Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Open Thread: Something Blue

It's nice to see Skull, it feels like it's been a while since we've seen him, but there's not much to say about the latest strip. The joke works; I like Skull in the last panel.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So, I missed a few:

The Fitting. I think Jae looks nice. The dress is pretty complicated, and doesn't sit quite right with the rest of the strip, but whatever. It looks special, like a lot of time went into it. It's nice.

Have Your Cake... So... Brent's bachelor party consists of Francis and a boob cake. It's kind of awkward that we don't actually see the boob cake, but it's a family show I guess. We can talk about boobs, but not see them.

The idea of a one-boob cake is kind of funny though. I kind of assumed there would always be two. I will have to make sure to ask next time I buy one.

I happened to be watching Scott's live feed when he drew Brent's nose in the second panel. It looks odd because we're seeing the underside of it. Makes sense, but it still looks odd.

Honored Her Offer: This isn't supposed to be the bachelor party, is it? If it's not, it seems like a waste of a great opportunity for some really juvenile (or gaming-related) gags. If it is -- what's with all the broads?

I really like the double strips. There's room to breathe, room for the script to get its point across.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Open Thread: Maturation

I don't really have anything worth saying about Maturation. Comment away if you like.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Mouth Full of Tacts

So, not unexpectedly, Brent mans up in the most mature manner possible (A Real Mouthful). This isn't bad, I guess, it's just predictable.

I appreciated Scott's comment, and can appreciate where he's coming from, but I don't buy the idea that you have to break new ground to tell a satisfying story.

Let's take a look at the whole mother thing. (Those 300 words want out.) "How could I let you marry a man I've never met" is perhaps the least interesting motivation that I can think of for Jade's mom. It makes the character only one thing: Selfish. One dimension does not a rich story make.

An alternative: Jade's mother is single and rich, but estranged from her daughters and incredibly lonely. Without telling Jade, she cancels all the existing wedding plans, and makes alternative arrangements: An outrageously extravagant trip or cruise to an exotic locale, for the entire wedding party, with the ceremony taking place on the same island on which Castaway was filmed. (I've been there, actually. Not a bad choice.) A month of wedding and travel with her daughters and their friends -- What could be more perfect!

Unfortunately, she neglects to take into account her daughters and their friends. She also neglects Brent, almost pushing him out of the picture entirely in her need to be close to her daughter in this most important time for family.

After an initial moment of "Oh my god so cool!" Jade and Brent realize that, because of the length of the trip and the suddenness of it all, many of their friends wouldn't be able to make it, and they can't live with that. A wedding isn't about the glamour of the ceremony, it's about the people around them.

After some hemming and hawing, they have to break through the alpha-Mom facade to tell her they just can't do it. This gives us the perfect opportunity to use the "I'm sorry" moment I dislike so much in a way that provides tension, and moves the story forward:

It's a perfect opportunity for Brent. Both Jade and her mom (and the readers) are set up to expect "Sorry, but that's the way it is." Some folks might even expect Brent to rub it in her face a bit. But. Brent ends up offering an olive branch to Jade's mom because it's just as important that she be there as everyone else.

Tears all around. Enter Robbie.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Return of the Last Panel Twist!

Ugh. This is my least favorite form of the last-panel twist, the Unexpected I'm Sorry. (Yes, I just made that up, but you know what I mean, right?) There's never a surprise; he'll either man up or wimp out.

I predict he will man up (wimping out seems pretty much out of the question), and one of two things will happen tomorrow:

1. Brent will say, in effect, "I'm sorry but you're no longer invited to our wedding."

2. Brent will say, in effect, "I'm sorry I'm not the man you had in mind for your daughter, but I love her with all my heart, and she loves me, and as a mother isn't that all you've ever really wanted?"

My money is on #2. I'd like to see #1. I'd love to see something original.

OK, I am caught up.

So, I admit that I had read Maternal Obligations before going out of town, but it depressed me, so I procrastinated posting about it.

"How could I let you marry a man I've never met."

