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Weave
harkovast at 1:01PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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We found this comic just too hard to follow!
But what did everyone else think?

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Canuovea at 2:49PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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I didn't find it all that hard to follow, but this is me remembering from a previous read through.

I also liked the art, particularly how some characters seem to lack colour while others have it. I'm sure it has something to do with their natures. Like, for example, living in the realm of the living as opposed to… oh, I dunno, something in between?

As for the story… Well, I seem to recall it being: Female protagonist and male protagonist. Female protagonist was formally training to be some kind of death dealing thingy that guards the secrets of… well the future etc… prophesies and stuff like that. Also, they kill people. Then, for reasons unknown, she leaves and takes up thieving with the 2nd protagonist.

Problem is her lover is still training to be such and such death jestery thing. He has one last task to do, and that is defend the prophesy future thing from someone seeking it. Some kind of trial by combat. Long fight short, he loses and female protagonist watches her lover get killed. Cue revenge flick.

Female tries to hitch a ride on the thing carrying the guy that killed her lover, and that's about where I stopped last time. There is more to it than that, and I think it is deeper than a simple Kill Billesque revenge story (could be wrong though, I do not think that the story was quite in gear at the time).

All in all I liked it. Except I don't see where the person I labeled the male protagonist actually gets enough screentime to be a, well, protagonist. So far anyway, and that label is my mistake.

Now, to go back and make sure that I'm not making a big fool of myself. No, it's all good. At least, I had the right comic in mind, though I may have goofed up elsewhere and still made a fool of myself.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
harkovast at 3:05PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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I am sure if you did get what was happening, it was much more enjoyable, but both myself and Ochi were struggling to understand what was happening or who these people were.
If neither of us get it, that seems to suggest something isn't working.

The author asked what I found pretentious, let me get an example-

http://www.drunkduck.com/Weave/index.php?p=672930

That page seemed to have a lot of words but said very little.
I really was straining to understand what the narrator was talking about.

Now you can call me dumb (and believe me, many do) but to me that just seemed horribly over written.

With regard to accusations that the review was rushed, it was not. Any decline in quality is due to the fact I am crappy at compiling these pages compared to Kev.
If you want em to look better, form a search party!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
MeHighLow at 5:12PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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Hey, the discussion has already started!

OK, so first thing's first - Hark, I would really appreciate it if MandaWeave was credited for the art in the review itself.

Even more so since you had only praise for the art - in all fairness, the review mostly concerned itself with the writing. I do the bulk of that, although I discuss it with Manda constantly, so he has co-writer credit in spades. So, lets get to it.

The thing is, since in Weave I opted for an approach that utilizes mostly dialogue with really light and rare instances of narration, I was hoping for more insight into how the dialogues work to convey the feel of the world and the situations/motivations of the characters. Do the characters show their personalities through them? Can the reader identify and assemble the bits of the story (and thus, accordingly, the characters motives) from them? You seem to be telling me: no. But I know more can be divulged about it: you have demonstrated it before.

Now, let me clarify the example you have linked to: the overwrought style on that specific page, and two more, is supposed to convey the gilded-speak of a Deathjester, who is sort of a death-priest, at a crucial rite, and it also (overall story-wise) presents the background of a main character. Many topics, many place names and concepts, are unleashed at the reader at once - I understand how it can end up feeling like white noise. I really tried to spread out the info dump, but yeah, it ended up a bit more… dumpy in some places. But those are just several pages out of almost a 100. What about the dialogues between Shanqari and Ort? I reworked the more troubling (to me, at least) ones between Shanqari and Ecko, where important stuff is told, during and after the naked bits.

