Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ombudsmen 2: Electric Boogaloo

Ombudsmen 2
Thankfully Scott hasn't updated yet, so I've caught up!

Art - Like many people have said the drawing of Dagwood is just off. Plus, for as good as the Rorschach/Popeye drawing was this homage to Doctor Manhattan is the other way.

The biggest thing that caught me is that Doctor Manhattan doesn't have (or rarely has) pupils and Dagwood has them clear as day. Also, the little piece missing from the edge of the picture (top in the 3rd from, bottom in the 4th) just showing a little sloppiness.

I think if their was one thing that I wanted to see that wasn't there for how great Monday's and meh Tuesday's strips is color. I'm not even talking about coloring the whole strip just a little bit of color ala Sin City and 300 that pops out from the gray background. Seeing a little swatch of red on the "Blockhead's badge" or that strange blue on Doctor Dagwood would have made the strips better

Story - Again I really don't get the references to the history of the Dagwood syndicated comic and it seems like it is a little bit of inside baseball. Would most people who read his strip, casual fans, know or care that Dagwood's creator has been dead for 36 years?

I get that he has to make a corollary to the character he's paying homage too but, like other people said, another character might have been a better choice.


rook543 said...

Well said

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Hey, if you don't say anything you can't get criticized for anything :).

The Trouble said...

I'm so dissapointed that he didn't show Dagwood's Junk. That would have been priceless.

Drew Stearns said...

You're right, it is inside baseball, but it it's brilliant.

CaptainV45 said...

I agree with Drew, I found it brilliant. After listening to an old Jean Shepherd radio show in which he discussed comics, I did some research on the strip Blondie. I totally got it and I have been enjoying this weeks strips. I look forward to reading the rest of this ark.

Djagir said...

It's been years since I actually read Watchmen. I haven't really felt like a need to go out and get a new copy of my own, so the arc this week has been largely falling flat for me--I just don't have a strong enough recollection of the GN to really follow the parody or the parallels. On the one hand, that's largely personal to me; on the other hand, I really feel like I can't be the only one for whom the parody is going to be playing too close to the original to be really effective.

The gag today (Ombudsmen 3) really fell flat for me; I'm not sure where he was going or what he was doing with it. Again, this might be because of my vague recollection of the source material.

But it also feels that the art has spent the week going downhill. While I'm sure that it's not easy to emulate someone else's style, the proportions on "Jon" seem really off in the first panel--and, actually, now that I look at it, the same thing happened in the Monday strip: the head is simply far too small. The fact that "the Blockhead"'s head is huge probably doesn't help; the head also is too oval in the first panel. And the feet and rounded lower body look more like they would belong to the Pillsbury Dough Boy than Charlie Brown. The stripes on the Garfield suit look sloppy--in the Garfield strip they've long been cleaner than the zig-zag scribbles here. And in the final panel, the shading and the "wobbly line" (which is presumably an imitation of Schulz's style) are both overdone. I also notice, now, that neither costume is shaded in the first panel; this is probably an attempt to convey "seen through glass" as well as to keep things from blending into the already shaded background, but it more comes out looking unfinished than anything else.

Panel 2 probably does the best job of the art style, especially "the Blockhead"'s hair and head shape, but again, the shading difference for similar elements between panels 1 and 2 is somewhat jarring. And I've probably made it down past nit-picking now, so I'll just wind this up here.

(Actually, I'll make one further comment: I like the fact that he's sticking to four panels here rather than five, as he's been trying to do for a while. In five-panel strips, it seems that things often feel cramped and end up with awkward angles, such as the frequent over-the-shoulder shot.)

history said...

I think this is the look he was going for:

He seems to be sticking to the original art from the strips. If Opus gets thrown in, expect this:

A Nonny Mouse said...

You don't have to know the history of Blondie to understand the strip. The relevant history is layed out for you- why do you have to know facts in advance in order to understand them when they are layed out for you? He is quite clearly saying that Blondie's creator died, but the comic kept going and just continued using the same tired gags ad nauseam. No, most people who read the comic would not know or care when the writer died. That's the point. I don't read newspaper comics at all, but it's obvious.

And the monologue works pretty well once you get over the fact that Dagwood as a being of Manhattan's power would be fairly ridiculous.

poormnssuprmn49 said...

I've been loving this watchmen arc. i guess could see how you wouldn't like it if watchmen isn't your thing. I wonder if this is how people felt during the doctor who arc because that was certainly not my demo.

