Wednesday, July 9, 2008


... as if you couldn't tell.

The last week of strips has been completely uninspiring to me. I'm not sure what it is -- we've been in Heavy Story-land for quite a while, and I have no way to express how much I don't care about Brent and Jade returning from Niagara Falls or the new panda coming to town (Pandora's Box - Part One).

My last couple of posts have been as uninspiring as they have been uninspired (as has been noted with frequency in the comments), and it's because I thought posting something was better than nothing. I'm not sure where I fall on that particular issue at the moment, but lately the strips have been SO uninspiring that I haven't even had the strength to put up an Open Thread post.

And then I realized. PVP is making me sad again.

Lately, after an initial burst of creativity upon acquiring the Cintiq, the art has become flatter and flatter, to the extent that in today's third panel Brent and the WWF agent seem to be occupying the same space (my actual first thought: why is Brent caressing him?). This is a disappointing departure from the week of Skull strips (the last one especially), which, in retrospect, may have been simply an homage to C&H, and not an indicator of art to come.

I think part of my returned disenchantment also comes from the fact that I'm bone tired of Brent. I grant that Brent is a very important character, but when was the last time Brent was not the center of attention, or at least right next to it?

This is off the top of my head, but the top of your head is where you remember things, and things not in the top of your head obviously haven't made much of an impression:

  • Divorce story? Brent as shoulder-to-cry-on.

  • Paintball story? Brent's nipple disaster.

  • Introducing the Parents? Runup to the Wedding? The Wedding itself? Brent as maturing adult.

  • Wedding/Skull Leaves story? Brent leaves childish things behind.

  • Wedding/Virginity Lost story? Brent as disapproving father figure.

  • Skull Takes on a New Client Story? Had to be introduced by two strips of Brent.

  • Scratch Fury Freaks Out story? Waiting for Brent to return. No Brent to speak of. But no real point either.

I recognize other non-Brent-related things have happened, but they seem to have been the exception. PVP is becoming less of an ensemble piece and more Everybody Loves Brent.

And now, here we are, introducing what is sure to be the ultimate Brent As Panda-phobe story. How many jokes are there to be made about someone being afraid of pandas? I guess we're going to find out.

Either that or we're getting a lot of Hott Panda on Panda Action.


Anonymous said...

You know, Brent doesn't even need to be in the third panel. Why is he even there?

JoPappy said...

PVP Makes Me Sad makes me sad

Anonymous said...

He was shown because Scott wanted us to KNOW that the agent just handshake-dissed him. Though if you're gonna show Brent in a panic, I'd like something more then just an added lines under the eyes (well, sunglasses). All that is to me is sadness, or dismay, not the hovering cloud of doom the coming of two maul-pandas should bring.

Maybe he's waiting for the school year to start, but I'm hoping for some Francis/Marcy college strips come fall. They both earned courses when they leveled up, they need to get out, have a life beyond the office. I keep thinking Cole is going to hang the sex thing over Francis' head, keep making that small remark to him during an unrelated arc that let's him know that he is still a little dissappointed in him.

To keep with the "Enough-of-Brent" angle, the worst thing that could be done there would be to pull a "Back to School", where Brent shows up because "Oh, he never did pass that final in Art School he final year" or "Hey, guess who's teaching Francis' next class?" or some other ass-pulled trite.

Zack said...

I'm sick of Brent and I hate this current storyline. WHO CARES ABOUT THE STUPID PANDA. PVP is starting to feel like a newspaper comic. Contrived, boring, and afraid to do something original.

Sage said...

227pm anonymus
I thought that was a clever explanation that it was a handshake diss so I looked at the commic for that.

However, the agent is holding a picture and then tucking the picture back into his jacket. Brent wouldnt be going for a handshake if the agent's hand was occupied so the art still remains weird. Either Brent walked over to him in the same position, the agent backed into him while he was standing there, or he teleported because the agent is not there in the 2nd and there in the 3rd.

If there is one thing i genuinley laughed at was the title of the strip. I'll wait to see how it plays out before i say i like or dislike the arc.

Finally, I do agree we need less Brent. Since Scott has gone to the story-telling style more than the one-off he is over saturating Brent. Its is like having Star Wars be 90% Luke, or Lost being 90% Jack. They're good characters but I want to see Marci, Francis, Cole, Jade without Brent (for a strip or two) and the rest (Reggie, Miranda, etc.) or even one offs for a week or two before everything goes back.

Jai said...

I definitely agree that that particular panel is badly awkward-looking. I don't see a handshake-diss, either, but that would have been a clever explanation.

Also of note, this is the first return I've noticed in a surprisingly long time of hand-mittens. SK had been doing really, really well on hand illustrations until he had Brent judo-chopping the agent in the chest.

While I'm here, might as well mention I don't think SK's nailed the "under the chin" look in panel 1 quite yet. Maybe it would look better with the left neck line curved inward instead of out? Also, the final panel has a weird outline of the agent's arm that I don't quite get.

