Friday, May 30, 2008

Open Thread: Inquisition

It's the weekend folks. I continue to like the new Francis and Marci, but I'm out of here.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Penultimate Panel Pause

I have to say, I like the new Marcie and Francis a lot. I don't care what anyone says, her neck looks graceful and works well with her head and body.

In fact, everybody in today's strip (Party On) looks great, especially Jade.

Two things bug me:

1. I do hope we've seen the last of the Penultimate Panel Pause. This is the second strip in a row we've seen it, and it's going to lose its impact if it's overused. I think its use can be justified in both situations, but two in a row is pushing it, especially if you imagine reading them in book form, without a day between them.

2. Cole's line in the third panel kind of stinks. The "1999" line is so played out, I expected it to be the lead-in for a punchline about how lame/old Cole is. Without a follow up, it just sits there being awkward. Maybe it would have been nice if it had been Francis' line, giving them a proper introduction instead of just suddenly being there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I noticed via the comments that we got a call-out in the latest Web Comics Weekly podcast.

I just listened to it and it's pretty cool. (The relevant parts start around 49:30.) Scott says that while the blog does make him mad on occasion, he does appreciate when there is constructive criticism, and has actually taken some of our thoughts away and applied them to his strips.

That's a great compliment, I'm glad we're not all bad :)

A note to Brad Guigar, who can't get past the title "PVP Makes Me Sad": I chose the title deliberately because it was the least incendiary or vitriolic title I could come up with, while still getting my point across. I could have more easily gone with "PVP Sucks" or "PVP = WTF" or something similar, but "PVP Makes Me Sad" is a commentary on my reactions to the strip; it doesn't make any explicit judgments.

Which all sounds like a load of crap now that I've written it, but too bad.

Dude. Dude!

Just got back from a long weekend -- I haven't read the comments that have been piling up, and I just read the two strips I missed.

Today's strip (Ding!) has got to be one of the top 10 PVP strips. If he sticks with these new versions of Francis and Marcie, and this was his way of evolving the characters overnight, Kurtz has pulled off a coup. This "level up" scenario is at once obviously perfect and unexpectedly awesome.

I've always hated that Francis was so young; now at 19 he's much richer -- both young enough to remain a scamp, but now old enough to get into real-world scrapes. (And old enough to let SK avoid a kiddieporn charge ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And so it goes...

A successful story (Letting Go), I'd say. The door for Skull's return is open a little wider than I expected, but it's not to the detriment of the arc. I hope some time passes before we enter a similarly epic "Search for Skull" arc (during which a "Khaaan!" moment would be entirely appropriate :).

The silhouette really works in this strip; I wish we didn't see it so often in such un-important moments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Will he or won't he

I have nothing bad to say about Don't Go -- it looks great and I totally have no idea what's going to happen next.

I guess Jade is a little hard to see.

I take it all back. It sucks.

(jk ^.^)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Big Softie

So, maybe I'm going soft. Or maybe the current storyline is intriguing enough that it overcomes other weaknesses.

Today's strip (Meaning) does bring up one issue for me though -- again pretty minor -- the 3-4 panel format is making each moment feel melodramatic, instead of just dramatic.

Today's final panel ("To give it meaning.") right after yesterday's ("I'll go now, just don't hurt Brent.") makes me wish the two strips had been combined. This would be lessened, I think, by reading them all in one go, which makes me wonder how much Scott thinks about the books when he prepares strips for the web.

The web, in combination with the 3-4-5 panel format, is great for the gag-a-day stuff, or jokey story lines, but I think the more dramatic stuff suffers a little with each strip being 24 hours removed from the context of the previous strip. The double strips work better for the serious stuff, but I'm sure they're double the work.

BTW, a humorous note: Kurtz blogged yesterday that they will be going into a second printing of the book. I bought it a few weeks ago and read it on and off; I figured I might as well give him something in return for giving him all this grief. :)

He mentions that they will be fixing some "unfortunate typos" -- as it happens I was reading it last night and came across what must be the most humorous typo, the Unshark Mask.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Open Thread: Insolent Fool

My only comment on Insolent Fool is that the second panel is robbed of any tension we should be feeling thanks to the silhouette technique. We can't see enough of Brent to feel the danger he should be in.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Out of Breath?

So, commenters are rebutting my interpretation of Brent's line in my previous post.

I still posit that the pause after "with" makes no sense, and that my way is better, even if Brent is out of breath.

I proffer a challenge:

Send me a recording of your interpretation, your reading of the line, and I will put it online next to my own. We will call it CADENCE FIGHT!

Well, maybe not, but it might be fun. (Maybe we can get Scott to send us his version, so we can see where the original thinking was...)

Send your mp3s to fakescottmccloud at gmail dot com.

Off My Game

Strips are showing up regularly, and it's throwing me off.

Strips are looking good and it's throwing me off.

Unexpected wrinkles keep showing up in the current story (Mistaken), and it's throwing me off.

