What Did I Learn?
weekly webcomic reviews by Delos
(this is the final repost)
Butterfly by Dean Trippe is a comic about a superhero sidekick that can fly. And his mentor is sidekick to someone else who, in fact, claims to work alone. Really, they are all supported by someone else who doesn’t seem to know that he’s in charge. I hate spoiling the joke, so all of that is intentionally vague – but you can get a summary of who’s who on the Butterfly cast page and you’ll understand.
The comic starts out in black and white with an over-under layout but later progresses into a color newspaper strip format. The point of Butterfly is not the art. I would like to say that although the art seems simple on the surface, it is very likely not easy to create. I can see little touches that are time consuming, so the art manages to keep its spontaneity while still looking almost finished.
Butterfly plays on the superhero comics and continuity. It’s a lighthearted take on the genre. After you’ve seen the cast page, you’ll get the gist of how the comic works, and I won’t spoil the joke here either. There are all kinds of little jokes that work their way in, like Superdupe or Toon Face working at O’Donalds. Fun, geeky comic book stuff.
It’s little things like this that help gain readers. Oh, sure, they may never actually point it out and say “that was cool when you did that faded cloud background with the supervillain’s face faintly hidden in them” or whatever special things you’ve done. They might not even be able to tell you why they like your comic. People are observant and they do know what they like. You can count on those two things, even if they can’t describe it to you.
There are short storylines that weave their way through Butterfly, but it works out nicely that once you’ve read one of them you can jump in anywhere and be amused. At this point, the archives are not that big that you couldn’t read through them in short order but the easy pick-up will be a boon down the road for new or returning readers.
I read an interview with Bill Watterson and he said he could do more involved and subtle things with Calvin later, after the audience had gotten to know him. He didn’t have to explain to the readers why Calvin was pretending to be a dinosaur or Spaceman Spiff. In this same way, you quickly come to understand what Butterfly is all about after reading just a few comics.
What did I learn?
Unless you’re doing an online graphic novel, make most of your comics individually entertaining for new and old readers. Readers will notice and appreciate the little touches you put in, even if they can’t tell you what appealed to them. Butterfly updates about twice a month or so,so check it out and see what you think.