I wanted to share with you this Fall on Me critique podcast by Tim Young and Mulele Jarvis, from Deconstructing Comics. It wasn’t all positive (in fact, it was very harsh), but by no means it was unfair. They made very excellent points on things that I had either completely overlooked, and on stuff that I’d already noticed but didn’t really know (still don’t know) how to exactly tackle.
First of all, to hear the podcast, please go here: Critiquing Comics 006: “Fall on Me”
I have to admit I was pretty hesitant to listen to the podcast (even though I myself requested the critique), but I’m glad I did. Some of the things they pointed out are easily addressed and fixable (the website stuff, for example), but the writing bit will be much tougher for me.
It’s funny that they mostly talk about the lack of conflict and that things are “too happy”, because that’s something I myself have thought about from time to time over the last year or so. Why I haven’t acted on it is because yes, every relationship has its negative sides and mine is not an exception, but this being an autobiographical comic I’ve held back for fear of making our real, personal lives too “public”, too “out there.” To be honest, I’m not sure that’s something I (and heck, even my husband!) would feel all that comfortable with. Unfortunately, from what these guys have pointed out, that “holding back” has become this comic’s biggest flaw.
It’s easier for me to share the funny, positive stuff because they happen most of the time, and it was precisely those moments that inspired me to start this comic in the first place. I’m fully aware that the more conflicting aspects of our lives would make for more meaningful, 3-dimensional storytelling, but again, this being an autobio it makes it a lot tougher for me to just expose it all for people to see and judge. Many people have had no problem and even succeeded to do so (Lucy Knisley and Lezley Davidson from Peeling Onions come to mind), but I have to admit it’s a scary prospect to bring your own dirty laundry out in the open.
All that said, though, I do want to get better, and I do want to grow as an artist and a writer. I’ll make a point to be more observant and see if I can better “mine” our not-so-happy moments and make them work as comics. It may not happen right away, though…but I’ll try. I’ll have to make a decision about what I want this comic to be(come).
Argh this is hard. We’ll see how this goes =P
Huge thanks to Tim and Mulele for spending their time reviewing and critiquing this rookie’s little comic. It’s been a lot of food for thought!