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Annoying things in Webcomics
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 309

PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really don't like censoring out profanities. I read dialogue with a character's voice in mind, which I assume most other people do, and when something illegible or written in symbols comes up, I don't "hear" the character say anything. It disrupts my reading flow and irritates me; I'd rather see the actual word.

I can sympathize with wanting to censor language to not offend people though, so an author using $%&@ for a word isn't going to deter me from actually reading the comic. Just annoy me.

As far as excessive swearing goes, I think I agree with what's been said. I look at it on a character-by-character basis. If everyone swears excessively, that's really annoying and I'll think less of the writer for that. If one or select characters do it, that's their personality; people are like that in real life, too.

I'm going to eventually introduce a character in my comic that swears constantly. I'm also going to introduce a character that never swears, and instead makes up his own. Most of my characters fall somewhere on the spectrum in between.
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ttallan
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made a similar decision about swear words in my "serious" comic (to not use them, I mean), and sticking with has over the years sometimes been a real challenge. Another alternative is a little pictogram-- such as the dark scribble of grumbling drawn over a character's head. Okay, I admit that's not very serious, but it suits my comic in its lighter moments.

I also like how the webcomic Skin Horse deals with a filthy-mouthed character. He has built-in software that automatically replaces swear words with random words. It gets pretty hilarious. This took a few swear-filled strips to set up the gag, though.

There are certainly times when a good hearty swear word just seems so appropriate, and it's tough to avoid it without sounding all golly gee willikers. I suppose one could also invent swear words, which is a popular method in certain gorram frakking sci-fi shows. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It occurs to me that the thing I find most annoying in webcomics is that so many of them have "pictures", as if words weren't good enough to describe all the action. Pfft! Lazy writers needing "art" to illuminate their point. Sheesh!
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Mbeast



Joined: 14 May 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
I made a similar decision about swear words in my "serious" comic (to not use them, I mean), and sticking with has over the years sometimes been a real challenge. Another alternative is a little pictogram-- such as the dark scribble of grumbling drawn over a character's head. Okay, I admit that's not very serious, but it suits my comic in its lighter moments.

I also like how the webcomic Skin Horse deals with a filthy-mouthed character. He has built-in software that automatically replaces swear words with random words. It gets pretty hilarious. This took a few swear-filled strips to set up the gag, though.

There are certainly times when a good hearty swear word just seems so appropriate, and it's tough to avoid it without sounding all golly gee willikers. I suppose one could also invent swear words, which is a popular method in certain gorram frakking sci-fi shows. Wink


I definitely love the idea of a pictogram over a character's head! I have kind of used this before in a few strips, but it was only tiny pictures in a thought bubble over a cat's head (kind of like Mark Waid's Impulse run for those who may remember it).

I've thought about going the made-up swear route for a few projects in the past, but had a hard time coming up with something that felt natural and not an obvious nod to said gorram frakking sci-fi shows.
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Metruis
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
I made a similar decision about swear words in my "serious" comic (to not use them, I mean), and sticking with has over the years sometimes been a real challenge. Another alternative is a little pictogram-- such as the dark scribble of grumbling drawn over a character's head. Okay, I admit that's not very serious, but it suits my comic in its lighter moments.

I was going to say that from what I've read in your comic, the pictogram seems to suit the mood and the visuals. I'd be far less distracted by that than random symbols, because I find the grumble effect makes me actually hear grumbling? Besides, your comic has a specific visual that suits the sort of anime effects, even if that's the only one that you use it doesn't seem as out of place in your work as it would in something full color and detail rendered, like the Phoenix Requiem. If a comic like that wants to avoid swearing they'd better just tough it out and write to avoid it. Though that makes me consider more visual methods of conveying a grumble. Like... I for example, when I get annoyed in real life, pop my lip. It's my personal grumble when I'm in a situation where I either should not be expressing displeasure (say at work, around the public) or don't feel like it but I'm still a bit annoyed. I've seen people actually do "fff" or nostril intakes.

Also when I'm in a situation where I can't use a big kid swear, the word of choice is "butts!"

It's nice and mood lightening when someone cuts you off or whatever.

I don't mind the Star Wars made up cusses... kriffing, poodoo... but you gotta have a setting that suits the made up cussing to roll with that one, I think. (What kind of weirds me out is when real people start using the sci-fi cusses and then think it doesn't count as swearing. Dude, it's the intent. If you say frakking and you mean fucking, you're still being potty-mouthed.) My TDE-verse uses "gods" (because there's more than one) and "realms", which definitely is used in Between Places, and there's a couple of Ekaeli swears because me and my co-writer ended up writing a scene where a native Ekaeli speaker decides to teach the human in the party how to swear in her language, much to the chagrin of the lawful good member of the party. But we don't use these as cuss substitutes, just options depending on the cast's background and what their tendencies would be.

