School newspaper comic! HELP!

m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Artist's Corner
Hello.

I'm a student at UCSB and I'm trying to get my school to run my comic in the paper. I need sharp advice, critiques, and suggestions. Hurt my soul... jk just give me your best opinion... Now I've only got ONE so far because it takes a killer long time to do, but here's the basic premise: 4 roommates in college: A boy genius, a slacker, a paranoid albeit resourceful tech geek, and a gigantic mysterious fourth roommate who never leaves his room he just slumbers all day in it like a scary caveman/monster and plays WOW! ha We only see the glow of his eyes against the light of his computer screen.

This would be the second one in the series. Sorry, I know the font is too small to read, but please try your best. It'll work fine once its in a newspaper.

This is how it reads:

Tobey (red shirt)- Hey Chips, you're up early.
Chips (black sweatshirt)- I haven't slept. I spent all of last night studying "Lizard People" conspiracy videos on Youtube.
Tobey- And by "study" do you mean it's for finals or just recreational paranoia?
Chips- This is more important than any finals dammit! President Obama, Kobe, even Miley Cirus- they're all Lizard People from planet Niburu in disguise getting ready to take over the world in 2012! And now they're deploying newly designed mini-humanoid drones so they can infiltrate college campuses across the nation!

*Knock at the door

Chips- Who's that!?
Tobey- Wow, relax Chips. It's probably just the new roommate.
Chips- Don't forget to check if he has scales!
Tobey- Of course.

*Opens door

Tim (droid looking boy genius)- Hi... I'm the new roommate.
Tobey- No scales, but... mini-humanoid droids you say?
Chips- LIZARD PEOPLE!!!


End scene
I know for sure I need suggestions for:
#1 Color- like do the outfits look nice with the colors I have or should a change it up?
#2 I've considered two titles: "Roommates" or "Tim and Tobey"...the story is going to focus primarily on Tim and Tobey and their adventures so the "tim and tobey" title works, but which one sounds better??
#3 is the writing fluid enough? Does it read well and does the humor come through... wait is it even funny? It all makes sense to me, but what about to you?
#4 Characters and names- do you like these characters so far? Are they interesting? How about their names?


Ok thanks guys!

NewRoommate1sttry.jpg

m.brooks42 on

Posts

  • Stupid Mr Whoopsie NameStupid Mr Whoopsie Name Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Right off the bat I'm going to say I can't read that. And if I can't read that here, no one will be able to read it in print.

    Stupid Mr Whoopsie Name on
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  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    How big should I make it for print?

    m.brooks42 on
  • Stupid Mr Whoopsie NameStupid Mr Whoopsie Name Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Well, that's going to be determined by the Editors at the paper, so it's a good move to find out what your allotted space is going to be, and bearing that in mind, make the text in your dialogue larger so that it's still legible even if the comic is scaled down.

    I'd recommend revising some of the dialogue to pare it down a bit so you can enlarge it without crowding the comic.

    Stupid Mr Whoopsie Name on
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  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Ok good idea thanks!
    Actually tho.. when you read it were there any parts that jumped out as too much or that read awkwardly?

    m.brooks42 on
  • ParadiseParadise Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    m.brooks42 wrote: »
    How big should I make it for print?

    If people have to squint, that's a bad thing.

    Paradise on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    wait wait wait tho... im pretty sure itll be big enough for print... let's just assume it is because all i really want is critiques.. I KNOW IT LOOKS SMALL ON HERE.

    m.brooks42 on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Right now my screen is showing the comic at just about newspaper width (i.e. an entire page) and I still can't read the damn thing.

    That said, you have a lot of wasted space in your comic. Tighten the framing up (you don't need half of the comic to be carpeting or w/e) and parse your words down so you can make them bigger.

    I can't really comment on the dialog because, even though the comic is about 12 inchs long (roughly, i didn't really measure it) i can't read it.

    Nappuccino on
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  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Ok thanks good idea... I actually rewrote the dialogue in the paragraph above


    EVERYONE READING THIS!!! THE DIALOGUE IS IN THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE!!! I KNOW THE COMIC ITSELF IS ILLEGIBLE!!

    m.brooks42 on
  • Stupid Mr Whoopsie NameStupid Mr Whoopsie Name Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Like I said before, mate, it's just too wordy right now. You need to pare the dialogue down and make it snappier, and more on point.

