What Did I Learn?
weekly webomic reviews by Delos
(this is a slightly edited repost)
This review is on The Boids by Campbell and Merrill. The comic is nicely described on the About page: “The Boids is the story of Flock Unit 2A-6, known to his pals as ‘Boid.’ “Boid is a member of a flock of experimental robot birds that were built at a local university to study the way birds coordinate their flight patterns in large flocks. Boid becomes separated from his robot flock during a storm and decides to seek out a new flock among real birds in the park. Boid is equipped with…”
Everyone likes robots. Especially strange robots and for some reason, a bird robot just strikes me as really strange. I suppose it something along the lines of robots being made of heavy metals and moving slowly. So it seems incongruent (if I can stretch the scope of its definition a bit) to have a remarkable robot bird. Plus, he’s loaded with a few technological surprises which adds a little something to the curiousity factor. And a robot bird trying to find his way certainly catches your interest, doesn’t it?
The dialogue is superb, too. The best way I can describe it is the birds talk as if they are very serious about being birds. They have matter of fact discussions which include things like having to make up for the terrible hindrance of not having bright plumage or a special dance to attract a mate. They’re just so serious about it all – it makes you reflect on those unimportant things in your own life that you can take too seriously. You can also plainly see that the comic is going somewhere in the story progression.
The art complements the concept. There’s just enough color and scenery to give the forest and trees a solid sense of place. Appropriately, there’s more detail on the main figures and less on the background. And Boid stands in sharp contrast to everything else with his straight robotic lines.
Though I don’t normally bother to mention merchandise, Boid is very striking on the shirts. I think it’s that ‘robot bird’ thing I talked about before. You can’t resist checking out the comic after seeing the shirts. Try it and tell me I’m wrong.
There’s also something for bird watchers and enthusiasts. There are drawings of birds that visit the creator’s porch. That’s a nice way to corner a certain audience segment- offer them something they can never get enough of. According to Google, there are currently only 17,700 web pages with the phrase ‘bird drawings’ and only 665 images labeled bird drawings (some of which are probably duplicates.) How many bird lovers are there in the world and how many of them have surfed to all 665 of those images? Most of them, I’d say. Now, match that information up with the latest bird drawing of a Carolina Wren. How many bird lovers are there in the world that adore the California Wren in particular? What the Boids has is thousands of bird-lover fans that will ALL enjoy the comic and most will return again and again. Outstandingly worth emulating.
This repost comes just twelve days after Boids went on hiatus. You can read the explanation on the farewell post.
What did I learn?
Ideally, your initial concept ought to be catchy on its own. I’ve read this somewhere else… but visually, the characters themselves should be enough to capture interest. Give your audience gifts from your creativity and make the gift irresistible. I don’t know how to do it either, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a light comic that sometimes makes the audience stop and ponder meaningful things? If you haven’t seen it already, get in on the ground floor with this new comic called The Boids.