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The Lara-Su Chronicles and Ken Penders topic - READ PAGE 164, POST 4096

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You know what? How about we play a game of analytical review and look more in-depth at this page. Barring all of the obvious art issues and everything else, let's look at this from a story perspective.

...

It's godawful.

Like, this is meant to be the first product in over a decade to feature Lara-Su. It's a different world, universe and continuity that's based on old comics from a decade again involved in a Sonic comic only purchasable in the US unless you happened to have a specialist comic shop near you. This opening page should be establishing the tone of the story, the world, the conflict, or more importantly, the main heroine of the story.

Who is this girl? Why is she on a beach? Who is her father? Why should we care? We don't know how the two were like together, so why should we shed any tears here? We haven't had time to build any type of relationship or establishment with the characters, so why should we give half a shit about what's happening now.  Lara-Su appears out of absolutely nowhere, no build-up, no hype, no nothing, and begins immediately starts exposition about her father's death. Why the fuck should I give a shit? I don't know who the characters are so why would I care about their death? 

Why should I care about Lara-Su? Not like I got a intro to her or her world, she can't be that important if she just randomly appears out of nowhere with no build-up and has nothing important to display about herself or her personality if she has to immediately discuss her father's passing in monologue form on some random beach.

As much as I dislike the story, take Mobius 25 Years Later for instance. It begins by establishing the world through Future Rotor's eyes. Someone who's travelling to visit an older Espio. This works as a reader substitute, someone who is exploring this new world the same as such and therefore can work as a somewhat decent intro to the story at hand. Even the first issue has Knuckles and Julie-Su having to simply convince their teenage daughter to come out of a locked room because she was angry over not being able to be a Guardian. We see Knuckles' temper flare up, before softening up and coaxing her to come out easier by appealing to her kind side and explaining he doesn't want her to be forced into the role like he was.

Mobius 25 Years Later is a godawful story with terrible and bland characters, but there was some half-decent attempts at world-building and character establishment, even if it was somewhat half-assed. If your opening page is nothing but exposition spoken plainly, then that is not a good look for the rest of the book.

Why not start the book earlier? Why not show Lara-Su and her family in their average lives first and let us build some kind of connection or establishment with them. Let us see Lara's relationship with Not-Knuckles first and let us see them together. Maybe the two are playful to one another, maybe the two have their own tempers and get on each other's nerves but still love each other as family, maybe have them conflicted but trying to come to a understanding, involve Julie in there and let the three work as a family-dynamic. Don't reveal Knuckles' death so early, let it build up when we've built some kind of establishing relationship with him and have it as a Act 1 twist once you've established the major conflict of the story and the world itself.

Why don't you establish Lara's character? What if she's rebellious and free-spirited like she was in M25YL and then having to own up to a bit more responsibility as Knuckles' death hits hard. Why don't we get an establishment to the world and it's order first and use that to establish Lara-Su proper before then jumping into Knuckles' death and Lara's griefing.

Better yet, why the fuck would you do something as stupid as Lara-Su being emotionless on a beach? Her father has seemingly died recently. Why don't you humanize her a bit and have her and Julie trying to work through their own retrospective grief periods before sending Lara on her mission. Let her actually be sad at Knuckles' passing. Show that she's a fucking living being and not some emotionless Mary-Sue robot who has to go on an adventure even though her father literally just passed away. Right now, all of this just shows another exposition filled mess with a bland emotionless character with no connection whatsoever. 

And then let's get onto the art. Lara-Su looks like an old woman and looks absolutely godawful at that. She's meant to be a teenager let looks like she's in her mid-40s. Her proportions is way off, and the creepy makeup on her is just making her look fifty times worse. I never thought I'd say the original redesigns looked better and yet here we are. It's a horrid mess of colour, inking and more that makes her look absolutely godawful. The background itself is absolutely lazy, Lara-Su looks so drastically different from the world around her that it sticks out like an absolute sore thumb and all in all, it's probably one of the worst pieces of art we've gotten yet.

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7 hours ago, Tylinos said:

Ken has finally released the first page of TLSC.

And, once again, we're back to using photo backgrounds.  You'd think that seven years of production time thus far would mean he'd be able to devote a bit of effort into the opening page, but I guess not.  It kind of works in the upper right panel (which I guess is why he just directly copy/pasted that frame in the bottom middle panel), but the bottom left one just looks like a sticker was pasted over the photo.  It barely even tries to blend in.

Speaking of the bottom left, we get our first look at Lara-Su's tattoo there.  And suddenly I have to wonder if this is a Sonic spinoff or an MLP spinoff, because even as someone who doesn't watch the show, I know that's exactly where they have their marks.

