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One Punch Reviews #44: So… You’re A Cartoonist? (Second Opinion)

(I’m still on hiatus! However, David Herbert was kind enough to do a review while I’m away. In this review, he tackles previously reviewed webcomic So… You’re A Cartoonist? with a different take than mine. It’s time to get hit up with … a second opinion.)

When I first got into webcomics, I tended to gravitate towards comics that were somewhat based in the author’s real life. So when I found this comic by Tom Preston, or Andrew Dobson, it seemed like something that would interest me, not just because I like diary comics, but also because this is about being someone who makes comics and their own tales of doing what they love.

Basically it’s my comic, Living with Insanity, except the writer can draw and it doesn’t devolve into insane nonsense.

However, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the title doesn’t really work until nearly 18 pages in, where being a cartoonist becomes the main focus. Up until then, it’s about being bullied as a kid, watching shows with his girlfriend and stuff his roommate did in college.


And when it finally gets into the subject, it’s mostly him being a tool. He starts off by berating a manga fan for drawing her comics right-to-left because it’s not how it’s done in America, despite portraying the girl as just being a fan of manga who is doing what she loves. Then he gets into the subject of critics. Now, I fully admit, when someone tells me “You suck because I say so” I find it annoying, which is what most pros are talking about when they say “Ignore criticism.” Here however, he has someone who knows what they’re talking about, going into detail on what’s wrong with his comic, and then he responds like a douche.

And yet I identify with him because I’ve been through all of this. I hope I’m not that pretentious, but trying to draw with a tablet when you’re not used to it, constantly reworking scenes in my mind at all hours of the day, even missing out on all the great events at a con because I was so busy dealing with people coming to my table. Hell, the guy who offers unwanted ideas? I know a guy like that. Every con I go to, he comes by my table and tells me I need to make comics that support the wars going on. Getting misty eyed when you hold your own printed comic in your hands? That’s my reaction too.

I think that’s the main reason his comic is always on the front page of deviantArt when he posts it there. The other people are creators themselves and have been through all of this. It’s a niche audience market but it does well for him. The people who wish they paid more attention in art classes. The ones who know they should work, but find the call of video games too compelling. The creators who discovered that doing a regularly updating comic is much harder than most people think.

However, even despite understanding all this, it’s not as good as it could be. The art is bright and colourful, which fits into Dobson’s work as he’s trying to market a kid’s book, and it does a good job of conveying everything that’s going on, but the jokes are quite bland. That’s unfortunately a problem with auto-biographical comics, they’re grounded in reality and so you can’t do much unless you change to semi-autobiographical like Penny Arcade, have a natural charm like Johnny Wander or just have a naturally funny person making the comic, like DAR. Hell, that’s the main reason I stopped being the focus of Living with Insanity, I just found myself to be too boring.

All up, this comic is nothing special but if you like diary comics, or are a comics creator yourself who has been in some of these situations, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).

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Posted on October 10, 2011, in 3 Stars, comedy webcomic, journal webcomic, manga style webcomic, One Punch Reviews, slice-of-life webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. It is still pretty bad.

  2. “you can’t do much unless you change to semi-autobiographical(…)”

    So, why not? That’s what I love in I’m My Own Mascot and Awkward Zombie, when they go autobiographical they turn the crazy all the way up!

    • Actually, I think that Andrew said something about Tom Preston not being him. I’m not sure.
      His other comics still have the same problems so I don’t think the auto-biographical nature of the comic is to blame. It isn’t just his writing. The Brentalfloss comic seems to have the same problems.

    • Kevin Bolk is shit, though.

  3. I actually think it’s not as bad as it was. It stops insulting fans after awhile and focuses on other parts in his life. I think he may have actually listened to some of the criticisms people gave him.

  4. He does make a point BUT he doesn’t present it well and ignores minor inconveniences.

  5. Andrew Dobson is a conundrum wrapped in world of mediocrity. In his own words http://tompreston.deviantart.com/journal/44965477/

    So let me get this straight….
    – hate people that use Anime/Manga style and don’t understand it.
    – make a comic in mediocre Animu style to express that.
    – tell people to ” Draw from Life ” yet none of that is apparent in any of his work. Let alone the comic he’s making to show how important it is.

    This guy is obviously suffering from some sort of mental problem. All his comments/journal entries prove that. He’s complaining about what other people do without even acknowledging that he is doing the same exact thing that he hates.

    Andrew- ” You’re looking at a guy who owns around 32 hand painted cels from his favorite Anime shows and movies, has a row of Anime/Manga action figures standing perfectly in a row on my shelf in front of my computer, and has a rather extensive Anime DVD collection and two bookshelves of Manga. ”

    Oh never mind, obviously he knows what he’s talking about.

