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Eric: The limitations of the Snarkish form

(From The Jaded. Click on the thumbnail to see today's adventurous entry!)

So earlier today, it was brought to my attention that the only snark I've given Fans was when I didn't care for the inclusion of Helen Narbon. And that got me to thinking... because I read Fans, and I like Fans, and it's just plain wrong that it hasn't gotten some pleasantness from me. And so I've been thinking about why that is.

And to a degree, it's the problem with high-story stories. It's one thing when I've been snarking a high-story comic a lot -- then, I'm moderately sure that the audience will know what's going on, or can at least figure it out from context. But it's progressively harder for me to talk about the resonance I felt when I read Guthrie's song to Cassandra, and how and why it pissed her off, and the assumptions people make about genius, because I know it involves explaining the devices involved in a way that makes sense without overexplaining it. And that raises specters on how few words I've devoted to Nahast or Ascent, both of which I read every week, but which have the same issues. Or more to the point, I have the same issues over, since they don't really have issues at all..

And that brings me to The Jaded, which is frankly good stuff, done by Ping Teo, who I adore. And which I don't think I've ever said anything about.

I'm snarking this entry because of the use of chalk on black (I think). It creates an incredibly evocative picture. And when I saw it, I latched onto it, because it's something you don't see nearly enough of in webcomics, even though it's not hugely difficult. It creates a sense of mood, of power, of texture and tone, and Teo handles it well.

And as I set to upload the thumbnail, it really struck me that I haven't talked about the tightness of Teo's story, or the elements of her characterization. Or how it resonated with me that she's including a character who smokes, even though Teo doesn't smoke and is allergic, and how I've done the same thing in fiction even though I don't smoke and am allergic. And her sense of darkness and her sense of dialogue.

But all of that takes context, and context is hard to do.

There's always more that is good than I have the words to say why, and that bothers me sometimes. I think Teo, and Campbell, Waltrip, Melchor, and Migdal and many others all deserve better from me.

I'll work on it.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at February 8, 2005 3:17 PM

Comments

Comment from: Phalanx posted at February 8, 2005 10:10 PM

And here I was feeling sorry for myself because I had to spend Chinese New Year's Eve working instead of celebrating... Now this really made my night! Thanks, Eric!

*grin* Incidentally, what I used was a combination of graphite sticks, brush lines and india ink washes, inverted by computer and then coloured by tablet...

Yeah, I have a very convoluted way of doing things. ;)

Comment from: M_Northstar posted at February 9, 2005 12:40 PM

You know, one possible solution could be if you gave a short but in-depth review of such comics. As it is, neither Jaded nor Fans is on any of your comics lists. Of course it's hard to snark about them if you have never even mentioned them before.

Alternatively, just go ahead and snark to your heart's content. Even with gag-a-day comics, or comics you do snark a lot, there is a good chance it flies right over the heads of a lot of people, if they don't follow that particular strip. Personally, I just read your comments, and if they are particularly interesting and/or obscure, I just follow the link provided and try to see what the fuss is about.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at February 9, 2005 12:53 PM

M_Northstar -- the trawls are pretty darn out of date these days. I need to sit down and redo them from scratch, one of these days when I have time, so that they reflect what my current reading habits are.

Comment from: Phalanx posted at February 9, 2005 1:11 PM

One thing I should have mentioned in the earlier post: There's simply too much of webcomics to blog about out there to be too worried about not being able to get at everything.

"One comic at a time" is my philosophy ;)

Oh, and you might find this a useful tool for easy updates of your trawls:

http://www.arcadiadesign.it/deerdesign/sbe/english/english.html

Automatic links from Safari Bookmarks.

Comment from: gwalla posted at February 10, 2005 7:11 PM

Is the guy in the white shirt pointing to the guy in the foreground in that last panel? Is he saying to arrest that guy, or the guy who just burst through the door?

Comment from: Phalanx posted at February 11, 2005 2:36 PM

Goes to show what Eric was saying about context... I didn't realise this page could be intepreted either way when viewed alone.

If you have been following the story of course, you would know which character was doing what, and there woldn't be a doubt who was being arrested.

Context is hard.

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