Monday, August 11, 2008

A Return to Normalcy

Let us set our bickerings aside, and return to Kurtz-free discussions.




Appropriately I have nothing to say about the latest strip. (The Bonnie Situation)

Except that Robbie's cheese seems to be sliding off his cracker. That boy needs some help.

19 comments:

birdman said...

I like the variety of facial expressions and gestures in today's strip. I've long felt that one of PvP's greatest weaknesses was the "acting," so it's good to see that Kurtz identified that problem and is working on it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I quite like the facial expressions and gestures in this strip. Nice one Scott.

Ben said...

It looks like SK is playing with a new look for Jase. Compare to, say, May 7th: Stubble getting more defined, but still the same eyes as the last few years. It's a little odd, because the original shtick for R&J was their utter lack of reaction to anything going on around them. I do like the added variety, though, as long as SK can keep Jase's personality distinct. It seems like there's been a bit of a sameness to the characters of late (though it's not serious by any means).

John said...

Man, I'm dense. I thought FSM was referring to an actual cracker in the strip that I didn't see. It took me a sec to realize what he was talking about.

Wow, it must be Monday.

Anonymous said...

That's not what harpies do. I know he's using the word in the slang sense, and the phrasing of his question just arise out of ignorance, but it jarred against my pedantry.

Rick said...

I'll be honest. I laughed. Good setup, good joke.

Jackson said...

Don't worry, John. I thought he meant an actual cracker too.

Urethra Franklin said...

In Tuesday's strip Kurtz uses "prefered" instead of "preferred." He can't even be bothered to do a simple spell check. Or that's his way of defying FSM's advice to have someone proof his work.

Anonymous said...

He also wrote a crap strip in which characters continue to act out of established personality norms, instead prefering (sic) to be complete and utter insensitive douchebag cocks for the sake of the joke.

Maybe that's SK's way of defying everyone with good taste's advice to write a good strip. If the Simpsons can just throw away ten years of established history only to turn into Family Guy, why can't pvp?

Jai said...

Ben: Speaking of the sameness of Robbie and Jase's characters, I think you're talking about Robbie, not Jase. We haven't laid eyes upon Jase in a long, long time.

The Bonnie Situation: I enjoy seeing a lot of Robbie - he's one of the very, very few characters that "can" be drawn with distinct emotions, thanks to their eyes (I say "can", because we've seen it with Brent's sunglasses, too... once. And it was great. So there's proof in the PVP world that emotions can be drawn into the eyes of characters with eyewear. The appropriate word is "will", because it's simply up to SK). And he's got several distinct ones! It's nice to see that, plus I like his character's general design (Stubble, floating baseball cap button, a uniquely-drawn chin that isn't a part of his face's outline).

The hands (This is important to note, because of what I'll say about the follow-up strip) are drawn nicely. Sure, maybe the left-hand (His, not ours) thumb in panel 3 is tiny (Whittled down to a nub by years of avid gaming, no doubt), but they're lovely in every other way and in a nice pose.

Oops, I kept looking at that panel (#3) and noticed that we should be able to see the whole outline of Robbie's left forearm; it's currently meshed with his... shoulder? We shouldn't be able to see the black stripe of his t-shirt right above it, either (Looking at the length of his sleeves in the other panels, and even the length of his other sleeve in the same panel). This is where you make "out of frame, out of mind" work FOR you as an artist; you get to leave as many details undrawn as you want to, depending on how much of your character you're willing to leave "off-camera". Robbie's right forearm has also been drawn so that it comes straight out of his sleeve instead of being a separate and distinct forearm, although it's quite subtle about it and therefore hard to notice. The back of his right arm does end in a corner, however, and does not continue to curve down like it rather appears to. I'm not sure what should be done with the stomach bulge line next to it, though; I'm stuck between thinking the stomach should be in front of the arm and thinking the bulge line should be modified to end at the edge of the panel, "cheating" to solve the "behind the arm or in front of it" problem. Another, more "proper" solution is that the arm should be angled out further to allow for the belly (But that's more work in post-production, and not ideal unless you're still at the stage where you haven't drawn the arm yet).

The exposition has a couple of problems with it. For starters, why is Robbie apparently so angry at Jase (Causing every instance of Jase discussion to prompt intense rudeness) if this new information is true and Robbie simply detests Jase's harpy woman? If it's true, shouldn't this already be known to Cole and Co.? It might not BE true, though, so this isn't necessarily a real problem.

Secondly, how the hell is Robbie familiar with Odysseus and not the word "harpy"?! It seems like an unnecessary and unlikely ploy to extend the strip by one panel and two-and-a-half speech bubbles. I don't understand what that's all about, and I'd rather bring that up than bother pointing out how lackluster the "punchline" is. Although, "Made a nest on his jock"? Really?

