Boxcar Astronaut

What Did I Learn?

weekly webcomic reviews by Delos

(this is a repost)

The review for today is on Boxcar Astronaut by Jeff Carter and Marc Lapierre. This is the website blurb:
“Boxcar Astronaut is a weekly, four-panel comic strip created by two ordinary joes, Jeff Carter and Marc Lapierre. It follows the misadventures of two kids, Ben and Devin, who love to play in the backyard and imagine themselves as brave space heroes, protecting the galaxy from evildoers. Accompanying them on their missions are Diogee, Ben’s loyal but mischevious dog, and Robot, an actual robot that finds himself stranded on Earth and in the service of two tiny children. There’s also the occasional Caveman or space alien thrown in for good measure.”

First of all, that’s a good recipe for a great comic. It’s a continuing mission that offers many storylines to explore. It’s important not to be too vague (according to Dilbert creator Scott Adams) nor too limited with the potential pool of topics. It should be specific enough to have personality but open enough that a general audience can relate. In this case, kids having imaginary(?) space adventures fits that bill. What takes this comic further is that Boxcar Astronaut has a real personality of ‘play’ to it. It’s all about the fun parts of a kids’ day.

The art has very clean, interesting line work and cute characters who have great expressions. (I especially like Diogee’s expressions.) There are also some nice, subtle textures used to good effect and help reinforce the style of the strip. Likewise, it’s very interesting how the sound effects are handled and how they serve the strip’s style as well. Lots of good stuff there.

Another nice touch is the visual gags. As a visual medium, you might think that comics would be filled with them but most don’t have any. The Hyperspace Trip strip is really wonderful – it’s one of those things that you wish you would have thought of. There are also a few strips with x-ray skeleton type special effects that are outstanding. Something else of note is the variety of interesting, non standard viewing angles. These sorts of things help a comic stand out to their audience.

What did I learn?

There is always something more for me to work on. What’s the idea and personality of my comic supposed to be? What art techniques can I borrow from another style that will add to the visual style of my comic? Finally, little things like textures and sound effects can add immensely to how much your audience enjoys your comic. Visit Boxcar Astronaut for a new comic every Sunday!

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