Legalese Reloaded

Creator/s: V. Harishankar
Run: 4/12-current
Schedule: About once a week

Website: The site describes itself as "Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then," and the comic pages seem overwhelmed by this miscellaneous, unrelated content. I think having a separate site for a comic's a better way to present it, and there are several free websites, such as Comic Genesis and Smack Jeeves, that are designed for hosting webcomics.

Writing: The main focus of Legalease Reloaded seems to be to present the legal world as it really is -- formal, obscure, and tedious -- as a contrast with pop culture's version of law as a dramatic battle of wits. While this approach scores points for originality, the creator fumbles clumsily with the concept, dropping in tepid gags here and there in some misguided attempt to be relevant. But this comic suffers from the same problems it tries to satirize -- it's formal, obscure, and tedious, and I expect readers will quickly get tired of slogging through the long-winded speeches and elaborate legal contexts while being starved for entertainment value. And to make things worse, the comic's merely a series of one-shots, meaning the extensive setups (often conveyed through multiple "wall of text" panels) become irrelevant with each new page.

Art: The comic has a very cartoony style, and the creator seems to have gotten a bit carried away with it, drawing the characters in an oversimplified and inconsistent manner that just looks sloppy and disinterested to me. While the creator demonstrates a general familiarity with anatomy, the characters' heads are frequently misshapen and vary wildly in style, giving the comic an unfocused, haphazard feel. The creator also continuously struggles with hands, presenting them as overly large and poorly drawn. There are also some problems with anatomy in general, especially with the female characters (see the poorly-drawn woman in the last panel here for an example). I realize that the illustrations aren't meant to be realistic, but the artwork doesn't suggest to me that the creator has any significant artistic ability.

I think the comic would look better if the creator put more focus on varying line widths, which would help create a more realistic and appealing look. Doing this should also help the creator get more control over the inking, which is a lackluster aspect of the comic's artwork.

The coloring and backgrounds are just "okay," and don't strike me as particularly good or particularly bad. I think the comic could benefit from varying the page layouts, though. All of the pages have a similar six-panel layout, and I imagine that if the creator played around with three-, four-, or five-panel layouts, he'd have more creative freedom, and could do things like having more elaborate backgrounds, and trying different panel sizes and shapes.

Lastly, it's a fairly minor complaint, but I can't help but think that the third panel of this page looks a lot like a cameo of Adolf Hitler. I don't know if this is intentional or not, but it seems very out of place for a comic in which the whole point is to be realistic.

Overall: Legalease Reloaded successfully distinguishes itself from pop culture, but the more prominent legal depictions -- however inaccurate -- are funnier, more interesting, and more relevant, which leaves this comic not accomplishing much. It has the angle of potentially appealing to people familiar with the legal world, but that niche audience is so limited that it's virtually irrelevant. There may be some creative potential here, but it'd probably be wisest for the creator to gain experience doing a more conventional comic.


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