The Bonnie Situation - Part two: The Mini Cooper returns! Unfortunately, so do rampant mitten-hands. I'm going to talk about a non-mitten-hand, though. In the third panel, Brent's foreground fingers have a few issues: The pointer finger's overall curve is the opposite of the curve of its fellows (Making it look almost like a thumb), and that same finger is also quite a bit longer than its neighbor. It doesn't particularly matter which way the fingers curve between the first two joints, but they should match each other (Especially since the thumb lines will generally be curved in the opposite directions of whatever finger lines are near them). And the index finger needs to be shorter (Although not notably so for a closed hand. Still, if you make it LONGER then it takes on a "finglongerer" appearance and you should be making Futurama jokes) than the middle finger next to it.

The interiors and exteriors are all very nice, although I can't say with any certainty that we haven't seen them before (It doesn't matter if we have or not, except that I'd feel vaguely silly complimenting old art). Cole has a bit of muppet-head going on in the first panel, which I was hoping we'd left in the past.

The dialogue is a lot better than it was in the previous strip. My sole comment about it (Well, other than what I just said in the previous sentence. Oh, and "prefered") is that Cole comes off as a sort of clueless, whiny do-gooder. Now HE'S going to be pissed that Brent isn't seeing his side (Or, rather, that Brent HAS seen his side and dismissed it as none of their business. Which it isn't, especially considering how long it's been since they've seen or heard from Jase without making any attempt themselves to see him or talk about him). They already knew that a girl had come between Robbie and Jase, they simply didn't care until the story came up again with the addendum that the woman is possibly a harpy.

hnm said...

*looks awkward following up that amazing uber-review*

I actually liked today's strip. Aside from the mitten-hands, it's pretty much awesome-looking. Mostly, though, I'm glad to see somebody actually IN the strip disagreeing with Cole's busybody-ness. One of the things that irritates me THE MOST about Cole is his recent (or maybe longer, I don't remember) tendency to consistently stick his nose in other people's business and then behave as if it's any of his affair. Good to see an actual strip character putting his foot down on that shit for once.

R.W.McGee said...

Brent's reaction in the final panel was weird to me. Brent generally seems a little more level headed. I can absolutely see him saying that line...but I would have expected sarcasm, not screaming.

Other than that I'm sort of enjoying the story line for once. Even if to embark on it we had to dump the divorce, wedding, college, panda arcs. (Actually, maybe ESPECIALLY because it involved ending those)

Anonymous said...

Was there any actual resolution to Cole's marital issues or is that a storyline that fizzled out/sorted itself 'off-screen'?

J said...

Cole's issues are long term; ie, Scott considers reminding us about how Cole's life isn't perfect by bringing it up in random arcs for only one strip so we can think, "Wow, life issues aren't fixed in two weeks."

I am under the impression that the crazier Robbie gets, the hairier he becomes.

I don't know what to do, my brain is confused. Do I want the now named "Bonnie" to be the devilwitch Robbie makes her out to be, or is he freaking out over whom may be a lovely woman who his best friend fell for?

Both have good qualities, storywise. If she is the harpbitch, then assuming that she is given more screen time, she will add a very new dynamic to the cast. Max is the closest to a villian we have, but he isn't...evil. On the other hand, should she turn out to be normal, then Robbie has grown as a character and is also a new dynamic.

My fear is that, should she be evil, two things happen; a) they show Jase the errors of his ways and everything is resolved by a "gay" hug between Robbie and Jase. B) Cole decides Jase has to make his own mistakes, which would negate his insistance on helping Jase in the first place. Granted I'm mad at Cole for just now trying to find out what happened to his supposed longtime friend.

Anonymous said...

If Cole's breakup is unresolved at this point, isn't Brent's line - "I agree, let's go home and gossip with our wives." a bit thoughtless (in a "Oh yeah, sorry man, forgot you're on the verge of divorce" kind of way).

I Am Scott's Fear of Open Spaces said...

It's probably already been pointed out, but I really wish PVP would deviate from the single row of panels more often. Today's comic was like six or so panels in a space I would expect to have four at most. It makes each one claustrophobic, with Scott trying to cram as much crap into each one as possible, and with the characters constantly standing one in front of the other, passing by, or otherwise oddly close to each other.

a longtime reader said...

Actually, the first panel of today's (Wednesday's) strip just looks like two panels because the line of the wall is separating the characters. But yeah, it is a bit awkwardly framed.

Just a thought: why does Cole feel he needs to sneak out? He's the boss. He doesn't have to answer to anybody.

Anonymous said...

Because, despite being assholes themselves, everyone in the office knows Cole is a nosy busybody, and he knows it.

matt said...

That's why I'm not a fan of the Shift+Pencil/Brush straight line architecture that is used a lot here and other places. It starts to interfere with the panel borders. If Looney Tunes and WoW have taught us anything it's that slightly angled irregular architecture is much more interesting.

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