And while we are at that, nudity was in no way fanservice - we didn't have fans to speak of when that was written. It simply seemed natural to us at that point in the story. I would like to know how it made the readers feel, although there was encouraging commentary on the page itself - and some not so encouraging on other forums (giantitp.com comes to mind)

Finally, regarding the scope of the review: simple comparison with previous reviews shows this one to be shorter than most. I am sure that has a lot to do with Kev's approach - and I do not wish to belittle Ochi's contribution in any way. The fact is, I would love to hear more detailed criticism from both of you - from readers of all shapes and species, be they cat or dinosaur or whatever!




last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
MeHighLow at 5:18PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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@Canuovea:

That's about the gist of the story so far and you are pretty much spot on with your other observations. I am really glad you like it and am also glad to tell you that we are getting in gear with the story as we speak.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Chernobog at 5:38PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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I've been a reader of Weave since day one. I do like it as a whole, at least art wise. I don't think it dips visually in terms of outright quality, however. There's some splash pages which are particularly strong and some smaller talking/intricate scenes which also work well. Weave's approach has sort of a dark mythological whimsy to it. I find this applies to both the art and writing direction. I give it thumbs up for style, at the very least. My only possible qualm with the art is I find Weave looks somewhat better in b/w than with color outside the splash pages.

The writing does throw me off, though. I've generally been able to follow the gist of what's happening, but it runs into a number of difficulties, none of which seems directly to do with the author's first language (I believe at least one has a Slavic heritage, if it matters) as you allege. Rather, it seems more with how the story is presented.

To me, the issues are:
1. Excessive use of in-world accents, habits, and jargon. Because nothing small is explained, the reader is left to cobble together what might be occurring or being said. In theory, I'm not bothered by this approach, but there's probably too much here.

2. Many seemingly irrelevant side characters getting involved or taking focus. Sometimes I feel like the story is being read to me from a historical account rather than myself following the flow of it.

3. The segueing of one scene to another frequently leaves me wondering if I missed something in between or if time skipped.

As for Ochi's fan service claim, it's been a while since I read it but I believe she just had relations with her boyfriend in that chapter so it isn't exactly that strange. Considering there's a lot of ominous events and death being bandied about, it's probably safe to assume there's some mature themes. The main heroine may be young, but nothing suggests she's inappropriate for it.

I can tell there's some things fairly unique and inspired about Weave. It makes me think of a dark fairy tale, but one somewhat hobbled by a rough on the writing aspect of it. It keeps me intrigued enough but it has room to grow and improve.
 
 
“You tell yourself to just
enjoy the process,” he added. “That whether you succeed or fail, win or
lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and
ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.”
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Canuovea at 9:15PM, Jan. 4, 2011
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Ah, I had forgotten something! That the far bigger things moving about in the background happens to probably involve a God of some kind. It is left, I think, deliberately vague. Which is a good move.

As for the writing, I'm going to have to go and re-read it again to double check, but I didn't mind at all. Still, I will be checking in again on the comic from time to time when I can.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
harkovast at 12:37AM, Jan. 5, 2011
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First off, sorry that the co author did not get credit!
I will add a mention of them to the authors notes later tonight.

I should probably point out that the fanservice claim was something we both agreed on. I don't want you all heaping blame on her for that opinion.
All the nudity in that section seemed rather excessive and pretty pointless.
I can get that characters are in a relationship without page after page of boobs. It didn't seem to add anything to the story or give me any insight into the characters (beyond ‘they have sex’ ). I think that scene didn't need them to be naked and it was off putting. Was I meant to be amused by the boobs or taking in the massive amounts of exposition going on? It seemed distracting.
That scene also went on for AGES, with the characters talking about things and concepts that didn't mean anything to me.
This is another problem I'd like to touch on, there are a lot of sequences in this comic that go on for page after page after page of hte characters talking amongst themselves. Now there is nothing wrong with characters talking, but here they are talking about concepts and problems I know nothing about and I have no point of referance for, so after a while I was jsut staring blankly at these hugely drawn out conversations written in strange dialects and spoken by strange looking people.
Things about death jesters and magic fruit and some viking guy who needs a magic gem? I really need to see what these things mean, rather than having people talk about them.

Canuovea has figured the comic out, and I did get the impression there was logic to what I was looking at (it wasn't just random chaos, if you understand it I am sure it all makes sense), but it just doesn't seem accessible.
It felt a bit like sitting in with a bunch of people who are all massive nerds fora topic that I know nothing about.

