July 26, 2002

Deathworld (www.fuddafudda.com) is a lively strip by Rudi Gunther. It is about dead soldier (Matt Blaster) and his daily trials and tribulations on a planet called Deathworld.

Matt's Arch enemy is the evil Dr. Von Rudenstein. He spends his days building experiment after experiment with the goals of destroying Matt Blaster, and being the biggest genius on the planet! However, as big a genius as he claims to be, has yet to rid deathworld of Matt.

It is also filled with a wide assortment of characters. Whether they are totally original or parodies of mainstream characters, they always tend to provide a good laugh.

It is a webcomic that seems intended for print publication (and occassionally clearly is).

ART

In the very beginning, the art started off exceptionally well. Especially considering the quality of the majority of webcomic art. The art fit the mood. It was an intro to the planet and this battle to seize a base. There was no humor in the beginning, and it felt as if it was going to be a drama/action story driven serial comic. So in the beginning, the art fit nicely. There was a good use of dark vs. light (chiaroscuro for you art critics), this helped make the intense intro more gripping.

As the humor began to arrive, the art quality loosened up into a more cartoony look. I found this fitting as well. The transition began at the face of the character of the last panel in this strip (0006 ). And slowly, it worked it's way into more humorous illustration.

The characters, though not dramatically, have improved from beginning toend. Matt became more and more of a personality. My favorite female caricature was Anna. I kept noticing how nice and rounded her face looked. The other character's faces (not including Matt) were not as lively as hers was.

However, there was a one shot character that I felt had a lot of life (0091). The fat man's facial expressions and textures helped make him seem more real and have more personality. I think Rudi is pretty good with textures like these, Beit the armor on Matt's body, the exoskeleton on the constant cameo of the Aliens, or the fuzz on the fat man's body. I think you should push this even further because it is a strength.

(0093) This strip is one of my favorite ones. Persoanlly, I'd have put different angles instead of the constant side view, but it was probably the first of Rudi's strips that I found the play of frame zoom noticable. It also worked incredibly well with the little hamster (0190). It made the hamster feel really small and helpless which is what made the gag so funny when we were proven otherwise. It became apparent that Rudi was aware of this. So, nice choices using the zoom to add effect:)

At (0154) a lot of things begin to work. We get to see Rudi pump out some coloring skills. Though very little is used in this strip, the next strip works very well. It looks like a comic would be colored. I like the way it is, but it could never hurt to experiment beyond and see what else you can do with it. Nevertheless, leaving it as is, would work just fine.

In the following strip (0156) I noticed the quality of the lettering start to take effect. I never had any problems reading from the beginning, but it was here that I started to feel more of a professional style. I especially enjoy the variation of tone portrayed in the style of lettering. It added SOOO much. It's a plus, keep doing it.

(0185) This strip had one of my favorite's of Rudi's background. I feel just adding a small touch of 3D to everything in a strip can enhance the final look dramatically. But not only did Rudi 3Dify those bastards, he pushed the perspective. They were very unrealsitic/surreal and fought the rules of perspective, but they were very fashionable. It worked very well. I noticed in some later strips, he got lazy and put a flat background. I think you should keep up the perspective. It doesn't take that much more time to add that 3rd Dimension. Nice job on that one. And the lettering again, excellent.

(0186) This strip, I think, is by far my favorite. The gag was funny, the angles were excellent, and just the thought behind it, all flowed well. It had everything, Great texture, fine lettering, extreme angles, nice facial expression, a (almost) silent pause frame, the hilarious "FUDDA FUDDA" running gag, and some news reporter leg. It worked well. I thoroughly enjoyed that one.

I think my biggest problem with the art was that there were many times when the character just seemed lifeless. The majority of the strips showed a speaking character just standing there. If they were moving, a limb would be doing something but the rest of the body would be stiff. Sometimes this kinda stiff composition worked well (the mood was dull or mellow), but I felt it wasn't working all the time. Something as simple as angling the shoulders and hips differently can easily remedy this. Usually when people talk, they might be resting on one leg and relaxing the other, or gesturing with their hands. People often do something as opposed to standing like a frankenstein with a smile on his face. I suggest observing the way people interact. It'll help you incorporate this into your drawings and take care of the talking heads syndrome. If for some odd reason the person's body is stiff, and you feel you still want to add life, play with the camera angles to show some kind of mood.

Overall, there are a lot of strengths. as rings true for everyone, there is always room for improvement.

WRITING

The writing in the very beginning, as I said earlier, was very gripping. I found myself hooked. So hooked, in fact, that once the humor started I was kinda disappointed. Once the humor started to roll around, it felt a little inexperienced and choppy. I let it go, considering it was the first year of the strip. I figured it would get better by the end. And....it DID! It was a slow process. It felt like a hesitant bird coming out of it's egg. Sometimes it would push, sometimes it would sit back. I often felt the dialogue could have been reworded or cropped to a minimum (0034) Dropping a few things here and there (dialog wise) would have made this funnier. By the end, however, I feel Rudi started to take control of his writing. For example, (0144, 0223, 0176, 0129) I found pretty succesful.

There was a lot less unecessary wording, and a lot more flow so I think you're doing fine there. Just keep it up.

Sometimes, things got a little cheesy, especially in some of the romantic parts. (0070) This strip started off kinda cheesy, but the conversation changed into something else, and the absurdly irrelevant gunplay in the background was hilarious and completely eased the cheese. I love that stuff. Still, people can argue what it cheese and what is not. So DO keep in mind that it is merely my opinion that some of the romantic stuff is cheesy.

Last thing, I never once got tired of the running FUDDA FUDDA gag. I love that stuff. (0063) This was one interesting because the killing a ninja with a gun joke has been widely overused, but you added your own little touch which pulled it off well. It's basically "cartooning". They say EVERYTHING has been done. Your job is to add some kind of personal twist to it. Good Job.

(0224) HAHA. You keep me surprised with a little "FUDDA FUDDA" Backfire! GREAT!!!

(0086) Well drawn, and well written:)

(0058) FUCK YEAH!!! If a comic could be a song, this should be the national anthem for web comics. Keep doing what YOU want, Rudi:)

SITE DESIGN

The site is not flashy at all. It does it's job. It loads nice and fast, and doesn't take up a lot of bandwidth. The width is thin enough to work on those obsolete screens. And the archive pages are very minimal. Only what is needed, is there. I liked the "Annotation" button. I didn't read all of them, but when I did have a question about something, I checked it out, and it answered it for me.

I was slightly confused by the alternate use of comic file tags. That is, the use of ####'s versus comic dates. But that is only cuz I'm in a world of keen.

Overall, the site is user friendly and well done.

Deathworld is an excellent comic that has grown a lot over the many years of its existence. There is still plenty of potential that I feel Rudi can achieve as long as he keeps at it. Great job so far, I enjoyed reading the archives.

Thanks,
Paul Roustan
www.untitledagain.com

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