What Did I Learn?
weekly webcomic reviews by Delos
(this is a repost)
Knave by Ben Warren, Matt Sangster and Dave Quigley has some interesting qualities. The first thing I appreciated is that each page is bite-sized. To help you understand what I mean by that – I recently thumbed through my copy of DC’s Crisis of Infinite Earths book. It’s a good story and everything but it was just way too much going on all the time on every page (not that I dare dream that I am somehow a better ‘comician’ than Mr. George Perez and the DC Comics staff, but…) I mention this because it was hard to follow what was going on and I gave up trying to reread Crisis because of it.
So while I can appreciate that Knave is bite sized, each page tells something important about the storyline and about the characters featured. Many times, the characters are shown reacting emotionally – a moment of loneliness, curiousity or anger (among others.) It is far easier to have a character say they are confused rather than show it, for example. It adds a nice counterpoint to the art and a very poignant tone to the comic.
I’m trying to think of how to describe what I like about the art. The characters are distinct and have good expressions with a slight twist of humor. Moreover, it has a sketchy, quality that is sooooo misleading. It makes me think that the comic must be quick and fun to draw. (This is something that every comic artist wrestles with. After all, it takes a reader between ten and thirty seconds to read a comic page but it might have taken the artist a couple of hours to create, all said. There’s a effort/payoff ratio there that has some sting.) As I said, it looks fun and quick to draw, so much so it seems effortless when you look at it.
So whenever I see art that has a sketchy quality yet still looks great, I put on my mental brakes and take another look. If it looks great, that means it took a lot of work to make it look great. From my perspective, if Knave looks sketchy enough to appear very spontaneous and fun while still having good story and easy reading layout, then it took a lot of work. (Or someone who has done a lot of work in the past, I suppose.) The point is that if it looks great, it took real work to get it there. It might seem uncomplicated but that doesn’t happen by accident.
As of this review, the storyline is moving along nicely and is at eighty one pages. The overall story nostalgically reminds me of two classic videogames from my youth combined into something new. It’s very fun. I’d also like to see more of the pages colored but that is just the icing on the cake.
What did I learn?
Make the story easily digestible. Let the art affect how the story is told, keep the storyline moving and show the emotional reactions of the characters. And if it looks effortless then it definitely wasn’t. You can see what the Knave is doing right here.