Friday, February 27, 2009

Say Cheese

Say Cheese

Art - Again nothing majorly wrong but that should be expected because it is a head-on and profile shot of characters he has been drawing for years. I'm glad there is no eye shadow (shading not makeup).

However I did notice:
1) There is no height marker behind either character which is standard for any police station (since we did have a discussion about officers and their side jobs and differences in different areas). He could have even used grayscale for the lines to decrease the starkness of the lines.

2) Doesn't Francis still wear glasses? I looked at the three strips after he got the crap kicked out of him and he only has a black eye. If he didn't lose them, which is possible, then some sort of damage to them should be shown here (bent frame, broken glass, etc.)

Story - Again it is just head shots and I don't think the joke was a homerun . . . or a double . . . or even a single. Maybe a foul tip.

This is not a critique but a form of general advice to people: mugshots are cool when you are single, NOT when you are already in a relationship. I have a feeling that neither Jade nor Marcy will be letting anyone get laid for a while.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Arrest Record

Kicking and Screaming

Art - I think the art again is good and nothing is badly drawn, which is good because there are not a lot of set pieces. I really liked seeing how he drew the small guy (any name btw?)grabbing at Francis' collar

My only problem is the order of the drawings of Officer Vernon. I think having him appear with the angry face first when he comes upon the scene and then the smirk when he realizes he caught Brent would have matched the story better.

Story - I laughed when Francis thought the problem was that "The midge" wasn't getting the top billing. I don't really see where the humor is, but I have to say I like Brent better because of this strip because he was protecting a friend.

Hey, it's something

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


*Note* I forgot to publish this before I left work - very tired and busy here this time of year

Art - Starting off with the negative (it is PVPMMS after all). We see Brent's mitten hands in panel one but worse then that is Brent's hands in panel two. If they are meant to be hands clasped in worry well they aren't clasped at all and are just really a jumble of fingers (at least they're no mittens so there's that).

Also, I would have like to see the window in the background of Brent in the second panel because it just looks like a window appeared for Francis to travel through. It didn't have to be a fully rendered window, even a grayscale version would have shown he's next to something that wasn't a wall.

However, Francis traveling THROUGH the window and Brent's reaction was great. It showed good action especially with the "explosion" of glass and Francis covering his head gave it some good realism, instead of the cartoonish head breaks glass version he could have went with.

Story - The only complaint is that you had to find out until today (critique pending) to see what Francis had to say. I chuckled at not what was said by the characters but the strip represented a literal "midget toss". Yes I am weird.

PS - The note that went with the comic :
"I know that it’s a staple of movies and TV shows, but have you ever thought about how dangerous it must be to be hurled through a window?"

Um . . . ok. Shouldn't you KNOW that instead of think about it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Watching My Name is Bruce . .

. . . in all it's cheesy glory.

Plea Bargaining

Art - Good to see that the little person (is he named?) is drawn more realistically and not comically. It is likely due to it being from a reference photo or friend, but at least it didn't devolve into something overtly offensive.

I'll continue stating my dislike for the shading for Brent's cheek and the mitten hands that make an appearance in panel 3. Also, Brent's forearms look weird in panel 1 because of the angle he's holding them. Seriously, try to get into that position with your hands and forearms, it's not anatomically comfortable. Having the elbows lower then the hands would have decreased the awkwardness of the drawing

Story - Nothing much to say here. This could have been keep with the other "small person" strips while the other "bike cop" strips could have been kept together to improve flow. My opinion though.

Didn't suck but wasn't great.

Big and Small Plans

Art - Nothing really special here as it is Brent and Francis again so it is in Kurtz's wheelhouse. The shading is better and less blotchy and no mitten hands!

I really like seeing inside Francis' sketchbook and shows that the character does have some talent.

Story - Well Scott likes his 70's/80's TV show references about two zany detectives that live on a boat. If there wasn't a Bulldog and Cooch it would have been funny but it seems like Francis is repeating a Scott idea and it's been seen before.

Like I said before I like seeing Francis' sketching and would really like to see an arc about him going to school. It would be nice to see a story without Brent/Cole involved as well to kinda freshen the strip up too. I think when Scott did the story where Skull was away with his new kids when he came back to the PVP universe it was nice to do so.

I wrestling terms even Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and the Rock had to be held out for a month or two so that fans don't get burned out on them. Seeing something outside of the PVP main universe using something people want to see (Francis' school, or even a Skull centric story) would be nice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's not that I'm not into you . . .

Hey guys,
Im busy at work so I thought I'd tell you quick that I get off of work at 5pm drive an hour, pick up my fiancee and then go see a 710 showing of "He's just not that into you" with her a half hour away (I love Regal Theatres). So that means I don't have a lot of time to do the two strip reviews. I will be them tommarow.

