Hey guys! Today I am going to take a look at The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon by Jamie Anderson. Mr. Anderson lives in the matrix in Australia, which explains to all the American readers why when there are cars in the comic, the driver is on the wrong side. I think that’s right, anyway, isn’t it? I’m sure it is.
So basically, Jack is this homeschooled kid, and it’s his first real school experience. Things seem pretty backwards, as a little gang of nerds led by a lead “hacker”, Craig, are basically in control of the school. Then Jack comes along and beats them all up. Twice. (More than twice, but “twice” sounds more dramatic.) There is a bunch of action and high school drama type stuff, mostly with his friend (and possible romantic interest?) Angel and her friend Cin. We’ve also been introduced to a vaguely secretive type of intelligence organization, and it’s crazy operative Max Facepuncher, and also Jack’s parents; his father is a tough and gruff type figure, while his mother is a playful but violent source of much of Jack’s ability to beat people up. Only when he has to, of course!
As always, I’m going to start off the review by talking about the layout. It’s a WordPress/Comicpress thing, and I have some problems with that layout style in general, which will be a separate post sometime! The title image is nice, though it doesn’t take up half the space it COULD, horizontally… not like that’s a huge deal or anything though. The update schedule is in the title of the page, which is a crafty place to sneak it! Yeah, basically I like it. For a Comicpress layout.
I like Jamie’s comments underneath the comic! They are short and not ranty and enjoyable to read! This is a good thing. He is doin’ stuff right. With the trend of creators getting Twitter accounts for their characters, Max Facepuncher has one; also there are some forums that are moderately active, so the comic is getting some sense of community! That’s GOOD! That’s a really great thing to promote.
God, I hope this review doesn’t sound ridiculous, I’m still hung-over. That being said, let’s get to the COMIC!
I read this comic called Movies With Robots! by Robert Sifuentez because the author linked me to it on a forum! I admit that I had looked at it prior to this and decided not to even read it, but after said linkage, I did for this review. It ended up being a pretty good read.
That suggests a problem. The product (the comic) is good, but something else is unappealing. It doesn’t take much effort to figure out what it is: the layout. Think of it like a product on the shelf on a store. A camera, for example. You’ve got Brand X cameras, which are shitty and fall apart after 12 pictures, and Brand Y cameras, which are extremely excellent. They cost the same and you have no prior knowledge of the brands, just that the two boxes are next to each other. The Brand X box is flashy and exciting and aesthetically pleasing with tons of positive comments and descriptions of features. The Brand Y box is completely plain without any real pictures or descriptions or extras or anything. Like I said, you have no prior knowledge of the quality of the product, you’re just comparing boxes. Which one do you choose?
Most people will probably be attracted to the exciting looking one. Boring layouts and bare minimums just do not fly on the internet (with the occasional notable exception, which only works for certain reasons). The fact that this is a non-narrative comic also boosts the need for extras. There’s no storyline for readers to get hooked onto, there will not be dramatic character changes or shocking revelations, so there is no suspense or anxiety to check back when it updates. This is why everything else has to be smooth and appealing, to not give the reader any barriers to coming back. Having a graphic title and then smaller buttons, or a sidebar, or something, to get the comic a little further up on the screen, would also be nice.
An explanatory page would also be extremely helpful. Why is Robert doing a photo comic? It’s probably either because he can’t draw or he just likes taking photos better, and the fact that it’s the same photos points to the “can’t draw” line of thought–not that there is anything wrong with this! But his motivation, explained, would be nice to hear. Since, as previously mentioned, none of the characters will likely undergo any development since it’s not that type of comic (nothing wrong with this either!), character bios would also be pretty nice. They’re kind of taboo in narratives because revealing information should be done in-story for them, but for this kind of comic, it is totally super. I’m not sure if we need the twitter and the facebook boxes on every page in the archive- the homepage and the about page is fine for that, but you want the archive pages to load as fast as possible (of course, the ad is acceptable, but that’s expected).
So I have a few problems with the layout and the lack of additional substance beyond the comic, yeah. I think even if it means skipping the comic for a couple days, making the site a nice thing to look at is a good idea. Newspaper cartoonists never have to worry about “webpages” and “layouts” in terms of their careers, they have a limited space and they fill it up with their comic and that’s all they have to do. The internet, however, is not a newspaper, and there are a million more things to concern yourself with that will break your otherwise quality comic if you don’t.
Onto the actual comic.
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.