    I don't really know how to tell you to do it other than that, without just rewriting it myself. Then it wouldn't be yours anymore...

    Stupid Mr Whoopsie Name on
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  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Ok got ya thanks brutha!

    m.brooks42 on
  • flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Well now that we can read it! =D

    I'll be honest. Its just not very funny. Lizard people? What? You can make that a lot crazier, the roommate could be way more over the top.
    I'm not, like, a super comedian or anything, but timing is critical here. Make the punchline right on the last panel, and I suggest making it the first thing people will read. Something that stands out.

    The visual are also a little dull, its not very interesting to watch two people talking to each other in one room (okay, I know PA does this a lot, but either a. the dialogue that day is top notch or b. its not very funny)
    I mean, it makes sense. Like I understand whats happening, the punchline just isn't that great. Maybe because you can see the joke coming from a million miles away.

    The names are fine.

    I mean, think about some comics you really like. What makes them funny? Are you a funny person? Be honest.

    good luck <3

    flowerhoney on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    No i honestly wouldn't say im funny in person, but i thought maybe i could pull it off on a comic strip.....

    m.brooks42 on
  • flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It doesnt have to be funny!
    Our school comic is just really bizarre, which I think is hilarious.
    It gets like really existential, I love it

    I mean, what kinds of things do you like to read?
    There are lots of different kinds of strips

    flowerhoney on
  • piLpiL Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Wall of text:

    T: It's early, what're you doing up?
    C: Can't sleep. Studying "Lizard people" conspiracy. In these two lines, I wanted to establish a distinct voice for Chips. You have both characters speaking similarly, which isn't a big problem, but differentiating them could help distinguish them in general, or at least in this case help illustrate that he's been awake all night.
    T: Finals? 14 words-> 1 word. Also, illustrate his paranoia, don't force Tobey to tell us.
    C: Damnit, this is more important! Obama. Kobe. Miley Cirus--all Lizard people from Niburu, in disguise. Going to take over the world. Mini-humanoid drones infesting college campuses.It's in the last statement too, but I used short punctuated sentences to try and illustrate a way of speaking. People read the word and stop, which either gives the opinion of careful enunciation (not what I want at all, but I don't have a better way of fixing it) or of rapidly statements (short sentences!) with pause between them; the way tired tweaked people speak!

    *knock*

    C: --Stop! What's that? A minor change, but when I read who's that, I heard it in my head as all too casual. Just again trying to show an over-reaction via the extra word, and the more ambiguous question. We know that somebody's knocking on the door, but not being able to identify a *knock* can show that Chips's mind is racing.
    T: The door, relax!
    C: Look for scales. Nictating membranes. Added a detail, but less space. (also by omitting the 'of course'. This isn't T.V. or stage; I don't feel the response is necessary to fill up time as the actor moves to the door)

    Ti: Good afternoon sir, I'm your new roommate! More wordy, but I wanted to introduce him as verbose. Small amount of material though, so I feel as though I effectively done that.
    T: There's no scales--mini droids you say? Nothing really important here, other than killing the elipse. Elipses imply omission, and are dangerous to use as a pause. Many people will treat them as such, but it's sort of an error.

    From the wikipedia article on ellipses: An ellipsis may also imply an unstated alternative indicated by context. For example, when Count Dracula says "I never drink … wine", the implication is that he does drink something else, which in the context would be blood. In such usage the ellipsis is stronger than a mere dash, where for example "I never drink—wine" might only indicate that the Count, not a native English speaker, was pausing to get the correct word.

    C: LIZARD PEOPLE


    ~72 words vs ~119 words.

    I rewrote it. I don't suggest you use what I put, because I've written with a completely different voice, but I wanted to explain what I would do in each part, and it just seemed easier that way.

    Still a little too wordy, but I feel it could be tighter, and you could put it into three panels. Don't use four when three will do; four needs much larger dialogue in print than what you have.

    I feel that what I wrote is about as funny as the one you had already; by which I mean not at all. I guess the joke is that he got the words droid and drone confused? But I guess you're trying some sort of narrative? I feel you should probably worry about a good joke and shoehorning the narrative into that instead of making a narrative and shoehorning the jokes into it, but it's a college newspaper cartoon, so not-entertaining is par for the course. I did illustrations for my paper for a bit, and it's pretty hard to make anything worthwhile, so I empathise.

