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Asshole
ifelldownthestairs at 8:31PM, July 22, 2010
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posts: 432
joined: 7-4-2007
Another comic we weren't too fond of (I know, SCHOCKING), but with some work on the humor and story writing, as well as giving a purpose to the photo/comic dynamic, this could be much better. Whaddya think 'bout THAT, HUH?
you know why birds don't write their memoirs? because birds don't lead epic lives, that's why. who'd want to read what a bird does? nobody. that's who.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
harkovast at 6:57PM, July 23, 2010
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posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
This one just didn't work for me.
It wasn't especially funny or very interesting.
I've seen so many other comics like this that one more doesn't move me at all.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Abt_Nihil at 8:42AM, July 26, 2010
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posts: 1,238
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This might be off topic, since it isn't specifically about Asshole, but I was just wondering - I have been reading your reviews sporadically, and pretty much every review was bashing the comic in question, so: Is it all worth it?

I'm sure there are some positive reviews I missed, but as far as I know, Asshole is one of those comics that are mildly funny and don't hurt anyone (and trevor's a nice guy), so what would be wrong with saying: Hey, let's just leave it at that? I realize that the creators did ask for having their comic reviewed, but the fundamental question - is it all worth it? - just slaps you in the face. You could be spending your time more productively, reading great stuff and remain popular, but no, you just have to do this. But for what? Some misguided sense of obligation? The greater good? Do you have too many friends in real life so you at least need some virtual enemies??
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
demontales at 12:43PM, July 26, 2010
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joined: 7-18-2009
I shouldn't be the one answering, but since I may asked to be reviewed one day(if the webcomic review on the web still exists when I'll manage to have 30 page and get on the list) and so I might also wonder “is it worth it”. I guess that as long as you're able to handle the bashing, any review is worth it:

- It still give publicity even if it's bad one
- It can point at mistakes, even if the way it is pointed at is insulting and too hard
- It helps getting able to handle harsh(or any) criticism

Also, I'd like to note that I don't think Hark and Kev are bashing on everything on purpose, they just are honest about their impression, and they're honesty is just sometimes hard to swallow. And by honesty I don't mean they know the TRUTH, just that if they don't like it they don't like it.

Why am I always explaining myself and making totally off-topic/concern replies?
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
harkovast at 4:05PM, July 29, 2010
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posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Hahah, that is genius!
I thought you were going to ask if it was worth it getting reviewed, but the question, “is it worth it for you two?” is a far better one!

Yes, we do get a lot of bad comics to review. This is because (harsh reality time) 90% of everything is shitty, and webcomics are no exception.
We DO give good reviews to comics we like (such as anecdote!)
Our reviews are about honesty.
And the truth is often harsh and disturbing, but that is what we are here for.
We enjoy the reviewing (though sometimes it can be tough going, I admit!), and we enjoy seeing peoples reactions to them.
Demontales sums up what it is about really well.
The publicity factor is also a big deal. I always like getting reviews, no matter how harsh (check the harkovast forum, see my bad review collection!) I cant understand why people would not want honest opinions.
If people don't like getting a bad review (even after asking us for one) they need to stop making webcomics.
People on the internet will say much worse things about comics then me or Kev do!

Also, I am sure the guy who makes it is a great person etc etc.
However, that has no baring on our review and we would be doing him a disservice by lying to him about how we felt. Frankly, it was hardly the harshest one we've done!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
ifelldownthestairs at 4:25PM, July 29, 2010
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posts: 432
joined: 7-4-2007
Well, you're right. Trevor is a nice guy. I don't remember ever saying anything negative about him, we just pointed out what we didn't like about his comic. If you'll recall, we also made suggestions as to how he might make his comic better. So it's not, as you seem to be suggesting, mindless bashing. He asked for a critique, and we gave him one.“It's mildly funny, and it doesn't hurt anyone, so we'll leave it at that.” That is not a critique, and would not help anybody improve their work.

And yes, that fundamental question slaps me in the face every day! Is it all worth it?? Dear lord, I… I… I JUST DON'T KNOW ANYMORE! Now that you have posed this incredible question, I am so unsure that I don't know what to do with myself! I think Hark and I might have to just delete the entire comic now.

Why do we do it? Because it's a fun project. It's a way to discover good comics that we hadn't heard of before (and having so many bad ones to sift through makes them all the better to us). And yes, it is for publicity, for both us and them.

But most importantly, it means we get to read thought provoking posts like yours.
you know why birds don't write their memoirs? because birds don't lead epic lives, that's why. who'd want to read what a bird does? nobody. that's who.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
Abt_Nihil at 5:22AM, July 30, 2010
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(Please excuse the length of this post - obviously, I've been thinking/struggling for years to find the right way to deal with reviews, criticism and feedback, and it's not a thought process that's in any way complete.)

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that you're bashing comics on purpose! Poor choice of words on my part. I meant, just as Hark said, if 90% of everything is shitty, you end up bashing most comics, simply by being honest. I didn't mean to question your integrity.

And you've all made very fair points.

Personally, the only argument I can really agree with is that a reviewed comic gets exposure. That's the only reason why I'd like to have any comic of mine reviewed.

