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.

32 comments:

HNM said...

I disagree. I've found the guest strips gratuitously crude and low-brow. I stopped thinking excrement was funny when I was about five.

I liked the Will Rodriguez one, but beyond that, I could take or leave about half. The rest I would prefer to leave.

R.W.McGee said...

The Will Rodriguez one was good, the rest were pretty terrible. I guess there is a difference in that some people would rather see a strip every day, no matter the quality, whereas I would rather not see any strips at all then random junk.

Chris said...

They've been hit or miss for me. Today's is pretty good. Yesterdays I enjoyed. I do feel that most fail to grasp the characters. You don't realize how much voice Scott has given to his characters until you have a week of other people putting words in their mouths.

Jason L said...

Something that bugged me about the guest strip titled "Yowee?" was some confusion in the dialogue. Francis says Brett was surfing for porn this morning and Brett refutes that by saying he hasn't been in his office all afternoon.

The disparity as to when the porn surfing occurred was jarring and caused the punchline to fall flat for me.

Anonymous said...

I guess you could say that the type of content found in these guest strips is more damning praise than a year's criticism from a place like this.

It's always good to see the art style being played with, though.

Anonymous said...

addendum to above: Depending on how one feels about flagrant potty humour, of course.

Anonymous said...

I think the most jarring, and unfortunately most constant, example of characters being shown out of character is Brent. The guest strips always have him coming out and pissing all over everything. Sure he's abrasive, but he's not a complete dick. I don't know why they seem to always represent him as such.

Kliff said...

Brent certainly is a complete dick, just not necessarily in the way that the guest cartoonists portray him. The way he drools over his fiance's sister is disgusting.

evan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul T. said...

I think the guest strips are proof positive just how much Scott has abandoned PVP in favor of his other interests... He's "too sick" to keep up with PVP, too lazy to get any kind of safety-net buffer, but somehow still manages to keep up with all his other projects.

Notice how "Ding" hasn't suffered though his "illness"... He can keep up his backup strip while ignoring his primary strip...

Further proof is in his own words... To quote Scott, "Despite being back in the office, the guest strips will continue to run for a bit. (Because I'm too lazy to create a buffer) This will give me a chance to catch up on all this work I’ve been ignoring. (Like my PVP readers) I have a lot of stuff to ship out. Mostly “How to Make Webcomics” books. I’m making that a top priority. (Instead of you, my no longer valued readers)

OK, so I paraphrased a bit, but nice, huh... Screw all of us, the readers who follow the strip daily... We have have these half-ass pathetic attempts of guest strips while he makes other things his "top priority"...

Kurtz has simply become a hack... Someone who's self-proclaimed "greatness" has gone to his head... We'll never see another decent strip or story arc on PVP again...

And for all you fanboys and sycophants out there getting ready to unleash your slobbering wrath, flame on... I don't care and won't see it anyway... I've had it with Kurtz. This is my last post on this forum, and my last visit to his website. I'm done... PVP sucks and is no longer worth my time...

Bryant said...

Even though Kurtz is on auto-pilot these days, at least he has a firm enough grasp of his own characters after all these years to write them correctly, with some obvious exceptions, even when he's phoning it in. The guest strips are done by people who obviously don't even read the strip regularly; the previous criticisms are right, particularly about Brent, who under the hand of a guest writer is simply an eternally angry, belligerent bully who is only recognizable by his shades and coffee cup. The real Brent does have *some* redeeming qualities, and his jerk nature certainly doesn't come from blowing his top every panel.

I understand *why* Kurtz is letting PvP slide - it's not his biggest money-maker now, and he doesn't even have to point out the old bit about people complaining about a "free" webcomic. The fanboys do that for him. But if he is so tired of it, as he obviously is, why run down the strength of the brand he spent so much time and effort to build? Go on a hiatus to focus on those other projects he cares more about or that are a bigger revenue stream - Ding, the webcomics book, merchandising. The only reason to continue the facade of producing PvP is that he worries about the image he projects by stopping it when it is the project that got him some recognition. But, if he continues to produce such a poor product - or let others produce an even worse product under the guise of guest strips - he will continue to lose readership and the respect of people as the level of quality continues to spiral downward.

