Friday, December 17, 2010

that ninja girl comic I draw

I've been asked many times by many people if I am ever going to finish Kerslash. The answer is the future. I know it's been over a year since I've posted the last page, but I still consider Kerslash "ongoing". It's going to be a little while before I can start updating it again, but Kerslash will definately be finished when I have the time for it.

In the meantime, people are still posting reviews for it over on Drunkduck. The latest review is from a fellow on the forums called Air Raid Robertson:

“Kerslash” is, as you may have guessed from the onomatopoetic title, primarily an action comic. Its main protagonist is a teenaged ninja girl named Paige. In the opening of the story she’s a star pupil at a boarding school for ninja assassins. (The school even has a dean’s list and everything) However, she’s expelled when she won’t cross certain moral boundaries and is forced to restart her life at a small arts college. Naturally, it doesn’t take long for her to make new enemies and also have some of her old problems follow her to the new campus.

I’ll begin by discussing “Kerslash’s” key virtue, which I believe is the art. The stylistic leanings of the comic are definitely rooted in manga. However, it isn’t done in a way that is shamelessly derivative or woefully tacked-on. The artist has clearly studied the manga artists that they love and applied certain characteristics of it to the artwork they were doing already. This is good to run into since I am very, very sick of seeing webcomics where someone just traces panels out of “Bleach” or “Naruto”.

Another key component of this comic’s look is definitely wyldestyle. One wouldn’t think that the characteristics of spray-paint graffiti would transfer to comics all that smoothly, but in the past decade or so artists like Jim Mahfood and Damian Scott have pulled it off. There’s definitely an undercurrent of this in “Kerslash”. Limb movement is exaggerated and poses are rendered in a manner reflective of a bombed out subway car. It’s a nice touch.

These artistic stances give the book a high octane, razzle-dazzle feel that more than lives up to the energetic title of the series. As I said in the opening sentence, “Kerslash” is very much a fight comic and it feels the most alive during its elaborate sword fighting sequences. I really can’t compliment the action scenes enough. They’re dashing, cinematic, and very impressively rendered.

Of course, there’s also the writing. I’m afraid that it isn’t really my cup of tea. The pages so far are laced with minor spelling and grammatical errors, but those can be easily fixed and they’re only the tip of the iceberg. My main problem with ‘Kerslash” is how it retains a steadfast devotion to the clich├ęs of its genre.

In the very beginning Paige is giving a first person narrative about her tenure at a boarding school for ninjas. She’s the head of her class and has logged over a thousand hours fighting holograms. The reader knows from page one that her headmaster is going to have Paige fight and kill some real people in order to see if she has the stones to take a life. And, the reader also immediately knows that she’ll ultimately shun the notion of killing in cold blood. (Which makes me wonder why she enrolled in a school for hired assassins in the first place)

The storyline in “Kerslash” has absolutely no surprises in it. Every single plot point is signaled to the reader miles before it arrives. If you have any familiarity with martial arts movies, TV shows, video games, or comics you have already witnessed the events of “Kerslash” dozens of times before. So far it hasn’t brought any new variations on the genre to its pages.

I wouldn’t say that ‘Kerslash” is a bad webcomic. It’s visually arresting, and it has a good knowledge of the well-worn narrative ground it treads upon. It’s also a fairly new comic, so it definitely has the potential to transcend its roots. For now, however, it’s just another ninja fight comic in an ocean of similar ones.

That's a very thorough review. I encourage everybody to give me an honest review, because it results in better comics for you.

Next blog post will have some new art in it, I promise.

1 comment:

Sinistar1 said...

It's great that you saw this as constructive criticism. Clearly you can only get better.