Webcomic Beacon Review: Jikoshia by Emily R. Gillis

by Emily R. Gillis


Reviewed by Fes Works

Ok! Now this is a better way to use URLs for a comic, while also branding oneself. “jikoshia.net” will take you to the comic which is actually at “jikoshia.waywardstudios.net”. So we not only see the intended comic with a URL name to match, but we are also exposed to the brand of Wayward Studios.

A unique name like this will still be difficult to drop in an elevator pitch, so I advise to keep business cards for the comic on hand.

Actually… I think this was a website I had looked at once for a Webcomic Website review. I’m not sure how much advice I needed to give, but I do kinda remember how it used to look. It still has a nice logo melded with a menu bar. It does have a Project Wonderful ad next to it. I would highly recommend they change the “your ad here” link to a more site appropriate color, though.

The website now has a large, central background image that fades out on the sides. So it has this nice outdoors scene that works with the logo, without being too distracting. Pluse it helps take care of dead space, and frames the comic and website well.

The menu has links for “about” the comic, includes a cast list. I always enjoy cast lists. There is also a link for “fandom”, colledction of fan art. I always appreciate fan art, and I do like the dedicated area for it. On the archive, being that this is a story comic, each chapter is broken down into page links. I do find this sort of breakdown far more helpful for readers, than a big long list of hyperlinks. Simple, but effective.

The main comic has a right sidebar which is a little messy for my tastes (entities with varying width); but the comic is nice and big, and ready to read. I would also prefer the navigation buttons to be a little more designed like the menu bar is, buy its still functional.

Below the comic is the blog, along with cycling comic ads for a couple of comics communities. These actually look fairly nice together. A very simple set up. All along with a nice clean footer.

Ok, let us move on to the comic itself.

The art.

The first chapter almost makes me go “here we go…” with the school girls in uniforms, like any manga-style comic by non-eastern artists; but the art isn’t trying to be that sorta design. At least not with the characters. The character design looks more “owned” by the artist, rather than derivative like wannabe manga-style, non-eastern, pacific artist tries way too often…

Ok… maybe more on that another time… But I’m saying that things look promising for Jikoshia’s art style.

While early on the comic is fairly reminicient in several aspects to grayscale manga-style comics, it doesn’t take a whole chapter before the art really becomes its own.

There is a fair amount of background detail and design, particularly once the comic goes into color. This was clearly intentional for the story. Which is good for the review, because the art shines a whole lot more with the color design, especially with the use of digital “paiting”, gradients, and finder details.

It’s not perfect. There seems to be a fight between the harder black lines, and the detail of color. Like it’s fighting a simpler cartoon design, but the art only gets better in the overall feel and look as the comic continues.

Ok, now what about the story?

Well, it is a little dry in the beginning. Again, this is a story comic, and setting up the characters. This is just something people need to accept. Story comics require an investment. This is why a story comic should never be online (or at least not start advertising) until a decent amount of content is available for a new reader to power through to formulate an opinion.

Still, several pages into the first chapter, the story turns into one of those “main character finds themselves out of place”, and…. actually, it is fairly reminicient of The Wizard of Oz and maybe Alice in Wonderland.

– – –

I actually write these reviews as I am reading them. So I can incorporate genuine reactions as I come upon them.

– – –

So if you hate those kinds of stories, you might not like this comic. That’s fine. Go read something else. Hmmm… Actually, the story feels heavily inspired by a variety of stories. Western and Eastern… at least of what *I* know.

Perhaps I’ve not been exposed to enough stuff, but while the comic feels heavily inspired, it does not feel derivitive.

So far, through about five chapters, this is a pretty fun “fantasy meets normal-earth” type of story. A little bit of everything mixed together. I’ll be keeping this in my bookmarks.



WebcomicZ Looking for Assistance or New Partner(z).

For those that don’t know, WebcomicZ had become a property of Fesworks, LLC and combined with The Webcast Beacon Network. The major change was making WebcomicZ the webcomic list site, in combination with Webcast Beacon Network taking on some of the WebcomicZ designs and articles.

