Fiverr is an amazing and weird little boon. Zach opened a sort of doodle factory over there and immediately found himself rolling in work, otherworldly requests, thanks mostly to the internet at large. We’re raising our prices on certain aspects of illustration as soon as Fiverr levels us up, so take advantage of the cheap rates now. This is what you might imagine I’m saying, except I’d love for Zach to have time to produce a comic.
If you’re keen, his work is appearing here, where he designed one Beach Mick, and here, where he made an avatar of a man throwing a bomb. There have been others. Many others. We aren’t sure where they go, honestly. We just know that, occasionally, someone does not think we have rendered their girlfriend sexily enough. Such a thing drains my liberal sensibilities though, and suddenly, thinking about it, I feel faint. Lawdy.
Our first reboot arc, Buffalo Soul, is done! It will lead directly into our second arc, and we’ve got big plans.
First, as my good friend Paula said of our first arc, Things! Are Happening! And that’s kind of spastic and hard to follow, essentially the worst traits of Girl Genius and Megatokyo Year One without the things that make those addictive web munchies. A big problem was our pacing–the segments focused on Daphne fell apart. But it wasn’t just pacing–it was a lack of character. Daphne and Lilit were both incredibly cardboard, barely even one dimensional.
So writer monkey is taking some time to flesh things out for arc two for the week of Murica Day, with a special focus on character and pacing, and less of a focus on slamming past plot points.
Zach is writing the comics for this week. That’s why they’re late. Don’t judge him! Being funny isn’t easy. and he has a real job.
I’m ready to talk about Defiance in a meaningful way, I think. I wanted very dearly to love the show, because it fills the gap in both content and aesthetic left empty and gaping when Firefly was canceled. More than this, though, it sought this noble and wondrous joining of my two favorite media; TV and Video Game. But with the show’s utter dependence on the clichéd, I am left not with the organic thing I craved, and not with a show I can adore and a world I can escape into—literally, thanks to the elaborate game tie-in—but with a show I can merely watch.
I’ve not tried the video game; the show did not convince me to. Perhaps it is a worthy experience on its own; I do not know, and refuse to speculate based solely on internet hear-say.
Actor Grant Bowler does an admirable job of filling his role; I believe his lines, and he comports himself as I imagine a Lawkeeper must. I think very highly of him as Joshua Nolan. And I am a very big fan of the world he’s acting in—an Earth broken by war, alien terraforming, and dystopia. Moreso am I pleased at the positive messages behind the show’s portrayal of sexuality; for example, Defiance’s prostitutes are not only shown as being in a legitimate business, but as generally good people. I’m down with that liberal jibe, so long as it doesn’t become a moral truncheon disguised as a story—and so far, the balance is decent.
What breaks the show for me, though, is that I can usually call what’s going to happen two commercial breaks before it does. By itself, this isn’t bad—I loved Monk and I’m a fan of Castle and other such shows that necessarily suffer from being watched by people who know how to read foreshadowing. And since this show is, in many ways, the structural descendent of Eureka, this might not even be a legitimate complaint.
This predictability is coupled with a cast of incredibly unsympathetic characters, though; Irisa, The Lawkeeper’s teenaged ward, is a raging psychopath, which makes it really hard for me to care that she’s the chosen one, and in making it hard for me to care, makes it much more obvious and distracting that plots about chosen ones aren’t especially uncommon. The same applies in many ways to Datak Tarr; he’s everything that’s bad about Snape, without the stuff that made me root for Snape—which would be fine in some respects if he was actually the villain instead of a foil for The Lawkeeper. The show has villains, and they’re very good at cackling behind their black capes and twirling their waxen moustaches. The problem is that they’re cackling at people I don’t like very much.
The show’s overall arc promises something unpredictable and wild, and this gives me a lot of hope for an improvement in season two. I think, given that Defiance will always be hard-pressed to perform well in the shadow of Firefly, just because of its aesthetics and themes. And a lot of the series I love had very rough first seasons—I’m looking at Star Trek: TNG when I say this, but there are others. With this in mind, I’m waiting patiently, with just a touch of eagerness for Defiance’s season finale.
So, good news. Very soon, we’re changing how Ramen Empire works. All the comics before a certain date are going into an archival that won’t be attached to the main comic. At this point, it’s pretty clear that we rebooted. We’re going to divide the comic up into stories of 8 or 16 strips (depending), complete with cover art, and with gag strips in between.
Once I get the technical problems associated with this out of the way, we’ll have two comics running concurrently, though neither of us are prepared to talk about that other comic. Mostly because it keeps coming to blows.
It’s okay, though–Zach hits like a big Marshmallow.
Project Wonderful is insanely cool; it’s not exactly a good source of revenue for us (We’ve made about $4 USD on it), but it exposes us to a lot of nifty stuff. We’ve had the same ad up for a sort of Ra-Ra Atheism poster for a while, and while I’m tickled pink that someone is ostensibly making money selling indie posters, the winning bidder on a Project Wonderful ad is invariably the tip of an iceberg of fascinating things. We have the luxury of seeing everything that tries to win our ad space, and some of it is pretty darn cool. So every now and then, I want to take some of the niftier content from the “bid but didn’t make it” group and feature them.
To your immediate left, Puck and Daphne. Yes, Puck, as in Robin Goodfellow. It’s a fascinating comic; partway through the archive, ten in-comic years skip by, (and the blog posts go from Feb 20, 2000 to Feb 20 2013) serving as a soft reboot for the series and highlighting a marked increase in the artist’s skill. The comic is regularly funny and the color choices serve his (or her–the name ElectricGecko doesn’t exactly make that clear.) comic really well. The highlight of the series? Puck beats the crap out of purple-headed Satan for calling her a crack whore, causing him to win a mayoral election.
Fun coincidence: I first found Puck on a web search for colored text bubbles, because Zach mentioned wanting to use fewer pure whites and pure blacks in the comic. I tucked Puck into my reference material a few days ago, and then checked Project Wonderful this morning to find that it was competing for our ad space.