Lots of spoiler-y titles I could have used but on the assumption someone might read this, I’ll keep spoilers below the break.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!
So another elimination show. Katie is back again, this time pitted against Ty. Art is fundamentally conflicted about competition. I have met just as many artists who hate competition with a furious passion that borders on religiosity as I have met artists who are indifferent to it. I guess i have met some who actually are very competitive too. Basically there’s all kinds. It is a bit weird to put “making comics” into the same format that we put NCAA March Madness into — which is a ninety minute contest where someone wins and someone else goes home.
I’m interested in the judging here. Mike and Jerry are obviously really good at what they do but it’s also clear that Penny Arcade is a particular thing — viewpoint, style, subject matter. How much credit are Mike and Jerry going to give to people who come at comics outside of the Penny Arcade zone? I’m not sure this episode really tests that question too much except that I was a bit surprised at how little credit they gave Katie for her comic, outside of her artwork.
Personally I thought Katie’s comic was effective enough. It did lack the unexpected left turn that makes something really zing, but it was a clear cause and effect line and the last panel in and of itself had a kind of Ren & Stimpy appeal to it. Ty’s comic would have been awesome, if the joke had actually been any good. As it was, it’s the kind of labored effort at a joke that shows all of the rough edges of construction without actually giving you the pretty facade.
I have to wonder what the next contest will be? What other aspects of webcomic, inc., can be turned into a contest? We’ve done merch (t-shirts), press (interviews) — there’s also books, conventions and crazy collaborative efforts (although I don’t think the Penny Arcade guys were ever much a part of that). Realistically there’s guest comics for more established comics — I still think that can be an effective way to get quality exposure. That would certainly work as a contest (with a guest webcomic judge to boot).
We will see! There’s not much to go on to update the unofficial list of contestants except that Katie is pretty good at comiking under pressure. So let’s move her up to #2, followed by Maki, holder of the mysterious REDRAW pass (which I’m guessing is a get out of the elimination contest card or some other way of avoiding your first “go home” result). I just don’t see much else to separate the rest. Yes, Amy and Nick, our two “winners” are at least notable for that but both picked contestants for the elimination contest in a conservative, try not to offend anyone approach. That just doesn’t give you a lot of insight into how effective they will be at the rest of the game.
And Erika is still the only one there I’m aware of who is a fairly successful webcomic creator and she’s done nothing wrong yet so I’m still keeping her at the top of the list.
LIST OF LIKELY NOT LOSERS:
- Erika Moen: webcomic badass
- Katie Rice: winner of the first two elimination contests
- Maki Naro: holder of the REDRAW pass
- Everybody else