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Skellington

Skellington Book 3

#34) Skellington Book 3 (trade paperback collecting Scary Go Round from May 3, 2004 to March 11, 2005) by John Allison (http://www.scarygoround.com)

What a long, tiring, and uninteresting read! I've seen webcomic collections that read very well in a book. This was definitely not one of them. The stories were inane, the pacing very slow, and hardly any of the stories had a conclusion (satisfying or other) to them.

Edited to add: This series obviously has a large fanbase (otherwise there wouldn't be a printed collection of strips) and maybe it reads much better on-line than it does in a book. The main points for me, though, is that I found it to be uninspiring and I could not get into the characters. Regardless of where a story goes, if the characters aren't interesting to me, I won't follow.

Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
disagreement
as a fan of scarygoround, i have to disagree. it's british humor, so of course it's a bit slower than something you might be used to. eddie izzard said it best when he was describing the difference between american movies and british movies. american movies are all violence and the f-word, whereas british movies are a lot of doors opening and people oh "oh... yes, well...". it doesn't have the same pacing or sensibilities "old school", and for that i'm regularly thankful.
that "inane" quality to the stories is what makes them charming. they're whimsical, not inane. the characters are charming and i find mr. allison's ideas to be refreshing compared to some of the "indie" stuff i've seen on the comic scene.
also, most of the situations in my life don't have any true conclusions, so i find that it only adds to the enjoyment. after all, these characters are the basis for the comic, so there doesn't actually have to be a conclusion (look at megatokyo!).
this might not tickle everyone's funnybone, but it certainly has a fanbase, and we're all quite enchanted with this comic.
off_the_rack
Oct. 19th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: disagreement
That's fine, I understand. I'm certain it has a fanbase otherwise there wouldn't have been a collection!

For me, though, there was nothing to the characters that made me like them or want to know more. Thus, it was a boring read. I personally prefer slower pacing, but it does have to get somewhere at some point.

Thanks for your comment.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2006 08:52 am (UTC)
SGR is definitely whimsical and not inane. However, as a regular online reader I do concur that Mr. A is great at setting up stories but very poor at resolving/concluding them.
off_the_rack
Oct. 19th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
I simply prefer more substance to the books I'm reading. And, barring that, at least characters I can care about.
mustard_sundae
Oct. 18th, 2006 09:26 am (UTC)
Yeah! The stories meander, there are all these irritating 'sub-plots', and all the characters are distinguishable from each other! Disgusting.

And there are ABSOLUTELY NO half-naked anthropomorphic cats with super-enhanced archery skills and a sexual penchant for dwarf-orc halfbreeds. WTF?!?!! Give me a real comic any day.
robert_johnson
Oct. 18th, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
Well You certainly told him.
mustard_sundae
Oct. 18th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
Sarcasm will get you nowhere.
robert_johnson
Oct. 18th, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not being sarcastic. I in fact think that in your response that you did tell him and better than I could have, if I was inclined to tell him anything.
mustard_sundae
Oct. 18th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
Winner!
off_the_rack
Oct. 19th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry but I did not understand your reference.

I just could not get interested in any of the characters or sub-plots in this collection. Maybe the stories read better online than they do in a book, or not being around from the first collection made the difference, but either way, I did not enjoy this volume.
mustard_sundae
Oct. 19th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
Generics! I was implying that because Scary Go Round is not the typical 'superhero' comic, you automatically disliked it.

So, what you're saying is that you found this collection boring. That is not a review, that's your subjective opinion. That's fine, but it needs to be labelled as such.

Reviews as I understand them are balanced critiques, not one man (who clearly has experience of the comic-book genre) saying 'Too slow!' and pressing Submit. You say that "I've seen webcomic collections that read very well in a book". Cool. Which ones, exactly? Where does SGR differ from these examples? What would you recommend as a good screen-to-paper comic strip, if as you claim, Allison doesn't work?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a rabid fan of John Allison's work. I like it. I like a lot of things. What I don't like is lazy journalism. It is your reviewing style I find unfair, not your conclusions. It just so happens that I'm familiar with SGR, but not with the other comics you've reviewed. Truth be told, I'm not really a 'comics' girl. But I know a half-hearted summarily dismissive review when I see one, and because I saw this one (with regards to something I have an interest in), I piped up!

Opinions!
off_the_rack
Oct. 19th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Okay, I get your point now. Definitely a not true there as I can't stomache all the superhero-pap out there.

