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[TRENCHES] Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - Riches

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    PifmanPifman Registered User regular
    It's always tough to guess such things when the unknown artist is matching the overall look of the characters from pre-existing art.

    Clearly, they're good enough to capture the characters very well. But the parts that look like "old hat" to me are the no shading on the hair, the hands and the ultra-thin outline of the speech balloons. Comic artists can change the look of their art but sometimes things like how they do hands and speech balloons are such old hat that they just stick to what they know (these are all guesses).

    With that said… I'm not sure! It's not Kurtz, it's not Straub. Because of the second panel looking very TV-cartoonish, maybe it's Katie Rice? Would she even have time between her new camp comic and the PA Presents stuff? I think it might be one of the StripSearch contestants, but so many of them are doing Kickstarter projects that it seems unlikely. I thought maybe Alex Hobbs because of the colored stroke on the check (and a few other things like ears, hands, glasses, etc.), but I don't know! Seems like a jump in quality for him. So many of the contestants are new enough where they could adjust their style just for this (take Amy Falcone's Kickstarter for example).

    I officially have no idea. Mike?

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    DesVoeuxDesVoeux Registered User regular
    I second/third/whatever the thoughts that:
    a) the new art direction is jarring (and, for me, not in a good way)
    b) this is something that really should be announced on the main site (I didn't even know Kurtz had stopped doing it until I read it on Wikipedia)
    c) this comic really seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the Penny Arcade family (how long was it before the "new readers" section even had something, and now it's already out of date)

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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Well I disagree with the apparently majority opinion that the new art looks 'bad'. I really like the expressions in this comic, and I don't care that the art has been made less dimensional.

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    algeyaalgeya Registered User regular
    Give a chance to the artist is his first day, wait until he gets used to trenches style

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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Also, while maybe it seems to some people that Trenches is a "Red headed step-child" because of lack of updates to the website, I point you towards the way the Penny Arcade comic itself is handeled. There is no about page for Penny Arcade, and there never has been. If you are new to PA and want to find out who draws it, you have to google off site to find the answer to that question. For the longest time, half the stuff on PA presents led to broken links (this was a few years ago though).

    Kurtz maybe has a different ethic, but for Mike and Jerry it seems like having the creative projects up on time is the main thing they care about.

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Also, while maybe it seems to some people that Trenches is a "Red headed step-child" because of lack of updates to the website, I point you towards the way the Penny Arcade comic itself is handeled. There is no about page for Penny Arcade, and there never has been. If you are new to PA and want to find out who draws it, you have to google off site to find the answer to that question. For the longest time, half the stuff on PA presents led to broken links (this was a few years ago though).

    To this I would offer the following responses:

    1. Penny Arcade is coming up on its 15th year anniversary and if you have heard of webcomics at all you basically have some familiarity with it. Trenches, by contrast, is still a relatively fresh and unknown property.

    2. Trenches has a larger regular cast than PA, and it also has an ongoing continuity, which PA never does for more than a week or two at a time and side-projects like Automata or Lookouts.

    3. Every installment of PA comes with at least one newspost which usually provides context for the subject matter, and announces important news about the comic (the couple of times they have done guest comics, etc.) and upcoming projects when needed.

    In short, while the flagship PA comic has certainly been somewhat lacking in background and reader-friendly supporting information at times, it's not nearly as bad as Trenches and that kind of stuff is also less important than it is with Trenches.

    Gaslight on
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    KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    I am of the humble opinion that this artist isn't the worst thing ever, and is in fact quite good.

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    CyrixCyrix Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    If you are new to PA and want to find out who draws it, you have to google off site to find the answer to that question.

    You can also read the copyright notice at the bottom of each comic, although that doesn't specify which of the two is the artist. Cagle didn't get a credit in the strip itself so it wasn't as obvious she was involved.

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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Also, while maybe it seems to some people that Trenches is a "Red headed step-child" because of lack of updates to the website, I point you towards the way the Penny Arcade comic itself is handeled. There is no about page for Penny Arcade, and there never has been. If you are new to PA and want to find out who draws it, you have to google off site to find the answer to that question. For the longest time, half the stuff on PA presents led to broken links (this was a few years ago though).

    To this I would offer the following responses:

    1. Penny Arcade is coming up on its 15th year anniversary and if you have heard of webcomics at all you basically have some familiarity with it. Trenches, by contrast, is still a relatively fresh and unknown property.

