“The Next Adventure”!

Hey guys! So I found a new webcomic that I really like the other day. Let me tell you all about it. It’s called The Next Adventure and it’s by Francesca Buchko, who incidentally apparently goes to college at a school about an hour away from my hometown, possibly alongside friends of mine who also go there. Cool! But that really has nothing to do with anything, sorry.

I am going to link you to it TWICE:

Once to the friendly page hosted on Comic Fury over here.

And once to the thing on Word/Comicpress over here.

Let me start off by saying I’m really not sure why she has two websites for the comic. The CF one is really nice and cute and besides a couple minor issues (no real front page, could use a better title image that links, better archive, customized buttons- I am being pretty nitpicky here), it is a really cool site to go on. The clear downside is that (as of this writing) it has 18 pages while the WP one is up to date with 54! That is too bad because the CF site is way nicer and cleaner and real and proper and stuff while the WP one is just like “oh yeah hey made some comics” and not very professional at all. I really hope she gets the CF site up to date all at once (or over a couple weeks maybe, like one a day until she’s caught up) and then scraps the WP site because it’s just not very good!

It does have a nice header image though, while that’s what the CF one lacks… hmm…

BUT anyway. The actual webcomic. TNA is really cool! The layout is consistent and extremely publishable, but that doesn’t mean that it gets stale! The framing is very good and creates a moving picture sense in your head, somewhat more like a movie storyboard. (This story could also probably be a pretty interesting movie, for that matter.) Her artistic skill progression from the first to the 54th is clear, but even still, the first pages are still really good. Looking through her blogs and stuff it’s clear she’s a great artist and even in the relatively simplistic style she uses for TNA, I’d say it shows through.

The coloring is really pretty too. That’s probably what’s made the most improvement. The shading is good and the pages in the 40s probably were the best examples of  its use. A negative note- the only action scene so far, a fight with clouds, was good in concept and imagination, but I’m not sure it translated very well to the page. Again comparing it to a movie, it was kind of like the camera got a little to shaky or held a little too long in ways to make the pacing unclear and the details not far enough in the foreground. Something to work on.

The story itself is rather engaging, with Natalie being whisked away by Kipling and his talking cat Regina for magical adventures. Their given ages seem too far apart to suggest romance, although the characterizations are vaguely headed that way… but it’s not specific enough to be any kind of creepy at the moment. I would like very much to know more about the characters’ pasts, and have a bit more examples of their differing traits and flaws being given either in pieces of backstory, recollections in the present, or, at last resort, a bigger character page or something. I’m kind of curious how Natalie could be gone without some kind of parent figures being worried, but I imagine all of this will be explored in future comics. I’m not sure if I believe Kipling is quite the man he’d have to be to run that blimp with only Regina alongside him, but perhaps he has a get-er-done hero mode or the like… Regina, on the other hand, is very well crafted, though it might be easy to rely on her too much. I may have developed a small crush on Natalie.

In terms of being a comic on the internet and not just a comic, Francesca could be doing things a little better. For most people, enjoying a comic makes us want to know more about its creator. That’s why comic creators’ twitters have so many followers. An artist/author bio, picture, perhaps even a twitter link or a better way to incorporate her sketch blog with the site, would be really cool. Getting personal with your reader is one of the biggest benefits of the online medium and it’s an important thing to recognize in this day and age.

Despite some internet complications with websites and the like, The Next Adventure is a relatively young but really rather wonderful webcomic that has a lot of promise for future storylines and development. I definitely hope Ms. Buchko keeps working to improve and keeps updating, because I’ll certainly be tuning in.

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August 25, 2009. Have You Heard Of, Reviews, Webcomics.

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