The Apple of Discord is taking a break while I come up with new and
interesting stuff. In the meantime, I STRONGLY recommend you check out my
Fantasy Parody Epic, Apple Valley and my brand new 5-day a week humorous
expose of the dark underbelly of the Webcomic world, Webcomic Hell.

Zorphbert and Fred

I suck.

I was supposed to review Zorphbert and Fred as part of the ongoing “Plug Circle” that we of the Webcomics Planet Collective have been doing.  Problem is… I never actually got around to it.  Now, here’s the (sort of) good news – the reason I never got around to it is that I got so distracted actually *READING* Z&F that I never quite got around to my plug.

So, yes, in a twist of logic that only Bizarro could pull off, I’m blaming comic creator Dawn Griffin for the fact that I never actually posted the review of her comic.  It’s all your fault for making such a good comic that I couldn’t simply dismiss it offhand.  Shame on you.

Seriously, the comic is really good… not feint praise that I offer to anyone, either.  The story follows the adventures of the titular Zorphbert and Fred, two intelligent talking aliens, as they infiltrate Earth under the guise of pets so they can get up-close-and-personal with the inner workings of humanity, specifically how we relate to said “pets” in our day-to-day lives.

It’s a traditional-style (newspaper-ish layout) comic done primarily in black-and-white, but with much use/abuse of the gray pallate.  The art style is old-school cartoony, but still highly detailed, and very true to the medium it’s being presented in.  Big bold lines and crosshatching draw you into the narrative, setting the tone firmly in the land of “comical” while still appearing professional and polished.  Layout is consistent, and instead of using a fixed framing box it uses a hand-drawn one (a big plus for me).  It’s the little touches like that that make the overall presentation very solid.

This also brought up something that I find really fascinating with comics-vs-webcomics.  Most daily prinstrips don’t bother with a great deal of ongoing continuity – taking the Gilligan’s Island approach instead (enough of the premise stated upfront that anyone could easily jump into the action without any primer whatsoever) and occasionally revisiting their central themes to touch base for new readers who’ve picked them up in progress.  If you want to see this in action, read (painful as it may be) a newspaper strip like Mary Worth – ever so often, there will be an entire strip dedicated to recapping current events, vary rarely even slightly hidden as a real comic – that’s thrown in there just to catch up anyone who joined our the story arc, which is “already in progress”.

Due to the internet being what it is, with the ability to have a new reader easily access almost all of the archives at their whim, a lot of webcomics don’t go back and touch their bases nearly as often… and when they do, sometimes it feels a little weird and forced.  Then again, if a new reader finds themselves leaping randomly into a point mid-story, like this one here for instance, it can be disconcerting too.  Now, is that comic in and of itself funny?  Yes, I think anybody who’s been in a relationship (especially the men) will recognize this moment right off the bat.  But since the primary focus of the comic as a whole is on the two dogs aliens, it might throw some people off.

Here’s the plus from Zorphbert and Fred – the two examples I cited are 2 comics apart from one another.  That’s good pacing in the writing and planning, something a whole lot of comics - often including my own – lack.  The story itself isn’t that strong, but it’s well told.

And maybe that’s why I’m nearly 2 weeks delinquent on my review.  While I didn’t sit and devour the entire comic in one sitting, it did kep me coming back over and over again, picking up a few strips here and there, forming natural story arcs and stopping points in my own head, and I put off and put off reviewing it until I finished.

1 Comment

  • For such a flattering review, I'd gladly wait another 2 weeks!Thank you so much! You brought up interesting points that a lot of people, including myself, don't consider when weighing in on a webcomic's quality.

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