WebcomicZ was originally supposed to be worked on with [name and website redacted], but that long fell through. So with really nothing more that I, Fes, can do with the website (other than maintaining it in its webcomic list state); I would really like to see if there is anyone out there that would like to do something more with the WebcomicZ website.

Especially if there is someone, or a team of people, that would have an investing interest in making the webcomic list site better than it is. To better serve the webcomics community.

I am hesitant to actually sell the property, but will entertain offers to buy out, or even partner in really doing something with the property (as a webcomic list site, as a base).

If interested, or have additional questions, please email webcomicZ@gmail.com.

EpiGuide’s EpiCast #15 – “Teaming Up”

Welcome back to our EpiCasts! This fifteenth edition, almost exactly coinciding with the fifteenth anniversary of the EpiGuide webfiction community, offers a bunch of juicy previews of what you can expect in several webserials for the rest of the year, news in the webserial world, and our discussion related to writing partnerships.

Hosts Kira (yours truly) and Michael begin with our Fall 2013 previews (just how do you pronounce “2013,” by the way?) for a batch of serialized fiction to take us through the end of the year. Find out what happens next, including defamation, divorce, death, and lots of other fun plots.

Next we dip into the news focusing our own happy tidings thanks to our community’s generosity, introductions to several new webfiction serials, and a controversy about a hot topic related to, well, hot topics too hot for certain ebook retailers.

And finally, this episode we talk about the webserials who boast not just one but multiple authors, and find out how they handle working as a team: dealing with differences of opinion, dividing labor, and the joys of brainstorming on a jointly-created fictional world. There are several methods to their madness, so take a listen to learn all the ways people have partnered up to give us some new and longrunning serials.

Once you’ve listened, hop on over to our Podbean site, the EpiGuide forum, or our new Webcast Beacon site (links below) to share your own thoughts on these topics and this episode. Many thanks to everyone who helped out by submitting your recaps and news stories!

EpiGuide is an affiliate of the WCBN.
► Visit the homepage for their podcast.
► Visit the EpiGuide’s Forum for discussion for this episode.

Episode Notes:

Recording date: This episode was recorded on October 22, 2013.


  • 00:00 – 01:08: Opening pleasantries and teasers for the episode ahead
  • 01:09 – 18:49: Webserial previews for the end of 2013
  • 18:50 – 36:04: Webfiction and webserial news
  • 36:05 – 36:44: How to submit news to the EpiCast
  • 36:45 – 01:18:30: Discussion: Webserial writing teams: pros and cons
  • 01:09:50 – 01:11:06: Thanks to sponsors, podcast sponsor ad
  • 01:11:07 – 01:12:37: Closing thoughts and fare-thee-wells

Many thanks to the special donors who helped make this podcast possible! Please see the sidebar for the list of Podcast sponsors.

Links to the sites mentioned in this episode:

Music credits: “Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance” (EpiCast opening and closing theme), “The Future Soon” (Preview intro), “Good Morning Tuscon” (News intro), “The Big Boom” (News submissions theme), “I’m Your Moon” (Discussion intro), “You Ruined Everything” (EpiCast sponsor intro), as always all written and performed by Jonathan Coulton, host Kira Lerner’s personal musical demigod.

These tracks are licensed Creative Commons by-nc.

Technical notes: We used Skype for the conversation and interviews, Replay Recorder for recording, Audacity and The Levelator for editing/post-recording fine-tuning, and Podbean for hosting. If you have any suggestions, questions, comments or brickbats you want to throw at us regarding this episode, please let us know!

Marcus N. Almand – Fellow Creative and Friend

Dear friend and fellow creative, Marcus N. Almand, has lost the fight to cancer this past week.

Most people on this website would know Marcus from the First Issue comic book review videos. He brought the writer’s perspective to the team. We have not been doing many of these videos since he was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago. It has been a struggle for him with surgery and chemotherapy, but Marcus continued to strive forward creatively.

