T Campbell's Blog

Thinking thoughts. tcampbell1000@gmail.com


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Zzzzz... uh... DAHHHHH?

I'm allowed a day off yesterday, I had to chase birthday cake with Halloween candy. I'm still vibrating now but I HAD TO. IT WAS HALLOWEEN.

The big news of the last two days has, of course, been the official Zuda launch, which took place around 6PM on October 30. Once again I feel as though I've been woken from a deep sleep and thrown into deep confusion.

In many ways, this is not what I guessed! Some of the PR may have been misleading, but in some cases I was just wrong. My supposition about weekly updates appears to have been inaccurate, though I'm not sure 52 comics installments is enough to hold a readership's attention for a year, no matter how you spread 'em... at least, not a readership with the numbers that Zuda would be looking for.

There's certainly more of a range in style and tone here than I would have thought, though many (not all) of the entries suffer from diseases common to American comic books: misused decompression, thin characterization that only serves plot, and plot that only serves action sequences. The art tends to retain fewer comicbooky bad habits, though the gratuitously T&A-displaying, third-generation-copied anatomy can be found if you go looking for it. (Believe it or not, Battlefield Babysitter, not every reader is so mesmerized by a drawing of a teenage girl's bare bum that you need to stop the narrative so that we can admire it.)

Favorite of the bunch? So far, I'm torn between Leprenomicon and Dead in the Now. The former drops us into the middle of things with a charming combination of humor and action... unfortunately, its last few pages hinge on a line of dialogue that we readers do not see, which is confusing and makes me wonder whether its omission was intentional. The whole thing errs a little on the side of confusion, though I'd rather have that than boring exposition. The title implies a really interesting MacGuffin and larger plot that the creators are presumably saving for after they win.

The latter is a great use of Corey Lewis' unique drawing and storytelling style, featuring the most idiosyncratic character of the lot... but I'm having a hard time getting over how similar it is to the beginning of Death Note. I think I'm gonna give my vote to Corey, though, because he's shown us the money often before and I think he'll probably take things in an interesting new direction.

Besides, which other Zuda feature has its own custom-designed Zudalogo? No other feature, that's which.

Best thing about Zuda: The full-screen reader (as opposed to the default reader), which, seriously and for reals, might eventually change the way we read webcomics.

Worst thing about Zuda: The current genre distribution and/or labeling. Seriously, guys, no romance? Not one romance? And does anyone understand "modern" as a genre, anyway?

Reportage on Zuda's actual launch party.

Land whales: Uclick, having brought original comics to the cell phone, now plans to bring those cell phone comics to the Internet.

Interesting survey of the major comic-book brands on Myspace.

Brad, Kris, Paul and Ringo: The Webcomics Weekly foursome go ahead and make the marriage official.

Favorited-- it's a three-way tie. This is the best I've seen from PvP in quite a while (coming on the heels of some work I liked... less). It's got that awareness of pop culture, human nature, and how they intersect that attracted me to the strip, way back when. Bonus points for making great use of a character the comic books have recently, messily discarded-- and for the spot-on dialogue in panel four.

"And yet, they're still safer with me."

"That was actually the real Bill O'Reilly."


Blogger William George said...

I went through Zuda.

The full screen reader is the only thing I saw there to recommend it.

November 1, 2007 1:01:00 PM AST  
Blogger Brian said...

Yeah... it only took five seconds for me to decide I fucking hate the way they're presenting the comics.

You don't need a God damn zoom in zoom out function, and it's ridiculous that the comics first come up in a small, pixelated version. This is as bad as Marvel's turning page animation.

K.I.S.S.; Keep It Simple, Stupid. The rule of thumb that's being forgotten.

November 1, 2007 1:56:00 PM AST  
Blogger Tim Tylor said...

I found the Zuda comics only really look well at the fullscreen mode - in the normal mode they've got the resized pixelly look, unless you zoom in. And as Gary Tyrrell says, they can take a while loading. They could do with making the navigation easier, too - the rollover nav bar at the bottom's not that convenient.

I took the Battlefield Babysitter bumshot as a deliberate joke at the expense of readers who are that easily pleased... and a poke at the artists who pander to them.

November 1, 2007 2:59:00 PM AST  
Blogger Bo said...

Fortunately, the actual image files are stored separately. For example, page 1 of "The Dead Seas" is http://media.dccomics.com/dccomics/zuda/1/0/104/1.jpg.

November 2, 2007 1:08:00 PM AST  

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