Also, there's a smudge in the right-hand margins.  May want to clean that up before finalizing it.

That moment when you're thinking that the backgrounds look really good, only to realize it's photoshop.
2a90ui.jpg

I also noticed that her color's somehow look a lot better here than in previous renders.

Anyway, congratulations on getting Page 1 out and looking sorta good! How many pages is Shattered Tomorrows supposed to be again?

6 hours ago, Tenko said:

Isn't it odd, he mentioned only 2 days ago that he was considering giving Lara-Su a tattoo while working on his latest page...

I'm sure he's not, as creators generally work on multiple parts of their project at once, and it's very rarely in beginning to end order, but the way he broadcasts his intentions, and then releases the content he's contemplating on a couple days later really makes it seem like he's just doing things on the seat of his pants sometimes. Yes creators change things on personal whim and sometimes last minute, but it's just the way he broadcasts it...I dunno it's hard to explain.

 

Really now? What's up with him detailing her hind in a way that's just barely noticeable?

6 hours ago, dwitefry666 said:

So this is for the thing he's charging for right?

Cos...Lara-Su is awfully Sonic styled...

 

Hey, I don't know how many Sonic characters with pointy chins, Cutie marks, and that much backline showing you've seen in your time.

1 hour ago, horridus said:

Huzzah. Seven years, and we finally have the first page of the actual story, rather than putzing around with Captain Rocket Crotch and Double-O-Stinkbomb. A sappy, poorly colored, lazily concocted page that uses photographed backgrounds and amateurish shading. But hey, at least we now know what Lara's butt tattoo looks like, and like I said, its the first ACTUAL page to feature her after years of St. John and Taelor. 

I do ask though- where does this page stand in relation to this, then? 

Cause I gotta tell ya, whether this is page 1 or page 2? The implied transition between the two is just nonsensical to behold. 

 

I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

 

:joy:

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

I try not to be overly critical if I have nothing constructive to add, but this is just bad. She's supposed to be sixteen, right? Then why does she look like an old woman? Further, seeing it in story context and not just on it's own it makes it even worse as it goes against one of the key components of main character design; the main characters should be visually pleasing to look at as they are the characters that the audience will see the most and as such the design needs to be one that the audience will not tire of looking at. Anyone who can take that image seriously and not tire of looking at it has my respect because that completely turns me away and makes it impossible for me to see a teenager. 

To say nothing of the color scheme, which looks much better here than ever before, but still.

Starlight, she ain't.  

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

Hey, I don't know how many Sonic characters with pointy chins, Cutie marks, and that much backline showing you've seen in your time.

We clearly visit differnt parts of the internet :D

actually, on that, I did this:

i_m_not_wearing_underwear_today_by_anoth

Thought I'd post it here, I buggered up the top lip and try as i might just...couldn't...get...it..right. She also came out quite chunky, dunno how that happened....

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2 minutes ago, dwitefry666 said:

We clearly visit differnt parts of the internet :D

actually, on that, I did this:

i_m_not_wearing_underwear_today_by_anoth

Thought I'd post it here, I buggered up the top lip and try as i might just...couldn't...get...it..right. She also came out quite chunky, dunno how that happened....

Yeah, lips tend to be awkward to draw at times. I love how the hair still not pops so much as messes out.

Lee-La the Echidna.

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EDIT: post didn't say what i wanted it to

the whole head is really wonky, it's very hard to get the hair and dreaflocks to interact in a way that makes them both look like they're coming form the same head and the hair isn't a wig, the fringe lays over the goggles in a way that just seems awkward, given how Penders draws them they really should lay under it, and the muzzle is just oddly shaped (the poor lips aren't it's fault thought, that's on me). 

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9 hours ago, Tylinos said:

Ken has finally released the first page of TLSC.

And, once again, we're back to using photo backgrounds.  You'd think that seven years of production time thus far would mean he'd be able to devote a bit of effort into the opening page, but I guess not.  It kind of works in the upper right panel (which I guess is why he just directly copy/pasted that frame in the bottom middle panel), but the bottom left one just looks like a sticker was pasted over the photo.  It barely even tries to blend in.

Speaking of the bottom left, we get our first look at Lara-Su's tattoo there.  And suddenly I have to wonder if this is a Sonic spinoff or an MLP spinoff, because even as someone who doesn't watch the show, I know that's exactly where they have their marks.

Also, there's a smudge in the right-hand margins.  May want to clean that up before finalizing it.

Wow this first page is just layered with the message "I can't believe they didn't give me Knuckles"... 

