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Eric: Also, they're good at banter. But then, they would be, wouldn't they?

(From Questionable Content. Click on the thumbnail for full sized gentrification!)

I want you to have a look at today's Questionable Content.

Then, I want you to click back through the archives for about four days or so.

Go ahead. I'll wait here. I'm good at waiting. I'm patient and I have Propel Fitness Water to drink while you're away.

Back? Oh good.

Jacques has drawn three girls, all within about ten years of age of one another, with Ellen on the young end and (I assume, from today's comments) Dora on the old end. All three girls are attractive.

To draw these girls... Jacques has chosen 2.5 different hairstyles (Ellen and Faye's hairstyles are similar but not exact), three different hair colors, three different skin colors, and three different body types. While all three are clearly pretty, Dora's a rail, Ellen's a bit lusher up top and on the hips, and Faye's heavier in the hip area (to the point that even though Marten has described Faye's butt as capable of giving God an erection after he sculpted it, Faye has made unhappy comments about her weight). And there are subtle differences in the three faces. Eye color's a gimmie.

In other words... Jacques has drawn three different girls... in three different ways, completely.

And none of them look like Supermodels.

This has to be some kind of record.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at December 6, 2004 4:42 PM

Comments

Comment from: jjacques posted at December 6, 2004 6:40 PM

It all comes from hours spent staring at girls in coffee shops and record stores.

I mean...uh....

HEY LOOK OVER THERE IT'S ELVIS COSTELLO

[runs away]

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at December 6, 2004 8:05 PM

"I wasn't ogling you! I was... making mental reference notes for my online comic!"

Admittedly not as smooth as "Would you be willing to model for a sketch?", but it'll do.

Comment from: JackSlack posted at December 6, 2004 8:27 PM

For what it's worth, I think that the second panel of that strip is arguably the best you've drawn in the comic. Look at the motion in all three characters: Dora is climbing onto the counter, Faye's looking intently at the register, Ellen is looking away nervously. It's a brilliant, lively picture.

Comment from: jjacques posted at December 6, 2004 8:55 PM

Why thank you!

These past few strips were basically written so I'd have an excuse to draw all three girls at once. There's something inherently satisfying about rendering the female form in a manner approaching accurate, and doing it a whole bunch of times is great drawing practice.

Comment from: Riot posted at December 6, 2004 10:21 PM

Ellen is hot. Even though she doesn't know who Helmet is. XD

If things don't work out with her and Steve, there's this certain single guy in a webcomic I happen to know... :P

I really love the art and humor, and I'm surprised I barely caught wind of your strip until now. You've gained a new reader today. '-'

Comment from: Joshua Thompson posted at December 7, 2004 12:40 AM

Ditto. I think Websnark has really opened my eyes to several wonderful strips, filling many a gap after the demise of several Keen strips. J. Jacques, yours is a wonderful, pretty strip, with very likable characters. Thanks for doing a wonderful job.

Oh, and Eric, thanks for running such a great blog for these.

Comment from: Spatchcock posted at December 7, 2004 3:20 AM

QC is a passable comic, but those girls are all drawn with exactly the same face, almost exactly the same hairstyle and stick-thin bodies that in perennially bra-less Dora's case are almost the archetype of the supermodel. There's absolutely no way to distinguish their ages or personalities bar the writing, they're all wearing identical tshirts and have exactly the same limited poses.

Jeph has a long way to go before he's worthy of this kind of frothing commentary. Just my 2c.

Comment from: WeeFreeMan posted at December 7, 2004 6:02 AM

I think QC is one of the better comics out there. Well done Jeph.

Really enjoying the strip and funnily enough it was Jeph's link that led me here, which I am also really enjoying. So well done Eric too.

Comment from: Riot posted at December 7, 2004 11:35 AM

Frothing commentary? I didn't really find it all that frothy. o.O

Well, I stick totally to what I've originally said. Compared to other webcomics out there, Jeph's art is great. Especially when you take into consideration that it's not entirely template or cut and paste.

I will agree that some of the characters look very similar, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. There is a reason I prefer Ellen to any of the other girls, for example... and if her hairstyle is changed just for the similarity in hairstyles, there will be hell to pay! HELL I say~! XD

Didn't get to say this in my previous post, but thanks for WebSnark, Eric. It's one of my regular stops now, and I think you do great things for the community. '-'

Comment from: Barn Skew posted at December 7, 2004 12:10 PM

It is my belief that neither Eric Burns nor Jeph Jacques has ever actually seen an female homo sapien. That's the only way to justify this praise. If you describe an apple to a blind man and asking him to draw it, you'll think he did a great job drawing it. These girls would have to be at least 11 feet tall to match up to these proportions. And they are almost identical. I don't understand how you see three different lookign women. Maybe it's like one of those magic eye pictures.