    Your scenes feel static, and I feel it detracts and makes the visibility more boring. By activiating the space, you can deliver more with your pictures. Think economically; if your pictures aren't helping, why do you have them? If your words aren't helping, why do you have them?

    http://media.hamptonroads.com/media/content/pilotonline/2007/05/rexmorganmdfinal.gif

    I probably shouldn't be linking Rex Morgan as advice, but I figured it was fairly wordy. At 48 words, that seems like a lot, and that's with just two panels but notice how much of the scene those text bubbles dominate. You might have a bigger print space than that (you also might not), but that's how much space your bubbles should probably take up for 48 words. At 72, even more. At 119, you should have hardly any image not covered by pictures.

    A lot of this and what you can do is determined by print size, so find that out. That is something you need to know before you can even remotely approach the topic, since you need to figure out how much space to assign, and how to lay it out. How you draw it will be affected by whether you're being put in square space or a strip like how you have it, whether you have four inches or nine, and ideally you should be conciously taking these things into account as you draw your cartoon--it'll help provide much more effective delivery.

    I had an editor who would never tell me the size I had alotted ahead of time, and too many times he would shrink the comic and then replace my hand-written font with Times New Roman or blow something up, and it's just not something you want if you can deal with it. Stake this claim on your editor now, or he wont think it's important at all; he's not an artist, and there's no reason he should know this already.

    Revise. If you didn't write this seperate, wait a while, then reread it and strike through the text, then you're probably doing it wrong. Write with intent, think about your voice, and who you're talking about.

    Finally, how many per week are you getting? With your narrative, you're rolling into it pretty slow, and if its 1/week, you'll run out of time real fast. Especially if you're starting at the end of the semester. Remember your readership wont be consistent, but it will be consistently low if they can't get it without reading the last one. Of the small portion of viewers that care, only some of them will care to remember past the semester. And if you can't recruit new readers because they need the context, then that number will just continue to drop.

    I hope I haven't discouraged you, just trying to give you advice I wished I had figured out much earlier.

    Edit: There were posts since I refreshed. I like flower's advice; think about what you want to deliver, and deliver that. Thinking constructively about humor is difficult, but think about why the joke is funny to you. If it's because of how you pictured them saying it in your head, either make sure you deliver that or if you can't, think about a way around it. Would it be as funny if someone read it dead-pan monotone? Other people will not read it the same way you wrote it in their head; they lack your context.

    piL on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    You guys are giving me such great advice! piL thanks sooooooooo much!!!!! To be honest I am a little discouraged because things are a little more complicated than I'd thought, but I think I can improve. I really need to get out of my own head and try and see how other people would read it. The weirdest thing is now when I read this thing I don't even know why I thought it was funny! ha.. piL you're EXACTLY right about me trying to squeeze jokes into a narrative. That's exactly what I was doing. Or at least sort of trying to balance both at the same time, but now my focus will be much more geared toward the one strip and its purpose (joke whatever). Dammit though, it just takes me so long to make one of these I won't be able to post up my second try probably for a while (cuz of school work and other things plus the 6 hours ill spend making it).

    OK biggest thing I learned: I need to plan this out waaaaaay more than I had thought and put way more consideration into the details of the content to make sure its efficient and meaningful.

    Please keep it coming! Everyone has different opinions I want to hear them all!

    Especially about humor. How the heck do you be funny with these things!? My humor is so dependent on attitudes, body language, tone of voice (like in a movie). I see the strip in my head as if it were a cartoon and it just doesn't transfer over into the comic.

    m.brooks42 on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    piL thanks man! This was a major help. I'm disillusioned now. It was a refreshing and honest check for me. Thanks! I'm just glad you were here to help me ou before I learned the hard way and submitted this to my newspaper ha! Thanks again!

    m.brooks42 on
  • ZEROIDZEROID Registered User
    edited April 2010
    For school paper, I like reading strips that's related to schools in general or specific to the school you go to. Have you read blundergrads or phD comics? They are two of my favorite university/college comics that aren't about drama or whatevs.

    Also, it's nice that you colored it too but make sure it would be printed in color because inks are expensive and i'm sure not all the pages are going to be in colors. colored comics in b/w newpaper = bad idea. So look into that.

    ZEROID on
  • DavidCollinsDavidCollins __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    I find it derivative.