    And I started reading Penny Arcade around 14 years ago. It was impossible to find out the name of the artists back then because there weren't news articles about them in Time magazine then (and google was in its infancy). And those early comics didn't even have a copyright note on them. I spent the first 10 years or so reading the comic having no idea who the actual people behind it were. I mean sure there are the newsposts, but especially in the early days those were never about "this is who we are, and this is what we're planning for the comic (ha!), they were about "this is a thing that happened in gaming and here are my thoughts."
    2. Trenches has a larger regular cast than PA, and it also has an ongoing continuity, which PA never does for more than a week or two at a time and side-projects like Automata or Lookouts.

    Ok.
    3. Every installment of PA comes with at least one newspost which usually provides context for the subject matter, and announces important news about the comic (the couple of times they have done guest comics, etc.) and upcoming projects when needed.

    I'd say they are slightly better about giving their comics context, but they still sometimes are completely oblique in their references so that I have to come here to ask what the strip is about.
    In short, while the flagship PA comic has certainly been somewhat lacking in background and reader-friendly supporting information at times, it's not nearly as bad as Trenches and that kind of stuff is also less important than it is with Trenches.

    I maintain that Penny Arcade is actually much worse about providing reader-friendly info. Basically you seem to be putting it all on "everyone knows what this comic is now, so no need for an about page", but actually there are still pleople who don't have a clue what Penny Arcade is, because not everyone is heavy into web comics.

    I'm just saying, this seems to be Jerry and Mike's preferred communication style. And if anything Trenches is getting treated better than they treat their own main projects.

    Edit: Although now I think about it, Strip Search did get more information and better updates than anything Mike and Jerry have done before or since, so in comparison to that Trenches does lose out. But that's the only project they've done that I can think of that the communication to the audience has been so diligent.

    Cambiata on
    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    CyrixCyrix Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Cambiata wrote: »
    I maintain that Penny Arcade is actually much worse about providing reader-friendly info. Basically you seem to be putting it all on "everyone knows what this comic is now, so no need for an about page", but actually there are still pleople who don't have a clue what Penny Arcade is, because not everyone is heavy into web comics.

    Tycho's lengthy and articulate news posts certainly count as reader-friendly info. Sometimes I am not familiar with the subject of an individual PA comic (some game I've never heard of or whatever) but between the two of them they give you plenty of background to understand the joke in their news posts. There is very little else to know about Penny Arcade. They play video games and are married. There is no overarching story. You won't understand the comic any better by reading the archives, particularly since they've dropped most of their running gags over the years (which wouldn't translate well into an "About" section anyway).

    I posit that by reading the 5 most recent PA strips you can know essentially all you need to know about the comic. They play video games. Gabe is married and has children. Tycho has some weird fetishes. The only thing missing is that Tycho is also married, although I don't recall seeing his wife in more than a handful of strips.

    Cyrix on
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    darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    I actually like the new art. I mean, I really enjoyed @CubeWatermelon 's work, too, but this is far from bad. It could use some shading, but I like the dynamic poses we're seeing here.

    The style looks awfully familiar. Like, maybe someone who's done some television animation. Any chance of letting us know who it actually is?

    Yea I get that feeling too, the middle frame and Cora's expression is what triggers it for me. I've seen the style somewhere but can't place it.

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    HardtargetHardtarget There Are Four Lights VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2013
    I don't think the art in a general sense is as good, the shading is now flat and lines are now much straighter (looks at Cora's hair) but thinking about it my only big problem with it is that Cora's nose looks weird and really stands out compared to how we already knew her

    Also it's for sure not mike as mike has drawn a strip or two over the course of the series and this looks nothing like that

    Hardtarget on
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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Cyrix wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    I maintain that Penny Arcade is actually much worse about providing reader-friendly info. Basically you seem to be putting it all on "everyone knows what this comic is now, so no need for an about page", but actually there are still pleople who don't have a clue what Penny Arcade is, because not everyone is heavy into web comics.

    Tycho's lengthy and articulate news posts certainly count as reader-friendly info. Sometimes I am not familiar with the subject of an individual PA comic (some game I've never heard of or whatever) but between the two of them they give you plenty of background to understand the joke in their news posts. There is very little else to know about Penny Arcade. They play video games and are married. There is no overarching story. You won't understand the comic any better by reading the archives, particularly since they've dropped most of their running gags over the years (which wouldn't translate well into an "About" section anyway).