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2 hours ago, DabigRG said:

That moment when you're thinking that the backgrounds look really good, only to realize it's photoshop.
2a90ui.jpg

I also noticed that her color's somehow look a lot better here than in previous renders.

Anyway, congratulations on getting Page 1 out and looking sorta good! How many pages is Shattered Tomorrows supposed to be again?

Really now? What's up with him detailing her hind in a way that's just barely noticeable?

Hey, I don't know how many Sonic characters with pointy chins, Cutie marks, and that much backline showing you've seen in your time.

I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

 

:joy:

To say nothing of the color scheme, which looks much better here than ever before, but still.

Starlight, she ain't.  

 

 

 

Why'd you put 'I can't Breathe?"

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3 hours ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Who is this girl? Why is she on a beach? Who is her father? Why should we care? We don't know how the two were like together, so why should we shed any tears here? We haven't had time to build any type of relationship or establishment with the characters, so why should we give half a shit about what's happening now.  Lara-Su appears out of absolutely nowhere, no build-up, no hype, no nothing, and begins immediately starts exposition about her father's death. Why the fuck should I give a shit? I don't know who the characters are so why would I care about their death? 

Why should I care about Lara-Su? Not like I got a intro to her or her world, she can't be that important if she just randomly appears out of nowhere with no build-up and has nothing important to display about herself or her personality if she has to immediately discuss her father's passing in monologue form on some random beach.

One of the things that Penders has made achingly clear about this entire endeavor is that he wholly intends to use the M25YL stories as a jumping off point for this, claiming up and down that despite the alterations made to TLSC, its all canon to 25YL and that TLSC represents his 'true' vision for the stories he began in Archie. Towards this end he has even made clear his intent to include the final 25YL story, the Die Is Cast, with the ending altered to 'transition' into TLSC. His presumption is that through that story, potential buyers will want the other 25YL stories in other to know what is going on, and so much of the heavy lifting (in his mind) for Lara-Su's character and relationship with her father is done already, while 'returning fans' will presumably already know and won't need to be filled in despite the changes in the setting and continuity. 

It is an exceedingly flawed rationale on a number of levels, but that's Penders for you.

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Just now, horridus said:

One of the things that Penders has made achingly clear about this entire endeavor is that he wholly intends to use the M25YL stories as a jumping off point for this, claiming up and down that despite the alterations made to TLSC, its all canon to 25YL and that TLSC represents his 'true' vision for the stories he began in Archie. Towards this end he has even made clear his intent to include the final 25YL story, the Die Is Cast, with the ending altered to 'transition' into TLSC. His presumption is that through that story, potential buyers will want the other 25YL stories in other to know what is going on, and so much of the heavy lifting (in his mind) for Lara-Su's character and relationship with her father is done already, while 'returning fans' will presumably already know and won't need to be filled in despite the changes in the setting and continuity. 

It is an exceedingly flawed rationale on a number of levels, but that's Penders for you.

I'm well aware that's the case. The problem is 25YL is also over a decade old, backup stories that was only readily readable in one part of the world for a number of years, and not to mention that includes a crap ton of SEGA/Sonic features that confuse things further.

If you want to make a good story, it should be something that's able to stand up on it's own terms. not needing to piggy-back on other unrelated media that you've literally been forced to not include to the point you bastardize the designs even further due to a order. Either put full effort into making this a good story on it's own merit or expect criticism because you fucked everything up by expecting people to read a garbage back-up story arc from over a decade ago. Not  to mention if you really want to go down this route, Lara-Su, even compared to M25YL is displayed as incredibly out of character here. When I think about Lara-Su, I think of the rebellious temper-infused teenager who locked herself in a room to try blackmail her parents to let her become a Guardian, and had to be genuinely convinced why Guardian wasn't a good title. Better yet, the person who (by Ken Penders' awful writing standards at least) had enough of a human personality to do things other than look into the beach blankly when her own father died and spout exposition. 

And yes, keep in mind I'm running this through "Penders standard". M25YL and it's charactization is pretty awful either way, but even that is better than what's presented here.

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Why did he think using stock photographs as backgrounds was okay...?

I mean, kudos for not tracing them, but they just don't look that great with his art style. I think a drawn background would've fit this so much more; he could've used some brilliant blues and oranges for the water and sun reflection... I'm just not a fan of the muted background behind a colorful character.

The bottom left-most panel also bothers me... are we supposed to be viewing her from the side as she walks parallel to the water? Or is she walking away from the water, and then parallel again? Maybe it's just me, but it looks a little off.

I will give him credit for the shading and lighting, though. Not too bad.

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11 hours ago, Tylinos said:

Ken has finally released the first page of TLSC.