Others may remember Marcus from his original, independant comic Razor Kid, as creator and writer. Others in the industry, particularly at OniPress, know him as a co-creator and writer of an trilogy of graphic novels that were in the works. He was also a contributing writer to the Harvey Award-nominated Uniques Tales anthology. Additionally, Marcus was in the process of writing a novel, Sons of Nowhere, sending periodic updates of the writing process to friends and peers. He even had a card game, based off of one of his comic book ideas, that he was working on in beta.

There are actually, at this time, four un-edited, unreleased episodes of First Issue in which Marcus is lively on camera; including his appearance at CONvergence 2013. We will work to get these final videos out as soon as possible.

Marcus often attended movie nights with friends. Very jovial and interactive. Just a pleasure to be around.

Marcus. You will be missed.

Webcomic Beacon Review: Shattered with Curve of Horn by Max Miller Dowdle

Shattered with Curve of Horn
by Max Miller Dowdle


Reviewed by Fes Works

First off, “artagem.com”? Not my first choice of URL for this comic, as there is nothing about the name of the comic remotely close to that URL. It’s possible there is a real/better URL that specifically goes to this comic, and “artagem.com” is a sort of hame base… but I was only given “artagem.com”.

As a general rule, I would recommend getting a more memorable URL, that actually somewhat reflects one’s comic.

Moving on.

The website is fairly simple at first load. Header, Menu, Comic, Background. The background is simple coloring with glass shattered. So it’s a nice and simple and effective background to remove dead space, without bring distracting. And thematic!

As of this review, the header shows the comic title with a shot of four characters, but also has a notice for a KickStarter, integrated into the header. And it really isn’t all that bad.

I mean… it looks like an ad, but being that there aren’t any other ads in this area, it’s not confusing enough, especially with the art in the header matching the art in the comic.

The comic updates are below a simple, no-nonsense menu (but really has everything a reader would need). Instead of a single comic page, the layout had two pages side-by-side.

I’m not 100% sure as to why the have two pages at once. I am sure some would argue that a single page would provide more space to make a bigger update in higher quality… But keep in mind that they are also doing a KickStarter at this time, too. Meaning that this creator wants to push a print comic.

I would take this set-up in giving readers a decent enough “preview” of the comic as it updates, without giving everything away (meaning high resolution material). I’m very fine with that. And I’m not saying the images are low-res, pre-se, You can still easily read it. Plus you get two pages per update.

Below the comic is the site blog and the bulk of the “other stuff”. But it is fairly modest, really. I’m not seeing any ads, whatsoever. Very rare not to see ads, especially with the level of quality in the comic (of which I’ll get to in a minute).

The left sidebar has a link to read the comic from the beginning, which is a good reminder for new readers that come to a storyline webcomic. Also links to get the RSS feed, and a vote button for TopWebComics (but there is no vote incentive, so I was a little disapointed).

– – –

For those that don’t know TopWebComics, its a webcomic listing site, that is designed to also rank comics based on readers “voting”. This website also allows creators to offer extra “incentives” for voting, such as wallpapers, pin-ups, sketches, or other related material to the comic; in which only voters would be able to see.

– – –

The right sidebar has a KickStarter embed, which makes perfect sense to have. Also drop-down links to pages in the archive. Blog updates are in the middle. Simple and not too cluttered, but it does get a bit visually boring. I wish the creator had set the background image to be “fixed” or something. The extreme whiteness makes everything feel less interesting, but existing readers probably have no problems with it.

OK! Now on to the comic itself!

At the time of review, the comic is just shy of 100 pages. I actually started at about page 90. The art itself is real decent. Everything is drawn in a more realistic design. Proper human anatomy, with very specific lines on the face, arms, etc. But it’s not stiff. There is a real sense of the artist knowing what he is doing. That or perhaps the feeling that the artist make be drawing from people posing in various positions, or using other referential material.

There are occasions in which the drawings feel a little “off” with perspective, and the amount of lines used (on the face in particular). The reason it probably feeling more “off” is in the coloring. I mean, the coloring isn’t flat, by any means. There are textures used all the time, too.