This comic is insulting to women in every conceivable way. The girls are blatantly sexualized, one-dimensional, and shallow. The only way they seem to develop is by talking about penises and anal sex. It is obvious Jeph goes to great lengths to draw these women in outlandish, uncomfortably sexy poses.

As a plus-sized woman and comics fan, I am tired of these comics that glamorize these vapid, anorexic mutations of the female mind and body. I would kill to see a comic that had a female character that is even 10% real. As it stands, the women in most of these comics that Eric fawns over are just eye candy sex objects.

Comment from: Spatchcock posted at December 7, 2004 12:46 PM

"Well, I stick totally to what I've originally said. Compared to other webcomics out there, Jeph's art is great. Especially when you take into consideration that it's not entirely template or cut and paste."

How is this a proviso, Riot? What exactly are you comparing it to? There are hundreds of beautiful comics drawn entirely by hand.

Comment from: Riot posted at December 7, 2004 12:50 PM

You can't really expect all artists to portray the female figure (or anything for that matter, be it a human figure or something imanimate) correctly. In fact, this being a webcomic to begin with should totally stray your thinking from that path. You don't find much realism in webcomics at all, and every artist's style is different.

I don't think Jeph was purposely planning to degrade women at all, and he definitely doesn't come off that way to me. IMHO I think you are taking the comic too seriously and looking way too far into things, or perhaps looking for something to hate?

It's definitely not _blatantly_ obvious to me that he's going to great lengths to draw the girls in sexy poses and being degrading to women. It's just the way he draws... and even then, in comparison to other artist's styles, it's much more tame. Tame to the point where it really shouldn't be an issue, IMHO.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 7, 2004 1:01 PM

And let's take it back about three notches on the dial, folks. Everyone can express their opinions, but let's not get into full on arguments.

Comment from: Riot posted at December 7, 2004 1:07 PM

"How is this a proviso, Riot? What exactly are you comparing it to? There are hundreds of beautiful comics drawn entirely by hand."

...and I'm definitely not saying that there aren't. There are a ton. I should probably have said "Compared to other popular comics out there".

If you took Questionable Content, and put it alongside some of the most popular webcomics of today, it would easily hold it's own in both artistic style and humor, at least in my opinion.

I don't really think he's got a ways to go, as you mentioned earlier... great art does not a successful webcomic make, and this has been proved many times over. I have a very short favorites list in the webcomics category, and QC is one of them.

Apologies if the discussion seemed to heated, I didn't intend it to be that way. Sometimes it's hard getting a point across correctly without stating it a certain way, and it can be horribly taken out of context when read completely in text instead of listening to a person speaking and being able to look at their facial expressions, if you know what I mean. It was not my purpose to offend in any way. '-'

Comment from: Spatchcock posted at December 7, 2004 1:10 PM

Sorry, Eric, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. But I thought Riot's point was an odd one considering Ellen is cut and pasted from panel 2 to panel 4.

Comment from: Spatchcock posted at December 7, 2004 1:11 PM

Sorry, Eric, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. But I thought Riot's point was an odd one considering Ellen is cut and pasted from panel 2 to panel 4.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 7, 2004 1:18 PM

Barn Skew -- what I'm celebrating is the fact that all three women are distinct.

As for the question of proportion -- one doesn't expect photorealism in cartooning, and I don't come to this with that set of expectations. At the same time, what I find refreshing is none of these three women have breasts larger than their head, look like they could slide from here into the pages of Playboy without batting an eye, and don't look cookie cutter at all. The implication of the strip is these three girls are attractive, not gorgeous. And I appreciate the fact that rather than simply draw the same "female" template three times, all three girls have their own shape. Faye's hips are wider in proportion to her torso. Dora's clearly thinner and conveys that sense of the angular. Ellen's got a 'softer' look to her. Their skin tones are all different. There's subtle differences in face between them. Heck, they have different piercings.

The snark extols the fact that Jacques takes care with his art, and strives to make his figures distinct from one another -- and for that matter, strives to make different body types equally attractive. It's not something you see a lot of in webcomics.

These aren't models. These aren't superhackers or superbrains who also have supersex and wear superbikinis to superwork. They're just girls. One's in college, the others are baristas. They don't look out of place in a coffee shop.

Yeah, they're all pretty. I give you that. But there's a significant dearth of unpretty men and women in webcomics -- particularly "slice of life" webcomics meant to be funny. This is a relationships comic, about a group of people who, among other things, find each other attractive. That's one of the sources of tension here. And there's nothing wrong with that.

And the fact that they're pretty doesn't change the fact that they are distinct. Which is the point of my snark. Now, Spatchcock doesn't think they are -- he (I assume it's a he) disagrees with my thesis. And that's fine -- this is a subjective medium.