I think the main misunderstanding about all this is that these reviews (I'm talking specifically about the 100 I'm currently writing up) were never meant to be full/ real/ balanced reviews. They were/are my own thoughts on a large variety of books for my own sake and those of a few close friends. This is why I've been so surprised at all the comments! (until I checked Technorati and saw where the links were coming from). This LJ was never meant to be a true review blog, just a piece of space where I could throw out some thoughts (hence: One Man's Views).

Perhaps when I'm done - to be fair to John and his fans - I'll re-read this collection and give it a more "proper" review (yes, I can do those :) )

Seriously, though, thank you for taking the time to reply.
mustard_sundae
Oct. 20th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
Ok! Misunderstanding. I didn't realise that brevity was the point of the review. Either way, don't change anything! Your opinion is what it is, don't worry about revising it just because a handful of people disagree.

You can't go backwards!
mustard_sundae
Oct. 19th, 2006 04:11 pm (UTC)
ALSO: adding an extra appeasing paragraph to your original perfunctorary review is what is known in some circles as CHEATING!
off_the_rack
Oct. 19th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
Wasn't trying to cheat, was trying to extend/ explain myself for those who wouldn't necessarily read the comments. I forgot to include the tag which I just did.
fingle
Oct. 19th, 2006 05:39 am (UTC)
Inane-TASTIC!
I simply can't wait to purchase my copy!

Of course, I think that John Allison's SGR is, by a very long shot, the best thing about the Internet.

Even if he didn't draw Google destroying my old truck. That would have been sweet!
sp1derbaby
Oct. 19th, 2006 07:13 am (UTC)
The bearable lightness of inanity
I guess the 'inanity' is the reason I like the comic although I think 'surreal' or 'whimsical' are more appropriate qualifiers. The stories and text have a real creativity in them that is missing from lots of other comics. Language is cleverly used to great effect. Besides that, the artwork has developed to the point where there is plenty of physical comedy and telling facial expressions.

There is, however, a severe lack of poo-humour which may deter the discerning scatologist. But each to their own.
off_the_rack
Oct. 19th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: The bearable lightness of inanity
I had no problems with the artwork. I could see the various influences and was more interested in judging the collection as a book. Again, maybe it reads better online but I could not get into it. I found the stories uninspiring and the characters not worth caring about.

Thanks for your comments, though.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 19th, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Re: The bearable lightness of inanity
Looks like an instant fanboi attack. I'm a big fan of SGR but I think this was bound to go downhill once John Allison linked to your opinion.
sp1derbaby
Oct. 19th, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Re: The bearable lightness of inanity
Nay bother. Again, to each their own.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 20th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: The bearable lightness of inanity
A reason why you might not have been able to get into the stories and characters may have to do with you began in the middle. If you had started in the beginning you then might understand why it has such a large fan base. Or not.Oh well,I'm sure Mr. Allison will enjoy spending the money you sent him to read his "inane" comic.

Have a nice day.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 20th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
waittaminute...
wait, so you picked up the third book in a series without any prior knowledge? try picking up the third book in martin's game of thrones series and see how much you care about those characters! or, for an even closer example, try the third book in the megatokyo series and see if it even makes sense! goofy.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 20th, 2006 05:09 am (UTC)
Re: waittaminute...
Walter Sobchak: Were you listening to The Dude's story, Donny?
The Dude: Walter...
Donny: What?
Walter Sobchak: Were you listening to The Dude's story?
Donny: I was bowling.
Walter Sobchak: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...
The Dude: (interrupting) Walter, Walter, what's the point, man?
Walter Sobchak: There's no reason - here's my point, dude, there's no fucking reason why these two...
Donny: Yeah, Walter, what's your point?
ichigosyndrome
Oct. 20th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
this may be a bit late, and i apologize for such. i read your review and some of the comments (including the ignorant bable of mustard_sundae) and i'm afraid i must speak out.

personally, i like scary go round. it's inane and i find that charming, however, not everyone is going to like it. your review, as you said is your objective view. your opinion. isn't that what any review is? i've read a few here and there, and even the ones by pros. they're all opinion. they're all what they think the book is like.

no one can blame you for not liking this. these people keep hammering you with "wtf? homigawd, you don't lyke eet? you're totally satan, dude! you must be stupid to not like ti!" (or so i got from it) and that's just not fair.

the real point to this comment? i've no idea, but i had something to say, and thus it was said.
off_the_rack
Oct. 20th, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to write (and it's never too late!)

