Without Moonlight

URL: www.drunkduck.com/Without_Moonlight
Creator/s: Tantz Aerine
Run: 6/10-current
Schedule: Once or twice a month
Section/s: Ch. 2

Website: Hey, a Drunk Duck comic with a decent website!

Without Moonlight has a few historical subpages, like "Nazi Culture" and "Understanding Greeks," which elaborate on some of the ideas behind the comic. I didn't have time to actually read any of them, but they look fairly interesting and informative. The cast page is pretty good, too.

The creator, who's Greek, occasionally posts about the crisis currently going on over there, and it's neat to see a personal perspective on the situation as opposed to the news stories I'm more familiar with.

Writing: This comic has a lot of dialogue. Like, A LOT of dialogue. Like, on every page. And these aren't regular pages, either -- no, they're more like "super pages," by which I mean several pages worth of dialogue crammed into one really long page. I feel like the mere 14 pages I read could've easily been 50 or more "regular" pages if the creator had a better sense of structure. I can suggest two explanations for this unusual and unappealing style: Either the creator only has a vague understanding of comics as a medium, or she's so ashamed of her artwork that she's deliberately presenting her webcomic as merely a form of illustrated prose. But since she's a pretty good artist, I'll assume it's the former. As such, I suggest she give a look at some of the webcomics I've reviewed particularly favorably so far, such as Demon of the Underground, DOUBLE K, Four Tales, June, and Loud Era, and study the structure of these comics. And not only do these comics present dialogue better, but I think they write higher quality dialogue as well.

As for the concept, it's a pretty generic good guys vs. bad guys war story, except without the action. It's cool that the creator, via her comments, ties the Greeks' role in World War II to the modern Greek opposition movement, but in the comic she doesn't try to convey the Greek resistance in a meaningful or insightful way. It's always handled in a purely emotional way, portraying the Greeks as the suffering, heroic victims of Nazi brutality. But fascist propaganda's based on manipulating emotions, so is anti-fascist propaganda based on emotions really all that different? I think using left-brain, rational discourse to refute statist ideology's a more effective method. And I assume the comic's largely motivated by promoting a certain ideology, as the historical and dramatic elements are notably lacking. Well, there are historical elements, but they're in the supplemental pages of the comic's website, and not in the actual comic.

Art: The main impression I got from the art's that I was really relieved whenever the characters went outside. The creator puts a noticeable amount of effort into conveying the architecture of World War II-era Athens, and she cuts down on the dialogue in these scenes in order to avoid obscuring her detailed backgrounds. The exterior panels in pages 2, 6, and 14, for instance, are some of my favorite panels in the comic, and it's not a coincidence that these panels are relatively dialogue-light.

I was also distracted by the constant shifts in character detail. The panels in any given page can range from "fairly cartoony" to "very realistic." I get the impression sometimes the creator loosely "wings it" for many shots, but carefully uses photo references for close-ups, creating weird discrepancies. Pages 4 and 9 are some of the worst offenders. The creator does both cartoony and realistic styles pretty well, but she needs to make a clear choice and be consistent about it, and certainly not mix styles within the same page.

Lastly, what's up with the red gradients in the page borders? Black borders work fine.

Overall: After I read Without Moonlight but before I wrote this review, I discovered the webcomic's gotten some accolades from fellow Drunk Duck members. I actually think the comic's probably worse than mediocre, as not only is it uninteresting, but it's tedious to get through since there's so much dialogue. I expect the creator does better when she writes prose, but she clearly still has some work to do in figuring out how to write for comics.



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    We, the People are waiting to see your guts.

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    We have control. We keep you safe. We are your hope.

    1. You are probably not over 15 and if you don't stop pulling at your wank in this manner you will end up yanking it off.

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      We have control. We keep you safe. We are your hope.