I'm surprised we didn't get Brent's emotive sunglasses/eyes today, like we saw for the first time (And I thought it was awesome) in the "Scratch sits on Brent's lap" scenario. Didn't care for that particular strip because I've never known or heard of anyone who's ever been scared of a housecat like that, but it was a fantastic display of emotion when usually we'd just get a differently-drawn mouth and the exact same face.

Anonymous said...


I think it is called "Main-Stream" which, I believe is where those evil piles of money are being hidden. This is is job, his life, and to survive, he needs that cross-market appeal.

Not that I don't disagree with the "Everyone Loves Brent" comment. I have been going back and reading in the archives, and there does seem to be more Brent then back then.

algeya said...

at last a decent post.
is the calm after the storm
after having the wedding saga and some dramatic and great strips the story keeps a low profile for a while making the momentum for the next big gig.

Brent has become wolverine of the Pvp universe

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be makes me sad, in an unPvP way. Damn you password!
...I was 227pm. I label myself ~J

In defense of my "Handshake-diss Theory", I'm going off panel 3; to me, it looks like Brent is happy at the thought of getting rid of the panda, and in both greeting and congratulations he raises his hand to Agent...Agent...WhoeverIdon'treallycare. Then in panel 4, the agent (admittedly I concur on Sage's possiblity of ignorance-of-intention with him putting the picture away) ignores Brent's outreached hand, putting away his photo, and dismissing the notion of panda exile.

(...whoa, if you look at Brent's hand long enough, I can't tell if it's an inny or an outy...)

Also Sage brings up the admittedly scarce Miranda/Reggie sub-sub-subplot. Not even an honorable mention during the wedding arc. I want to see interracial/vision dissablitic love!!

There may be a lot of Brent in the archieves, and granted he is/may be the lead character, in the past he's either been an observer to an event, or a companion to an arc, not always the lead. Almost since the paintball fiasco, he's been steadily moving more and more into -and always at- the center, even with side stories.

Yeah, but Wolverine can be in over 5 titles at once and people still wanna read/see him. Brent's in this only, and we're getting sick of him.


Anonymous said...

So soon after, but the new one's up...

What the [censored for enjoyment, and lack of enough adjectives] is with Scott and these [again, censored] 3/4, behind the back shots? Does he think he's shooting a movie? Is there really enough drama there to warrent that kind of camera work in this strip? Do the "see-no-evil" fans really enjoy the overdrama he is (not) creating?

...are unending questioning paragraphs as annoying as I thik they are?

What makes Agent Icouldcareless think that the panda is trapped in the office? Evidence shows (both, that I'm to lazy to find it, and-) that the panda - I shall call him Maul - can get where ever he needs to be to do his 'thang'. I know he's appeared in a Starbucks drivethrough window, and I'm half sure that he dropped through the roof of a Panda Express.

And again, a shining example of egoBrentism. "_I_ shall not rest..." What makes you think you need to do anything, Maul can get his fuzzy rocks off without you getting in the way. Don't be panda-ball-blocking, you'll just get hurt. Probably literally...then again, him in pain may help with the board's lack of empathy to the Brentweed.


Anonymous said...

that's the official PvPMMS motto: "don't be a brentweed"

Jai said...

Shouldn't that last bit be either "As God is my witness" or just "God is my witness", and not "God as my witness"? I thought Brent was a cultured man.

There's grey in the background again! I don't imagine it "means" anything, though, it's just a solid background and not used in an even vaguely complex manner like the last time we saw it. I got really happy then and was sure it pointed toward better times, but I'll be more realistic this time. It doesn't mean we'll ever see it again, SK just wanted to make the last panel "pop" a bit more. It could well be months before the grey returns. It's like I'm fighting over scraps, since SK has churned out a double-size strip in full COLOR and SHADING at "the last minute", simply because he was into the idea of "LOLBAT". How sad that he can't scrounge up the inspiration to do more than a few sporadic bits of grey in his "actual" strip.

Jai said...

Although, speaking of "actual" strips, what the hell happened with Ding!? Has there been any news about why it isn't being updated?

Reader said...

When people were complaining that the wedding arc (and its accompanying sub-arcs) were running too long, I was one of those who said that Scott should stick to his guns and finish the arc.

But Gawd, am I getting tired of storylines. They definitely have their time and place, but I much prefer them to be the unusual element in a strip whose schedule is full of one-offs than the other way around.

So to go from one story-arc to the next to the next is just too much. Give me a few weeks of one-offs and maybe I'll be ready for a story. As it is, I think I may have to make PvP one of my Monday check-ins strips.

Ti Chan said...

I haven't felt the need to post in a bit, and really, reading up on what everyone said was just AS hard... Truthfully, I agree. The constant story arc, after story arc, after story arc is making PVP a little less interesting. IMO, it's simply because the story arcs need more to get into it.

They just aren't as funny. And, they've been having a tendency to simply not be as good as the single comics.

And Brent was never really my favorite character. Now, he's just annoying.

Alex Tucker said...

I know you haven't yet typed up a comment for Thursday's strip, but when you do, please point out Scott has yet AGAIN put a typo in -- panel two the agent says "Panda's rarely attack humans". It's Pandas, Scotty. Panda's indicates a possessive.

