Friday, September 26, 2008

Good Intentions

I think Quiet Please! is decent strip, it's totally in-character for both of them.

However, the look on Scratch's face in the last panel totally escapes me. I have no idea what that face says -- is it supposed to be a smug "heh!" to the audience? If he's supposed to be breaking the fourth wall, he's not quite making it; he looks a bit cross-eyed instead.

I would have expected some sort of internal celebration on his part, but a little wink to the audience isn't a bad idea either. But perhaps a literal wink could have worked better.

It's been a while since I've done this, but I dusted off the old Photoshop and modified the last panel to attempt to show something that might have worked better:

I'm no Scott Kurtz, but it gets the idea across.

(I forgot I wanted to mention exactly what I did... Obvious: Scratch is now winking and giving a thumbs up. [an update to the update: he's also smiling more clearly.] Perhaps not obvious: I re-positioned his pupil so it is accurately pointed toward the audience.)


Earl said...

For me, the last panel completely made the strip. After blowing off Skull's return like any damn cat would (those who have cats can understand this), we catch a glimpse of Scratch pausing in his work to allow himself a satisfied little reflective smile. The expression didn't seem odd to me at all.

The Trouble said...

I just don't see it... his mouth curves down at the corner, which makes him look like he's frowning. Or shrugging, except his shoulders are in the same place throughout.

Plus he's looking directly at the camera, which engages the audience, except with his expression so neutral it just leaves me confused.

I agree a little satisfied smile would make for a perfect ending, if he had done something more like this [ link ], I'd be right on board.

Shivan (Shy-Vin) said...

Um guys Scratch is yearning to be pet and right after he was his usual anti-social egocentric self he realized it.

Thus the last strip which looks perfect.

Good job, Scott, if you read this.

A Nonny Mouse said...

Holy damnation, FSM, your suggested change is terrible. Winking at the audience? Why not finish the story arc with everybody gathered together with the loveable goofball Kirby and have Kirby say something stupid, and everybody laughs together. "Oh, Kirby..." says Brent in fond exasperation.

Scratch is pausing for a moment of introspection. Perhaps we can not read his thoughts word for word, but we know from his actions three strips ago that his thoughts are at variance with what he has just said to Skull. Kurtz is very rarely subtle, but when he does try to insert a tiny piece of (not really all that subtle) subtlety into his world of fart jokes and pop culture references, there's no reason to want it swapped for a big cheesey grin.

Chris Dunning said...

I'm with earl and the others. I got it. It's a look of satisfaction... or maybe even peace.

Scott said...

I purposely made it subtle, but I think it's obvious that Scratch is showing satisfaction with himself in the last panel. I had it with a HUGE smile and it was too much. So I went and made it more subtle.

I was super pleased with the expression I ended up with. I think it's perfect and just ambiguous enough.

Also, FSM's nutty revision with the wink to the audience and the thumbs up is EXACTLY what I didn't want to do with this strip. Jesus. Why not just have it iris out in a 5th panel and a white fonted "fin" in the bottom right corner.

The Trouble said...

Fair Enough, but I'm curious, ambiguous as to what?

Of everyone Scratch seemed to most effected, for all we know he spent most of his time on that window sill looking sad. It's not as though he was tired of everyone complaining about Skull being gone and went to get him back so they'd shut up about it. He took it solely upon himself to rescue him.

I understand him not wanting Skull to know his true feelings or the part he played in bringing him back, but he was alone in the last panel. It feels like subtlety for subtlety's sake.

I get 99.9% of your comics, but even knowing what it's supposed to be, I don't see satisfaction on his face.

Jai said...

I have to admit, I wouldn't want him looking at the audience at all (Although if he does, then winking is the way to do it). I'd leave him staring at what he's tinkering with, but (And this is the more important part) I definitely would turn his lip-wrinkle into an actual smile.

It looks too much like a non-expression, the type you can slap onto any character at any time they don't need to be reacting in any particular way at all. Very odd choice for a silent and action-less panel, although I get that that wasn't the intended result.

Dave said...

Scratch with thumb up and winking is pretty painful, but at least it gets the point across. In the original Kurtz version, I seriously had no idea what his expression was supposed to be. He looks kinda confused, as if he didn't quite understand the exchange that just happened.

Dedos said...

I had a problem with the non-smile as well. It was just not... satisfying enough to me as a reader.

I guess I should be glad it wasn't the General Lee in the last panel or something.

Kovac said...

I think that you went one step beyond subtle into unclear.
If I wasnt expecting a smile in the last frame I would have had no idea that his expression was supposed to be one.

I do agree that the thumbs up wouldnt work.

Shivan (Shy-Vin) said...

To me it does not even remotely look like satisfaction or a hint to satisfaction, so much so that I took the strip to be going in a completely different direction.

Although I still ended up satisfied.

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