Well, possibly not textures… it’s hard to tell because the amount of shading is very subtle. It’s not stark shadows and highlights (which you would find more in cartoony coloring), but it is very subtle untill you really start looking. Probably would look a lot better in a high-res image, or possibly in print, where you could get a better sense of the coloring detail.

Though I worry about the darker shadows showing up as muddy. Meaning it looks like “shadow” means “add black or gray”, versus actually changing the color itself. But I’m starting to nit-pick, I think.

In any case, it’s really not bad art at all, at least for the characters. The background is more or less an assortment of shapes and colors, at least for outdoor scenes. The indoor scenes have more definition, and some added color and fades for helping to give a mood for a panel… no wait.. I think this room (a primary location for the first 100 pages) has two different colors, and the creator is shifting angles to affect the mood with the natural background color… clever.

Ok, now on to the story and writing.

The comic begins more on a sureal note, but it turns out that one of the characters is describing a dream. Then for the longest time it progresses as almost a play. A drama almost, in a single room. People who like character driven plot would probably get into this a fair amount.

Though I am starting to see another benefit of the two-page update method: It would kinda drag along if it didn’t update like that. There is a lot of build up, mood and emotion dressing in actions and reactions. The way the comic is written and played out, feels more like a screenplay for a TV show, really.

Without spoiling things, it starts to turn into a little more like the first half of an “X-Files” episode.

So, while the comic starts with a seemingly simple drama scenerio, it does start to pepper things up (especially with what I know is coming much later). Yeah, this comic is more of a graphic novel set-up than that of “comic book” periodical. Meaning that it’s more of a “sit a read”, than a “flip-through”.

Overall, this comic is looking very promising. I recommend for people hungry for more drama and storylines, particularly with a focus on character building driving the reader’s engagement.

The Geek Life #211: “Take 99,445” – Newly Found Doctor Who Episodes and Fantastic Fest!

Watch the Google+ Hangout recording of the show, or listen to the podcast below!


The Geek Life is an affiliate of the WCBN.
► Visit the homepage for their podcast.

► Visit this episode’s post on their website for more discussion.

Mike and Paul are here to talk about beer and go over some geeky news over the past couple weeks. Our next regular recording will be Tuesday, October 22nd. We’ll be on a live Google+ Hangout starting at  ~8pm (?) Central Time . You can follow us on Twitter @thegeeklifetv with the hashtag #thegeeklivetv.

  • Video releases
  • Several Doctor Who episodes recovered, letting the BBC release two Patrick Troughton stories for the first time since they were first aired!
  • Melissa’s trip to Fantastic Fest

Webfiction World Readings: The Well of the Ghost Women

The Webfiction World podcast presents a reading of The Well of the Ghost Women (chapter 1); written by K. K. Grimm, and read by Michael Corley.

The Well of the Ghost Women, is based off of a webcomic series called “Well of the White Women“, which is currently under work of being turned into prose.

More of Michael Corley’s work: www.michaelcorley.com

“The Well of the Ghost Women” is © K. K. Grimm. The audio reading is © Michael Corley, Webfiction World, and Fesworks, LLC, under a license to use from K. K. Grimm. Not to be redistributed without permissions. All Rights Reserved. More information on Webfiction World Readings.

Webcomic Beacon Review: “mehPOW!” by Mark Vincer and Craig Vine

Ok, Before I get started with the first review, I want to preface that these coming reviews are part of a trial run review process. Please send no new submissions at this time. Depending on how things go, we might be looking at continuing and/or expanding these types of reviews. Might these be short podcasts in the future, or continue as articles?

– – –

by Mark Vincer and Craig Vine


Reviewed by Fes Works

The first thing that will catch your eye on this comic’s website is the header, which proclaims the comic’s name with a blasé “meh” followed by a “POW!” action, graphic affect. The comic’s two main characters sorta, impassively, presenting the logo. Which is fine because “impassively aggressive” is what this webcomic calls itself… and I’ll get to that.

The website itself is… a little spartan. It is a ComicPress WordPress site with minimal effort put in to change the design up. Completely black background; except for the distracting, bright white blog section. The complete lack of a “background center frame” for the content, creates so much “floating” dead space.