Oh, and yes, I am sick to death of scatalogical humor. I have never found it funny, only juvenile and annoying (when not out and out disgusting). I typically just accept it as something that Kurtz, with his Peter Pan syndrome, somehow still enjoys and that as a PvP reader I must on occasion endure. But, the guest writers seem to beat that drum mercilessly, along with the "Brent's a raging dickhole" theme. To be sure there must be some webcomic artists and writers out there who don't find the word "poop" to be the Holy Grail of comedy.

Sage said...

Turning on slobbering wrath: PAUL T AND BRYANT! Yeah i admit you have some good points, but if it draws that much ire in your life stop viewing anything of Scott's.
That is what will annoy him as if he has a drop of in viewership from the lack of quality or original strips that will affect his wallet. If it pissed me off as it did you guys I, like peter griffin watching Failure to Launch, would get up, throw my hands in the air and say "Done!" never to return again.

The only thing in my life that gives me that frustration that I subject myself to is my sports teams. Because Philadelphia fans are just masochistic.

Bunny said...

A lot of people seem to have completely missed the idea of marking territory in the Scratchbury strip. That's what makes it funny.

In the Yowee strip... I get the distinct impression that the author MEANT hentai, and perhaps doesn't know what yaoi actually means?

Stephen Geigen-Miller said...

I don't think so, Bunny; the author knew enough about yaoi to spell it phonetically, which implies at least knowing what it actually is.

Also, it's quite in character for Francis to think that yaoi is particularly blackmail-worthy.

I doubt that a rabid fanboy whose "job" is basically to use the internet all day would think that cruising hentai sites was even worth mentioning.

In terms of getting the characters right, this was probably the best guest strip of the bunch -- Francis and Brent were close to spot-on.

Bunny said...

Second frame. "Japanese cartoon porn fetish." That doesn't describe yaoi, except perhaps to someone who doesn't know what it is. The idea of Brent being interested in male/male romance stories with a primarily female audience is, indeed, amusing, but it doesn't fit in with any of the strip's content.

No-Neckbeard FatScott said...

I can't help but think that Kurtz is trying to ride out the readership backlash against the strip by having guest strips so everyone mellows out for a bit. I know that there are definitely fewer comments here, and we might have even lost some of our more critical critiquers. That's a shame, because Scott needs someone to keep his fat no-talent ass in check.

Little Jackson said...

Scott shouldn't give a toss about what people say on this site. I don't particulatly care for his work, but his desperation to be universally loved is one of the primary flaws in what he produces. Especially when the frustration at seeing his failure in this (an inevitable failure as it is impossible for anybody, let alone somebody like him) leads him to have a tantrum.

evan said...

Okay... I'm sick of people pissing on the guest strips. I don't think people quite understand guest strips.

When you're writing a guest spot for an established strip with such an established cast and audience, you're pretty much writing a one-off gag. It's not even the same as the normal single strip gags, because it is out of time. The guest strips aren't really part of the canon.

So the writer/artist has on strip to convey one joke. These are not this person's characters, so the dialogue is going to be written differently. It really is a testament to Scott that the speech patterns are not instantly duplicated.

And you need to pick a situation to put these characters in where their personalities are instantly recognizable. So what we end up with is a caricature of the cast that we know. The caricature of Brent is a complete and utter dick, screaming at Skull all the time and losing it at the drop of a hat. Yes, his character is more nuanced than that, but a guest artist doesn't have the time to utilize the nuances of the characters

Now, that isn't to say that I welcome the guest strips. the yaoi one (I agree that I think the intent was hentai) was the best of the group so far. The setup was meh, but I really liked the payoff of Skull searching online for cute anime and hurting his virgin eyes.

I also liked Pee In Pants... Skull is a really great character for guest artists to be able to play with because he is so pure and childlike. The latest, The First Duty, is pretty good. I don't think jade would have had that sort of knowledge at her fingertips, but again... she is a prim and proper character with a geeky side, and this guest strip highlights the geeky aspect of her character.

