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  1. OK, this is an interesting concept for a comic strip. A lot of comics, including a lot of good ones, indulge in meta-humour and it has a tendency to be a bit hit-and-miss. While it does give opportunities for funny situations, it can seem lazy, especially if the joke is obvious or just seems like a comment rather than a joke. Sketch Comedy is based around the concept of writing a comic strip, with much of the humour revolving around the in-character “author” searching for ways to improve his comic and make it funnier. The meta-jokes are almost constant, with everything from the introduction of characters to the use of punchlines. The biggest variation in the strip, and the clearest indicator of whether the strip if funny is how heavily this meta-humour is used. For an example, compare two comics with similar concepts, based around the “Beat-Panels” running gag.

    In the first one, , the punchline fits with the context of the strip, with the Wizard acting as a “straight-man” to the meta-humour, and having a human reaction. The contrast of seriousness and silliness is amusing and believable.

    To contrast, look at this strip . There’s no joke, no “straight-man” and no contrast. The joke is that there are beat panels, and the strip has two beat panels. Rather than be a humorous situation like 36, it’s just a comment to the audience.

    My point is that Jackson Ferrell can do good meta-humour, and most of the strips do that without being too simple or overstated. The problem is when a joke is taken too far and stops being a funny comment and starts being repetitive or simple. Another instance of this would be the recurring character “Independent Music James”, who satirizes the opinions of hipsters in music, as well as cynicism in general. Most of his appearances are funny, with a point to make, but when it’s overdone the humour disappears and the author is left thwacking a straw man, like here .

    The comic is at it’s best when it pursues a storyline and then uses metahumor to comment on the tropes used, rather than introducing something for the sole purpose of mocking it.

    The art style is simplistic, but serviceable. The characters are identifiable, but the simple style leaves little room for facial expressions and reactions, which would improve some strips where it takes a moment to figure out whether a character is surprised, angry or scared.

    What I like: The straight-man/funny-man interactions, with the meta-humor punchlines being a comment on the strip, rather than being the ENTIRE strip. The growing frustration in character’s like the wizard and DEATH. Their “Oh for f***’s sake” reactions are the funniest parts of the series.

    What I don’t like: Simple strips, which are just “This strip is doing something commonly found in webcomics!”. Strips with no real joke but still ahve a wacky situation, just eliciting a “What the f***?” reaction from me. The Cerebus Syndrome strips, , which were done better in Shortpacked! as “The Drama Tag”.

    Okay, ratings time.

    Art: 4/10, Not Good. The art is simple, and secondary to the jokes. Characters are identifiable, but expression is limited.

    Humor: 8/10, Very Good. Strips are very polarized, either they make a clever, funny meta-joke (most), or they fall flat due to simplicity or the lack of a convincing punch-line (especially this one. Yes, the lack of a punchline is the point, but it still isn’t clever )

    Overall Quality 7/10, Good. Hit-and miss meta-humor. More hit than miss.

    My enjoyment 6/10, Decent. This is a rare occasion where I think the comic is good, but my enjoyment suffers. This was probably due to reading the comics all in one go, which means the repetitive jokes are a LOT more tedious, as I read it 3 minutes ago, rather than 3 weeks.

    Comparisons: If you took all of the meta-humor jokes from “Cyanide and Happiness” and the “Order of the Stick” threw in a wizard, some recurring characters and a humorously deranged god/author, you’d get something very readable.

    I’d recommend reading this one slowly, at around 2 a day. Otherwise the running gags will drag. Read this if you read a lot of other webcomics.

    Now, review this, if you dare 🙂

    1. Thanks for the review, LP. You bring up some good considerations, and they should be helpful for improving my strip.

      I would like to say more but I am currently working on a comic and have to go to work in fifteen minutes. 🙂

    2. I can’t believe I just read this through. I can’t read comments longer then a few sentences sooo WOW… you sir know something. O_O
      Also to make sure and clear my weird way of talking I just said “Nice review”. 😀

    1. I just discovered your wecombic today ( courtesy of the Digital Strips podcast ) and I think it’s really great! I usually don’t like looking at strips done with grey tones ( I’m not sure I EVER like strips done in grey tones ) but you’re changing my mind about that. I have to get into this more but so far I’m genuinely enjoying this. Strong stuff!

      1. Thanks, Tenzin! Glad you’re enjoying it.

        Could you link me to the Digital Strips podcast where Sketch Comedy was mentioned? I’d be interested to hear it.

  2. I’m not one to get scared of stuff unless I’m playing a scary game, cuz then I gotta clean my pants. XD
    (????: Spiders, bugs and ANY amount of dust. :P)
    Okay-okay there are those as well, but thatisnotthepoint. XP

  3. Little late to the party, but this may have been referencing Box Office Poison, who used the one-question one-panel-per-character interview page extensively and to great effect. Well, that’s where I first saw this format, anyway. For all I know Scott McCloud invented it.

    Actually, no, Scott McCloud was too busy talking about comics to do anything substantive with them.

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