This comic could use a normal person in it.
Someone who does not know about death jesters, or speak in Weave terminology.
Someone who talks normally and can only relate to normal real world things (like I do!)
Someone who can say “What the heck is going on here?” and then have the characters explain it to them in simple terms.
Everyone in this comic takes all these strange things for granted and leaves me stratching my head.

The fact I could not relate to the situations or really understand them meant that I couldn't get into the characters personalities. Is the main woman brave? Foolhardy? Stupid? Just an average person in this world? I couldn't tell. Was she making good decisions or foolish ones? I couldn't tell because I couldn't understand what her decisions were or what she was making them about.

When that viking guy showed up I really started to lose track of everything.
Here is what I managed to get from the comic.
I think the viking guy was a king and he wanted a magic gem, and then he killed the Death Jesters, for some reason. I guess they probably had the gem? I dunno, I dont know if we ever saw the magic gem. Was there a magic gem? I think there was magic fruit. But I don't think that was connected. Was the magic fruit like drugs? I think they stole some of the magic fruit from from a wizard at the start (though I got the impression that sequence was not important later on). I think the magic fruit was also dead peoples souls or something like that.
Maybe I could reread it and try and put that together into something more coherant, but that is what I got from reading through (obviously, not much!)

On the plus side, I really liked the giant crystal monster early on.
Can we have more visually interesting things like that?

Shortness of review? I probably set the font too big when I was typing it.
But as you can see, I can go into a lot more depth on here. The review itself is only ever going to be an over view anyway, the forum is always where you will get a much deeper analysis. Don't interpret crappy photoshop skills as a lack of interest on my or ochi's part.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Genejoke at 6:22AM, Jan. 5, 2011
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I like weave, although I found working through the archive slow going and the world isn't the easiest to embrace. I partly agree about the weave terminology but I got used to it.

I don't get the problem with the nudity, it isn't that gratuitous. Yes, it would work just as well without it but it isn't offensive or distracting.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
harkovast at 3:20AM, Jan. 6, 2011
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Fantasy needs elements to ground it, so a reader can relate to the people and what is happening.
It is this struggle to relate to what is going on that I think is at the heart of Weave's problems.


Also, seriously, post the pages at a bigger size! The art is the best bit so why mke the pages so tiny small, so I am straining to see it?

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Genejoke at 4:00AM, Jan. 6, 2011
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Yeah grounding is important, but some things work regardless and revel in their otherworldlyness. For me weave works like that but I can see why others my not. It's one of those comics I could recommend but with the proviso that it requires a bit of effort but it's rewarding for some.
It is one of my regular reads though, but then so is Harkovast.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Ochitsukanai at 2:40PM, Jan. 7, 2011
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It's true that it was a short review and may have felt oversimplified, but I'm glad to explain more fully because my feelings on it were perhaps a little more nuanced.

Weave is seriously a high-quality composition; I was consistently impressed by the quality of the art and writing. MeHighLow is obviously very intelligent, has an excellent grasp of English, and has developed a unique writing style. Yet, I need to say that high-quality writing is not always readily understandable; indeed, it can be quite the opposite.

This is the way in which good qualities can have problematic results; perhaps not everyone will be capable of investing the attention necessary to understand the prose establishing the world that MeHighLow and Manda have created. That would be tragic, because it is clear that the two have put in a great deal of effort to create and depict this world.

Although I come across as harsh in the review, I genuinely do want to understand Weave; I'm going to continue reading it. I reread prosier segments until I felt fairly confident of understanding them! It is very true that it is difficult to establish a fantasy world without being too heavy on exposition, and Weave deserves praise for not starting out with incessant tiring exposition like so many other fantasy works.

Yet, there were times when I really wanted to understand more. Specific examples: I wanted to know the significance of Shanqari's fruit and the Emperor's fruit seemingly being likened, because it seemed that the characters themselves found this significant. I wanted to know what the fruits are and why they have such effects on characters, why the deathjesters want them so much, why they are so protected, because the characters all appear to know these things already.

When the characters already know what I don't understand, I am sometimes not certain whether it is to be discussed later or whether I have failed, as a reader, to pay sufficient attention.

