One the Spot — Band of One
This is the second installment of the “On The Spot” Hot Seat critique. Here’s how it works, if you sign up, I will go to your site on a random day and talk about the site on that day. No archive dives. No “you had to read yesterday’s comic to understand today’s.” We talk about your comic and Web site from the standpoint of the newcomer who just arrived on that day. Was your work strong enough to retain that newcomer — and possibly convert him or her to a reader? Or did you lose your opportunity?
During the recent Webcomics.com Poll, 27% of the respondents said their top worry for 2016 was increasing their readership. To that, I offer you a magic wand that will do exactly that. Can you wield the wand? That’s what this critique is all about.
Bank of One
Here’s a screen grab of the site on the day I visited.
The humor in the comic was a “miss” for me. Gross-out humor was never particularly high on my list. And the opening line: “I’ve never noticed my skull vibrating when I grind my teeth before” threw me way off. So, before this cup of coffee, the character would grind its teeth without vibrating its skull?! That doesn’t make any sense. And — if we take it on face value — what property of the coffee enables the bird to teeth-grind without skull vibrations? Does the coffee keep its head perfectly still? It’s pretty clear that the intent was to convey that the bird’s teeth were grinding AND its skull was vibrating. But that opening line is very badly in need of a re-write.
But even more so, the punchline: “This could be a new filtration method” just didn’t strike me as terribly clever. The lion describes his filtration method and then indicates — in an “A-ha” moment — that it could be a new filtration method. It’s more confusing than anything else.
I’ve talked about this often before — I think the writer stopped short of where the real funny was hiding. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go back and read this.
Now, usually, I ask the writer of the original comic to write what happens if we add one more panel, but this time, I’d like to try something new. I want to challenge the entire group to write one more panel for this comic. Consider it a writing exercise. What would you do if you had to add another panel to this comic. Bonus points if you go back and edit the entire strip so it remains a three-panel comic.
Those Es are incredibly difficult to read. I mean… they stop me dead in my tracks as I’m trying to read the word. Illegibility spells hot death to a comic — especially a humor comic.
The site is pretty wide, and on one of my other monitors, I had to side-scroll to read the comic.
All of the elements seem packed in together — uncomfortably so. For example, the comic bumps up right against the navigation buttons and the navigations buttons collide with the blog. Likewise, the ads collide with the blog on either side. I’d like to see them spaced out a little bit — if only to ease up on the sloppy/claustrophobic feel the site generates.
Meanwhile, in the blog, you’re expecting the reader to read across a pretty wide column width, and centering the type? Well, there’s no way to sugar-coat this — it’s simply the wrong choice. Flush-left would be a much better option.
On the bright side…
The art is engaging.
I think the blog offers some really good content.
The social-media buttons are well-played on the site (apart from the spacing issues)
There’s an About page, and I think that’s important. I wish, however, it offered more than a single tag line.