Katran: Review

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Katran: Review

Postby BonesMcKay » December 14th, 2016, 11:27 am

Katran Review
http://katran.smackjeeves.com/

Katran is a webcomic. There are characters, action, and art. If that’s what you look for in a piece of fiction, it delivers. Beyond that it has left very little of an impression on me.

My main issue with this comic is that it gives off this illusion of a grand narrative, but fails to deliver. There is clearly care put into the world, and I particularly like the city design. However, most of its information is tacked on through bland means. Bland dialogue, schematics, diagrams…it’s that or nothing.

Plot and characters, much like the world building, leaves you behind. This comic has it’s story to tell, but your not invited. I realized this early on, but it was fully cemented when this black haired boy gets a letter that says he isn’t related to a bad guy. Good for you BHB, but if this is supposed to rock my socks, consider my foot bags stationary.

Upon feeling fully uninvited into the lives of the characters, I turned my focus to the flurry of action. Perhaps this story is about action? Maybe I’m just supposed to root that the good guys beat the bad guys? In some cases I guess this works, but this really leads into issues I have with the art…who is who? What is going on?

While improving later on, the art is clutter and lacks confidence. There is an over reliance on action lines. In addition to that, there is an over abundance of panels that (while rendered technically right) are incomprehensible. This in tandem with lacklustre character design cripples the readability of the action.

I don’t want to fault everything too much. I appreciate the effort and am glad the author is clearly on the path to improvement. They have a decent amount of flow to their work, and and obvious passion for what they are doing, but I really want things to go deeper here.

I’d give this comic an overall 3/5

Some Resources to Consider:


https://youtu.be/hCT2xpFBQLE
http://floobynooby.blogspot.ca/2011/12/tips-on-character-and-costume-design-by.html

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Re: Katran: Review

Postby JoKeR » December 14th, 2016, 3:17 pm

BonesMcKay wrote:Katran Review
http://katran.smackjeeves.com/

Katran is a webcomic. There are characters, action, and art. If that’s what you look for in a piece of fiction, it delivers. Beyond that it has left very little of an impression on me.

Harsh but reasonable.

BonesMcKay wrote:(1)My main issue with this comic is that it gives off this illusion of a grand narrative, but fails to deliver. There is clearly care put into the world, and I particularly like the city design. However, most of its information is (2)tacked on through bland means. Bland dialogue, schematics, diagrams…it’s that or nothing.

(1)Yeah there is a grand narrative ...but obviously I failed to get it across to the reader. The big story behind it will unfold now and wasn't supposed to get told in book one. I made little hints here and there but maybe because of the length of book one, did I miss the readers attention. *sigh*
(2)You mean the "About Katran" pages?

BonesMcKay wrote:Plot and characters, much like the world building, leaves you behind. (3)This comic has it’s story to tell, but your not invited. I realized this early on, (4)but it was fully cemented when this black haired boy gets a letter that says he isn’t related to a bad guy. Good for you BHB, but if this is supposed to rock my socks, consider my foot bags stationary.

(3)How is this? Can you explain?
(4)Nope, this wasn't meant for the reader but for him... it will have it's momentum later on... but that's where I failed, view point (1)

BonesMcKay wrote:Upon feeling fully uninvited into the lives of the characters, I turned my focus to the flurry of action. Perhaps this story is about action? Maybe I’m just supposed to root that the good guys beat the bad guys? In some cases I guess this works, (5)but this really leads into issues I have with the art…who is who? What is going on?

(5)Hm... I thought I made it clear somehow. Bad guys wear masks and look pretty much the same (except for the Generals), Good guys wear more casual.
Nearly every BG character has his own facile differences and own clothing.

BonesMcKay wrote:While improving later on, (6)the art is clutter and lacks confidence. There is an over reliance on action lines. In addition to that, (7)there is an over abundance of panels that (while rendered technically right) are incomprehensible. This (8)in tandem with lacklustre character design cripples the readability of the action.

(6)Can you provide some examples please.
(7)Oh... I was criticized that I didn't use enough panels on a page and could tell much more with lesser pages.
Can you here as well provide an example?
(8)Ouch! that hurt a little bit. ;)
But I won't go Gurren Lagann with my designs ...that's for sure.

BonesMcKay wrote:I don’t want to fault everything too much. I appreciate the effort and am glad the author is clearly on the path to improvement. They have a decent amount of flow to their work, and and obvious passion for what they are doing, but I really want things to go deeper here.
I’d give this comic an overall 3/5
Keep it up! :)

Oh, the story will go deeper ...
Thank you very much for your review. It made some mistakes I made in the past clearer for me.
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Re: Katran: Review

Postby BonesMcKay » December 15th, 2016, 12:08 am

1. That is sort of what I mean, there's the sense of a larger narrative but it really lacks foundational elements. It started well enough with the main character's introduction, but then I got lost very soon after.

