Friday, September 26, 2008

Quiet, please!

Today's strip. 

The popyeye arms are back! Especially panel 4, where it looks like that left arm looks like a water balloon. Other then that, the art looks good. 

I can't be the only one confused by Scratch's expression in the last panel. I think it's supposed to be a smile, but it looks more like a confused "bwa?" look.


Anonymous said...

I pretty much agree with all of those.

Very in character, popeye arms that for some reason keep coming back, and a strange smile that, I would like to point out, even the people on Halfpixel are questioning.

It's so vague not even the people that seems to love every strip can make it out.

Rdy said...

Yeah, the first thing that struck me was that the smile on the last panel wasn't 'big' enough to show what I thought he'd be feeling at that point - especially after what he'd gone through and the pining up to that point.

Not a big fan of the balloon arms, either. The 4th panel one just looks daft.

The Trouble said...

I didn't read it as a smile at all. He looks... bewildered. I dunno, I like the winking mock-up so much more just because it gives me something.

Skull seems profoundly sad to me since he's returned, but I might just be personally applying that to him.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Yeah its either smug, bewildered or constipated :)

I think a tooty/shit-eating grin IF breaking the fourth way was what he was going for. As of right now we don't know ( a detriment of the strip) , so its tough to say

Plus a happy hug by a "if you tell anyone ill gut you" strip would be cute, if not overly done (Family Guy, etc have done it)

R.W.McGee said...

Thank god, I thought I was going to be the only one who looked at the last panel and wondered what the hell was going on.

Usually, even if the art isn't 100% clear, the storyline can clue me in, but I wasn't sure if Scratch was being coy, or realized at the end he had been too casual, etc. etc.

I think my guess is that he is being coy, doesn't want to show emotion...? If so I'm not sure I get the gag, I don't know, count me as confused.

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

My very first thought was, "I'm so glad I have a much better relationship with my cat." Until I remembered that he'd NEVER do anything like that for me.

But actually, I think I understand what Scott's saying in this strip. You have to look at this one and the last one side-by-side.

Also, remember that Brent treated Skull like crap for the entire strip. Just look at the difference now. It may be short lived, but it's a drastic change for him.

Now Scratch...I haven't really seen much of Scratch and Skull interacting. I've only bee reading for 2 years. But, I'd assume, since he was Skull's cat, that they were close. Or not. That's a matter of perspective.

Now, Scratch, having let loose his anger on the magicals, is satisfied. He's ready for things to return to normal, so, "Let's get on with it." He also doesn't seem to need or want Skull to know just how he feels about him.

Also, if you go back further...Brent and the Gang swore action and did nothing. Scratch didn't swear anything. He just strapped on his trusty blaster and goggles (I don't want to know where he was hiding the pencil), and kicked major ass.

I mean, I assume he kicked major ass. I did see something that LOOKed like a reference to a punch...but, anyway.

If I'm right, then I think it was great storytelling.

The Peanut Gallery said...

Is this one of those "Actions speak louder then words" lessons?

Jai said...

I think there was a song written about this, but I can't see no satisfaction in the last panel no matter how many times I try. The best (Meaning "makes the most sense for what I can see) interpretation I can come up with is that it's an "Oh man, I just blew a chance to get petted" look. Sort of a grimace.

Other than the balloon arms and the indecipherable expression of the last panel, it's a classy and elegant cap to this arc. And the previous strip was fucking amazing, what a great hug that was. That's the kind of panel you blow up and frame. I expected a bit of a failure after the abysmal "putting the cat out", but was happily disappointed.

Ti Chan said...

OKay, I haven't spoken in quite a while. (Let's just say pregnancy doesn't agree with me...)

Anyway, I had decided that once Kurtz came back, it was better if I kept me mouth shut anyway. I have a very hard time being smarmy sometimes.

BUUUUT, today's strip reeled me in. Mostly because as much as I hate to say it, I had NO EFFING CLUE what Scratch was doing with that expression. Everytime I look at it, it's a new and improved brand of "What-the-fuck-is-that" and I get even more confused.

As my friend (who I went for reassuance and has never READ the comic) said "It looks like someone just threw a dead body at his feet". I don't know what to say.

If i was pleased with myself, pleased with how I helped make my life right by going out of my way to return my loved one, I would not make a confused/gassy/slightly insane look which is planted on his face.

I wouldn't do the overtly gaggy thumbs up and wink FSM suggested, either, mind you. I think he ONLY suggested that as a fourth wall breaker, and probably not the best suited look for this comic, either.

I would probably do a very cat-like look. Either a wide smile in a rather overtly content kinda face of a small personal smile with half lidded eyes, as if imagining what was to come or what he did right.

What we got really ended a otherwise REALLY GOOD strip off weird.

A Nonny Mouse said...

I can't believe you people are so stuck on this final panel. It is really quite clear. Scratch is the sort of individual to suppress emotions that don't gel with his hardcore self-image. That's pretty much the entire joke in most strips that he's in- he looks absurd because what he thinks about himself is so inaccurate. So if he were to smile to himself at this point, it would look wrong. It would be out of character.

Yes, he did let his emotions get the better of him when Skull was gone. But now that Skull is back he is conveniently forgetting all about that. He's not just lying to Skull, he's lying to himself as well. It's what people often do when reality contradicts their favourite illusions.

So no, he doesn't smile to himself now that Skull is back. He simply pauses for a moment of uneasy contemplation. He is happy, but rather than revel in it he would prefer for things to go back to normal as quickly as possible so that the period in which Skull was gone can just disappear from his mind.

It's really not complicated if you have been reading the comic up until this point. It's only subtle in comparison to what Kurtz usually does. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Kurtz wouldn't have even thought about all that. He just knows his characters, tried a smile, knew instinctively that it looked out of character, and went for what we see today.

Anonymous said...

Well, Kurtz himself said he thought it looked like a smile on the halfpixel forums..

so... yeah.

A Nonny Mouse said...

Well that's just stupid. Smiles simply don't curve down at the corner. That's precisely what isn't a smile. Maybe his hand slipped when he was drawing that line, and he didn't notice, and he still doesn't see what he drew being different to what he remembers drawing?

TheOriginalJes said...

@A Nonny Mouse

Does this mean we should disregard your other explanation? lol

A Nonny Mouse said...

My explanation was operating on the assumption that Scratch wasn't supposed to be smiling. I made that assumption because that expression obviously isn't a smile. If Kurtz is of the opinion that it actually is a smile, what I said doesn't have any validity at least as far as authorial intent goes.

I guess it's one of those situations where the author might have been better off leaving the reader to make his own interpretation.

Still, it's good that he quickly covers the reason for Brent and Cole not trying to get Skull back. He probably wouldn't have thought of that if not for other people whinging.

Anonymous said...

I was actually just going to say that today's second panel sounded like some stupid cop-out.

Even the explanation sounded forced.

Bleh, whatevs.

Rdy said...

I sounded unlikely/like a cop-out when he mentioned it a few days ago here but putting on the strip in such a forced fashion is just plain painful.

I think a funnier, or a least an easier throw-away gag would have been to have Skull come across an obsessive looking Michael Scofield (Prison Break) 'wall of paper' style plan in Brent's office and being happy about his friend's, albeit pointless now, obsession. It would have shown that even though it wasn't stated in the strip, Skull was always on Brent's mind and he was working on solutions to get him back.

R.W.McGee said...

The lack of these character's expression is starting to drive me nuts. Observe in today's strip; the many faces of Cole.

(on the other hand, Skull holding his nose was drawn quite well.)

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