"Character Study": A Girl from Mars

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jdalton
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"Character Study": A Girl from Mars

Post by jdalton » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:09 am

So I've been posting here for a few weeks and I think it's high time I show some of my art. This comic is meant to be a short "character study," which may eventually become a much longer story if I can ever work out the plot properly. Plus some people might get upset if I abandon my other comic book project halfway through to work on something new.
I've tried some new techniques, most importantly I tried to find a quick and efficient way to do colour, and I'd like some feedback. There's also a lot of unspoken stuff going on with the setting and characters that I expect people will have questions about. Ask away. Be as critical as you like. A lack of constructive criticism does no one any good, right?
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Jonathon Dalton
A Mad Tea-Party

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Hot Soup
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Post by Hot Soup » Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:08 pm

Good gosh, this is very cool. :D You're character designs are strong, and the story is very intriguing. My main critique would be to add more detail in the backgrounds when they're talking at the lunchtable. From the previous pannels, it looks like there should be more stuff behind her. I realize you've simplified it to bring out the characters more, but your other detailed, complicated panells, like the train station, are so appealing that I would add more detail like that to the rest of the story. The colors are well used as well. Frankly, I'm hooked, and want to read more. I love it how the martian people are wearing little clothes even in winter, because their used to the freezing martian temperatures.
Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.
Study hard. Be Evil.

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Threshold
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Post by Threshold » Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:14 pm

This is quite interesting. I'm used to very overdone alternate realities, but yours is subtle and elegant. I'm somewhat hooked.

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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:44 am

Thanks for the comments.
- I'm determined to keep the background of the second luch-table panel blank, but I'm undecided on the third panel. I put a pattern in it to fill the space, but maybe I should do a proper background instead.
- This is a nice spring day on Mars. Wait until you see what real winter's like. For the Martians I thought that if the planet was colonized by a traditional African culture they might not approach cold weather clothes with shirt sleeves and pants the way horse-riding cultures like Europe and China would. Native Americans from cold climates, for example, at least apart from the Arctic, would often just wrap themselves in enough blankets or cloaks that their body temperature stays warm despite some exposed skin. And I wanted to show the contrast between the subtley closed off culture of the place Maida ends up in and the more open culture she left behind. (I realize that I over-analyze everything. That's half the fun).

Jonathon Dalton
A Mad Tea-Party

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Nofret
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Post by Nofret » Fri Oct 07, 2005 7:21 am

Interesting world you created there :D
One usually gets to see a very hi-tech world when it comes to colonisation of Mars, but you went simply for a cultural angle: slightly evolved english, school uniforms that feel like a cross between muslim-chinese and wild west pioneers (I think that' because of the girl with braids ;) )
Characters are nice and interesting, and I'd also love to read more.
I especially like the scene of the train arriving: the variety of colours compared to the school.
If you have the time, definitely do more :D :D

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Kazu
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Post by Kazu » Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:25 am

Yes, this is really interesting. The story drew me in very quickly. Please post more! :D
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sam
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Post by sam » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:37 pm

yes, i want to see more, too !
i had to read it more concentrated because of the "future-english" :)
reminded me a bit of jamaican patois :)

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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:07 pm

Thanks, everyone. The "future English" is actually just an East London accent with a few foreign words thrown in. I have no idea what English will sound like in the future, but I'm pretty sure it won't sound like the Queen's English. I was thinking of using Jamaican English for the aristocratic accent on Earth.

Sadly, I have no more of this story to post. I'm in the middle of a comic I've been working on for a year now (A Mad Tea-Party) and it would take a lot of convincing for me to give it up. I'm really happy with how this story came out though, so I don't know...

Jonathon Dalton

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Mike Laughead
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Post by Mike Laughead » Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:19 am

I LOOOOVE this little peek at the story you have in your head. Being religious myself, and a Sci-fi buff, I have always been more interseted in the culture of the future than the technology. Great stuff, I really want to read this story.
Mike Laughead

MikeLaughead.com

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Ganter
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Post by Ganter » Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:39 am

Cool to see you around here, Jonathan! I always loved your stuff and seeing it develope, this is no exception. It looks great! My only snag is the transition to the flashback could've been smoother because I thought it was a cut to the next scene.

But yeah, I'm hooked too! The subtlety of the sci-fi is so fantastic! =D

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Dek
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Post by Dek » Wed Oct 12, 2005 6:57 pm

Wow! I'm usually not so drawn in by a few pages, but this one just hooks you! Your characters are so full of life - I can almost see Kilwa roll her eyes in that last panel ("No, Of course we wear clothes. Just not as many as you do here."). Any more?

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neil
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Post by neil » Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:47 pm

Please keep going on this! It's terrific, and full of really well-informed insights. I think it's already moved beyond just a character study, though the character you're developing is very engrossing. I'm also taking a stab at a science fiction story that tries to avoid the more second-handed ideas of fantasy (the way yours does so well), so it's really piquing my interest. I also like the rough but pleasant coloring style (which strikes me as kind of European). The class-reversed language is really interesting, as others have pointed out--I noticed the bits of Hindi you used, and it actually made that train-bomb scene more emotional for me. I'd imagine that as the story gets longer, the reader would become completely accustomed to the dialect, kind of like Burgess's A Clockwork Orange.

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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Thu Oct 13, 2005 1:58 am

Ganter wrote:Cool to see you around here, Jonathan!
Well, after somebody stopped drawing my favourite online comic I had to find somewhere else to hang out. But I'm not bitter. Because I discovered the Flight forum. And in a few months I'll be able to buy a very excellent comic called "Sorcerors and Secretaries" by some newly published comicker. Fair call about the transition, by the way. I had considered that.

Mike- As much as I like sci-fi, I don't know much about technology. I have no original ideas when it comes to the topic. And aliens are cool, but are most effective (I think) when used as a metaphor for human beings. And human beings make at least as good a metaphor for themselves. But culture, on the other hand, culture I could go on about for hours.

Neil- Five months in Europe and I'm already colouring like a European? That's got to be a new record. Seeing as you haven't complained about my usage of Hindi (Actually I thought Mangala was Sanskrit?) I must have picked the right words. I was concerned because sometimes dictionaries can steer you wrong. Anyone here speak Swahili?

So many positive comments. Well, now I have a problem. Do I (A) quit the comic I'm working on now (A Mad Tea-Party), even though it's already up to 63 pages, disappointing the handful of readers I've managed to collect, to start up a new comic (Maida Kilwa) that could turn out much better, but I can't be sure because it's not written yet, or (B) sit on Maida for another year or two while I finish off a story that's managed to develop the occasional major plot flaw, even though there are still lots of things I like about it, but at least I would have finished a comic, something I do too rarely? I really can't decide what to do. Anyone have some advice?

Jonathon Dalton
A Mad Tea-Party

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