As for the chapter we thought of as seeming heavy on fanservice, both Hark and I thought in the early pages that Shanqari was a younger character, and when she was suddenly in an adult situation we agreed (reading at separate times) that we felt slightly jarred.

MeHighLow
The fact is, I would love to hear more detailed criticism from both of you - from readers of all shapes and species, be they cat or dinosaur or whatever!
You are a very gracious person, and if you would like me to elucidate on anything I've said, I will gladly do so.

Always, I wanna be with mew, and make believe with mew
and live in harmony harmony oh nyan
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
MeHighLow at 6:15PM, Jan. 7, 2011
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Hey, I'm sorry for not being able to reply sooner - but now that I finally have time to I can't wait to dig in!

First, thank you all for taking the time to post your thoughts and impressions. This has meant a lot to me as food for thought. In fact, I'm cooking it in the oven right now, to make it into a wholesom meal of some more rewriting - or editing, as you like it. I guess it builds character.

So, here's my thoughts back. I'm gonna split them into separate posts, for easier reading.

First, the hosts, of course.

@Hark
Harkovast
First off, sorry that the co author did not get credit!
I will add a mention of them to the authors notes later tonight.

Still don't see it, Hark… ;)

Harkovast
fanservice

I understand it seems distracting and jarring due to Sh's perceived age. I don't see it as discrediting the overall comic in any way - the story is obviously about something other than boobs, there are plenty more beautiful things to look at. We just felt that boobs - and cocks, might I add - fit rather naturally there (ahem) and also conveyed something about what kind of a place Uqbar is. If it makes someone feel uncomfortable enough to stop reading - we would have lost them somehow anyway. If it amuses someone to check out some boobs - and cocks - while entering a new fantasy world, nothing wrong with that.


Harkovast
talking …concepts and problems I know nothing about and I have no point of referance for… I really need to see what these things mean, rather than having people talk about them.

I understand. Show don't tell. The problem is - there is so much to show. The setting does not come from (much) established fantasy tropes and ideas so we can't rely on the reader having some preconceptions of what, say, elves or lizardmen would be like. So I guess I am asking the reader to be patient and everything will be explained. The problem there, as you correctly point out, is grounding, in the sense of character's being relatable in some way and the reader having points of reference enough to ascribe meaning to the characters actions and general goings-on in the story. You need to want to stick to the story.

I am hoping I can improve Weave in that regard but dialogues are my only option - we may redraw some pages, but that's a final measure. I have made some of them more informative and yet some of them simpler. I hope that will do the trick. I am still asking the readers to invest - but I can't ask them to care. I can try and make them care, though.

About having a normal person - some authors do it, some rely upon having a recognizable setting (medieval fantasy, oriental), some take other routes and yet succeed. I hope Weave will be filed under “other”.

Harkovast
The fact I could not relate to the situations or really understand them meant that I couldn't get into the characters personalities.

That is a problem. I counted on the readers projecting rationales of “normal” humans onto the characters: so, stealing and selling drugs is illegal and dangerous - that gives us something about Shanqari; I hope her chief decision so far is based on relatable enough terms: she is connected to the fruit and her (boy)friend was slain by the guy who takes it - who seems like some sort of a good guy (again, reader projecting based on what (s)he sees). It is all said in clear terms in the dialogues, and if it is not clear enough, some stuff needs to be trimmed so it can stand out more.

Harkovast
On the plus side, I really liked the giant crystal monster early on.
Can we have more visually interesting things like that?

Oh we will, just… be patient I guess.

last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
MeHighLow at 6:30PM, Jan. 7, 2011
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@Ochitsukanai:

Thank you for your kind words, because in the end most of them were very kind indeed.

And what you pointed out as problematic is exactly what I needed to know - I don't want the readers to feel that way, and you identifying important points in the story that need clarification will help me out a great deal in the following edit. So thank you for that, too.

