The Time Dog

Creator/s: Kay Yoshida
Run: 4/11-current
Schedule: Random
Section/s: Ch. 3, pp. 26-45

It's like Time Pig, except... not really.

Website: It's simple, attractive, and easy to use. It'd be nice if there was bonus content, though, like a gallery or cast page.

The update schedule seems very random, with the creator posting multiple pages at a time after not updating for a couple weeks. A more regular schedule might improve the comic's readership numbers.

Writing: I'll start this section off with a few excerpts from the pages I read:

"AAAAAHH! Stop!" - Page 29

"AAAAHH" - Page 30

"AAAAHH" - Page 31

"AAAHHH!" - Page 32

"AAAHHH! Help!" - Page 33

"AAAAHHH!" - Page 34

"AAAAHHHH!" - Page 36

"AAAH!" - Page 37

"AAAHH! Help me!" - Page 38

This chapter features several kids and the time-dog getting tormented by a creepy Asian midget and his own dog, and... that's about it. After reading 20 pages, I didn't learn anything about the characters or plot except for that the midget's an obnoxious jerk who can travel through time somehow. I realized the midget's a douchebag from the very first panel I read, so it seems awfully redundant for the creator to devote 20 pages to hammering it into the reader that he's a bad guy and people don't like him.

On top of that, the dialogue's notably bland and unsophisticated, and the creator explains in his Smack Jeeves profile, "I'm a Japanese living in Japan. So,I'm not good at English.But I try to write in English for readers overseas." So, the deficiencies in the dialogue are understandable, but at the same time, the reality's that The Time Dog's dialogue doesn't have the same level of style and keenness that would generally be found in a comic written by someone who has English as their first language. I encourage the creator to work on getting more comfortable with writing in English.

Art: The artwork, on the other hand, is quite good, and the creator has an unusual manga style I haven't seen before. "HABE," creator of The Midnight Tea Party, commented on the Smack Jeeves forums that The Time Dog has "classic, 60-70s manga sensibilities," and that seems to be a fitting explanation for the style, especially since the current chapter's named "1966." The characters are cutesy and cartoony, but they're rendered cleanly and proportionately, and the creator competently draws the girls in a variety of poses and perspectives as they tumble through the air. He's also got a knack for page composition, and I particularly like how this transition between scenes is handled. The coloring's bright and simple, which helps The Time Dog maintain a light, fun feel even when its focus turns to danger and cruelty. Even when the characters are in life-threatening situations, the cheerful visual style reassures the reader that they won't be seriously injured. Also, the midget's rendered more realistically than the other characters, and he looks more creepy and menacing because of it.

I think the art could be improved a bit, though, by making the pages larger. As-is, the pages are only 500 pixels wide, and that's with a fairly thick white border around the pages. As a result, the panels look somewhat crowded, especially since the speech bubbles tend to be larger than necessary. Larger panels would allow more detail, especially with the backgrounds, and more of the scenery could be elaborated on, such as the various scientific instruments in the midget's laboratory.

Lastly, Comic Sans isn't a good font to use.

Overall: While The Time Dog showcases an unusual style, the creator's weak storytelling ability and underdeveloped English is holding back the comic from being an enjoyable read. If seeing a tiny Asian weirdo harass generic children for 20 pages is your idea of a good time, then The Time Dog's for you, but otherwise, hopefully this creator will be capable of coming up with interesting characters and a worthwhile plot sometime in the future.


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