The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yet more proof that if you don't read Count Your Sheep, you're dumb.

The evidence of mastering the craft, from Count Your Sheep.

I've been thinking a lot about the nature of critical commentary lately, what is good critical commentary, and is good critical commentary the only thing worth reading or are other opinions and ramblings worth reading as long as they're interesting. A lot of my thought has been sparked by the launch of Fleen and all the various debate which has ensued. I've been following Fleen because I like the concept, but so far they have yet to say anything I find particularily insightful, so I wonder if I should keep reading it just because of the potential of what it could be. At the moment it seems to be nothing more than another webcomics news aggregate. Yay...

But in any case, all my musing on critical commentary and whatnot has brought me to the point where I think it's important that everyone knows my own personal biases and aspirations, so they can view my writing through the properly focused glasses. Not to say my criticism is undermined by my opinions and goals (far from it, I feel my writing is driven by these, and most criticism is, and that's part of what makes it interesting).

So let's talk about me for a moment. I am, in fact, an aspiring webcomicker. I already have one monumental failure under my belt, my current comic is something of a learning experience, and I've got a new project in the works which will hopefully hit the 'net sometime in the next month or so. Now, I'm not looking to make a living off webcomics (I'm an engineer by trade, which is a far more lucrative market), but I'd be lying if I didn't say one of my dreams is to someday be wandering around a con and have someone say to me: "Hey, you're that Gilead Pellaeon guy! I love your work!" My main reason for having this blog is not to promote my comics (the main reason is that I enjoy writing and this provides a good outlet), but I'm not against using the blog from time to time for shameless self-promotion. I also am highly committed to trying to expand the world of webcomics, so that will frequently color my writing as well.

And, like any other person in the world, I play favorites. I have certain webcomics that I just gosh-darn like better than others. Maybe that makes me an imperfect critic. Maybe it makes me biased. Maybe it makes my other opinions invalid, because I can't take a completely objective standpoint. I honestly don't care. If I want to play favorites, it's my prerogative. Heck, even Mr. Webcomic Critic himself, Eric Burns, has made it pretty obvious that he plays favorites, and his favorite webcomic is Narbonic. The best I can do is to be up front about it as much as possible so I don't get accused of having some sort of "hidden agenda".

Now, that being said, let's get into the meat of this post, which is about Count Your Sheep. Everything I've said so far in this post was just a prelude to this statement: Count Your Sheep is my #1 most favorite webcomic. It's creative, it's well-written, it's consistently funny, and the artwork is becoming increasingly more awesome. I think Adrian Ramos is an inspiration to us all in how far he's come from the beginning of the strip, with the rough, two dimensional artwork and very simplistic dialogue. I love it.

And today's strip just struck me as exceptional. I mean, Adis uses the windows on the bus as panel dividers! That's amazingly clever. Is the strip one panel, or is it three? The disjoint is really quite artistic and results in a great effect. Adis has been doing a lot of "multiple panels in one scene" effects lately (including like practically every strip this month), but this one is the first one which really had a clear sense of both a continuous scene AND divided time frames (panels), and it just floored me.

The funny thing is, on top of it all, the joke wasn't really that great. I mean, it wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't one of the more funny offerings, even in the past month. I remember in reading the Calvin and Hobbes tenth anniversary book Bill Watterson made the comment that great art can make up for a lame joke and vice versa, and this strip was definitely one of those cases in which the art saved the day.

Adis, I owe you a beer. Or some sort of juiced fruit beverage.


At 12:03 AM, Blogger tedzsee said...

I agree one hundred percent with everything you said except the comment about the joke not being great... i thought, in a quiet sort of way, that the joke was excellent.

At 1:35 AM, Blogger Gilead Pellaeon said...

To me it seemed like Adis was trying to play off the multiple meanings of the word "pedestrian" (both the literal meaning of a person walking along the street and the abstract meaning of something of lower value or lesser standing). Maybe I missed it, though.

In any case, no comparison to the sneaky hug comic a few weeks back which almost made me fall out of my chair.

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