Oh and I will see Watchmen in two weeks to get some of my manhood back

In the meantime
Favorite Actors in TV:
1)Jeffrey Donovan/Bruce Campbell (Burn notice)
2)Timothy Hutton/ Aldis Hodge (Leverage)
3)Terry O'Quinn/Michael Emerson (Lost)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now it's going to far

Trouble Brewing (actually a pretty good pun)

Art - I, again, really like how the characters are drawn in this strip. Brent and Officer Vernon are again drawn well and I like the design of the coffee shop girl and the shading of her pigtails (or whatever that hair styles proper name is). Also, very good facial expression changes from Brent and the Coffee shop girl to convey their emotions (sorry watching Lie to Me, I think I'm an expert now)

The two things that bug me are the bug eyes of the Coffee shop girl and the continued shading of the small patch of cheek for the characters.

First off, I think I know what the problem is with the eyes, as the iris/pupil's lose their proportion to the rest of the eye from close up to when the "camera" is pulled back. Also, looking at other examples of BE Scott tends to draw his closeups with more oval/oblong pupils and his further away shots as more round. The rounder the eye I've seen the buggier the eyes look.

As for the shading, (as seen under the girl's eye in panel one and Brent's right eye in panel two) I don't know what facial feature the shading represents. If it is to show cheek bones shouldn't the top part near the eye be lighter, i.e. shining with MORE light, than the other parts of the eye? Also, when seen in a close-up in panel three the girl's face doesn't have that small patch of shading as she looks a hell of a lot better.

Story - Glad to have officer Vernon back and this strip shows just how diabolical he is taking away Brent's true love. Brent's flailing after he was told he wouldn't be served was great. However, the "who told you I was trouble?" question was telegrphed as I think we all knew who it would be, so the punchline fell flat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is there such a thing as Midget town?

Forgive my titles they are just as bad as some others

Small Talk

Art - Nothing really has changed since the last strip and the quality of the art stays at the same level, which is good. I did like the shadowing of "Matt's" (after the father from Little People Big World) face and overall emotion as it shows that slow burning pissed-off look he should be having at Francis

Story - It's an ok strip as Francis' reaction is what is should be as he is still the same immature kid he was before his change. I know a few small/little people as acquaintances and it's either this reaction or shear terror, which they just tend to laugh at.

By any other name

Art - Nitpick good - Francis' sleeves are good.
Nitpick bad - Mitten hands in panel 1 and 2
I noticed that in panel 4 Francis is standing with a gray background and looks a lot better than a stark white background for a soliloquy.

My biggest problem with the art of this strip is Cole. In panel 3 the shading of his right side of his face and body is off especially compared to his tie which doesn't have any shading. Also, throughout the strip the shading in that little area of his cheek makes it look like he's wearing war paint. Brent and Francis are shaded well and Cole looks like crap compared to them.

Story - My biggest question is: wasn't this a story about a bike cop? Yes I know this story telling device is common and I've seen it time and again in shows like Family Guy and the Simpsons. You start off in a common situation and move to the "wacky" sitations

The only problem is this "midget" storyline isn't that funny. Think about it:

First strip: 2/12: meeting the "midget", Brent, "... bigger" - Dud
Second strip: 2/13: Francis wide-eyed at "midget", "Look at you!" - mediocre
Third strip: 2/16: Francis and "midget" picture - decent
Fourth strip: today: Pro-midget - mediocre

The thing is I thought the second week (not first) of the bike cop strips were good and made me laugh for most of the week. I hope it's not another case of Scott getting bored and that he brings it back to a strong conclusion, but again I don't see where this goes

*Pulls up a lawn chair, eats some buffalo chicken and blue cheese Doritos and diet coke for the ending of this storyline*

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Delays

Hey guys,
Sorry about this weekend but it was Valentine's and me and the woman had a great weekend planned and it turned out that way. As much as I love you guys: a) I'll take my kisses from her b) She knows where I sleep and I can't be kicked in the testicular region by you guys :).

Anyway, I did wait on Friday until that strip was posted because I wanted to combine critiques

Over His Head
More Problem Solving

Art - In both strips the overall quality of the artwork is excellent. I really liked the first strip as the backgrounds showed their movement from outside, to at the manager's door, to inside his office well. Also, Francis and Brent continue to be drawn well and Francis' cuffs (in panel one) are not glove-like.

The drawing of the little person is good as well as I'm sure it is either a reference photo or someone he knows so I guessing the features of the character comes from a real life example; drawing a little person can become an insulting stereotype but I don't see that here.