    I posit that by reading the 5 most recent PA strips you can know essentially all you need to know about the comic. They play video games. Gabe is married and has children. Tycho has some weird fetishes. The only thing missing is that Tycho is also married, although I don't recall seeing his wife in more than a handful of strips.

    There's all kinds of things you might want or need to know about Penny Arcade that you can't get from reading the strips.

    Who writes and draws it? What's this thing I heard about them almost losing the rights to the comic a few years back, what's the story on that? I remember Tycho saying something about 'Strip Search' a few months ago but I haven't been to the site recently, what is strip search? I can't join the forums, is there a contact button for problems with the website? One of video links on PA TV won't play and it's my favorite episode, who can help me with that?

    Now you can say, "well that's what the forums are for", except if the forums won't let you join for some reason (happened to me over the course of at least 6 months when I first started trying to find out more about Penny Arcade beyond the comic).

    Granted Penny-Arcade.com has gotten way, way, WAY better over the past couple of years (the sidebar showing other penny arcade stuff is an example of improvement), but generally the site is still kind of unwelcoming to people who don't already know exactly what they're looking at and all of it's history. Whereas the Trenches at least gives you a tiny bit of a lead on what the comic is and who created it and why.

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    darkmayo wrote: »
    I actually like the new art. I mean, I really enjoyed @CubeWatermelon 's work, too, but this is far from bad. It could use some shading, but I like the dynamic poses we're seeing here.

    The style looks awfully familiar. Like, maybe someone who's done some television animation. Any chance of letting us know who it actually is?

    Yea I get that feeling too, the middle frame and Cora's expression is what triggers it for me. I've seen the style somewhere but can't place it.

    Yes there is something so familiar about the expressions, I wish I could place it.

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    CyrixCyrix Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Cambiata wrote: »
    There's all kinds of things you might want or need to know about Penny Arcade that you can't get from reading the strips.

    Who writes and draws it? What's this thing I heard about them almost losing the rights to the comic a few years back, what's the story on that? I remember Tycho saying something about 'Strip Search' a few months ago but I haven't been to the site recently, what is strip search? I can't join the forums, is there a contact button for problems with the website? One of video links on PA TV won't play and it's my favorite episode, who can help me with that?

    Well first off, I had thought you were talking about what readers need to know to understand the strip when they are jumping into it (I think I tangled thoughts with the complaints about the "new readers" section), but it seems you are talking more about the creators and such. Personally I usually go straight to Wikipedia if I want to know about a person or organization so I don't usually give an "about the authors" section much thought.

    That said:
    *How many organizations list their legal troubles in their "About Us" section? "We nearly lost the rights to our own content in a protracted legal battle" doesn't make positive press.
    *Why would you read about Strip Search, wait several months, and then wonder what it was? This is also not a problem new readers could have.

    The other two problems are technical problems, which I think is another issue entirely. Not all webcomic authors provide an email address (though FWIW Gabe and Tycho do; Gabe's inbox is always full, I don't know about Tycho). There is a contact page from a link at the bottom. Lastly, PATV has an FAQ with an email address to contact if a video doesn't play.

    Cyrix on
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    AradonTemplarAradonTemplar Registered User regular
    Cora's Dad's head direction/motion remind me kind of Monica, from Strip Search? At least, I think it's Monica. Obviously it's a lot less kawaii than her typical style, but if she were asked to roughly match the style of the Trenches, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the result.

    On another note, I like it all except for the lack of lining on Cora's head. That and the direction of each panel is all that distinguished it as a different artist to me.

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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Yeah I thought maybe Monica too, but I sat and compared recent Monica strips with this comic and it doesn't quite seem like the same person to me. For one thing, Monica uses more shading in her comic than this one has.

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    agoajagoaj Top Tier One FearRegistered User regular
    The big twist is that it's Gabe, Mike's son.

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    OmgbeeOmgbee Registered User new member
    Its cheque, not check. And the art looks like garbage.

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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Omgbee wrote: »
    Its cheque, not check.

    Check is the standard spelling in the United States.
    And the art looks like garbage.

    Well that's constructive.

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    TubeTube Registered User admin
    geth, kick @omgbee from the thread

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    GethGeth Legion Perseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
    Affirmative Tube. @Omgbee banned from this thread.

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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    I don't mind the new art to be honest. I am sure this is going to be like Game Grumps, where at first I was like OMG WHAT HAPPEN? Then I end up liking it after a short while of getting used to it.