I mean, it’s still completely functional. With only 20, single strip comic updates at the time of this review, I was able to read through all of them. It was really easy to navigate without scrolling (a plus), with it being a strip comic and nav buttons right below the comic (also a plus).

Bottom line, the website isn’t really nice to look at. It could be much, much better. Then again, it could be a whole lot worse. At least there was some effort to make the website not look like the default template…. which is confusing, because this looks like a very new comic, but the ComicPress they are using looks outdated, or overly simplistic, compared to the newer (and better looking) included ComicPress templates I’ve seen out there.


Perhaps it’s all “intentional”. Afterall, the comic boasts being “impassively aggressive”. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the writing. Well, the comic is done by two people, but I don’t think they have listed anywhere on the website of which person writes or does the art. The “about” page mentions that the comic was born out of both of them telling jokes at a bar.

I’m going to have to believe that is true.

The comics are basically three-panel jokes. Jokes that a child may find funny, because they’ve not been around long enough to have heard the joke before. Low-hanging jokes that are similar to the sorta jokes and puns we think in our heads, but don’t ever say… unless we’ve been drinking, I guess. … ah.

I mean, the jokes will get a snort, or that quick exhaled half-chuckle. But thus far, nothing is terribly original. Then again… maybe that is the point? I can see that this comic is just something the two wanted to do to get there jokes out of their heads into comic form. To express themselves. That’s all fine and dandy, but unless they start hitting a new stride, I can’t see many people following this comic.

Still I will admit that there were a couple of strips that got more than a single chuckle out of me.

So let’s talk about the art. Again, I have no idea who does the art. One thing that… well there are a couple of things that bug me. First, the art in the logo is better than the art in the comic. This should never happen. The same care that went into the logo, should be seen in the comic strips, from update to update. So right now the art feels very inconsistent. Maybe it was drawn later, and they are stilling the process of honing their artistic talents.

Second, a lot of the art uses all of those mistakes that many webcartoonist do in their early years. I’m talking about re-using panels and art as a shortcut, and dead-on side-shots of characters. These shortcuts never help in the improvement of one’s artistic abilities.

Well, there are only 20 strips right now, so if these two stick with it, they should be getting better. They just need to stop taking artistic shortcuts, and hone their writing skills a bit better.

– – –

Maybe i’m a little jaded. Maybe senile. Am I too harsh with saying this comic isn’t funny to me? What about the comics to come? I know I wasn’t too bad about reviewing this one, as I know I kinda made things like I was going to be brutal. Really I just want to be honest as possible without being an asshole. So, with one down, wait until next week for my next review; picked from the pile of submissions I’ve got for this trial run.

Oh, by the way, submissions are closed right now. We’ll see how this month goes, before I look at opening submissions again.

The One Word, Go! Show: “Jack-o-Lantern”

The One Word, Go! Show’s Trick-or-Treatastic Halloweenathon continues with Mat worrying about the cows, Breanne carving the saddest emoticon pumpkin, Fish building a milk carton skeleton, and Dan accidentally sexting the wrong person.

Remember this show is NSFW


The One Word, Go! Show is an affiliate of the WCBN.
► Visit the homepage for their podcast.

► Visit this episode’s post on their website for more discussion.

Be sure to listen to the EXTRAS that have been updating this month!

Don’t forget to submit your word, or call our Voicemail at 206-337-5302!

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The One Word, Go! Show: “Candy”

On the first edition of the One Word, Go! Show’s Trick-or-Treatastic Halloweenathon, Fish dresses up as eye candy, Dan wins the neighborhood children over with full-size candy bars, Breanne forgets Remembrance Day, and Mat calls his Mom to confront her about stealing his hard-earned treats.

Remember this show is NSFW


The One Word, Go! Show is an affiliate of the WCBN.
► Visit the homepage for their podcast.

► Visit this episode’s post on their website for more discussion.


Don’t forget to submit your word, or call our Voicemail at 206-337-5302!

Check out One Word, Go! Merch – Follow us on Twitter – Like us on Facebook