Hi, Before I start my critique, I would like to say by no means, take the following personal... I've never met Rudi Gunther, so you CANNOT take this personal.
ABOUT DEATHWORLD... First of all, the name... It all ready belongs to a GOOD comic book that's been out for over 15 years. I was very disappointed right off the bat that this wasn't a web comic spin-off of it. The stories of Deathworld the web comic and characters are very boring and one dimensional. It was really a test of my patients to keep reading the comics. And that's with a cable modem. After 4, I wish I had a VCR manual to read!
The art ... it fits the writing well, in the sense that neither of them improved in the 6 years he's been doing it. (They trained an elephant and monkey to paint in less time) On the plus side, Deathworld is colored... is there a connection?
When I say learn how to draw, I mean it. There are many BASIC FUNDEMENTALS of cartooning that aren't appearing in 98% of Keenspace,Keenspot comics. and if you're not a cartoonist, then what the fuck are you doing a comic for? The drawings in deathworld look like what the high school auto shop kids would draw when they were bored in English class. BASIC FUNDEMENTALS including... character construction, (ANATOMY) build your characters out of shapes first. This will make your characters solid and believable. Perspective. The horizon line in deathworld changes as often as the dialog. Learn it. The best book on it is "Perspective Drawing" by Ernest Norling you can get it on ebay for a few dollars. The Composition and Storytelling.. the pacing and placement of your character in your panels needs major work!... You didn't think cartooning was only drawing goofy pictures, and writing dialogue, did you? The book I suggested was Will Eisner's "Comics and Sequential Art" He had a second book, that I can't remember the title. It's another must have. Also "How to draw Comics the Marvel Way" by Stan Lee and John Buscema I always see these in used book stored for like 5 bucks. The marvel book is great for learning construction, and composition. For Storytelling and pretty much everything you need to know about comics is in "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud. Also "Reinventing Comics" by Scott McCloud deals with Webcomics.
The Writing is very boring. By the time I would get to the third or fourth panel, I didn't care about the punch-line, the story or the characters. He should try writing for a 3-4 panel comic, and then expand where you need it. Work on your storytelling and timing. Get the ol' Will Eisner book to learn this. I do like the fact that he uses profanity. That's a personal opinion, not professional. It still doesn't make the comic funny. I did like the joke on here but I liked it when Monty Python did it.
Also.. about his writing.... and why I suggested writing 3-4 panels, then expanding (meaning more panels) when necessary. BECAUSE! There are too many words. The secret to jokes is short and sweet. By the time you get to the sixth panel in deathworld, no punchline in the world could make that comic funny. And even if he is doing strictly an action strip, He should still write less. Read some old Flash Gordons strips. Remember the K.I.S.S. rule... Keep It Simple Stupid! People on average have a 7 second attention span. Write within that span. When you become a good writer, you can get more people's attention.
I think he's trying to do a funny adventure strip. Which is hard undertaking. You should either go completly funny Like Space balls, where EVERYTHING is a joke. Or completely serious, Like flash gordon. Mixing the two is really difficult to pull of successfully, I think that in comics, it's twice as difficult.
If you're planning on being funny. The best advice I can give is "THINK FUNNY". Just as a daily excercise, no matter where you are, or what you are doing. Think to yourself what is the funniest thing that can happen here. Think funny at inanimated objects. Look at anything around you and ask "what is funny about this?" "what is the funniest thing this can be used for?" I just looked at my mouse next to my keyboard, and thought of the cat bringing it to my girlfriend with it in his mouth. That was the first though .013 seconds of thought.. If I sat and thought about it, I could give you 100 funny things about the mouse. And so should you.
The website design is excellent. Very simple, and very to the point. A+
My advice is to discover who your characters are, how each of them would react to different situations. How would they interact with other characters. After 10 comics, a reader should be able to distinguish who each character is if you were to blindfold them and read the comics out loud to them. When you have a complete understanding of each character, The comic writes itself.... Oh, and learn how to draw. (construction of your characters is very important.) If you are doing it "your style" develop "your style" so it reads fast and is pleasing to the eye, rather than the 8th grade drawings.
I am, of course, coming from the school of Nothing is learned with a kind word. I would really like to see this strip grow, and I believe it has great potential as a comic.. but I believe Rudi needs a kick in the butt to get him to do so.-Gary