Every day, in every way, Kurtz gets lazier and lazier in both his writing and grammar.

Shivan (Shy-Vin) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shivan (Shy-Vin) said...

Alright, PvP is also beginning to make me sad, I came to this conclusion not long before Fake Scott McCloud made his announcement. Today's strip is so much worse than yesterdays. It didn't elicit even the faintest of smiles from me.

The last panel is so boring, and cliche, and I hate it when Scott does the "last panel is going to have word(s) that are thick and bold and in a bigger size and it will make the strip funny" thing. At one point I remember him doing this same damn ending like 5 or 6 times within a week or two, no joke.

It isn't funny in the least, what it seems like to me is desperation. The story is unoriginal and poorly contrived. I can tell when Scott starts getting lazy, and he's getting lazy again.

TheOriginalJes said...

(PVPMakesMeSadMakesMe-too lazy to cite where the original comments to which I'm responding came from, but I hope my "2 cents" makes sense to you guys.)

- I don't have a problem with all the 3/4 view shots. If people are going to keep wanting increasingly better artwork from the artist, then they can tolerate a little first person observer perspective. Which is extremely rare in a daily strip.

- I wouldn't worry too much about SK's grammar. He's doing much better than many others in this world where people think 'emcee' is a word. (They actually use that in the title bars of some reality competition shows.)

- As far as too much Brent: I'm reminded of an old interview with George Lucas, where he told the world that he sees himself as Luke Skywalker. Perhaps SK feels he relates to Brent easier than, let's say Reggie. Even though the character is based on a real person.

In think, in order to give us a better story, SK is trying to personally identify with the characters. It's a worthy effort. Maybe too much of one. I'm not sure.

- Handshake? I thought it was a hug!?

- @ jai: I've seen many people who are that scared/annoyed at cats. It came across very realistic to me. (just my opinion)


Paidion said...

Yeah, I'm with jopappy. PvP makes me sad makes me sad. I stuck around for a long time to get an insight into how PVP could get better. I'm a fan and I was intrigued by the constructive criticism and the train wreck of occaisional nit picking egotism but I'm pretty much done here when the best that happens is people getting pissed at kurtz for stuff they suggested he do one freaking month ago. bigger story arcs, less punchlines, too serious, too many dick and fart jokes, too few, blech. And "Brent is the Center of attention" tore it for me. laters.

Sage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sage said...

Plus more Ding! please :)

Sage said...

Bye paidion. Even though i dont remember you.

Um how is the critique of "the storys have been too Brent-centric" a bad one.

i understand that with the Wedding he had to be and overall he is the top 3 characters (varying between him, Cole, and Skull) but i want to see what the other characters. The fact that the bit players in PVP want to be seen shows that Scott is doing a GOOD job, as they aren't just castoffs and are funny in there own right.

Skull's recent arc was very good and nice change of pace and asking to see more changes of pace while the main story runs until the next big arc (presumably either Skull returns, Brent/Jade pregnancy, Cole divorce, or something else) it far from nitpicky.

But is paidion isn't coming back.

Hey paidion! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

Anonymous said...

Oh give it up, this site is such a joke now.

paulsouthworth said...

There sure are a lot of words in this post!

That makes it better!

Seejak said...

2:27, 12:11 & 12:25 Anon said: "He was shown because Scott wanted us to KNOW that the agent just handshake-dissed him."
Now, I get it.
I agree with most of the other stuff you said as well. Even so, the copy-pasted Brent looked pretty bad in the third panel - and the hand mittens are terrible.

Anonymous said...


There's been a lot of "Where's the constructive criticism, why do you people just nit-pick all the time" going on the past few boards. It goes up and down, some no better then personal attacks at posting, wording, or how a post is worded. My personal belief is that the fans, of this both the strip and its' conjunction with this site anyway, are tired. Maybe it's a want of the past, but they just aren't getting what they once had.

And I have a theory (I seem to have a lot of those).

PvP jumped the shark. least with Brent, maybe.

With the buildup, and the want, and the tension Scott built up to it, I think the strip possibly screwed itself beyond expectation.

The wedding itself was down the line somewhere. When it came it was worth waiting for... and then the direct aftermath is muddled by a mishmash of a too-complex story. Wedding afterparty/Skull leaving/age-questionable teen/young-adult sex/sex fallout/honeymoon... I think you get it (and I overstated it).

When Scott showed us Skull and his new gig, it was a break from characters we'd been overexposed to. Something not seen in a while. And to come back to the focial point of fan-annoyance, with only a week's breath, is just too soon for most.

I reitirate my hope for some Francis/Marcy college hijinks.

and paulsouthworth...
...I'm probably fanning this, but what does that add? Do you not like words? Do their grouping in large numbers strike fear in you? Brevity may have it's place, but sometimes you need to explain what your thinking is (the royal 'you', not you personally).


Anonymous said...

The shark has quite definitely been jumped. The last week was absolutely horrible. Bad jokes (hell, the Good Will Hunter joke does not even deserve that name), and I Hate Lamp is quite a highlight... Which tells us how low it has sunk.

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