Hitch it / Ditch it: Love is in the Blood, 3 Feet Under
This is the next installment in the current Hot Seat series. This one’s a Hitch it / Ditch it critique. In short: I go to participants’ sites and list something they could improve (and offer my thoughts on how they could do that), and then I talk about something they’re doing well.
As always, this is only the beginning of the discussion. Members are encouraged to share their thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
Hitch it: Site design! This Web site gets all the most-important elements right up where they belong — in the first-screen view. Good navigation above and below the comic. Excellent menubar and good ad placement. This is a well-thought-out Web design.
Ditch it: I had a really hard time gathering my thoughts for this. Part of it is that my main reaction — aftering having read Chapter Four — is that the writing is very unfocused. We seem to hop from scene to scene — but not a whole lot of *story* is happening in those scenes. In other words, I keep expecting the tension to build to a climax, but instead, what I’m getting is a series of vignettes that don’t seem to be strongly connected.
Chapter Four was difficult to follow. But I decided that I wanted to give it a fair chance. So I tried to read it from the beginning. I clicked on the link to Book 2: Begin Again, and started reading. Now, the first chapter reads very smoothly. I can see the story building. Maybe it’s because the art is so much more to my personal taste in this chapter than it is in chapter four, but everything seems to work nicely.
So I want to skip ahead to Chapter 2. But there’s no such link. Nor one for Chapter 3 either. (I realize I could hunt down these entry points using the Archive link in the menubar, but I kinda want to see them over in the left column, lined up under their Books.
So I can’t tell you where the writing is falling apart for me. I need better site navigation to help me find those crucial entry points into the story.
In the meantime, I want to offer you a thought. As you’re reading each page, when you get to the end, ask yourself: “So What?”
If you can’t answer with something meaningful for at least half of the pages in any given chapter, you may have a script that’s gotten wanderlust and needs to be reigned back in.
I’ll accept that some pages merely lead to the next page. I get that.
But I need more “So What” moments and fewer moments of plain “What??”
Hitch it: Character design. One of the keys to good character design is that every character should have a recognizable silhouette. This entire cast fits this criterion. And the silhouettes themselves are intriguing!
Ditch it: Word balloons. The lines that describe the word balloons are often the heaviest lines in the strip. They call great attention to themselves — and away from the scene.
The leading is too wide between the lines in some of the strips — like the one below. (Read this Hot Seat critique for more thoughts on loose leading.)
…and yet, in many of the archive strips, the leading seems much better. Actually, comparing different strips, it seems that the lettering itself jumps back and forth in size.
Are you using any methods to keep your typography consistent from day to say? I’m sensing this might be something to consider.
And I’m interested in hearing the thoughts behind the decision to use small caps lettering — where the uppercase letters are shown as large uppercase characters, and the lowercase letters are smaller uppercase characters. It’s not a very graceful look in my opinion.