way have had their open mouths included. Oh, also, there isn't any dialogue bubble uh... arrow (What the hell is that thing called?)... pointing from House's speech bubble to House in that same third panel.

The Duck said...

Nope, really not upset at all about the title, just pointing out that lupus is an actual disease and doing my best Debbie Downer impression.

Did you know that feline AIDS is the number one killer of domestic cats?

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