CROSSTOWN: Looking for feedback on an online comic strip project

RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
edited September 2012 in Artist's Corner
My friend and I have collaborated to release a weekly online comic.
Attached is the opening strip. We have five up on the site so far, or, this project is five weeks old.

Looking for feedback on the look and feel of the strip. Can post further strips if you'd like, as the comic does follow a premise and story.
Have at it.


RyanDesmond on


  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    I do NOT care for how the text is handled. But i LOVE the art, and the story leaves me wanting to see where it goes. I like the color into black and white. Is that how its supposed to be, or are you adding color? (i hope you're not..maybe just some shading/depth like the last panel) Whats the site's name? and i assume you're the artist?

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    Another addition.

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    I agree that the way the text is done is really off compared to the flow of the comic, but that last joke was fantastic.

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    I'm somewhat intrigued. Are you planning on one storyline or just gags?

    But now I'm sad that Hell's Corners is discontinued... @Squidbunny!
    (If you've never read Hell's Corners, it's also a comic about a dudes problems in the afterlife. But don't read it or it'll leave a vast emptiness in your soul).

  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    Heh. Hell's Corners also happens to have the same first panel but saying so seemed douchey so I didn't.

    On-topic: I agree that the art is quite nice but the lettering -- particularly the hard-edged, overbright balloons, are not working.

  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    Yep, I couldn't even read it, but I'm downright weird about having the line art darkness match the word bubble darkness. Otherwise it looks strange!

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    Sweet. This is excellent feedback. We're looking to redesign the look of the site itself. we'll tweak the text along the way.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    Sweet. This is excellent feedback. We're looking to redesign the look of the site itself. we'll tweak the text along the way.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Ok, I admit I laughed out loud, so at least your comic timing is bang on :)

    Draw an egg.
  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    Thank you. It's going to get more ridiculous from here.

  • LyricalLyrical Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Nice looking strip--minus the lettering, I have to chime in to agree it's hard to look at. It's easy to change, change it! The drawing is fluid and expressive, and works great as a vehicle for the writing. So far also a pretty decent job of developing a storyline alongside the joke of each strip.

    I am noticing one consistent flaw with the pacing of your jokes. In each of the strips you've posted, the major punchline is happening in the second-to-last panel, with the last panel basically acting as an over-the-top explanation of the joke.

    The final-panel action in the most recent two you've posted is already %200 implied by the preceding panels, and the re-iteration of the joke really weakens it for me. In the first two, the joke also happens in the penultimate panel, and the last panel simply supplies us with some other tangential information that likewise weakens your punchlines.

    Taking away the last panel improves every one of these strips in my opinion. Trust your readers to get the punchlines, they're funny.

    Keep putting these out and I'll def keep reading.

    Lyrical on
  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Totally disagree. Especially in the last one, it's the slapstick in the final panel that had me chuckling.

    Draw an egg.
  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular

  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    Yeah, the word balloons, for one have an ugly shape. No reason to break from the tried and true oval with tail. Also, font. Hit Blambot, grab some free comic fonts. They even have ones with lowercase if for some reason, that's your bag.

    Another is that all the glaring white and black really kill the art. Try lowering the opacity of the the text layer, maybe to 85-90%. Not so much that it makes the art hard to read, just so it doesn't pop so badly. Another thing to do might be to make the white a low, 30% fill or so and to cut the art from the layer behind it so that it just lightens your page texture.

  • Spectre-xSpectre-x Registered User regular
    Another thing you could do is lose the texture and go for a simple white background. It's like you photographed your stuff at a distance and it isn't doing you any favours at all. It makes the whole thing look sloppy and amateurish, and it makes the already very loose line art even more difficult to parse.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    Cool beans. Some good advice. Thank you.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular

    Draw an egg.
  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    Man, I feel really bad for this guy's junk.

  • Spectre-xSpectre-x Registered User regular
    So it's just going to be this?

  • KatieKatie Registered User
    I really like the concept you have for your comic but if it's going to work beyond a half dozen strips, you're going to have to get really creative and push your humour further. I say this because you've used the ball pain/vomit thing twice in the space of three strips. You can do better!

    I think what you could have done with the last strip is push yourself in regards to 'it can't get any worse'. Ok, mangled boy parts/scat are humourous but change it up. What else might be worse? Could involve pain, torturous boredom or just a sign saying your mother doesn't love you and your dude cries (see Whomp! for a masterclass in pitiful crying faces, god I love Ronnie). I'm no joke writer but sit down and see what you can do that isn't obvious. You've got the art skills to do this.