Your complaint, on the other hand, is that you think the figures are unrealistic and you don't like the characterization and character development. And I can accept your reasons for forming that opinion, whether or not I share it. However, that complaint doesn't directly bear on the point of the snark. If you think they all look the same, you've got a legitimate point of disagreement with me. But just not liking them is like arguing with someone who remarks on a decent set of contrasting paint colors on a house by saying you don't see how anyone could live there. That opinion may have merit, but isn't germane to the conversation.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 7, 2004 1:24 PM

Spatchcock and Riot -- no harm, no foul for either of you. I just didn't want it to get heated. Any more than I want my own response to Barn Skew to come across as inflammatory.

I encourage debate, just not argument. So please, feel free. ;)

Comment from: Riot posted at December 7, 2004 1:31 PM

"Sorry, Eric, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. But I thought Riot's point was an odd one considering Ellen is cut and pasted from panel 2 to panel 4."

Well, I didn't mean solely this strip in particular, and I also said "not entirely cut and paste". It's all about the fine print. XD

The art in QC has changed dramatically since the first comic, and if you read the whole archive in one sitting (as I just did last night and this morning) you would hardly realize it because the changes are so gradual. There is cut and pasting evident, but not so much that it's glaring problem, I think.

I guess the whole point i'm trying to make is that QC is a great webcomic in my opinion and has almost immediately become one of my favorites, so it really surprised me to read the harsh comments it has received here. This is of course, only my opinion. Maybe i'm just too far out of the loop and clueless. '-'

Comment from: jjacques posted at December 7, 2004 2:09 PM

The only people who have ever voiced complaints about the supposedly over-idealized, unrealistic way I draw girls have been ladies who describe themselves as either overweight or having problems with eating disorders. That seems weird to me, and I'm not sure if it means anything, but there you have it.

Spatchcock is right- I do have a long way to go. Always have, always will. I'm not satisfied with my artwork for many of the same reasons he's listed, and so I'm constantly working to improve myself. My hope is that people reading the strip are able to enjoy themselves along the way.

Comment from: BigNickNewt posted at December 7, 2004 2:35 PM

I've only been visiting WebSnark for a week now, but already I've found a couple of new comics that I'm starting to read regularly.

QC has definitely been my favorite so far though, I went through the entire archive in a single sitting, completely ignoring the final paper I should have been working on. Oh well, I was going to ignore the paper anyway, at least with this I got some entertainment too.

Comment from: Aeire posted at December 7, 2004 3:28 PM

"This comic is insulting to women in every conceivable way. The girls are blatantly sexualized, one-dimensional, and shallow. "

Goddammit, I was working SO HARD FOR THAT TITLE. Curse you, Jacques! Now I'm going to have to go to plan b - make the men as brain-dead and cookie cutter one-dimensional as possible!

Comment from: Wednesday posted at December 7, 2004 6:34 PM

Wait. I thought they were two-dimensional women.

Comment from: jjacques posted at December 7, 2004 8:00 PM

So I'm about to sit down and draw Wednesday's QC, and it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to resist the urge to give all three girls DD breasts and tiny, tiny waists.

Comment from: Riot posted at December 7, 2004 9:14 PM

lol



Nuuu I like Ellen's boobies the way they are. XD



Your strip has done two things to me I before thought impossible:


1. It made me interested in a girl with glasses.

2. It made me (a little more than) interested in a girl that happens to share my sister's same. =X



So yeah, the 2nd line of text in this post, if taken out of context, could sound kinda wierd. o.O

Comment from: abercrappyandbtch posted at December 7, 2004 9:18 PM

"Sorry, Eric, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. But I thought Riot's point was an odd one considering Ellen is cut and pasted from panel 2 to panel 4."

Hmmm, but her mouth and eyes are different... and as a female... I do not see how this is sexist or whatever. It really is how girls act alot of the time, to tell the sad truth...

Comment from: Pelsoid posted at December 7, 2004 9:59 PM

I agree with abercrappyandbtch about the sexist part. Now, if all three of the women were wearing almost nothing and had boobs the size of watermelons, then I would definitely see reason for offense.

I love this comic mostly because of the character's personalities and the way they interact with each other. Overall, the writing and the comedic timing are presented brilliantly.

However, I do also believe that the art itself has room for improvement. Jacques is wonderful at computer graphics, don't get me wrong, but I do see the same facial expressions and body positions most of the time.

Comment from: Slick posted at December 8, 2004 4:19 AM

{Topic Derailment} Poor Aerie. So...um...were your parents hippies like Kestrel's and that's not really a pen name, but YOUR REAL NAME!!! {/Topic Derailment}

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at December 8, 2004 6:59 AM

Aeire totally needs a personal FAQ or something.

Slick, if you're genuinely curious, check out the last post on this thread.

Comment from: Slick posted at December 10, 2004 6:13 AM

Thank you Chris.

Comment from: Slick posted at December 10, 2004 6:13 AM

Thank you Chris.

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