That. That's what did it. It's a new addition to the "most unbelievable reasons for canceling a wedding" list, along with the "poorest excuse for a plot twist ever" list.

I have about 300 more words to write on this, but I think it's best if I just get over it.

Mommy Issues did nothing to lessen my funk, but I did like Brent's grimace in the fourth panel. I have a whole essay written called "PVP Characters Spend Far Too Much Time With Their Mouths Open." Ok, not really, but I wish I did.

(A non-critical note to Scott: there is a typo in the first panel.)

Breaking Point is what it is. I'm glad that we're breaking away from the mother dramatics.

One comment on the script:

If their parents are divorced, why is Miranda looking for him? I assume he's invited to the wedding, but why would he show up with the mother? In addition, "Where else?" implies that the mother is expected to know where the father is, which, seeing as they are divorced, doesn't make sense. "Who knows?" would have been a more likely response. I was confused for a sec -- she seemed to be awfully blasé about her husband traveling and womanizing.

Mr. Fixxit: Holy crap -- this is bizarre but Brent in the first panel was something of a revelation. He's smiling. Smiling! Surely he has smiled before, but I honestly don't feel like I've seen that look on his face before. He usually has this droopy mouth that implies his world-weariness (see every other panel in this strip), and the glasses usually do nothing but add a cynical edge to whatever look he has on.

I really don't know why, but he looks like a whole new Brent in panel one.

Deus Ex Machina: I'm not sure how the title relates, but whatever. I don't really have anything to say about this one; it's needed transition.

The Wedding Planner is very well done. I am back on board with the storyline with this strip. The mother was a painful road to take to get here, and it's still kind of corny, but it works.

(I forgot to mention: Hooray for double strips! More!)

Back Online

Sorry folks, I had to go out of town suddenly.

I haven't read all the comments yet, I haven't even read the strips yet. I will catch up and get back to you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Still Going

And the hits keep coming (Dun-dun-DUNNNN!). I have to assume, given the timing of the release of these strips, that Scott has them in the can already. I like 'em.

The mother angle seems worthwhile -- Jade is obviously estranged from her mother, why else would Brent not have met her? (Has this come up before?) Kurtz has set her up as a well-known and strong archetype; I already think of her as Greg's mother from Dharma and Greg, the elitist, lady-who-lunches type.

One quibble I have is that the characters are all so damn accommodating and understanding (in general, not just here). In the third panel, I'd like to have seen Jade still freaking out a bit, instead of already commiserating with her sister.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I admit, this is a nice twist (Cancelled), and I can't guess where it's going.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh Shit

The "trite" storyline I feared seems to be off the port bow (Smooth as Silk), but we ought to wait until we know what's going on.

In the meantime: Hypotheticals!

  • I will be impressed if someone has died, although I don't see how that would affect a wedding that is 2 weeks away. I suppose it could certainly dampen spirits, and a wedding would be just the thing...

  • I will be thrilled if it turns out that Jade suffers from hidden manic depression and it's Brent's patience and love that pulls them together again.

  • I will less than amused if Jade is joking.

  • I will be depressed if someone has sent Jade an envelope full of incriminating pictures of Brent.

  • I will have to hunt Kurtz down and throw copies of his book at him if we end up chalking it all up to cold feet.

I must admit I am very curious, but filled with trepidation. (please don't suck, please don't suck...)

Update: Of course, Scott completely tipped his hand with a blog post released at about the same time as the strip. The post encourages you to buy the happy couple gifts (which you get to keep), plus come and sign the wedding guest book at the CAPE event.

Methinks there's a good chance the business side of the house just ruined the arc. (Too bad, too, cause it's kind of a clever promotion.)

BTW: Did anyone else notice that we jumped from "less than a month" to "two weeks" in 24 hours? Yes, "two weeks" falls into the same category as "less than a month", but "less than a month" implies somewhere between 20-30 days. amirite?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bootie Beds? Rump Racks? Hiney Hammocks?

A new line from J. Peterman?

Sorry, couldn't help it.

Ascots is fine and I have nothing of real substance to say about it.