    • He thinks that Ocarina of Time not being the best Legend of Zelda game ever counts as a “controversial opinion” thus making him better than everyone else. His fans are not helping.
      “Evil is easy to fight, but ignorent people (no matter how well intentioned) are probably what sparks the most conflict in the world.
      Good job Preston for educating the ignorent.” – one of his fans in his “controversial” art page
      This is an example of a good point presented badly:
      http://tompreston.deviantart.com/art/Hypocrisy-157038537
      Why do the Sony fans have the same facial expressions for bashing and praising?
      Answer: Copy-Paste.

      • Not only that, but why is a Sony rep presenting the Nintendo Wii?
        Or is it a Nintendo rep presenting the Sony Move…?

        Either way in that strip, I associated the crowd of people as being just people in the crowd at E3 during their press conferences — not just “Sony” people. Because of that, I was immediately thinking “Wait weren’t people saying the opposite about both things…? The Wii was being touted as revolutionary and Move was being touted as a gimmick.” — But I had to read the written, separate description below to get the whole gist of the joke — which is terrible delivery if you have to explain it to get the idea across.

        • Even if the majority agrees with him, he complain about the minority. He even has a script about someone praising the CDi in a different comic.

        • SomeoneYouDon'tKnow

          AND NOT ONLY THAT, but he is also FAT!

          … But seriously, I find the habit of piling and preaching your hatred on the guy amusing. But please do continue.

      • “… but ignorent people…”

        Ha! Ha! Ha!

        Sorry, this is one of those, “Don’t get it wrong” words.

        • I know that it was misspelled. I just copy-pasted the comment from Andrew’s “controversial” art page.

        • To be fair, this statement might still be true if the definition of “ignorent” is “not omniscient”. Still, I think people might still fight each other even if they all know everything.

          We live in a world of limited resources and unlimited desires. We won’t just stop fighting because we are all atheist or something. Saying how great the world would be without religion is pointless because 1) it’s very unlikely, 2) it is like saying how great the world would be without war, disease, famine, or death, 3) we would never know.

  6. I don’t know, I’m a comic artist. I’ve been going to conventions with my own table for several years, and I’ve done very similar things in my self employed career, but I don’t identify with his comics at all. It’s a lot of nit picking and whining about unimportant aspects of the job.

    For me, comics is a passion. Not just making them, but understanding the business, publishing, audience interaction, critics, advertising, etc. I like to approach it all with thought and introspection rather than annoyance and excuses. Every time I read “So You Want to be a Cartoonist?” I cringe so hard that I’m afraid my face might stick that way.

  7. In the end, it’s just a lot of hoopla about a guy drawing comics on the internet. But as the popularity of our feline friends indicates, the internet is serious business.

    A comic like SyaC is easy to hate. It’s not in the comic itself, but in the author. He raged, whined, tried to delete his fetishistic past and had a penchant of drawing himself as the witty victor in every argument he ever had. It’s Tim Buckley all over again, except without the inexplicable success. Indeed, SyaC was widely reposted on video game message boards. And like similar authors, Preston/Dobson/Whatever was easy to troll. In fact, the trolls made him take his leave.

    But, he came back. And not only did he come back, but he seems to have taken the criticism to heart. Part of it, at least. Though I wonder if he’ll start working on his art skills, as well.

    So that leaves one with mixed feelings. On the one hand I can’t feel resentful to a man who has seen his own flaws and tries to improve. On the other, it’s the torrent of internet hate that finally made him realise it (much like Old Carl in the comic, actually).

    • 1. He attended art school, so he knows better in terms of artistic design.
      2. He is trying to make money off of his works, so he should be judged differently than people who aren’t trying to make art as a career
      3. He’s presenting himself as a professional cartoonist

      • 1: Where someone learned what isn’t important. In the context of art, it’s always the end result that counts. I’m not going to say Dobson should be a better artist because of his education any more than I’m going to cut XKCD slack over its stick figured because its author didn’t go to art school. I judge the end result.

        2: His comic is free, and it’s this comic that’s being discussed. And where do we draw the line with this? If someone does commissions (hint: every webcomic artist does this), does that also count? If they did a one-off story for an anthology, does that count? Like I said above, I judge the end result. The fact that someone might not be trying to make money, doesn’t make ugly art easier on the eyes.

        3: By your own admission in point 2, he IS a professional cartoonist. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

  8. Wow, just read through that arc. I guess it was too much to ask that it make any sense.

  9. Three stars is far too generous kiddo.

  1. Pingback: Milestones, Webcomic Reviews and Intriguing Names | Strip News | ArtPatient

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