Kurtz seems to have been working on this storyline for a while, and it is entirely in its favor. Not much to criticize lately.

My one nitpicking, hair-splitting attempt at a complaint would be that Brent's line in the third panel has an odd cadence that makes it read unnaturally:

Read it out loud:

"Skull (pause) is staying with (pause) US!"

The point of the pauses is to scale up the emotional intensity, by introducing an almost musical rhythm to speech. Including "with" in the second phrase ruins that rhythm.

This is a pretty standard line, and I think anyone saying this line out loud would read it thusly:

"Skull (pause) is staying (pause) with US!"

Or even:

"Skull (pause) is staying (pause) with (pause) US!"

... where "with" is given some extra oomph, leading to even more oomph given to "US!"

Like I said, I'm splitting hairs, but it bugged me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Good story, good art.

PVP is not making me sad right now. I feel like we're rushing through the current storyline and missing some exciting (and possibly melodramatic) opportunities, but whatever. Today's strip is great (The Greater Good), as was yesterday's (Stay).

I really like Brent here:

Those anger lines add an element of dynamism we rarely get to see in PVP. We saw a bit of that in Stay as well:

If this is a side-effect of the Cintiq, I'd say things are looking up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sensitivity, thy name is Brent

The latest strip (Failure To Communicate) does nothing for me. That is to say, I was caught up in Skull's predicament until the punchline, which let me right go again.

What possible mis-comprehension could be going through Brent's mind so that he interprets Skull's line, "I mean I really have to go now. Forever." as a plea to go potty? Skull's well-drawn, Cintiq-supported fourth panel is totally un-ambiguous.

No one has to pee forever; Brent's line is pretty lame.

Friday, May 9, 2008

From left field...

... comes an unexpected story, one with potential to be interesting. (Case File MCMLXXI-XXI) It's going to be kind of the opposite of A Wonderful Life, where Skull gets to see how the world is better because of him, then has to leave it.

Or will he?

Of course he won't. He's the freaking franchise. So, as a mechanic for suspense it's a non-starter, but it will be interesting to see where it goes.

It looks promising, but in the spirit of pessimism I give it a...

-- 50% chance of George Baily-like reminiscences followed by a reprieve from the soft-hearted marble statue man (see -- the joke writes itself!)

-- 40% chance that Skull is initially excited to go home, but recants and spills the beans to the gang and they somehow find a way to foil the marble statue man before the reception is even over

-- 10% chance of Shecky showing up to bug the hell out of us.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Who's slow? Me. (This guy.)

So, I liked today's strip (Motorin') until I got to the punchline, which I had to Google to understand.

Of course, when you feel stupid, you want to blame the thing that made you feel stupid, but I have to hold off until someone (anyone?) agrees with me that the "price for flight" line was overly obscure. Maybe it's not and I'm the poor sap that didn't get the pop culture reference.

I get it now, and am familiar with the tune in question, but 80s lyrics are always the first things to go I guess.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Productivity + Fewer Strips = Good Thing

Scott has put up a blog post (Moving Forward) laying out his plans for the immediate future, which include dropping weekend strips (yay), getting caught up and building a buffer of strips (yay!), and learning to use his new Cintiq tablet, which he thinks might give him the ability to start using color/greyscale more often (yay!yay!).

These are all good plans, but I would add one more: Communicate more.

Achewood has been updating less frequently of late, thanks to other projects, but Chris Onstad is good about leaving a note on his site telling us when the strip will be updated. Kurtz' occasional blogs posts are nice, but if he provided just a bit more insight into his schedule, folks who are bummed by late posts might be mollified.

Perhaps SK already does this via his Twitter feed (if he doesn't he ought to), but I don't follow it, and I assume many others don't as well. He could kill two birds with one stone by displaying his latest tweets on PVP's home page.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Goggles... They Actually Work

Brent is now blind! (Loveblind) Finally, a major character with a major disability!

(I'm just keeeedinggg...)

Quick minor thoughts on the strip:

-- It's not hilarious, but it feels worthwhile.

-- I wish he hadn't gone to the silhouette in the third panel. It doesn't add anything and (whatever we think of the dress) we lose an excellently rendered panel of the new couple.

-- I like Brent without his glasses on.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Open Thread: Wedding Snark

The snark'll be in in the comments, not from me, if the two dozen comments from this weekend are any indication. :)

These last few strips are important to the canon, and I really have nothing to say about them. A lot of work obviously went into them, and while there are things I personally don't care for, they are all aesthetic choices rather than substantive ones, so I'll just keep my mouth shut.

It's impressive stuff though; I think each moment pays off well.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who gets married on a Thursday?

Just kidding. It did sneak up on me though, I had no idea we were right on top of it. This is where a real bachelor party strip would have helped me out -- "Tomorrow's the day man..."

The strip is cloyingly sweet, but I can't fault that. This wedding is not going to be played for gags.

(Totally off topic: I can't look at the title of today's strip without thinking of a particular feminine hygiene product. Damn you Madison Avenue!)

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