Except to say that while Francis' expression in panel 5 is fine in and of itself, it's too similar to his expression in panel 4 to successfully impart his transition from confused to discomfited.

... For Romance

Last Chance was what it needed to be. A nice intro to what is surely a long storyline. We get a little insight into how Brent and Jade feeling about the event: as a foregone conclusion. No indication of "Shit.. what if she's not kidding?", which I think is great. Hopefully this means we won't get a trite "cold feet" story.

An Invitation

So, the wedding storyline is here (You are Cordially Invited).

I have no comment on this strip other than that looks like some weak-ass coffee ;)

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's all muscle memory, baby

Another good strip (The Scorpion and the Frog). I love the look on Scratch's face in panel 3, it matches the manic intensity of the moment, and the joke even works.

A couple things distracted me though:

1. I don't understand what's happening with Scratch's leg in panel 3. It looks like it's vibrating, foreshadowing claws coming out in panel 4 -- which they did, but with little fanfare. I would have expected some motion lines on the claws in panel four, accompanied by a "knives out" sound effect. ("sshhiiNGG!!")

2. Why do the claws look like that? Is it because they're turned toward the camera, so the points fall within the silhouette? They ought to be drawn so we can see their sharpy goodness, especially since they are the whole impetus for the joke.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bring It

Kurtz says that the strip is "one step up from Garfield" today -- I beg to differ. There is nothing I don't like about today's strip (Awww...He’s just like MY cat). I can point to many strips that actually are one step up from Garfield, but the effort that went into this one blows most of the comics page away.

Although I'm not sure exactly what animal the lion is taking down, it doesn't matter, especially given the awesome look on the lion's face. The payoff is the second panel, where the intensity that comes out of both characters is jacked up right where it should be.

When I nitpick on seemingly minor stuff, like Brent's eyebrows, this is what I'm getting at. Show us the emotion!

I'm not saying everything needs to ramped up all the time; it's just that every moment is worth this level of attention.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Here's looking at... somebody.

With this latest strip (On a Steel Horse They Ride), I've realized what my problem is with Brent. While I like the strip and think it's amusing, Brent fell flat for me.

It's the glasses. With his permanently-affixed opaque sunglasses, we get no visual confirmation as to what Brent is looking at, and we miss out on visual clues that could more completely convey his emotions.

There are plenty of other cues, so it's not like Kurtz isn't getting his point across, but it could be stronger. I think I can make my point by taking a look at Brent in panel 3, sans mouth:

It doesn't really live up to the words coming out of his mouth; he could be doing anything really. The flat eyebrows work in the fourth panel, when the edge is off his anger, but in the third panel he should really be at extremes with much more angle to the brows, and perhaps even more in the guy's face. Again, I offer another crappy photoshop job to make my point:

Let's compare the full panels:

It's still hampered by the glasses, but it makes a stronger statement, I think.

Update: I just realized I forgot to make the point that ties in with the title of my post -- my other peeve with the glasses is that it makes it hard to portray Brent in a way that makes it absolutely clear that he isn't staring at the guy's forehead. Another reason to put Brent more in the guy's face.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

He's Back

... and with a really nicely illustrated strip (We're Back).

I love the image of Brent as Clint Eastwood; the drawing is executed very well. He's even found some machismo.

I'd be happy if we saw more thematic strips like this (if that's even a term) -- lean more on the art, less on the gag.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Guest Strips: A Welcome Diversion

Since someone asked, and since there's nothing else to report on, I might as well share my thoughts on the guest strips.

I like 'em. I don't think they're all great, but it's almost beside the point: It's a nice break from the usual; I look forward to seeing what new style is going to appear next.

I really like Mark Monlux' Scratchbury. It's a great take on Scratch; it's both sophisticated and crude. I'm always up for a good scatological joke.

I think my favorite art has been in the fan strip, Pee in the Pants. Skull rocking out at Pokemon auditions makes me smile.

A close second for art was Pew Pew, which I wish had been titled "Pyu Pyu" to match the strip.

Blog Archive