    What annoys me is just the sudden change and no real announcement or similar. I would have liked to say goodbye to the original artist and thank them for the work they did properly.

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    I'm kind of amused when people call the art "jarring" or upsetting.

    I mean, you can not like it. I wasn't so shaken by the change that I found myself sobbing quietly in my car, though.

    We love us some hyperbole here.

    What is this I don't even.
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    AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    Were you left in your car with only your printer remaining?

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
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    Finnish_LineFinnish_Line Registered User regular
    Hopefully the story-telling will improve to mitigate any loss in quality during the transition period.

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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    Were you left in your car with only your printer remaining?

    I DID once have to live out of my van for a week between having places to live.

    The entire time I thought about the jarring art changes of my favorite webcomic. Damn you, Sluggy Freelance.

    What is this I don't even.
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    PifmanPifman Registered User regular
    I can't believe how many people in here are jumping all over the art style. Oh no! It changed ever so slightly! Amazing what some people are able to conclude from three panels.

    I'm actually enamored by what Cube can do, but it wasn't until she'd drawn the comic for weeks that I came to the conclusion that I preferred Scott's version of the characters that the comic started with.

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    RedCrow7RedCrow7 Registered User regular
    It's not the change that bothers people. It's the big drop in quality. It only takes three panels to see that there are weaknesses in the mystery artist's work.

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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    RedCrow7 wrote: »
    It's not the change that bothers people. It's the big drop in quality. It only takes three panels to see that there are weaknesses in the mystery artist's work.

    I do not see a drop in quality. The quality of this comic is just as high as it was with Mary Cagle, IMO.

    It is different, and it's perfectly ok and just that you and others don't like the style. We all have opinions. But acting as if you are the master of all arts and know exactly how much skill and effort have been entered on to this page, as if it were a math equation, makes you look like a silly goose.

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    RedCrow7RedCrow7 Registered User regular
    I know that art preference is completely subjective, but that doesn't make every artist on a level playing field. There are things that Scott and Mary did and are capable of doing, that I don't see in this artist's work.

    Here are the problems I see in the comic:

    No change in "camera angle", the shading is oddly placed, panel 2 has Cora in a pose she has never used, Cora's dad has a melted lump for a hand in panel 2, the background gives us zero information, the shading in panel 3 makes it look like the artist forgot to color Mr. Anders' shoulder, the chair is drawn as if it is 2 dimensional, and Mr. Anders' expression barely changes.

    Here are the things that I personally dislike:

    the characters are much more rigid, compared to Scott's rubbery style (which I think fits the mood of the comic better), I don't like the way the hands are done (i.e. all the fingers look like they're glued together), the lack of shading (these characters were designed with 3-dinensionality in mind, but that disappears along with with the shading).

    One of my favorite things about webcomics is that the art and writing almost invariably gets better over time, but this still feels like a step backward

    -Master of Art/Goose

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    GrisloGrislo Registered User regular
    I am also reminded of Strip Search.

    In that reading some of these comments is a bit like reading those witch hunt-like 'tangent' posts.

    This post was sponsored by Tom Cruise.
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    CliffstonCliffston Registered User new member
    I'm really not a fan of this new art, but maybe it'll improve over time. If it doesn't it'd be a real shame, as I had really started enjoying the Trenches on non PA days. Also: more criticism: more of the bat guy, that guy is awesome.

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    CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    I'm sure whenever Mike, Jerry, and Kurtz hire a new artist for The Trenches, the do so with the express purpose of making the audience as angry as possible. With careful craft and consideration, they seek out the least talented and skilled artist they can. That much is obvious.

    /sarcasm

    Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart
    On my sleeve, let the runway start
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    AradonTemplarAradonTemplar Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    I really don't mind the new style. Might have to do with the fact that another webcomic, Erfworld, recently got a new artist, who so far appears to be far worse than the previous artist. That was a change I actively dislike, and the fact that this is nowhere near as bad kind of makes it a non-issue for me.

    Then again, I never really got invested in The Trenches. It's hard to care about The Trenches when none of the characters are likeable, and the plot is so undefined that I hardly know what is even going on in the game's development.
    Edit: I should probably clarify that this isn't a criticism of the Trenches, merely a characteristic of it I don't care for. I imagine they were mostly going for unlikeable characters and a lack of details regarding the game itself.

    AradonTemplar on
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