The Webcomic Watchman

Thursday, June 29, 2006

After some consultation, it has been decided that these dialogue reviews (see below) are fucking stupid. So unless some particular inspiration strikes me, I'll try and tone down the narrative.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Review #11: You Bastard!

(Please bear with us as the good doctor tries to add a modicum of professionalism to this blog that he is hardly professional about.)
The Bastard Swordsman
Title: The Bastard Swordsman
Artist: Dan "The Bastard" Glasl
Collective: None
Genre: Action with a pinch of comedy
Updates: Monday and Friday
Link: Click the pic above

"So, Dr. Haus, this comic is called the Bastard Swordsman, right?"


"But the main character is a woman. Wouldn't a more accurate title be 'The Bastard Swordswoman?'"

"Maybe the creator wasn't referring to her specifically."

"Who else could he be referring to? That guy who bares a resemblance to Shan-Yu from Mulan? That drunk dude who doesn't even have a sword? Or is this another one of those comics where the main character magically had his/her gender switched and doesn't know why?"

"Does it really matter that much?"

"It should matter, dammit! After 51 strips, I still have no freakin' clue where the story's going, or even if it exists! Something about an orphan girl named Faith who travels around in a sports bra trying to kill people with a big sword for some unknown reason."

"Okay, so the story's a little light..."

"A little? I learned more from the cast page than I have from the comic, and that ain't a good sign."

"...what about the action?"

"Ah yes, some interesting action, back in the day when shouting out the name of your attack before doing it was considered cool. What's with that 'Southern Cross' technique, huh? Why can't she do an 'Eastern Crescent' strike? Or a 'North Star?'"

"Buddy, you're expecting way too much from this comic right now. Just go to sleep."

"Hey I'm not done here! And what's with that catgirl? Does the world really need another comic with those, even if she does have a pyromaniacal twist? Hey, what are you doing with that gun?"

(insert "pfft" SFX)

"I knew this tranquilizer gun would come in handy. Nurse, we got another case of heightened expectations. Charge my 'deluxe' price package to his credit card and tell him to come back in a few months."

Art: 4/5 (Very nicely detailed, though the coloring is a strange choice and the drawings edge close to GAS-sy*.)
Story: 2/5 (Not much to speak of. Needs some work)
Humor: 3/5 (It has its fair share, from slapstick to dialogue)
Action: 4/5 (Pretty damn good so far, but just a few steps away from spectacular)
Characters: 2.5/5 (Interesting twist on the catgirl "Mueney," but the rest of the cast needs some work)
Overall (not an average): 6.5/10
Evil Stuff: Plenty of blood and violence, sometimes slapstick, sometimes realistic.
Final Thoughts: I've seen better than TBS, but it could use a little more time to mature. Something to look at if you're a fan of No Need For Bushido.

*GAS="Generic Anime Style"

Friday, June 16, 2006

Review #10: An Unfortunate Stigma

Title: Otenba Files
Artist: "Bazabat" (real name unknown)
Collective: None
Genre: Romance/Anthromorphic
Updates: About 2-3 times a week

I think Bazabat has found the right formula to make her comic a success.

Yes, it is a sneaky, lowbrow formula that caters to the lowest denominator of webcomic reader. And no, I won't deny that I indulge myself in her comic as well as a lot of her other readers have probably done (and one may have done with the artist personally, so I hear). You (either the artist or the one reading this review) might find it unfair for me to characterize it this way, but that's what it is.

What? You want me to spell it out for you in plain English? Okay, fuck the cryptic language. Otenba Files is goddamn yuri with a storyline on the side.

The story starts off with a tall, androgynous, hot-tempered psychic girl named Krisko (or just "Kris"). Apparently, she's an unknowing pawn in some war between the forces of good at a psychic school and the forces of evil, represented by an ominous sillhouetted, anthromorphic gentleman. She also plays a sport called "Dranball," which Bazabat describes as, "A type of futuristic rugby/American football mixed with psychic cardplay [sic]."

And that's where it all goes downhill:

In the following chapters, we are introduced to the stereotypical team consisting of the huge dumbass (Koda), the little whiney bitch (Juppy), and the chain-smoking angry badass (Tamka). They fight, they yell at each other, the female members go off and get fucked (either in flashbacks or in current time), and then they do it all over again. The cast has expanded, but the characters haven't really done much to advance what little plot exists in this comic.

As for the romance shtick, you gotta wonder how many women has Kris slept with? And how easy are these people? The romance in the story doesn't really seem to be an end to which Kris strives for, but more of a forced means of showing hot yuri instead without any real context. If that's how Bazabat wants to present it, fine. But she should stop trying to pretend that the comic is anything more than that.

On the other hand, if she doesn't want her comic to be seen as just yuri scenes with a plot on the side, then she should remedy the situation quickly, because the unfortunate stigma of "pr0n with a plot" is sticking to this comic already.

Art: 5/5 (Even though Bazabat uses nothing but pencil, the art has progressed incredibly well)
Story: 2/5 (little substance, and the romance feels more forced than it should)
Humor: 2/5 (Some, but not a lot)
Action: 3.5/5 (Ehhh, it's good with only pencil. Nothing spectacular though.)
Characters: 3.5/5 (A little cliched for my taste, but showing some development)
Overall (not an average): 6/10
Evil Stuff: HAWT YURI SECHS (consensual and non-consenual)! Oh, and some blood, some violence, moderate language.
Final Thoughts: +2 to score if you want some yuri. -3 if homosexuality turns you off (I see you, Jerry Falwell!). If you don't care about either (oh, I believe you), take a look, but it ain't bookmark worthy just yet.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"Where Are They Now?" #2: Evil Juxtaposed Quite Eternally

Today, we take a look at another fallen webcomic that may yet rise again. No, it ain't RPG World. Don't bother asking me that.

The comic we shall explore today was entitled Eternal Juxtaposition, the creation of Kevin Wadlow and J.L. Brown. It was an interesting comic set in a fantasy world with elves, bog monsters, magic, dark forests, what-have-you. The main hook of the story was a boy who would transform into some sort of blue furry demon named Eferii at night. The main character of the story, Eferii seemed to have practically no morals at all, even in his human form.

One quite humorous episode appears near the beginning of the story, where a muscular, shirtless man walks into a bar, ranting about how some evildoer destroyed his village, and how he vowed to stick multiple knives in the person's back for each person killed. Eferii then mutters to a woman (and, possibly, the reader) about how heroes these days are a bunch of muscular idiots, spouting catch-phrases, announcing their presence without thought as to who might be around. And in the next scene, the hero is shown with every single knife he carried planted into his back.

If my description is faulty, it's because I'm drawing largely from memory. The website ( has since gone under. I remember one scene where Eferii ends up travelling with a female companion with an emblem on her forehead, and the corpse of some royal elven guard that Eferii revives halfway through the story, not to mention one off-screen tentacle raping scene.

The main problem with the story was in the pacing. The characters spent more time than they should've going through one forest, eventually stopping at a village, and then ending up back inside the forest. At times, it seems that Brown & Wadlow skipped a few scenes because they were running out of ideas for transitions or where to put the characters next. The creators had a small fight with each other that spilled out onto the main page at one point. And then, the comic just...stopped. They might bring it back, or they might not. Let's hope it does.