Sunset Grill

What Did I Learn?

Sunset GrillA little french speaking, a bit of science fiction and a different look is something that will hit you when you see the Sunset Grill by Kat Feete. The story begins in the back of the Sunset Grill bar where the staff are doing some bickering. This nicely sets the tone and theme for the comic, since that’s a microcosm of the larger setting.

It’s interesting to note my own reaction to this (and photocomics as well.) The expressions strike me as ‘frozen’ and wooden, although that is probably unfair. Recall the last Dilbert or Calvin & Hobbes comic you read – if you made them cg instead of drawn, wouldn’t you feel they were stiff? A comic’s images are (usually) a frozen moment in time. I can only surmise that we are trained as readers to see more ‘expression’ in drawn comics than actually exists.

I realize that Sunset Grill is supposed to be science fiction and I think the french-english bits add to the feel pretty well. Some of the clothing, hairstyles and scenes sometimes seem a little … over the top … to me. To be fair, some of this effect is caused by the cg color and lighting qualities. And I don’t know any gangsters but the twenty three year old ‘old man’ featured gangster strikes me as one of the more decent folk one might find in the world of Sunset Grill. It all reminds me of Montreal around sundown, actually.

Lest you think I am down on Sunset Grill, I’m not. It has a decent story, enjoyable and quirky dialog along with creative panel angles. I’m also quite certain that getting the lighting right and creating all the background is A LOT OF WORK. See the credit page and just imagine how long it would take to find a new item that you would need to add for your next episode. Yee-ikes.

Also, below most comics are little asides that explain the world or turns of phrase. They’re pretty clever and well thought out for the most part. There is rarely a chance in the comic to naturally bring out this information, so that’s the right place to do it. Sunset Grill is on the thoughtful side of science fiction with only light action shown up to the 150 comic mark.

What Did I Learn?

It almost goes without saying that we should each make our own worlds but I think it’s important enough to say again. If that means that we provide extra content bits to explain it then that’s what it calls foe. Moreover, let’s not be afraid to try out alternate mediums like we see in Sunset Grill.

ArtPatient

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#1 D. Long on 07.28.09 at 9:54 pm

You had me at Calvin and Hobbes and Dilbert :).

I use that analogy all the time, but I use The Far Side instead of those two (imagine if The Far Side were CGI, or digitally enhanced, etc.)…And the reason those work, and CGI images seem wooden, is “The Uncanny Valley.” Look it up on Wikipedia. It’s a phenomenon that the closer non-human things look to humans (recent Japanese robots, for example), the more “revolting” they are to humans. Interesting stuff. That’s why I don’t think CGI like this translates humor well.

Being a newspaper-style pen-and-ink comic author myself, I see the value of simplicity. Quite good reviews you have on here!