While, like everyone else, I do love to get positive and/or constructive feedback, I also have to acknowledge the fact that my comic-making mustn't depend on the feedback I get (if only because feedback can be very random, but mostly because it's highly unlikely that you'd really want to achieve somebody else's aims, or satisfy somebody else's aesthetic standards - the way webcomics work is: you do what you like and find the readers you deserve. That's assuming you're doing what you like. It's certainly different for someone who's fundamentally unhappy with his work, hates his readers and hungers for advice). It's true that readers can sometimes see things which I, being too involved in my work, don't, and thus give helpful advice. But even so, it's highly unlikely that my improvement can ever be traced back to their feedback. The only thing which visibly made me improve was doing more of what I do (also known as “experience” :3).

So, my personal stance which I've developed over the past four years (= my webcomic years) is to view critique socially (as either a form of bonding or dissociation), rather than an objective comment on what I should do. The only thing that matters to me now is whether I can have a good time doing what I love doing. I acknowledge the fact that there are many shortcomings to be found in my stuff, but I don't think I can overcome those by getting critiqued - all I can ever do is keep working.

A few weeks ago I was invited to watch a stage play which some friends of mine were acting in. And while I've seen some great plays by them, this one was terrible. So, me being the honest person I am, I had to tell everyone afterwards that it was terrible. And that's not pretty. But I only told them because I was asked to - it wouldn't occur to me to go to amateur stage plays randomly to give my “honest critique” afterwards (even if they provoked it by inviting me as a “well-known amateur reviewer” ). What matters to these people is that they can do what they love doing. Again, that is not to say they don't want to improve. But I'd doubt whether a reviewer can do something for them.

I do dispense critique - I am opinionated and can be a very passionate reviewer ^_^. Whenever I've seen a movie, read a book or listen to music, I am likely to form an opinion that is akin to “giving a silent review”. But it wouldn't occur to me to have everyone and their mother invite me to give reviews, just like you're doing. So, that was the basis for my rather existential question! :P

As for “It helps getting able to handle harsh(or any) criticism” and “People on the internet will say much worse things about comics then me or Kev do”:
It's true that you'll have to ignore a lot of stuff on the internet and can't be too sensitive (not just reviews, but any sort of drama, really). And what's the natural reaction to extremely negative feedback? Ignoring it, methinks - Acknowledging that your stuff isn't the reviewer's cup of tea. You don't attempt to change your whole comic whenever you get an extremely bad review! That would be irrational.
There's that magic word “constructive”, which one is tempted to use in this context - that the degree to which you should listen to a review is determined by how “constructive” it is. The problem is, there are controversial discussions being led in any internet forum as to what “being constructive” means. Does it mean that the reviewer ties their bashing to an advice? Like: “You fail at anatomy, take life-drawing lessons?” If so, it would boil down to the truism I mentioned above: One gets better by practicing and acquiring experience, but we all knew that, and experience is not what a review provides. If it means giving specific, informative info on how to achieve one's artistic goals, the question is: why not simply dispense advice and spare yourself the review? Because for the most parts, reviews don't seem to be content by dispensing advice - a review consists of more than advice (even if you'd add the prior analysis necessary for dispensing it). (Proof may be Hark's BTAS reviews - they certainly don't essentially consist of telling Bruce Timm what was right or wrong about his episodes! :3)


EDIT:

Now that I'm thinking about it, how about this for a tentative model of “constructive criticism”:
(1) A wants to achieve artistic goal B
(2) Method C is necessary (or at least helpful) to achieve artistic goal B
(3) D tells A about C
(Conclusion) A is in a better position to achieve B.

Now the crucial question is: Why should D be a critique? If D could be any sort of thing, and this model defines being constructive, then what do we need reviews for?
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM
ifelldownthestairs at 3:50PM, July 30, 2010
(online)
posts: 432
joined: 7-4-2007
D doesn't necessarily HAVE to be a review, but there's certainly no reason why it shouldn't be. Critiques have proven capable of pointing people in a direction with their work (ours included.. no, really!), so then it seems the real question would be why aren't they needed?

People don't always see certain flaws in their own work - I realize how arrogant this sounds, but believe me, I place myself in this category too - so many times I've seen questions like “what do you guys think of the pacing?” or “do you think this looks good?” in the author's notes, and I'm sure you have as well. I certainly appreciate that sort of outside commentary (and even discarding the author's notes, I know several others that also do). This is further rectified by the fact that people are asking for reviews. Sure, part of the reason may be publicity, but really we all want to know what other people think of our work. And not just from readers, either… a DD reader will typically give your page a positive rating, maybe leave a comment about something they liked, and that will be that. If this is ALL the feedback you're getting for your comic, it isn't going to help much (well, save for the mild ego stroke it gives, which is undeniably pleasant).

There is another reason for doing this that Hark and I overlooked in answering your question. Reviews aren't solely for the benefit of the reviewers or reviewees; they also perhaps serve as a guide for readers, to give them a general idea of whether or not they might like a comic. That was part of why we started this; if you were curious about a book, you could check out a review to get an idea of if it was any good. An album, a movie… but with comics there are limited avenues for this. There are a few review sites, but nothing centric to DD (at least that I know of). Since we hadn't seen any comics like ours, that serve this purpose, we decided to make one ourselves.

As Hark pointed out, most webcomics simply aren't that good, and as such we haven't been able to be as positive as we'd initially hoped. But again, it just makes finding the good ones all the better, and with as rare as a completely positive review from us has become, I imagine it will make our readers all the more curious to check it out.
you know why birds don't write their memoirs? because birds don't lead epic lives, that's why. who'd want to read what a bird does? nobody. that's who.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:15AM

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