Hitch It / Ditch It: Treading Ground, Bluestar Blues, Lizardmin
Hitch it: Clean Art
I like the visual appeal of Treading Ground. It’s drawn cleanly and clearly. The panel compositions usually work well, and the coloring is executed in a very smart way. I really like how this comic connects with the reader through its visuals.
Ditch it: “Shock” humor
At the risk of sounding like the geezer who admonishes the youngsters not to “work blue,” I’m going to say it. Over and over again in the archives, I see a perfectly great set-up that takes the easy way out with an off-color remark. I get all geared up for a punchline, and instead I get a dirty word. I’m not saying it’s not funny, but I’d sure like to see you challenge yourself more. (And, in a close second place… the square word balloons… but that might just be my personal preference!)
Since I realize that this may be a conscious (and valid) choice, I’m going to offer an alternate “Ditch it.” Some of the jumps in story between updates are somewhat jarring. I’d like to see a little more transition as scenes and topics changes — like an interstitial comic that serves to bring one arc to an end while it introduces the next.
Hitch it: Commitment to blogging
Joshua is a pretty serious blogger. There’s not a post for every update, but darned close. And we’re not talking a couple of sentences, but rather fully formed essays. Joshua is really engaging his readers beyond the comic — and giving ad spiders and search engines plenty of reasons to value the site.
Ditch it: Colored lines
The lack of black lines makes a lot of the scenes very hard to read. I don’t mind going to the Disney “colored line” look, but if you’re going to do that, I think you have to really concentrate on panel composition and color contrast — between foreground and background particularly. In a lot of the panels, the background colors are just as strong as the foreground colors, and without a black line to separate the figures, the overall result is to flatten out the image.
Hitch it: A visual style that permeates the entire site
What makes Lair of the Lizardmin such a compelling comic/site is that the visual style of the comic is so deftly reflected in the Web site. From the header graphic to the icons for the site’s Twitter and Facebook presences — everything adheres to a consistent visual style. You really enter another dimension when you’re reading this comic. It’s a great experience.
Ditch it: Lack of site features
I’d like to see the site engage readers more — beyond the comic. I’d like to see an “About” page, for example. I’d like to see opportunities to easily share the comic on Stumble, Reddit, etc. I’d like to see some extra features like a guide to the Lizardmin world, or a field guide to the different types of Lizardmin — something to continue the immersion that the site sets up so well.