I guess I'm now really asking for investment, since now you'll have to read it all over again. ;)




last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
MeHighLow at 6:38PM, Jan. 7, 2011
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@Chernobog

Man, you've been with us from day one! Don't do this to me, man…

Kidding. You also have valid points that echo the main line of this critique thread: clearer storytelling. In the following edit I will trim down the jargon just a bit (ex: derastafarize it by 10% :)). Regarding the overabundance of minor characters - some will be important later on, some I guess are there just to add some flavor. Volume 2 has less of them anyway. And I think we have improved regarding page transitions (I hope you were talking about pages, and not scenes on a single page - I thought we were pretty good at those transitions)! What do you think?







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MeHighLow at 6:43PM, Jan. 7, 2011
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@Genejoke


Thanks for your support, dude. Regarding what you said… Hm, I was hoping that reading the entire volume (i.e. pretty much the archives so far) in one go would result in a quicker-paced overall experience… Gah, so I guess the slow points are the dialogues that stretch over several pages? Maybe the exposition/trippin' through the black pages, too?
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Chernobog at 9:31PM, Jan. 7, 2011
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MeHighLow
@Chernobog

Man, you've been with us from day one! Don't do this to me, man…

Kidding. You also have valid points that echo the main line of this critique thread: clearer storytelling. In the following edit I will trim down the jargon just a bit (ex: derastafarize it by 10% :)). Regarding the overabundance of minor characters - some will be important later on, some I guess are there just to add some flavor. Volume 2 has less of them anyway. And I think we have improved regarding page transitions (I hope you were talking about pages, and not scenes on a single page - I thought we were pretty good at those transitions)! What do you think?

Hee hee. Worry not, I have no intent to cease reading Weave. Aside from what I mentioned on for sake of the critique, it does have a lot of strengths and it comes off as being pretty original. A good way of putting it, perhaps: it has more pros than cons. The problems did not drive me away.

A part of me wonders if I would have grasped the direction and flow of the story if I had read it all at once as I surmise the reviewers might have. There's nothing wrong with the weekly updates and indeed, I have actually pondered the storyline in my own free time (I'm a perpetual daydreamer), but I wonder if the quicker perspective might changed my understanding any.

Derastafarize it… I like that. That term should be patented. XD

Minor characters: Okay, I can accept that explanation. I would recommend a simple cast page for referencing if it can be managed at some point.

Scene transitions: Sorry, you're right. I did mean page to page transitions. Individually, the pages are workable.

You've also taken our critique and introspections with exceedingly good humor. I applaud you for that.
 
 
“You tell yourself to just
enjoy the process,” he added. “That whether you succeed or fail, win or
lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and
ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.”
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Genejoke at 4:51AM, Jan. 8, 2011
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MeHighLow
@Genejoke


Thanks for your support, dude. Regarding what you said… Hm, I was hoping that reading the entire volume (i.e. pretty much the archives so far) in one go would result in a quicker-paced overall experience
… Gah, so I guess the slow points are the dialogues that stretch over several pages? Maybe the exposition/trippin' through the black pages, too?

Yes and no, weave is not light reading as far as comics go, the story isn't one you will instantly fall in love with. Fortunately the art draws people in and perseverance will reward people. You can't skim read it, it takes a bit of investment. I find reading a scene or a chapter at a time works best and then letting it sink in.

As for why… I think it is combination of factors never been able to put my finger on it.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
harkovast at 5:05AM, Jan. 8, 2011
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The comic does have things going for it (art, interesting setting, some interesting writing), it certainly isn't some kind of disaster.
But undoubtedly there are elements here that don't work and need to be reconsidered.

(Most obviously page size! post them 150% of the size! POW! Instant easier to read comic!)

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
I Am The 1337 Master at 6:07AM, Jan. 12, 2011
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I have neutral feelings on Weave. Mainly ‘cause I only read a few pages way back when it was feature. I don’t know, I guess it's just not for me.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
NickyP at 12:27AM, Jan. 26, 2011
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I read through Weave a bit, and I kind of agree with the review. The art style is interesting, the setting is unique, but I haven't the slightest clue what the hell is going on.

For some reason I believe that Weave would lend itself far better by being a video game than a webcomic. It seems more suited for that kind of medium. Maybe that's just me.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM

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