Hitch It / Ditch It: Hardly Working, Living in The Analog Age
Hitch it / Ditch It
Ditch It: Danny is making a lot of the usual rookie mistakes. The comic is always presented at a straight-on camera view, with the characters shown from the waist up. There is rarely any visual variation between panels. Not even the background colors change to help elicit emotion. The site itself makes a lot of the errors that are discussed in the Web Design Hot Seat, including wasted space at the top, a distracting/confusing background image. And it uses the default Comics Press navigation buttons, which has become a bit of a peeve of mine. The art is pretty amateurish, the lettering is uppercase/lowercase (which I think hinders their legibility), and the writing is badly in need of polishing and editing.
Hitch It: Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Well consider this, the comic has only been running since January, and if you look at Danny’s early strips you’ll see that he’s come a long way.* But I want to direct your attention to the archive. You’ll see a pretty consistent schedule of three-days-a-week updating, with pretty steady improvement over that time. By this time next year, I’m pretty confident that Danny is going to be doing stuff that is head-and-shoulders over the stuff he’s doing now.
*Except for the lettering, which started out as a nice, readable all-caps, but somehow slid into the upper/lower lettering that’s holding it back currently. Actually, look at the lettering in the early strips and then click to the curent comics. It’s pretty easy to see the amount of legibility that’s lost.
Hitch It: Eye-popping visual harmony!
When you come to the site, Gabe makes it clear that you’re not reading a webcomic; you’re in for a Web entertainment experience.
Moreover, Gabe has found his Voice as a writer, and he writes with polished confidence. Read his stuff. Every sentence has a direct purpose — and works with the visual to deliver on that purpose. Look at the second-to-last panel in this update. The kid is bored at school, but instead of merely saying “I was bored,” Gabe uses some metaphors and pairs them with descriptive visuals. So, when he says that he feels as if he were trying to escape the trap, the visual of him chewing on his pencil serves to conjure not only a familiar classroom scene — but also elicits a trapped animal trying to chew its way out of a trap.
Ditch It: No monetization!?
You’re breaking my heart here, Gabe. I know… I know… one of the things I just got done praising was the visual cohesiveness of your work, and adding gaudy ads is only going to ruin that. I get it.
But even if you were running Goodle AdSense, you could set the colors to compliment your entire site.
And, really, a couple of ads wouldn’t destroy your overall visual presentation, would it? You’re obviously a skillful designer. You could find a way to make it work… a compromise.
I see 58 “comic” updates on the site. So… not enough for a book, but close. And if the book is as beautiful as the site, I think it’s going to be a huge sucess, so maybe the monetization will come then. I’ll sure be getting one.*
But in the meantime… well, listen to this. It says it better than I could alone.
You’re doing superlative work. I just want to see you rewarded for it.
*As an aside, this is the kind of work that kills at SPX and MoCCA. And the Ignatz Awards. make sure you’re on the radar of all three.