I just wish there hadn't been so many assumptions thrown around by so many in regards to what I wrote and why I wrote it. At any rate, I'm glad I was given the chance to respond to some of it.

Yes, maybe I would have enjoyed it more had I started reading it from the beginning. The point is, I was given the third volume to begin with and I couldn't get into it. Perhaps it's reached a point where you have to be a fan to keep enjoying it and it isn't easy for newbies to enter?

Again, thanks for replying :)
mustard_sundae
Oct. 20th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oh man! Internet drama!

I don't think he is wrong to dislike it. I just found his review unbalanced and lacking in depth, and said so! As I said before, it is his reviewing style I found unfair, not his conclusions. Now, reading his very polite response, I understand why he chose to write in that manner! No one is being spiteful here, we are just exchanging information.

But if we are being spiteful, then 1) it is spelt BABBLE for god's sake; and 2) I have also read "a few [reviews] here and there" during the course of my degree in English literature so no, reviews are not about opinions. They are about ANALYSIS.

But who cares?! Mike, now I understand what you are doing, I think you are pretty cool! I wish I had your dedication. Anonymous LJers, the internet is not to be taken seriously! It is just a comic!

I am going to go and play outside.
ichigosyndrome
Oct. 20th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
1) it's a computer, and i type fast, typos are inevitable, "for god's sake" and 2) analysis varies based on the person so in essence, it's opinion.

you ask "who cares", but it's kinda obvious you do. anyway, i didn't read all of the comments (including all of yours) and i don't particularly care to, so if you wouldn't mind, please do not respond to me again.

thank you, sorry for any misunderstandings you might have had, and have fun outside.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 21st, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
aheh
Actually, sorry to get all technical...
I just graduated with an English major, and I recall learning that there is something called "literary criticism". There are about a million different kinds which all emphasize an in-depth reading of the work (i.e. feminist, Marxist, psychoanalytic). now, there is a difference between this and a regular review, that being that a regular review is generally accepted to be the subjective opinion of the writer, and literary criticism is considered to be more objective, researched, and subsequently more academic and has greater relevancy.
Now, this being said, this guy who reviewed scarygoround never said he did any kind of criticism and to me that means I can ignore this and go on with my life. After all, one person’s opinion doesn’t really affect much. Mr. Allison is going to continue making his comics whether off_the_rack likes it or not. ;)
By the way, the Bizarre Miss G, your comments about mustard_sundae were rather rude. She might have been very caustic, but she had a fairly relevant point. After all, compared to the reviews off_the_rack did on other comics, this review barely had a pulse. I don’t care that he didn’t like the comic, but it seems like he didn’t even make an effort. I just think there’s no need to be rude. There’s no need to call her ignorant.
ichigosyndrome
Oct. 21st, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
Re: aheh
i did apologize for misunderstandings, but i am not a nice person. i am blunt. and in all utter honesty, i haven't really read off_the_rack's other reviews, i happend upon this one from john allison's blog.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 23rd, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)
Re: aheh
Oh, are you a fan of his work? That's funny; I assumed you were a regular of off_the_rack's work. I guess that just proves what they say about assuming :)!
I can understand why mustard_sundae might have been upset about the review. As an artist as well (I try to wear many hats), when people criticize my work in a way that isn't particularly constructive and comes across as hurtful and/or juvenile, it affects me rather strongly. As an intense fan of Mr. Allison's work, I would be positively devastated if he was to no longer continue scarygoround. Fortunately, he's made of stronger stuff.
Just to present a viewpoint... I could see why some people would get defensive. I find myself siding with mustard_sundae, just as one of the fans...
ichigosyndrome
Oct. 23rd, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: aheh
why do you people keep responding to me? my inbox keeps getting these, it's annoying. i'm an artist and a fan as well, but please! stop bringing your comments to me! comment to off_the_rack if you absolutely can't keep your mouth shut, but leave me be!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 23rd, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Re: aheh
:)
rabidazell
Oct. 27th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
Nah, You're cool, SGR has been getting worse for a while now.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 9th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Ummm... says you? I don't have an issue with the review because the reviewer had the decency to make it clear that it was an opinion, whether that is the proper thing to include in a review or not. However, "Scarygoround has been getting worse for a while now" is not a fact and shouldn't be a pass for people to review in a light-handed and negative way, ( I"m not pointing the finger at the reviewer) not to mention that it shouldn't be stated as the be all and end all of opinions. It's not.
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( 37 comments — Leave a comment )