I do background and CG artwork for a comic called morphE. It's the story of five captives who are brought into a young mage's mansion and forced to learn how to use magic. The focus of the story is character development and I try to run it like a visual novel complete with little animations, sound effects and CG images. In chapter 2 there is even a "cut-scene"
I'm still very new to the game but pushing to get people interested in one of the main characters:
Amical: Emotionally oblivious mage who wants everyone to love him at all times even while holding a gun to their head and holding them hostage. He's sweet as honey and thinks nothing of "breaking a few eggs" when making an omelet. Has a tendency to flirt with his captives.
Asia Ellis: Deadpan reporter with stunted emotions. She is infuriating to speak to and is only half aware of that. She has a very strange upbringing and seems fairly comfortable with the sight of dead bodies.
Billy Thatcher: Arrogant chess champion, genius and smart-a** who is willing to degrade himself and stoop low to save his hide. Most likely to suck up to Amical even while hating him, assuming that a moment of humiliation can free him from this situation.
Tyler Dawn: College kid working on a major in English. He lives and breathes fiction. Escapism is the only way he can handle the kidnapping situation and the idea of gaining magical abilities is enticing enough for him to actually side with Amical and wave his normal life goodbye without a fight.
Please give it a read and let me know what you think or just discuss. Even if it's negative, I'll still learn from knowing what people dislike about the comic.
To be truthful I'm not reading it. I'm just looking at the pictures and pushing the button. I think if the art was good enough to catch my interest I would start to wonder what is going on and read it. But it doesn't.
It rubs me more as a parady of a RPG game than a motion comic. A motion comic is draw very close to a real comic just presented frame by frame with cool panel shapes, change of expression and so on. Here is like the same two pictures over and over again. No close up. No panning, no playing with framing. If you were making a real comic (non motion) you'd find you're be drawing a lot more then what is presented here.
Instead I noticed you are relaying a lot on the text box. Which is why it comes off more like a video game. "He dug through his pocket". Why not show me this? A close up of a hand in a pant isn't that hard to draw.
I don't know if the art is being forced into a bland one angle all the time because of the style you guys picked or if you picked the RPG style because it was easier to (not) draw.
I'd doubt that the visual novel format is everyone's cup of tea. I've certainly seen no other webcomic that attempts it and I've been accused of being lazy due to it before and perhaps that may be true. There's really not much I can do for a critique that equates to "I dislike the entire style you chose for the comic" other than thank you and wish you well, as it's not something I can fix 150 comics in, nor something I'd chose to, but it does help to hear that the format is a turn-off to some, if not many.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for being honest, it really is appreciated.
Yeah it's hard. As you practice and learn you get better and newer parts of the comic might be really good, but it's those first few pages that are going to get people interested in reaching the better parts. Long time fans might be pleased that stuff is getting better but it's hard to get new fans. No advice is going to change that unless you go back and remake the thing. Just stuff to keep in mind for the next project :/
I am also put off by the format. I don't think the format is lazy (although in some parts, the art is) but I think as far as delivering a story goes, it's not a very good format. The format exists in VN games as a cost-cutting measure, and though it's not a bad format for VNs (which are often written in a way that takes advantage of the limitations) and for games with short dialogue scenes formatted like that, ultimately it is a very weak way to convey a story. Emotions are limited, body language is almost nonexistent, action is not conveyed well at all.
In your comic in particular, I feel the problems are compounded by the way the text is done. While there is some immediacy in the visual and sound effects, the text is written without any sense of immediacy (and at times interrupts to explain a scene that was perfectly clear without it, ruining the momentum).
The story seems like one that would greatly benefit from the different camera angles that you could do in a comic. The narration, though it's in short blurbs, is distracting from moments that could be purely visual. There are ample opportunities to suggest suspense, mystery, and fear visually, but you (I mean the collective you, everybody working on this project) never seize them.
What you're doing now is melding the weaknesses of both formats, without benefiting from any of their strengths.