Bee Police

Creator/s: Ronald Neal
Run: 1/10-current
Schedule: Fridays
Section/s: Pp. 108-130

Website: The site has an unusual "overview" home page that I don't like. It's a neat concept, but look at the subject matter up currently: "updates will be spotty," "vote for my comic," and "I'll be on hiatus a bit for the holidays." (These are paraphrased, not verbatim.) These comments aren't important or appealing to a new reader, and don't need to be promoted prior to the reader seeing the actual comic. Bee Police also has a somewhat different Comic Genesis site that doesn't have the "overview" home page.

The rest of the site is fairly professional-looking, although the font used in the banner is too pedestrian for this kind of comic. The voting and donation incentives are nice touches for those who want to get more involved with the comic. And the FAQ page is nice, although it comes across as more silly than relevant.

Lastly, I noticed the newest pages still say "2011" on them.

Writing: The segment I read shows the main character, Jake, split between two dystopian realities, and both of these realities are dark, exciting, and unusual. The reality where Jake is shown as a human with alien feet is described by a native, Skit, as a sort of quasi-afterlife, although it seems to me more like a post-apocalyptic world, with the rampant environmental damage, savage tribes, and mutated creatures a reader might expect from that kind of scenario. But both interpretations are interesting, and I feel more intrigued by the ambiguity than confused -- and the afterlife description comes from Skit, who can't be trusted anyways. The creator jokingly suggests on his Comic Genesis website that not reading the comic from the beginning would be "hazardous to your mental health," but I felt like I was pretty much able to keep up with what was going on.

There's a lot of banter between Jake and Skit, and it keeps the tone of the comic relatively light despite the dismal situation they're in. The discussion largely relates to Jake, the initiate, being informed by Skit, the expert, which is a classic and effective technique for conveying a fictional world to the reader. Jake's a goofball, remarking in the beginning, "I should have paid way more attention in that home-ec class!" when he struggles to put on a pair of boxers he finds, so it's amusing seeing him try to survive in this nightmare world when he's obviously ill-fitted to do so. I also like how the comic uses strange language to add a sense of mystery and foreshadowing -- for example, when Skit warns about the "Fire-Ice Moon," the reader doesn't know exactly what that means, but knows it's clearly something dangerous.

Lastly, in the "bee world" reality, the giant spider makes a great villain. Tiny spiders are already creepy, so being confronted by a humongous one is obviously terrifying.

Art: The creator should be proud of the comic's fantastic and exciting illustrations, as seen on this page and this page. The artwork, overall, has dramatic perspectives and shading, and the various strange creatures in the comic look great. There's also a lot of violence and gore in the comic that seems realistically conveyed -- for a lot of their battle, both Luke and the giant insect are drenched in blood. The top-left panel here is one of my favorites in the comic, showing the giant insect from a worm's-eye view right before it crashes to the ground.

My main problem with the comic's artwork is the weird and sudden shifts in art style. For example, compare the dramatic page 127 to the flat page 128. Pages 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, and 143 all look so different that I considered that they might literally be done by different artists, but the creator's only attempt to explain this is his comment that page 142 "got rushed." While on a level it's cool to see the comic rendered in different styles, I found the inconsistency to be very distracting while trying to read the comic. In addition, when some pages look much worse than the rest, it creates the impression that the creator's being lazy. The line art in this page looks particularly sloppy.

One last thing that bothered me with the artwork is that the giant insect appears to be much larger on page 132 than it is on page 131. It's possible the insect suddenly grew somehow, but the comic doesn't explain what happened.

Overall: This is a quality sci-fi webcomic that deserves more attention than it seems to be getting. In the pages I read, the creator demonstrates he's capable of tackling difficult subject matter in terms of both the art and writing. The creator really needs to choose a look for the artwork and stick with it, though.


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