  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    I've always hated gross humour like toilet stuff, and vomiting, especially when it's a go-to gag. So far, everything else has been great. Characters are good, I like the style, but most of all, I love the concept.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    For those who are following, YES - a story is forming and it's on it's way. We have to hurt this guy a little more to really press ETERNITY and the everyday of this place. And, as artists, we need to really get comfortable with a weekly submission. It's new to us, and right now we're learning to walk about it. But this feedback is very much appreciated and we'll be trying to tighten our comic to get things going and flowing as best we can.
    Unfortunately, those of you who aren't enjoying the massive attention toward the destruction of our main characters balls - sorry. It's not gonna stop.

  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    You have to remember that we are an outside audience -- hearing us out also means thinking about new readers in general. We are all [mostly] normal people. What we like and dislike is not going to be much different from what anyone else might think. First impressions are important!

    I think the art and concept are great! But I can assure you that too many crotch-smashing jokes is going to make your fan base taper off after awhile, not necessarily because they're bad but because people get bored.

  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    I'm going to build on my previous comment because you came for depth in feedback and I feel I can give you a bit more of that. First, lets take a look at the stuff your comic has up to this point that is clever, witty, or unique.

    1) Doing chores and enduring punishment to get into Heaven: Variants on the afterlife have been done before, but the idea has so much potential for variety that you'll be able to do something totally unique with it.
    2) Donkies and elephants doing nasty stuff with people: Not something I like, but it's not something you see every day.
    3) An eccentric devil in a suit with his peep hanging out.
    4) Paco's Stomping Swipe Hut: Love Paco by the way
    5) A casual conversation between two guys falling down a mountain.

    Secondly, what I'm going to call dumb humour. Now there's nothing inherently wrong with dumb humour. In fact, overall, it's probably the most popular form of humour world wide. We've got

    1) A monster pooping on someone
    2) A guy getting hit in the crotch (twice so far)
    3) Exaggerated vomiting (twice so far)

    I said above that there's nothing inherently wrong with dumb humour, but here's your problem: I've fallen in love with webcomics over the past few months, and if you look at all the successful ones, there humour is fairly unique even when repeated, which is a sharp contrast to your average television show. This leads me to believe that dedicated webcomic readers value originality and without it, they won't bother remembering to go to a website every 3-7 days to check for an update.

    Having dumb humour is ok, but I'm worried that if it takes up a big part of your comic that it will cause your viewers to become disinterested. They may even still enjoy your series, but even then, they might be less excited for an update, and once a reader misses an update, even if unintentionally, they might miss a couple more, and then they won't want to bother catching up.

    And there's my long-winded comment.

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    I think a good example of a balance would be pvponline. It has a nice balance of clever humour, and basically fart gags. On the other hand, there's oglaf, which is basically 100% filth, but very cleverly written filth.

    I do think maybe we're slightly overreacting here. He's only 6 strips in.

    I'm already a fan, but I'm a rather basic kind of person, I feel :)

    Halen on
    Draw an egg.
  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    Despite the fact that in hindsight, it obviously looks that way, I'm not assuming any direction his work will go since like you said, he's only 6 strips in. I just figured I might as well dole out a general thought process since the worst it can do is nothing.

    Heck, my advice might not even mean anything. I know this kind of humour is more popular with men, so maybe I'm just out of touch with what he's trying to do.

    Whatever you end up doing, you should always love your work no matter what advice you're given. If you force yourself to make art you don't like, then I can virtually guarantee that it will end badly.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    This is all fantastic feedback and it's greatly appreciated. Good feedback is nice to hear, but critical feedback (like above) is essential to making better work.
    Thank you all for taking the time to post your comments. I find them all to be highly productive criticism.
    Thanks for not being "the internet."

  • Comedy RefluxComedy Reflux Web creator FlandersRegistered User regular
    Please make more of these. They remind me of a strip from a series we have here in Belgium , and I'm absolutely loving it!

    Back after a three year hiatus!
  • ShadowsofBirdsShadowsofBirds Registered User regular
    I love the textured/colored background and overall style. And agreed - funny. If an over-arcing plot is coming than it's something I'll definitely bookmark.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    To re-assure you all, story is coming. You don't know it yet, but its already been set up.

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    For a minute I thought the daemon actually did cut him in half and he's just become so accustomed to the suffering that he's all okay in the very next panel.

  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    Me too. Which leads me to the question, can this guy die? What would happen if someone cut off his head?

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Um, he's already dead. That's the point.

    Draw an egg.
  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    There is a way to die in Crosstown. That is, a way for your soul to be obliterated.
    I won't share it, as it's part of a future story, but yes... this is going to be addressed.

  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    Do you guys have an account on Deviantart? I've seen a lot of webcomics promoting themselves on there.

  • RyanDesmondRyanDesmond Registered User regular
    We have set ourselves up there as well. You can search for us through CrosstownComic....
    In fact, we have a few special art submissions there, as well as a weekly preview of the next comic coming out.

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