    DavidCollins on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    ok cool... ive considered making it take place actually at UCSB, but i didn't kno whether the school would like that so ill have to find out... thanks for the color tip cuz it would actually be really great if i didn't have to color it ha

    m.brooks42 on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I just want to make a comic strip that ppl at my school will actually like and find amusing. As impossible as that sounds. I'm not really going for the most original comic ever so i don't mind if my framework has been done before.

    m.brooks42 on
  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Let me ask again guys... are there any creators out there who have tips on executing comedy in a strip like this? Is there maybe a few basic formulas i could follow at first and build from there?

    m.brooks42 on
  • ZEROIDZEROID Registered User
    edited April 2010
    m.brooks42 wrote: »
    ok cool... ive considered making it take place actually at UCSB, but i didn't kno whether the school would like that so ill have to find out... thanks for the color tip cuz it would actually be really great if i didn't have to color it ha

    My university is in middle of nowhere NY and also is a public school (like yours). My school newspaper gets away with almost anything as long as it's not an attack towards students (race, religion, sexual orientation, specific person/groups). If my school in middle of nowhere NY can get away with it, I bet your school (which I assume is in california which is pretty liberal) won't censor it. Just don't make it to racy.

    Color is really important, not only does it save you time if you didn't have to color but like i stated before, colored comic on b/w paper = not good. You might not be able to see characters or things clearly since b/w is more about contrast. My school paper only runs color on front page, sport section and page of girls partying at clubs (serious).
    m.brooks42 wrote: »
    Let me ask again guys... are there any creators out there who have tips on executing comedy in a strip like this? Is there maybe a few basic formulas i could follow at first and build from there?

    did you read blundergrad and phD comics that i mentioned before? those have the classic formula of 3~4 panels where 1~2/3 builds up the joke and 4th is the punch line. I wouldn't know much beyond that on how to make things funny. what i can offer you is that exploit something that most people in your school have experienced. ex. computer shortage in computer labs.

    ZEROID on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Although this is from uncyclopedia and it is mostly for how to write humor on their website, there are a number of great tips in this article

    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_be_funny

    Nappuccino on
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    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

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    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
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  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    The text needs to be much larger in relation to the panel size.

    NibCrom on
  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    actually, man. we need to stop giving you advice until you revise that comic and repost it. You've had plenty so far, and all you're going to get are repeats until you take what we're telling you and do something with it.

    ManonvonSuperock on
  • Lost In VanadielLost In Vanadiel Registered User new member
    edited April 2010
    piL's rewrite was certainly a good example. The great part of a comic *strip* is the concise delivery. Your initial dialogue was probably passable in a full page comic, which would then supplement the hefty dialogue with aesthetic angles and extra detail. Whereas, in a strip, where the artwork is usually minimalist, the dialogue holds the same brevity.

    It's like comparing a novel to a short story. They both have merits, but they're simply different presentations.

    But even with the truncated dialogue that piL offered, the text would still take up a bit of space. Seeing that good bit of empty space at the bottom of each frame, you have a suitable place for those chunks of text to stretch out. Full speech bubbles aren't necessary. Feel free to use a wall of the comic to box in the text of a speech bubble if it helps optimize your space and ultimately makes the text more readable.

    It seems everyone's first call was whether or not that could read your dialogue. Readability is very important since the text is half of your content. Moreso in this case, since your gag is in the dialogue.

    As for being funny... If the bit makes you laugh, that's enough motivation to keep going. If you find you like making comics then you will improve over time. While putting a comic in a school newspaper really pre-defines your audience, I think the best part of comics is finding people who have your same sense of humor, so don't worry if it's not a laugh-riot to everyone.

    Lost In Vanadiel on
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    What I personally look for in a college newspaper comic is anything but the mundane things I already see around campus, unless it's going to be more like a political cartoon on campus events.

    Maybe I'm too jaded, but when I see a college comic about college students, my first thought is "how quaint!" and I have to resist the desire to skip it altogether.

    Personally I would want to see something much stranger, more unexpected. Ask your fellow classmates what they might like to see in a college comic. Make five comics on different subjects and ask people which they like best. Do they want a room of random college students, or some subtle mockery of real campus events, or the daily lives of the squirrels that hang out around campus, or some generic absurdity like The Far Side?

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  • m.brooks42m.brooks42 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Wow I liked ur squirrel idea actually ha.. idk that sounds interesting

    m.brooks42 on
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