The Color RedAuthor: Awesometastic (Lindsay Mclean)
Website Link: the-color-red.smackjeeves.com/
[#] = Comic page numbers (for reference)Synopsis:The Color Red
is currently a comic in its youth, at current holding only 21 pages total. Taking place in some sort of futuristic world, the comic is equipped with space ships, hovercrafts, and alien-looking creatures alike. With an interesting cast of characters and mysteriously forming plot, it has a promising start. Artwork:Pros -
In all, the comic has a consistent style that works nicely. The vibrant color palettes and shading define the characters and create a look to the pages that fits the style and atmosphere of this strange world and the environments surrounding them. The artist has a firm grasp on how comics work and how to make them clear and readable in most cases. The panel artwork is rarely shy in showing various angles and movements of the characters to express how they are reacting and what they are doing. In fact, one thing I like the most about the art is how expressive the characters actually are. Whether it be in their faces or their body postures, more often than not you can tell from a glance what the characters are feeling in relation to what's happening around them. Such things like the hands are especially used to their potential in gesturing.
The cast themselves each have their own unique designs. The human characters vary by not only their skin or hair color, but by their attire and mannerisms. The main female character, Alice, looks young, perhaps a bit tom-boyish and hard-working. Tristen is easily distinguishable by the artificial parts that replace the entire side of his body. And I especially have a fondness for Tristen's uncle, Duncan, who is obvious to be a high ranking individual who has experienced many things in his past; not only does his age reflect in his features, but the way he stands, tall and proper, shows his respectable personality.
Another aspect about the art that I favor is the backgrounds. Perhaps not the neatest, they are never forgotten and each one is designed to show the setting in fitting precision. Though not outlined like the characters, the backgrounds still seem to fit in and are always adequately detailed. Not only that, but for the most part, they are always consistent from scene to scene.Cons -
The majority of the anatomy is nice enough, but there is always room for improvement. Though the anatomy has clearly gotten better in the later pages in comparison to the old, some proportion problems are still noticeable. Often the heads are slightly too big and the limbs are way too short. The legs have improved from being short and stocky, but the arms are still in need of adjusting. A problem I noticed is they don't seem entirely too consistent. In one panel the arms can be too short and stubby, while the very next panel they look completely fine . I don't know if this is due to referencing mishaps (and note, referencing is not a bad thing) or simply not knowing how to position arms in specific poses. From what I can tell, the arm anatomy issue is due to characters completely lacking identifiable wrists, so the muscles of the forearms lead straight into the hands . Aside from that, the proportions or placement of the facial features are occasionally off, such as ears being too high or characters lacking big enough foreheads.
A smaller issue is the mouths. When the mouths are open, they are almost always shaped exactly the same, with one lip high and the other turned down in an almost-frown, giving the appearance of some sort of smirk or scowl . In fact, this is a constant occurrence unless the face is visible from the front. A shift in the positioning of the mouths will greatly emphasize the expressions or what the characters are saying.
Actual artwork aside, the main thing that has bothered me about this comic's visuals is the panel setups: it constantly overuses slanted panels. In a large percentage of the pages there is at least one triangle-shaped panel . Slanted panels are not necessarily a bad thing, but they are not standard and should be used sparingly. The main reason is due to their shape causing the images to be incredibly cramped, leading to the pictures not being entirely identifiable. Some panels are fine with the shape [last two on 12] while many of the others are too cramped, making the artwork stressed to fit.Writing:Pros -
A big positive of the comic is the way the artist handles the characters. Whether it be in their dialogue or the way they act, each one is an individual in the way they were written. Their designs are unique, and so are their personalities. Some are more distinct than others: the dog-like pet Kerfuffle clearly is not the most obedient of animals, Duncan is wise and almost fatherly, and Tristen is obviously holding a lot of emotional problems of his own. Even though the comic is still early in its stages, readers are able to get a firm understanding on the cast and some of their personality traits and motives.
The pacing thus far has been rather nice. Though the scenes have constantly been shifting, it is not done in a jarring manner. Rather, each scene flows into the next at a decent enough pace so that it is easy to keep up with while not taking an extremely long amount of time either. Certain plot elements are thrown in nicely as well, such as introducing the statue of Tristen's parents, revealing not only of who his parents were, but how they influenced the society. Small things like this help to develop the characters and world while not flat-out narrating anything to the audience.Cons -
The biggest issue in the writing is probably that I have little to no clue what the point of this story is. While it is understandable that the pacing of the story keeps a lot of information withheld, some form of plot likely needs to be represented early on in order for readers to have an idea what the story is going to revolve around, even if it isn't necessarily a huge point. The most I could get out of what's happening is that there is a war of some kind (and the only reason I knew this was because it was info-dumped on page 9) and I think
there is some mysterious character in the beginning? I'd say that the spaceship explosion is important, but it just sorta came flat out of nowhere within the first couple pages. I barely had time to register where the story was taking place up to that point to acknowledge its significance to the plot or anything else. The characters' reactions to it also seemed a bit flat, making the scene almost forced.
The way to solve this would not be to spell it out for the reader in the first couple of pages, but to carefully slip in ideas through the intro. We are able to get such a firm understanding of the cast with just showing their interactions, so it is a shame that the plotline is far from our grasp. Perhaps it just needs some more pages to properly tell what's going on, but at current I'm lost. Of course, I could always read the written synopsis given on the gallery folder or About page, but one should be able to tell what a story is somewhat about without being forced to look for that. Conclusion:The Color Red
may not have a lot going for it just yet, but with the positive aspects it does have, it can easily be an interesting read. It still has a somewhat "amateur" feel about it, but it is obviously a comic where experimentation and learning is going into effect. With some improvements here and there, it can make for a story worth reading.