2. Yes. I don't think the about pages are a bad thing (I'm a huge fan of reading wikis and appendices). The only issue is that they were the few places where the world felt accessible.

3. I think it's partly because of being overwhelmed with information and some of the general confusion. Because its a fantasy world it would have been nice to take some time establishing what is 'normal'. It dove into the chaos way too quick for me to have a grasp on the character goals, relationships, and day to day. I got some sense for the different personalities but I couldn't really tell you any of their goals (other than escape the attack).

5. I did realize that some of them were the bad guys, specifically the generals, I think I can address this point better when addressing my design feelings.

6. First, let me show you my favourite page: http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/925938/katran-049/\
It cuts out all of the visual noise, focuses on what counts, and portrays movement without action line abuse.

Shortly after, it's followed by this page: http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/925940/katran-051/
Specifically in the first panel is my issue. The jagged background kills the contrast and the negative space, it also makes it difficult to read his action. By lack of confidence, I'm referring to the sweeping lines around his sword. I'm not insinuating that you lack confidence, more that by using such directing lines it gives the appearance of, "I don't think that the reader will understand the characters movements unless I tell them. Its sort of the 'show don't tell" of comics.

7. I'm more referring to what's inside the panels. I'll list some examples of panels that took me a minute of so to figure out.

Panel 1 - http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/931480/katran-057/
Panel 1 - http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/931483/katran-060/
Panel 2 - http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/16 ... atran-143/
Panel 3 - http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/20 ... atran-176/

8. I don't expect you to go Gurren Lagann with your designs, but animation principles are really applicable to character design in comics. I don't want to say you have bad designs, but a lot of them are easy to misread (especially among the chaos of action lines). Some of them even work, the fat guy in armour, the exploding claw man, and tubby friend, I can assure you that I never confused them for anyone else.

However, the other characters were hit or miss. It was far from the most egregious example of this I've scene in a comic, but the characters blurred into there classes. The knights felt interchangeable, the children, and the women.

Sogre was by far the best of the main designs, as he was the only character I could easily read from his appearance. Just looking at him I could tell so much about him. He moved differently than the other characters, had a distinct face, and the eyepatch didn't hurt.

Like, it took me a long time to realize the man here wasn't the black haired boy. (http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/923951/katran-046/) I assumed that the stuff before was a flashback or something.

I really don't want you to take this the wrong way, these were all critiques that I got a while back as well. You might be able to see what I'm talking about if you flip through my older work. Pretty Mouth is full of basically everything I pointed out here to the point where I had to write an explanation for the whole comic. Sovereign also has the same level of character design as yours (colour is the only way I'm getting away with it at this point).

Hope this covered your questions!
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Re: Katran: Review

Postby JoKeR » December 15th, 2016, 8:31 am

BonesMcKay wrote:I really don't want you to take this the wrong way, these were all critiques that I got a while back as well.

No no ...all fine, I just wanted some more detailed explanation of your points of criticism. All of them make sense now.
I'm somehow glad that you had more of the old pages from 2004 on your critique list :mrgreen:

BonesMcKay wrote:3. I think it's partly because of being overwhelmed with information and some of the general confusion. Because its a fantasy world it would have been nice to take some time establishing what is 'normal'. It dove into the chaos way too quick for me to have a grasp on the character goals, relationships, and day to day. I got some sense for the different personalities but I couldn't really tell you any of their goals (other than escape the attack).

This is the best part and I have to agree ...you didn't really get time to know the characters and their quirks (and design).
That's why you get lost afterwards.
Maybe I'll work on some more pages to fill this void. But I have to focus more on the new pages of book two.

BonesMcKay wrote: By lack of confidence, I'm referring to the sweeping lines around his sword. I'm not insinuating that you lack confidence, more that by using such directing lines it gives the appearance of, "I don't think that the reader will understand the characters movements unless I tell them. Its sort of the 'show don't tell" of comics.

Ah now I understand ...yeah ...that's what I thought 2004 ...and I liked those lines. Nowadays I think they are silly, because there isn't much movement to be emphasized and justify those lines.

Even so http://katran.smackjeeves.com/comics/16 ... atran-143/ is a very powerful page ...I see where the confusion comes from. There is no transition between the first and the second panel. Especially since this page is a cut back to a former already happened scene but from another angle.

Thank you very much ...you helped a lot ;)
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