My one problem with the art is that the way the little person is drawn, just with his upper torso lower than Brent and Francis, didn't really help with whatever joke he was going for. When I first read the strip I took from Brent's reaction that something was off but I couldn't tell the problem from the drawing.

If you don't have Brent saying "...bigger" couldn't you assume the guy is just sitting at his desk? My first reaction was that the guy was in wheelchair and had to look closer to see that he was a dwarf/little person. Scott has been doing a lot of behind the head drawing and showing the view from Brent/Francis' perspective (showing the guy STANDING and being short) would have helped the punchline.

Story - My biggest problem and the reason I waited to see the 2nd strip was with Thursday's ending. Where is the joke? I know that Brent is saying "...bigger" and then a small person is in the room, that's the joke, but the context of the conversation before that wasn't about physical size and it just was not funny.

I hoped the second strip would lead me to say "well I hoped he had just combined it" and well I still kind of feel that way. If there were eight panels having them walk into the office, no reaction from Brent, explaining the situation and then Francis' anime-like response to the little person would have been better then separating them into to strips as it makes both strips feel stilted

PS - Yeah Friday's title was hokey.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bigger Problems

Problem solving too

Art - For the most part Scott continues his excellence with his drawing. He only really has to worry about drawing Francis and Brent without any other details and he does it well.

However, I have two problems. First, that the background drops of the 4th panel, and while it my have been done for effect for what Francis was saying, it just looks stark compared to the other frames with grayscale backgrounds.

My second problem is mostly more of a character design problem I have with Francis since his change. I know the circle around his wrist is supposed to be the cuff of his undershirt, but half the time it looks like a glove, ala Mickey and other characters from the Tex Avery/Disney era. (while old school characters wore gloves I don't know). The drawing of his cuff varies in this strip 3 times from muddled in the first panel to looking like a glove in the fourth panel to clearly his cuff in the last panel

Story - This strip continues a solid week of strips continuing the bike cop arc. This is an example of Scott using the strengths of his "pop culture" strip as the younger person obsessed with pop culture (Francis) deals with real life situations in the only way he's seen them dealt with, television. I liked the reaction of Brent being the older, grounded, and more mature (depending on the day) person with the reaction he had.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Day Behind

Me and My Shadow

Art - No real complaints; backgrounds are good as you know each situation where the cop is spying on him and even the mitten hands were minimal

Story - Straight forward gag and the bike tire in the stall did make me chuckle.

Problem Solving

Art - Again very solid on the details but thankfully (because you know I only live for criticizing this strip) there are a few flaws. The cops radio loses it's color again. Also, Brent's body is copied and pasted in the four panels he is in.

It makes sense for the last three since time in those panels is only a few seconds, but you would think Brent would be waving an arm instead of both arms resting at his side in the first panel. The body language doesn't match the frustration/angst that he is expressing in that instance.

Story - Again straight forward comic: cop thinks Brent is bad then makes a less than stellar exit. Done well but I likes Monday's gag better.

PS - Thanks to whatever reader a few weeks ago shared this but a fun website to just explore is Alexa which shows internet traffic patterns. Just type in a website (from to and all the stats show up. Kind of cool to see day to day page views.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Evil Cop

Hey guys, normally I'm not that busy on weekends but I had work, a house warming, then a 21st birthday party yesterday, followed by 4 hours of work, a 1 year-old's birthday party (for my fiancee's cousin) and a date night today.

So let's get this post done!

Pushing it

Art - No real complaints about today (I know what has happened to PVPMMS!?): the background is better as we see there are trees, the Mini is still drawn well and the characters has no ridiculous flubs like a collar-arm.

The only thing wrong is the cop's glasses lost its color.

Story - Why is Cole leaning across both seats to talk to Brent and the officer? If Kurtz wanted him involved in the strip why not just put the officer and Brent on the other side of the car. Just save me the thought from Cole having to be that nosy he has to lean across two seats.

Also, here we see confusing from whether this officer is actually on-duty police or a rent-a-cop. In Philadelphia, a good amount of cops do add to their income by working as bouncers/security. However, they don't wear their gear when they do so. I would have changed his first line to: "The manager of this property complained about people speeding in his parking lot and I am patrolling here to enforce. . . " simple, the guy is still a cop without the confusing "I was hired" line, and it makes sense why he was there.

A couple easy changes would have made this a lot less convoluted

Uncivil Disobedience

Art - No real problems except I thoroughly dislike Cole's collar-arm.

Story - Well I dislike Brent over the last two strips and if that is what Kurtz was going for, it's a success. So the guy gets you for speeding, sure it's slow, but it's still speeding, and you want to report him. Ah gotta love that snark coming out.

