What Did I Learn?
Frederick the Great is a character from the comic of the same name by Count Dolby von Luckner and Geoff. But he’s not a character in the normal sense. The first comic tells us that he’s a proxy that is to fix various time related problems and tries to get us to understand this by talking about the three dimensional shadow or a fourth dimensional hypercube. We understand that there is a two dimensional shadow but it’s impossible to mentally imagine a three dimensional shadow or a fourth dimensional cube. We’re wired for three spatial dimensions and that’s our point of reference.
But most of the events in the comic have Frederick (and others) making existential and literary references.
Some of Most of the references would require me to read up more on the character speaking to really get the full joke. Sometimes I barely have heard of the names, and I have a passing interest in the scientists and mathematicians in history.
The thing is that I find myself wanting to do the research to ind out what I’m missing. Of course, you have to realize that these characters are also messing with time and they don’t necessarily come from our version of history, either. Perhaps being a regular reader would help me appreciate the jokes without doing the research. Usually, the comments below each strip give some kind of insight into what’s going on – sometimes a great deal of information.
Because of this, I do not believe I can give you an overview of what happens in the 400+ strips. I can’t even describe the first twenty strips in a coherent way, other than to say that the first strips detail how Frederick got his hat, which is important.
At first, my impression was that the comic’s reading flow might be improved somewhat. There are word balloons criss-crossing each other and some off balance layouts. Making comics requires dozens of skills and they don’t all suddenly come to you or play nice with each other.
Further, each one must be fought and bested on their own, so progress is not always steady. However, Frederick the Great has been going since 2007, and you can’t make 400+ comics without learning things. Comparing the first comics versus the latest, you can see improvements in the panel flow. Some of the panels are still a bit off balance or act as stoppers, but those moments seem to fit the story.
The text is still a little squished in its word balloons but I’m thinking that’s intentional – whether conscious or unconscious. The dialog itself is pretty good and there is usually quite a bit of text in any given update. The characters in this comic are almost all brainy and terse, which is visually represented as compact balloons. Remember too, that different characters are always talking and interrupting each other, so room for text heavy word balloons is at a premium and it’s almost necessary to be in the habit of adjusting for it. Other comics might not have that burden.
This might be part of the reason that comic creators must follow rules of thumb, because everything is adjustable and there are no hard rules.
What Did I Learn?
We all make progress in our comics at various rates and in various techniques and the sheer act of making comics helps you make improvements. I don’t know of any good comic creator that thinks they know it all – and those are the most valuable artists with comics worth reading and learning from. Why not take immerse yourself in Frederick the Great and learn about both comics and history?