And, once again, we're back to using photo backgrounds.  You'd think that seven years of production time thus far would mean he'd be able to devote a bit of effort into the opening page, but I guess not.  It kind of works in the upper right panel (which I guess is why he just directly copy/pasted that frame in the bottom middle panel), but the bottom left one just looks like a sticker was pasted over the photo.  It barely even tries to blend in.

Speaking of the bottom left, we get our first look at Lara-Su's tattoo there.  And suddenly I have to wonder if this is a Sonic spinoff or an MLP spinoff, because even as someone who doesn't watch the show, I know that's exactly where they have their marks.

Also, there's a smudge in the right-hand margins.  May want to clean that up before finalizing it.

Y'know what will sell Lara-Su as a character? Just give her an ass tattoo. 

Also isn't this supposed to be able to be read regardless of if you've read Penders other work? I mean I assume he wants you to read the Storm first but what like the person at the top said if you are only reading this (say you bought it off him at a con) there's no context. Who's Lara-Su? Why do we care her dad is dead? How did he die? We need information.

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Just now, Ernest-Panda said:

Starting a story like this actually isn’t that uncommon.

I’ve seen movies and read books that begin halfway through, or right at the end of the story. The purpose is literally to make the reader want to read on to find out what’s happening and why.

Except the following page is supposedly a straight cut to the intro of random space man who's traced from random actors.

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3 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Except the following page is supposedly a straight cut to the intro of random space man who's traced from random actors.

So?

The movie “Saving Private Ryan” opens in the present day with the titular character as an old man, then the movie jumps back to the past where it immediatly focuses on other characters, with Private Ryan himself not even coming into the story until about 5 minutes in.

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25 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Except the following page is supposedly a straight cut to the intro of random space man who's traced from random actors.

IF it's like in the script I've translated months ago, it does follow a certain logic.

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5 hours ago, dwitefry666 said:

We clearly visit differnt parts of the internet :D

actually, on that, I did this:

i_m_not_wearing_underwear_today_by_anoth

Thought I'd post it here, I buggered up the top lip and try as i might just...couldn't...get...it..right. She also came out quite chunky, dunno how that happened....

That body can't possibly be that of a teenager, lol.

I think the only aspect I kind of like about the design is the visor thing she wears, since it sort of reminds me something from Gainax, minus the charming designs of their characters.

Now that I think about it, I don't believe I ever tried to draw Lara-Su, or at least interpret the design in something more on my style, so I decided to make a quick sketch just for fun:

14sz312.jpg

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26 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

That body can't possibly be that of a teenager, lol.

I think the only aspect I kind of like about the design is the visor thing she wears, since it sort of reminds me something from Gainax, minus the charming designs of their characters.

Now that I think about it, I don't believe I ever tried to draw Lara-Su, or at least interpret the design in something more on my style, so I decided to make a quick sketch just for fun:

14sz312.jpg

That design looks way better, and makes her look good overall! ? 

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1 hour ago, Ernest-Panda said:

Starting a story like this actually isn’t that uncommon.

I’ve seen movies and read books that begin halfway through, or right at the end of the story. The purpose is literally to make the reader want to read on to find out what’s happening and why.

"In media res" I believe is the term you're looking for.

Not sure that's what I get from this, though. Feels like the epilogue is being put first to me.

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39 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

That body can't possibly be that of a teenager, lol.

I think the only aspect I kind of like about the design is the visor thing she wears, since it sort of reminds me something from Gainax, minus the charming designs of their characters.

Now that I think about it, I don't believe I ever tried to draw Lara-Su, or at least interpret the design in something more on my style, so I decided to make a quick sketch just for fun:

14sz312.jpg

Oh-ho, very nice! I'd say 'congrats, you schooled a pro', but given the tier of designwork Penders has demonstrated, that's not really much of a congratulations. This is really quite awesome though- I especially like the cloak/tabard thing she's got going on here. That's a really nice touch there. 

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This tweet has me wondering..

What does he mean by "I don't see myself doing anything beyond the writing at a certain point.

Does he think this will take off so amazingly well that he will be able to pay other artists to imitate his "style" and illustrate future issues for him? Or that he's just going to re-use panels or art in a way that he doesn't have to draw anything again?

I don't understand how he can continue this vision of his, complete all these books he has planned, without illustrating them.

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1 hour ago, KingScoopaKoopa said:

"In media res" I believe is the term you're looking for.

Not sure that's what I get from this, though. Feels like the epilogue is being put first to me.

Yeah that's what he's talking about and usually there's a flashback explaining how we got here. But we know that isn't what'shappening. We're expectedto know Lara-Su already. This will just go on from Lara on the beach and never delve into the backstory. 

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