Hitch It / Ditch It: Botamen, Tales of Absurity, Star Power
Here’s the final installment of the first Hitch It / Ditch It critique series of the year. Rules are simple: I go to your site and find one thing I think you’re doing great and one thing that needs improvement. I talk about both, and then the Webcomics.com members chime in with their thoughts.
Hitch It: The Botamen Facebook Fan page looks engaging and fun.
Ditch It: I’d like to see the character design in this comic re-thought completely. The human figures are so warped that they’re almost impossible to understand what’s happening in the panels. Here’s a recent example:
In Panel One, the mouth opening extends beyond the shape of the head. But since there’s no extension of the head shape around the opening, it looks as if there’s a large black shape in front of his face. Similarly, the line connecting the upper skulls to the lower jaws in the humans in the next two panels are so weak that it doesn’t actually connect the head into a cohesive unit. The result? I look at these panels and not only can I not tell what’s going on — I can’t even read the human figures as humans.
Hitch It: I like all of the visual aspects of this comic. The colors on the site design, the logo, the comic itself… All of the art-related aspects of this comic are really well done.
Ditch It: The humor writing needs polish. This is a good example:
The gag revolves around mashing up Yoda’s comment about “bringing balance to the Force” and that cereal-commercial idiom “part of a balanced breakfast.” For the joke to be funny, that crossover has to be a surprise. But it can’t be a surprise because it’s revealed in the first panel.
One possible alternative would have been to keep the same set-up…
- In a tightly cropped shot, Yoda is sitting in front of a full bowl of cereal. (Although the cereal could be less-multi-colored, so you don’t telegraph the joke.)
- He delivers his line in the first panel: “This is the one who will bring balance.”
- Then the scene pulls back to reveal a sound stage.
- The box of cereal is revealed on the table (it had been just out-of-panel in the first panel).
- They’re shooting a commercial. (Camera in foreground, different types of workers milling about.)
- And just off-scene (but in-panel) is a worker with his arms full of all of the healthy stuff they have to cram around that bowl of cereal to justify calling it “balanced.”
That puts a familiar phrase “this is the one who will bring balance” into a new and surprising context. The humor comes from that surprise.
That being said, there are moments of brilliance that tell me that your humor-writing will only improve with practice:
And — not for nothing — your signature is so (1) prominent and (2) unreadable… that I continually get distracted by it in the same way you get distracted by a blotch of something on your computer monitor. I keep wanting to fleck it off.
Hitch It: The art in this comic is fantastic. The art is crisp and clean — and exciting. The lettering is easy-to-read. The panels are well composed — and that’s both in-panel composition and page composition. This comic is simply gorgeous. For that matter, the site design is pretty sharp as well.
I’m particularly impressed with how the archives are laid out visually instead of the standard list of links. Well done!
Ditch It: I’d like to see outgoing social-media buttons under the comic on every page to make it super easy for people who like the comic (or a particular update) to spread the word on their social-media feeds. See those buttons under the blog posts? They belong directly under the comic itself, too.