Critique Compendium #2: Homesickness

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Ninja Skunk
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Critique Compendium #2: Homesickness

Post by Ninja Skunk » 07 Mar 2009, 04:22

Hello, and welcome back! Before I get started, I'd like to remind everyone that I try to be impartial and impersonal here, but these are still my views. Yours will be different. Also, although I am reviewing Sandra and Woo here, I try to include points that anyone who writes or illustrates can learn from. Understand? Okay, let's start Critique Compendium #2: Homesickness.

Homesickness is Sandra and Woo's second strip, which tends to be a bit of an iffy position. If the second comic is strong, then it's all good, but the credit for a strong opening goes to the first comic more often than not. On the other hand, if the second comic completely bombs, it's all completely the second strip's fault. Number two has to be strong, simply so it doesn't become the whipping boy.

On the Homesickness strip, the first thing I bring up is that's it not really funny. There's no punchline, or underlying joke. However, rather than being just-not-funny, Homesickness continues from A Sly Raccoon and is leading into a resolution. It's actually a storyline strip. This is usually a good thing, as I think just about everybody enjoys a good story over shallow gag-a-day comics; but don't get too heavy with story. This is a comic strip. If you have too much story, graphic-novel pages would be a better format.

On the upside, though, Homesickness is top-of-the-line in showing us the strip's characters'...well, character. If you read between the lines, you can see it all there: Sandra is quite an outgoing ("I'm back from school!" with an exclamation point), compassionate (the last panel), and a surprisingly animal-savvy (how she holds Woo in the second panel) girl; Richard is caring (greeting his daughter at the door), and also responsible (returning the pet raccoon instead of just throwing it out of the house); and Woo, although not speaking yet, is very expressive. This is very, very good, especially considering character was A Sly Raccoon's biggest downfall.

Lastly, Homesickness's illustration is great, but not impressive. The style we all love is there, but more could have been done with the perspective. If you look at the wall corners in the first, third and last frame, they're all drawn from the same angle. Creative angles are always more interesting, and usually good for frequent use.

On an aside, though, that second frame is really cute.

So, all things considered, Homesickness is great, and also turns out to be a very good compliment to A Sly Fox; together, this is probably the best opening to any comic I've seen.
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urthdigger
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Re: Critique Compendium #2: Homesickness

Post by urthdigger » 07 Mar 2009, 05:28

Again, not much of a review from me. I suppose I have a simpler view of comics than most, probably because my own hobbies lie more on reading and writing, so I focus on the story and jokes, and treat each strip like pages in a book, rather than requiring each of them to hold up on their own.

As can probably be guessed by my comments on both the strip and the forum, I'm a big fan of story, so strips like this, even though they don't make me laugh, are pretty good as far as I'm concerned. I'm a little mixed on the combination of humor and story, though in my case it's that part of me wants more story. But, on the other hand, keeping the arcs short can be a good thing, it keeps a strip from devolving into drama like most story heavy comic strips tend to, and avoids pesky issues, such as those that probably would have cropped up if the mating season arc had gone any further (Sandra's probably not old enough to be of any help, and Shadow's solution to Woo's problem would have probably been a little dark)

I have to agree on the amount of character shown in this strip. Like the old cliche of a blind man developing extraordinary hearing, scenes that lack a certain way of showing emotion often make up for it in other areas, and this is definitely no exception with all the great facial expressions that more than make up for Woo's lack of speech at this point, especially in the third and fourth panel, though I never noticed until looking it over again how grumpy he looks in the first panel, but I suppose if I got caught when I was on the run, I'd be grumpy too.

As usual, I love the art style. I don't really mind the angle issue Ninja Skunk noticed, as I could care less about the technical aspects so long as it still looks good. Really, only thing I can really critique in this strip is the shadow on his left arm in the third panel makes the sole bit of white space stand out a bit, and I can't readily identify what the two white spots under his chin are supposed to be in the 4th.

Oh, and the 2nd panel is indeed adorable, it's what you always notice when you see the strip.

All in all, one of my favorite strips early on, due to the character building :)
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