URL: www.spoonmanga.com
Creator/s: David Yoon
Run: 1/12-current
Schedule: M-F
Section/s: Chs. 5-7

Website: Some readers might like the simplistic look, but I think it's a little too simple, to the point of being boring. The hand-drawn links are a nice touch, though, as well as the large banner at the top of each page. The webcomic also has a good amount of extras, most notably a podcast the creator does with another webcartoonist.

Some of the site isn't functional. The "Illustrations" link goes to a blank page, and the "F.A.Q" link goes to a blank page as well. I also expected the About page to be more useful, as instead of providing some helpful information about the story and characters, the creator chose to post an 850-word account of his failures as a webcartoonist.

Lastly, a lot of the pages get shrunk down too much, making them difficult to read. For example, this page, which is supposed to be 1,000-by-647 pixels, shows up as 560-by-362 pixels in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Some pages, like this one, which are supposed to be splash pages, end up being about the size of a typical webcomic panel. I was also annoyed by the awkward archives layout, which shows the last page first, and forces the reader to scroll down and click on multiple "Previous Entries" links to get to the beginning of the chapter. That's just bad design.

Writing: I'd like to share some information on the webcomic's background, which the creator goes into detail about here. SPOON started out as an "obsession" the creator had in elementary school, and after he developed an "infatuation" with Dragonball, it turned into sort of a Dragonball parody. He put it online in 2006 as Super Spoon, posting around 2,400 pages in a 16-month span before ending it due to the story being "unoriginal" and the drawings being "horrendous." Super Spoon v.2 came out in 2008, which lasted 660 pages before the creator ended it as well, explaining that "the drawings were still awful and the story still did not feel right." The next iteration, titled SPOON, started in 2010, and got to its 15th chapter before the creator ended it, citing "dissatisfaction of the story and drawings." That leads us to the latest comic, also titled SPOON, which has been running for 11 months and is currently on its eighth chapter.

Got all that? The scenario's of a creator adamant about making his childhood concept work despite repeatedly screwing it up. And what's this highly personal concept that the creator's spent 3,000-plus pages on and rebooted three times? It's about a kid with superpowers who flies around on a cloud and fights demons, which is basically the concept of Dragonball, the show the creator had an "infatuation" with growing up. (And, like in Dragonball Z, a demon in SPOON becomes a good guy.) In addition, SPOON has well-known elements from the Dragonball series, including energy blasts, calling out names of special attacks, and "powering up," and it resembles Akira Toriyama's art style. The creator's clearly frustrated that his projects haven't been living up to his expectations, but he's way too serious about something that's essentially just a rip-off of a popular series. I understand that he's developed a strong attachment to the characters he's been drawing since his childhood, but he clearly desires to "make it big" and "do this full time," and he's letting his childhood obsessions stifle his aspirations for the future. SPOON isn't gonna be the next Dragonball, and the creator should come to terms with that now before he decides to reboot the webcomic once again. Super Spoon v.5 won't magically be rid of the problems that plagued Super Spoon v.1, Super Spoon v.2, and Super Spoon v.3, and are plaguing Super Spoon v.4.

As for the quality of the writing, there isn't much to say about it. The plot doesn't make any sense, the characters don't have personalities, and the creator strings along one pointless fight scene after another. There's barely any dialogue other than the creator's idea of "tough-guy talk," such as when Seyj says in the last page of Chapter 5, "There's no way we could be half brothers. Because your blood is complete shit!" Also, the heavy use of profanity in the second half of Chapter 5's jarring since I got the impression SPOON was PG-rated, like the American version of Dragonball Z is.

Art: It's certainly better than the writing, but it's hard to get past how much it tries to look like Dragonball Z. Aside from the art style obviously being based on Toriyama's, Charles wears teenage Gohan's outfit, Seyj looks like child Gohan with Pan's bandana, Zephyr looks like Piccolo with hair, Gregory looks like Vegeta with a shaved head, and Goku looks like... wait, why's Goku even in this webcomic?

Despite SPOON being filled with action scenes, the creator's surprisingly inept at drawing them. As seen here, here, and here, he overuses action lines and blurry imagery, making the scenes seem fast-paced and dramatic but also making it too difficult to tell what's going on. This page is the most confusing, as it doesn't make any sense that hitting someone with a sword would cause them to fly in the opposite direction and up into the ceiling. It seems like the creator's rushing the pages in order to keep up with his Monday-through-Friday schedule, and in doing so, he's leaving out too much necessary visual information.

SPOON's About page explains the webcomic's premise as Charles being "cursed with the body of a SPOON," and the creator mentions that "it dawned upon me how humorous and believable it would be for the main character to be turned into a SPOON by an elf." However, as can be clearly seen in the cover for Chapter 7, Charles has the same egg-shaped head no matter what angle he's seen from. If he was actually shaped like a spoon, then his head shown in profile would look something like a thin semi-circle, as can be seen here. Considering that the creator could just grab a spoon out of his kitchen drawer to use as a reference, there's no excuse for screwing something up that's so fundamental to SPOON's concept.

To "celebrate" making a new ComicPress site, the creator decided to ruin several of his pages with awful, MS Paint-style coloring (1, 2, 3). I don't understand his thought process behind this, but I recommend that he sticks to black-and-white illustrations, at least until he can figure out how to color properly.

Lastly, what's Charles' "weapon" supposed to be?

Overall: The creator suggests that the first 3,000-plus pages of Super Spoon flopped because the stories didn't have "an overall goal [...] which can drive the story to a conclusion," but I think the real reason's that he's just not a talented writer. Fortunately, he's at least somewhat capable at illustrating, so if he still wants to pursue a career as a professional cartoonist, he should be able to pair up with someone who can craft a coherent plot and come up with interesting characters. If he wants to be taken more seriously as an illustrator, though, then he needs to put more emphasis on developing his own style, as well as ensuring that his scenes make sense on a visual level.


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