However, the foreshadowing for the cop giving Brent a hard time is good, but does anyone think anything that funny will come out of it? I'm not really looking forward to that set of strips.

Oh and what did the cop do, scurry behind that tree when he was done talking to Brent? It's not like we know if they traveled down the road some more or are just getting of the car because this happens immediately after the previous strip where they are standing in a parking lot without any traveling. If I were Brent I would report him for that.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I've seen this somewhere before . . .

Way of the Bike

Art - Nice to see the background is grey at it takes away the starkness of the characters that was seen against white at least. I also liked the characters again and the face of the cop in the last panel sells the joke very well.

I didn't like Brent's hands in the last two panels. First we had mitten hands in the last panel and Brent's 2nd and 3rd fingers* are weirdly long and slender especially compared to the rest of his hand.

Oh and the officer's radio goes from black to white in the first and final panels, respectively.

* To avoid complaints: anatomically the thumb is the first finger, I'm a physical therapist after all

Story - This is a story of two punchlines. The line said by the officer was great and went well with the art and was a good result of the set-up of the comic. The line said by Brent is a pop culture reference that no one under the age of 35 will likely get. I understand who Magnum is but the show went off the air in 1988 and I'm 26, so being 6 at the time of the show's cancellation I cant understand why Tom Selleck trumps all because I (and likely many others) had no real chance to see it.

Also, I chuckled at Brent's comparison's in panel 4 just because in the Feb 2nd post I made a similar comparison. First off, Segway cop is less then bike cop in my opinion, I don't care what you say. Secondly, I AM IN NO WAY SAYING THAT I INSPIRED THE JOKE; it was either an obvious joke to make or it's a coincidence. Lastly, we both made lame jokes at the end of our comparison's, it's just that mine was seen by dozens and PVP is seen by thousands.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bike Cop, Bike Cop, what you gonna do?

Blind Spot

Art - The characters and everything that is there in today's strip is great and detailed no complaint about what is drawn.

The only problem I have is the total lack of background which is especially noticeable in panels 2 and 5. It looks like Brent/Cole are driving into nothingness and parked next to nothingness respectively. A generic background of town buildings would have helped to take that away.

Story - Well it was more than a one-off but still likely less then a story arc. I liked today's comic as I'm sure that goes through the mind of everyone who sees a bike cop coming after them, even if they were only speeding.

My only problem was with the word bubbles being switched in the second panel. I did know who was speaking but it was distracting as I had to wonder if they had switched positions in the car. If it was a matter of Scott wanting it to be read left to right, well he did something better in panel three that solved that.

Two side notes -
1) I like the redesign of the PVP site as it is a much friendlier and easier site to navigate. I like that the twitter link is easier to get to, just because I use Scott's twitter to get to Renee Engstrom's twitter to see if she has a new comic up.

The one thing I had to chuckle at was that there is a "comment tab next to the comic and when I clicked on it it took me to the fan site sign up for $1.99 a month. I'm all for making money from the webcomic author but at least here at PVPMMS you can comment for free. So if you're a PVP-phile or hater or anyone in between leave your wallets in your pocket and come on down to this site!

2) One of our own posters, Jim Thorpe, has a webcomic called The Suckerboys.

While I agree that he is finding his way a bit I fully disagree with him that it is weak-azz. There is some great stuff there and it is kinda cool to see a webcomic start since we've only been commenting on a webcomic that's been established for nearly a decade.

Monday, February 2, 2009

So fuuulll of buffalo wing dip

. . . and because Rdy demanded it again.

Art - Solid and good again everything remains great and the detail is present in every frame.

However, you can tell the Mini is from a reference shot. Also, the trees look awkward as they are the only things without shading. Finally, some of the bottom front tire gets lost in the final frame, unless his tires are really flat.

Story - Not sure whether this is a one-off or an arc (if so how much mileage will this get?), but it was ok tody. Good current pop culture banter that makes no sense (like good pop culture banter should).

Btw to Rdy the joke is that the boys are in a parking lot going 12 mph in 10 mph zone (I think becuase where else has 10 mph speed limits?) and they are about to be pulled over by a bike cop. Now I saw someone get chased down at the Philly stadiums by a cop on foot after making an illegal right when he was directing traffic. I thought it was hilarious to be pulled over by someone on foot.

My guess is being pulled over is funnier when done by a: foot cop > bike cop > patrol car > Robocop.

My problem with today's strip is that you can't tell what the joke is supposed to be. From the outer shot of the car you can't tell whether it is a parking lot or street. You can clearly see the cop has him at 12 mph, but what the hell does it matter without knowing where he is at? The strip relied more on the title than anything else to explain the joke.

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