I think my circular rambling can be summed up by "choose the appropriate thing for your comic and setting and art style."
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egypturnash



Joined: 12 May 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad made-up swears are closely related to what I call the "codder-shiggies", which is the problem of bad made-up slang in general. The term comes from Brunner's book "Stand on Zanzibar", in which it seems that EVERYONE, no matter what their social class, calls guys "codders" and women "shiggies". Which is especially noticeable because it's got plot threads set in a whole bunch of levels of society.

I decided that my current project should be free of swears, mostly because the previous one was a sex comic. There were a couple of times when the robot protagonist really, really needed to curse, and "smut" is what came out of her mouth. I've used it a couple of times since but have really tried to not lean on it. She also said someone was "full of tailings" at one point, which kinda makes sense for a former asteroid miner.

One of these days I definitely need to use symbols. I grew up on Asterix the Gaul, so I got to see stuff like this:

(This is Goths, hence the blackletter feel, and the spiky helmet on the skull.)

Also omfg check out this symbolic swears font I just found while googling for images of Asterix swears. Although if I was gonna do symbols I would totally draw them my own @#$%^ self.
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Mbeast



Joined: 14 May 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

egypturnash wrote:

Also omfg check out this symbolic swears font I just found while googling for images of Asterix swears. Although if I was gonna do symbols I would totally draw them my own @#$%^ self.


Agreed on this. I went font crazy one day and downloaded literally hundreds of them, including this one. I thought it would look great when needed, but boy was I wrong.
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ttallan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil Foglio is another master of symbol swearing, as this page from MythAdventures demonstrates. And I remember killing myself laughing the first time I saw this (1986?), because of way he uses similar graphics to show the demon Aahz trying to persuade Skeeve in a voice of sweetness and light.
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Mbeast



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
Phil Foglio is another master of symbol swearing, as this page from MythAdventures demonstrates. And I remember killing myself laughing the first time I saw this (1986?), because of way he uses similar graphics to show the demon Aahz trying to persuade Skeeve in a voice of sweetness and light.


Cool! I used to read the books this was based on and had no idea there was a comic. Bookmarking this for when I have the time to read through it all. Thanks for linking it!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got bad news for you, ttallon. Those creative swears aren't Foglio's, they're from the original text by Robert Asprin.

I prefer to be honest in my comic. Nudity, swears, and violence all have a place if they are relevant to the story and fitting to the natural reactions of the character.
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ttallan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, CN, I haven't been able to find my copy of Another Fine Myth so I can't check it to see what you're talking about. What are you talking about? Robert Asprin wrote "Skeeve saw big skulls and crossbones in the air as the demon swore a blue streak", or something?

I always thought Mr Foglio took Mr. Asprin's reasonably amusing series and improved it tremendously in this adaptation. Though I admit it's been quite awhile since I read the original novel. Probably has something to do with the fact that my copy of it has gone missing.
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Eve Z.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to avoid swearing in my comic as well, but my characters use the word 'crud' quite a lot en lieu of almost everything. :p
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My bad. I thought you meant the use of "wombat" and "goatfish". I'm pretty sure Foglio expanded the descriptive text in his art. For myself, I've never been impressed with the Myth comic. It was a passable interpretation of Asprin's work, but it wasn't even close to Foglio's best work with a pencil and brush.

As an aside...one of my fave moments in film is in the 80's French film, Subway when the men chasing Christopher Lambert lose him for a moment, one of them shouts "Merd, Merd...SHIT!!!" I find it hilarious that French swears just didn't have the punch he was looking for.
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Mbeast



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eve Z. wrote:
I tend to avoid swearing in my comic as well, but my characters use the word 'crud' quite a lot en lieu of almost everything. :p


I think it's just overall a better way to go, unless your intent is to do a more "mature audience" comic. The truth is language, nudity, violence, and other things will limit the audience interested, so I've taken that into consideration when doing my comic.

While I may swear casually - and like a sailor - at home, on paper (or screens or whatever) it has always come across to me as juvenile and a weak attempt at being edgy when used in a "normal" setting. Like Penny Arcade and Clerks. But if it's used in a setting more along the lines of Goodfellas or Sin City (which, oddly enough, I've been told has little swearing), then it fits right in.

Just personal preference though.
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egypturnash



Joined: 12 May 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is where I admit that I kinda hate the use of any "comics" font instead of lettering it your own damn self. There's a level of expressiveness that's lost. In extremes there's stuff like P.T. Bridgeport, the circus leader from Walt Kelly's "Pogo" who spoke in circus posters. In less extreme, there's just things like someone going "Byeeeeeeee!" and having the letters sinuously change size and baseline to suggest some music in the reading. Plus there's just something about seeing the lettering done in a way that really matches the rest of the image, instead of it being a standard "comics" font that came out of the superhero tradition.

That said my current project is using Myriad Pro for its dialogue. But then again it's super-crisp art with a lead character who's a robot. Hyper-precision fits.
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