As much as I love it can you imagine how annoyed alan moore would be?

Rdy said...

If this is directed at the same tired gags, is he poking fun at himself for fart jokes and panda attacks?

John said...

I really liked Monday's strip even though I didn't really get it, having never read Watchmen. And the last two days' are just falling real flat for me. And yes, this is how the Doctor Who strips felt for anyone who didn't know anything about Doctor Who.

Why not wait until next week to start this week's arc? I mean, then you have a larger audience who will understand the strip, since the movie has just been released. I plan on seeing the movie, so I would (hopefully) get some more of the jokes. It also probably doesn't help I haven't read much newspaper comics either (Garfield and Peanuts aside). said...

I'll say it:

Dilbert as Ozymandias? The space squid = an F bomb? Inspired.

Rdy said...

"Ombudsmen Part 4" - 'Acutally'? Guess SK still cba to spellcheck his copy.

R.W.McGee said...

The Space Squid is an F-bomb would be more inspired if it had actually happened. (ie; if yesterday Scott Adams had dropped an F-bomb in Dilbert OR if Kurtz dropped one in his last strip) As it is, this is the first strip in the series where the metaphor or 'story' didn't work for me. (In #2 I thought the art was weak, but the metaphor worked.)

Rdy said...

Now I'm convinced SK is taking the piss out of himself. Mocking the tired/stale comics for lack of time management when Ding! hasn't been updated for over a month.

Jim Thomas said...

Just because someone does not get the gag does not mean the strip is bad. He is using some fairly niche comic history to make strips that people whom he is trying to reach will get, i.e. other cartoonists. Perhaps the strips might be too obscure for the casual observer but to simply dismiss the arch because YOU don't get it is unfair in the sense that maybe this particular strip was not made for YOU. I have never seen dr. who but was able to understand that the references were still probably working for those that had.

And for the people that have a familiarity with both subjects in the current story, they seem to be generally understanding and appreciating this arch. If you don't get it, maybe reread them after you watch the movie, the beauty of webcomics are their archives.

TheOriginalJes said...

As usual, I agree with R.W. about today's strip.

On Dagwood, I found it to be quite an eloquent piece of writing, strictly from the Blondie standpoint.

He's commenting on a comic that, though some of the world's most gruesome or tumultuous history, stayed completely non-political. A frozen, 1-dimensional commentary on the "American Way" of life, upon which the PTB would have us focus as a nation.

Layer upon layer of sub-text. Intentional or not, great writing SK. (golf-clapping)

As for Dilbert, I think SK has a complete lack of understanding of the full-on techno-nerd that is Dilbert. And, therefore, just didn't get the dialogue.

Or, I can only assume that the dialogue for the characters mirrors Watchmen (I never read it), and the art is to mirror the original artists. That would explain his rendition of Dagwood. Maybe even to the satisfaction of others.

If he sticks to such a rigid guideline, the arch might be a technical success.

But, being more of a Sunday comics person; I find the whole thing a bit kitschy. Almost like an art school project gone public.

R.W.McGee said...

Just because someone does not get the gag does not mean the strip is bad.

True, but if you DO get the gag, having read both the comics and Watchmen...and then realize that Kurtz has missed his mark...that DOES mean the strip is bad...or if not bad at least executed poorly.

Also, there is no reason he shouldn't be able to appeal to both his target audience, and a broader audience at the same time. Most clever works of art have multiple layers...heck, the first and third installment of this particular arc did.

Jai said...

These are still being written very, very well. And the art is, generally, far better than that Dagwood crap earlier (No, it does not look like crap because of what the Watchmen character looks like, Jes). Good stuff! I assume it's all going to be over with on Friday... will we learn who the Silk Spectre's funny paper stand-in is? Really, as far as the actual Watchmen story goes, I have no idea what bit SK is going to mine next. Thursday's strip seems like it should have been the final one.

Russ said...

There's definitely something very odd about being chicken to actually drop the f-bomb.

Dale said...

Funny comics, right? Scott criticizing the blandness of newspaper comics? It would be funny if Scott wasn't a complete sellout. I still remember Scott making fun of and insulting Garfield and Jim Davis. That was great. Until Scott's comic was PRAISED by Jim Davis. After that happened, Scott basically opened his mouth for Davis's manhood to be inserted. He apparently forgot all the criticisms he brought forward about Davis, once Davis actually noticed his lame webcomic. Granted, the PvP comics have gotten better, but let's not forget just how much of a hypocrite Scott is. said...

