Friday, September 26, 2014

Sound Effects in Your Comic

Something that needs to be used more often are sound effects.

Sound effects were extremely popular in the action-heavy comics of the 1940s to 1950s. They started falling out of favor in the 1960s, and virtually disappeared by the 1990s. There are a number of good reasons for them to have disappeared; they were pretty silly, they took up visual space that could be better used for pretty much anything else, and they felt a little anachronistic, a throwback to an earlier age. For webcomics, too many illustrators simply didn't learn how to do them, as their education was usually in a different field. This is not to say that they have completely disappeared, just that few comics take advantage of them.

Not only do they make an excellent way of adding a little visual flavor to an otherwise staid strip, but they also add something fun. You can either have the sound effect as somehing extra in the panel, or as the panel itself. Software has advanced significantly so that you can have some real fun with the effect. If you really want to have some fun, multiple sound effects in the same panel or string it out among multiple panels.

I know it's a little weird for most strips. Nonetheless, I would really like to see some more sound effects in comics. I think it would make some strips really fun....

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Notes on Some Basic Comic Book Fights

I belong to a group on Facebook that has a "Versus Wednesday", where they take two characters or teams and put them up against each other. Understandably, certain combinations keep coming up, and I keep seeing the same silly logic applied. Here are my thoughts on some of the more common ones:

Superman vs. Goku: Superman wins. Goku is super-strong and super-fast, as well as having a high healing factor and martial arts skills. He can also charge up, either to "evolve" into a more powerful form or for devastating energy attacks, if he has several minutes to charge up. Admittedly Superman is hardly in his league as a fighter, but he is faster and stronger, and he doesn't need to charge up. This means that he shouldn't have to deal with any of Goku's advanced forms and only some of his chi attacks, and he is, based on what Goku has been observed to do (his feats), stronger than a baseline Goku. As such, Superman should win consistently.

Superman vs. Hulk: Superman wins. Even allowing for his slap, Hulk really doesn't have ranged attacks, and Superman has both greater speed and mobility. Hulk also needs time to get really ticked and therefore really strong. As such, as long as Superman acts quickly he should be able to easily defeat Hulk.

Superman vs. Superman Clone: Sentry, Gladiator, Hyperion, Supreme, Mister Majestyk: Superman has been parodied and cloned in just about every comic book universe. In general, Superman should trounce just about everyone. The three notable exceptions are: Superboy Prime, who has the SIlver Age levels of Superman's powers; Mister Majestyk, who essentially combines Superman and Batman; and Supreme, who lacks Superman's code of honor.

Superman versus Magic: Superman may be vulnerable against magic, but it depends on the precise nature of the manifestation. If the magic affects his area or manipulates or creates matter or energy, it affects him as per the limitations of those materials; in other words, his usually strength and invulnerability applies. If the attack is pure magic, such as a spell that changes his form or imprisons him, it affects him like any other mortal. If it is a mental attack, it still has to deal with his tremendous will. Chi-based attacks are special; direct chi attacks, such as Iron Fist's Fist of Iron attack, would do serious damage against him, while chi attacks that manifest as energy, such as Goku's various ranged attacks, would have to deal with his invulnerability. Keep in mind that he also has a noble spirit, making him immune to certain attacks and allowing him to lift Thor's hammer.

Deadpool vs. Anyone: Deadpool has some pretty good fighting skills, as well as a serious healing factor as well as apparent immortality. However, given that you don't need to kill someone to defeat them in combat, and that Deadpool's skills are formidable but not completely awesome, he tends to get his butt kicked a lot.

Batman vs. Anyone but Superman: Depends. Batman's main ability is as a long-range planner; if he has time to do some research and build something, he can defeat pretty much anyone. However, it needs to be realized that while he in one of the best combatants, there are a lot of fighters better than he is. As such, Batman can and does have his butt handed to him on a regular basis even in his own book. Against other great planners, keep in mind that he does have some pretty good resources to bring to bear, and that he has compiled a list of strategies for dealing with a wide range of super-powered beings, so he should do pretty good. In general, he should do pretty good against most opponents, lose to most great martial artists, and generally win if he has any kind of prep time.