I've wandered from my topic... I don't welcome the guest strips purely because I feel Scott should have been working ahead. Not necessarily because if something happens like this he could have a cache to update with while he recovers, but because then he wouldn't be posting late constantly, and more importantly because it would force him to plan out his storylines.

"I’m also trying to work ahead on what could be the most important story arc of the last 10 years: Brent and Jade’s wedding." (From the "Back in the Saddle" post)

I hope that means that he is really planning and plotting out that storyline. If so, I'm looking forward to it. I don't mind a few guest strips if that's what it takes to get Scott to plan out his stories from now on and work on a more professional buffer (though I have a feeling that his planning this storyline is either a) special for this story because it is so important to the strip/him or b)another "experiment" to say 'see, I planned it out and you're still complaining!' I'm betting on A, and don't hold out hope for this to become a greater trend of his with his work)

Anonymous said...

There is no way that Brent would wear bacon! Totally out of character yet again.

Steven said...

I've just got something against this whole "Om nom nom" thing that seems to be going around on the internet. I don't make that noise when I'm eating-- No one I know makes that noise when they're eating. It's crap, man. Crap!

Anonymous said...

not even cookie monster, steven?

Anonymous said...

last i heard the cookie monster doesn't even eat cookies anymore.

Anonymous said...

Evan: I'm not pissing on the guest strips because I don't understand the point of the guest strip concept. I'm pissing on them because they are just plain awful - awful writing, awful illustrations, awful "jokes." One-offs or not, they should at least make some attempt to be funny. They do not.

Someone get Scott off his lazy ass and tell him to get back to work. There's no excuse for this long of a stretch of him not doing a damned thing.

Anonymous said...

Not being funny is just the guest strips' way of trying to keep with the vibe of PVP.

Sage said...

Today's strip I liked a lot between the writing and the art. Brent and Cole interacted like they normally did, they talked about normal getting old stuff, and it incorporated a good PVP standard punchline.

This is one of the few where Brent wasn't written like a dick, and I liked both Cole and Brent in the realistic fashion they were drawn.

Wonder where he's going to start when he gets back tommarow

Sage said...

Plus no skull, i was actually getting sick of seeing him back to back to back like that

Anonymous said...

today: scott had a doctors appointment.

tomorrow: the dog eats scotts comic

wendsday: obscure religeous holiday?

that said, todays strip is good.

Anonymous said...

paul t. wrote: "I'm done... PVP sucks and is no longer worth my time..."

Apparently it's worth 274 words' worth. Gotta admit, it was pretty funny seeing you put words in Kurtz's mouth. Time was people would complain about what he said. Nowadays they 'paraphrase' by making stuff up. Hehe.

paul t. wrote: "And for all you fanboys and sycophants ..."

Yeah, eff the people who spend their time laughing at PVP and not jerking off to mountainous paragraphs of hate, eh?

FortyTwo said...

I really liked today's guest strip (April 7th). Good art - more realistic, but definitely Cole and Brent. Good dialogue - it sounds pretty realistic, yet also sounds in-character. Finally, and most impressively, a Kurtz-esque final panel that works. It really evoked PvP at its best (and is thus better than 90% of actual PvP strips).

The more I think about it, the more I think this is the quintessential guest strip, the one strip that embodies all that a guest strip aspires to be. Great job, Tauhid Bondia.

SlinkyTheDrunk said...

i agree. scott would have been an idiot to not include april 7ths guest comic, so i have no problem with him being gone today.

Caren W. said...

FSM can we have a new thread and possibly new thoughts on the latest gueststrips?

Scott mentioned on his Twitter page that even his dad doesn't like guest strips and wants him to work ahead. Something about this wasnt what he expected when he paid him to go to art college. lol

Anonymous said...

caren, i was going to post that, but i felt some shame on ragging on scott too much anon. still, i guess were back to our regular schedule of posting strips anywhere between 3-11 pm!

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