Well, as someone who's read Watchmen and PvP, I am enjoying this. I think Scott is succeeding with the source material better than his recent efforts, like that LOLBat piece and the Jingle Force Five (which I did like).

Also, dibs on Cathy being the Silk Spectre.

Jim Thomas said...

@ RW McGee

I wouldn't say that he missed the mark though, just a difference of opinion.

You have people commenting that say they haven't read Watchmen nor are they that familiar with the daily comics and then saying this week's strips are bad, which ok, is their opinion, but uninformed.

The cartoonist is going outside of his "style" trying to homage both the distinct styles of Watchmen and cartoon characters drawn in very different styles from one another originally drawn by several different cartoonists. This is a challenge for even the most adept draftsmen, and the effort has been for the most part, really well done. The writing is out of the authors normal "voice" as well.

Jai said...

And now, the thrilling conclusion!


Part Five is where the great writing for this little series finally falls flat on its face. First off, though, I'll admit that I don't get the reference (If any) that the little comic in the final panel has been drawn from.

Dr. Dagwood is drawn a [I]little[/I] better, but his body still lumps up like he has clothing, his hair is still weird, and he doesn't even have nipples (Let alone the balls to show off his doodle). The Cathy Spectre is fine, but the strip doesn't have any fun to poke at her... she's just Cathy, and is merely as ugly and irritating as she actually is in the newspaper. The focus of this strip is, instead, exactly where it was yesterday: An F-bomb being dropped in a newspaper cartoon.

So, not only do we get a repeated joke, we don't see SK stepping up to the money-where-your-mouth-is plate. He goes to the trouble of partially covering up and censoring everything "naughty" (Ok, so there are nipples on the cartoon that Ozybert has orchestrated, and even saying "fu--" is not going to fly in a paper). This series has turned out to be as newspaper-safe and "risky" as the cartoons it is lampooning. That's honestly not what I was hoping for. It kills the entire premise that I thought he was working from: "Look what I can do, that you stale permanent franchises can't. Here is the future." No, this is just more of the past. I wonder if his dad is gonna be upset with the explicit not-[i]entirely[/I]-censored parts.

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

Actually, Jai, I wasn't taking any shots at his Watchmen renditions. I wasn't the one who had a problem with the way Dagwood looked. That, I believe, was ES in the original post.

(apologies to ES if I'm mistaken)

R.W.McGee said...

I entirely agree, Jai. If you don't have the balls to do a single shocking or original thing in your OWN comic...then why bother criticizing other print ones?

Also, as a Watchmen fan...Kurtz REALLY missed an opportunity to play with an Ozymandias type ending...where he could have Brent as Ozy, with Skull as the ocelot/whatever pet...manipulating the old print cartoons with new 'internet' tech.

PvP always seems like it's about to reach for greatness with this stuff...and somehow it always seems to hit mediocrity.

A Nonny Mouse said...

I liked the first two (even though liking the second seems to put me in the minority), but I think it all kind of fell apart with the attempt to hold the narrative together. The simile became overextended and flimsy.

Still, it's the best we've seen of PVP for a while.

Jai said...

"Actually, Jai, I wasn't taking any shots at his Watchmen renditions. I wasn't the one who had a problem with the way Dagwood looked. That, I believe, was ES in the original post." - TheOriginalJes

Pretty sure you said:

"I can only assume that ... the art is to mirror the original artists. That would explain his rendition of Dagwood. Maybe even to the satisfaction of others."

So I was just telling you that, since I AM familiar with the original art, you were wrong (Unless you were referring in a round-about fashion as to why Dagwood was not identical to the real Dagwood. In which case, you're just wrong about others being satisfied?). Not that you were taking shots or didn't like the art...?

TheOriginalJes said...

@ Jai

In ES' original post, he comments on Dagwood's pupils. I commented on the dialogue for Dilbert, which was my neg.

My comment about the mirrors was a fusion of the two. This wasn't even a dig. It was a simple observation. If you're taking that any other way, that's only a matter of your perception; and doesn't speak to my intention.

I in no way implied that Dagwood looks like crap. That comment came straight out of your reply to me.

R.W.McGee said...

I think you mean Sage, not ES?

TheOriginalJes said...

Thanks, R.W.

I hereby envoke the apology clause of my post...

Sorry, Sage and ES. My bad.

Jai said...

Jes, buddy, that's exactly what I've been trying to say. I apologize for possibly being terrible at communication.

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