Keep in mind that he usually wins against Superman, even without kryptonite, battle suits, or prep time. Fights against Spider-man and Iron Man will always be interesting; Spider-man may lack resources, but still adapts to most situations well, has a number of actual powers, and has been known to prep as well, while Iron Man and Batman are basically equal.

Thanos versus Anyone: Thanos will usually win. With the Infinity Gauntlet he is essentially the superior of anyone from his universe, including abstract entities such as Death and Eternity; there is the limit that it only works in its home dimension. However, even without the gauntlet he is still a scary opponent; he can ard has prepared for just about anything, has a lot of resources he can take advantage of including a fleet of warships and armies, and can go against teams of the most powerful heroes with ease. Suffice to say that while he was based of Darkseid, he has far succeeded him in power.

Doctor Strange versus Doctor Fate: Both of these characters have had varying power levels over the years do to various situations, however it basically comes down whether or not Doctor Fate has access to Nabu; if he doesn't, such as the current version, Doctor Strange will defeat him easily. Even if Nabu is in charge, as he usually was, Doctor Strange should still be able to defeat him, as Doctor Strange tends to actually do rather well against extra-dimensional beings, which Nabu is as a Lord of Order. Strange should win against Fate in most situations.

John Constantine: This is a pretty special case. While Constantine is a decent sorcerer in his own right, he is actually rather middling; he can hold his own against a number of mages and even some power beings, but once someone with any real power shows up Constantine is pretty much screwed. Constantine's main power is the ability to con everyone into thinking he's pretty powerful and thus cow that person into not fighting. Strangely, he also acts as a supernatural cheerleader, in that he can make any group he is part of act in unison just by his presence. As such, he may win against most mages, against any being or mage of real power he is likely to fall.

The Godhood of Thor and Darkseid: This is sort of where it becomes obvious who listens to the hype. Although both of these characters have been called "gods", they aren't in any real sense. While Darkseid has been around a long time, and is called one of the "New Gods", he is merely pretty powerful; he is not one of the characters that are recognized as "gods" in the DC Universe, and is not even on the same power level as the various angels. Thor is an Asgardian, and while pretty powerful even among the members of an already powerful race and has been worshipped as a god, he is still not a god in the Marvel Universe. As such, their respective fights should not include their supposed "godhood".

Just some thoughts...expect some updates when I see some pretty repetitive fights...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Distribution via Tablet

Just as a tablet can be used for a good part of creating a comic, it can also be used to help distribute your comic. It all depends on how you usually get the word out.

Keep in mind that you should be able to upload your comic from your tablet. This means that you can draw your comic, upload it when you are done, and then let everyone know about it. However, there are some ways to take advantage of tablets when it comes to getting it to readers both new and old, so let's look at some options.

The biggest way to get readers for your webcomic will be to take advantage of the various social media apps. Tweeting and posting that your webcomic is the easiest way to get readers involved. You want to develop your own hashtags for your comics so that they are easy to find, as well as post to as many groups that will let you. This is also why you post a link to your own accounts on the webcomic homepage; it ensures that if anyone likes the comic they can easily follow you. You should also cultivate friends on the social sites so that you when you post a link it has some additional reach. Putting this into perspective, the Facebook limit of 5000 friends can give you an effective reach of 100,000 or more. That's something to consider when you are setting up your network.

You also need to have your own app. There are some apps that let you build a comic app out of existiing comics, and This can work well for advertising purposes.You just need to decide if you want to give it away for free or sell it. The basic advice is to give it away to build up an audience, and then sell it for a dollar or two once you hit a critical mass. Assuming you have a number of collections by that point, you want to start charging for the oldest, and then as you add more collections charge for more of the older collections. However, you will need to figure out what that "critical mass" is for you, as well as how many of your collections you will charge for, as no two webcomics have the same demographics and you will want to have some collections available for free. You need to figure that balance out yourself.

You can use your tablet to get the word out, an other people's tablets to get new followers and possibly make some money from your webcomic. You need to do a little extra work, but it may be worth it for the success of your comic.