Creator/s: Robert Bracey
Run: 1/10-7/12
Schedule: Once a week

Scribbles features four short stories, which range between six and 18 pages. Each of the stories has its writing, art, and technical aspects evaluated below.

Website: The black-and-white layout's extremely basic, and it appears the creator's put little to no effort into making the site more visually appealing.

The site has a disorganized section for concept art, and the miscellaneous pieces there aren't related to the comics on the site. There are a few "preview" panels there for the site's stories; however, now that time has passed and the stories have been posted, these "preview" panels are clearly redundant.

"Ranting at the Edge of the Apocalypse," January 2010, 6 pages

Writing: Jabbing at Indian call centers, Nigerian phishing scams, and horror movie stereotypes, this extended monologue reads like an uninspired stand-up routine. The concept left me scratching my head, as the narration had no connection with the miscellaneous zombie illustrations, and this story seems poorly suited for the comic form. Perhaps it would've fared better as prose?

Art: The excellent zombie drawings throughout the story showcase the creator's aptitude with the horror genre. He's also able to render the attractive female protagonist fairly well, although her appearances lack consistency, especially in certain panels here and here where she's shown as having a significantly wider face. The abundance of variety in the poses and perspectives help this static story stay fresh.

Technical: The last page is posted twice, and it's baffling to me that the story's been posted for more than two-and-a-half years without this obvious mistake being corrected.

"The Viziers Tower," January 2010, 18 pages

Writing: This exciting story features an Aladdin-esque hero relying on his courage, wit, and athleticism to flee from a powerful genie. At one point in the story, the genie cartoonishly reveals to the hero how it can be defeated, and while this is clearly portrayed as a product of its arrogance, I still have somewhat of a difficult time accepting that the genie could really be that incompetent. The elaborate action sequence involved is well-choreographed, although it gets to be overly tedious, and I would've preferred the story to have been resolved in fewer pages.

Art: The muscular genie has an impressive amount of anatomical detail, while the hero's drawn somewhat less capably. There's also a notable amount of effort put into depicting the interior of the tower, which has been converted into a improvised battlefield.

Technical: Elaborate, colorful mosaics make up the pages' extensive borders, and while this technique gives the story an exotic aesthetic, it's distracting from the artwork and takes up too much space. The layout haphazardly switches between fairly standard pages and extremely horizontal ones, somewhat in the vein of infinite canvas. I'm not a fan of this approach, as the horizontal scrolling feels clunky and unnecessary, and the creator makes the situation worse by awkwardly "stacking" portions of these horizontal pages. Also, I'm not particularly concerned with the comic's typos, but it's less excusable to make a mistake in the story's title, which is missing the apostrophe both on the cover page and in the site's archives.

"Dix's Magical Mystery Hour: The Burghmeister Case," April 2011, 14 pages

Writing: Taking on the familiar Sherlock Holmes concept, the creator adds his own twist by complicating the mystery with elements of magical fantasy. The superfluous pages from "The Viziers Tower" would have been better spent here, as the political intrigue and mental maneuvering are clearly rushed, the characters are all underdeveloped, and the story lacks a proper conclusion.

Art: The comic's designed in an unusual way that resembles medieval artwork to an extent. The backgrounds and period outfits both show a significant amount of detail, with the creator using liberal hatching to convey a gritty, dated feel. The font also has an antiquated look to it, and while obviously digital, it gives the appearance of being methodically inked by hand.

Technical: Color-coding the speech bubbles is a reasonable way to try to make the long-winded dialogue fit into the cramped panels, but the colors used are garish and go poorly with the subdued drawings. In addition, the decision to make the bubbles semi-transparent is highly questionable. The tails are tiny and can be difficult to recognize, and many of the bubbles don't have tails, which fosters somewhat of a disconnected feel. This story might benefit from having larger pages.

"The Question," July 2012, 12 pages, with guest writer W.A.O Draper

Writing: Seeking out a wise man on top of a mountain's a cliché, and this fable doesn't offer an original take on it aside from substituting a dragon for the wise man. The story's moral of "be humble" isn't very coherent, and the focus on the triumph of an Average Joe over the intellectual elite offers little substance besides representing a populist bent.

Art: The stylish watercolors, attractive furries, and Eastern aesthetics combine to make a brilliant presentation. A lot of detail's put into the various locations featured throughout the story, and the snake-like dragon looks notably intimidating and majestic.

Technical: The site's title for the story is "The Question," but the first page prominently displays the title as "The Answer." As I mentioned previously, titles are particularly important, and extra attention should be given towards making sure that titles are consistent.

Overall: Throughout his four stories, the creator's demonstrated creative artistic approaches, strong design skills, and high-quality illustrations; however, the writing continually lags behind, leaving the site as a gallery of attractive artwork with little narrative substance behind it. Some of the areas that particularly need work include pacing, character development, and plot structure. There's also a stark inattention to detail in some parts of the comic, and readers would certainly appreciate it if the creator had a more professional attitude towards his project.


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