Webcomic Beacon Review: Flight of the Binturong, created and written by written and created by Sal Crivelli

Flight of the Binturong
written and created by Sal Crivelli (Garth Kirby & the Cookbook of the Gods),
drawn by Nicolás R. Giacondino (Free Mars) and colored by Pedro Figue,
in conjunction with Outland Entertainment.


Reviewed by Fes Works

Ok! The last webcomic review until January 2014. A new request for submissions for review requests will be put out in mid-December. The next “trial run” will incorporate a podcast version and/or video version, in addition to the article itself. We’ll see how that works out.

Until January, look forward to Comic of the Week picks in December. Also, as long as I have your attention, please check out the latest posting about submitted Press Releases, and read up on other ways you can contribute to the website!

– – –

Flight of the Binturong is a story comic that is VERY YOUNG. So I will be able to read and review the entire thing. But let us back up and take a look at the website.

I have spoke about URLs before, about how they should be something simple to spell and remember. While it can be very nice to get the exact URL of the name of the comic, it still may not work well during an elevator pitch. Not without a card anyway. I will usually recommend a more easily remembered, secondary, redirecting URL, to help. However, it’s not the end-all, be-all.

Less common, unusual, or original words can throw people; particularly new or *potential* readers. Still, once you have the reader, it is likely bookmarked and forgotten. This is where the name of the comic matching the URL can help the most. Either with a Google Search or even an autocomplete can help a reader find your comic when the URL and name of the comic match (enough).

Oh, look at that! They also have “FOTBcomic.com” as a secondary URL. Hey, that works.

Ok, so moving past “Binturong”, of which I make no promises of spelling or pronouncing correctly by the end of this review, let us continue!

The website is fairly minimal in overall design, but a designed minimal. A few block-rows of color to separate the menu, header, navigation… It’s very simple, subtle, yet very functional and non-distracting. It does really work, and frames everything so well.

The website even resizes things a bit if you enlarge or shrink the page, so there is some nice responsiveness as well.

The comic’s logo is almost like a shoulder patch on a uniform. It doesn’t pop as much as I would like it to. The outline could maybe be bolder… or SOMETHING. I would perfer it to stand out more compared to the background. “Binturong” is easy to see, but the “Flight of the” is a little more lost.

Still the logo is nicely placed in the middle of the menu and navigation, joined by a big link for the RSS, and a notice that the comic updates on Tuesdays.

This design really shows that they want you you get into the comic as soon as possible. It’s a simple, non-nonsense, straight-to-the-point design. It’s sort of a… “warm” or “comfortable” design with the yellows and browns. The comic itself is contrasted with brighter colors, and stands out very well, but not distractingly so.

So far I get a feeling that the people behind the comic kinda know what they are doing. I would give the overall website design a “B+”.

As I said, the coloring really stands out. If there is an excuse to have some lighting affects, it is nicely done. The line art feels familiar, but I can’t place it anywhere else that I remember.

It has a “sketch” quality to it. Like when you draw a line a bit faster than it can spurt ink out? But a lot of the outlines are either gone over again, or done slower and/or bolder. So it gives a nice mix. Sometimes the bold lines feel TOO bold. Sometimes feels like “oops, wrong pen size, but too late to change that now”.

These over-bold outline can distract a bit, especially when they are very closer together. Or even when something smaller (or farther away) has almost the same line width as larger (or foreground) items.

There is a fair amount of blending, layers, or other effects. However it is mainly used for lighting, glass, and backgrounds. I believe the line art is heavily done with real media, and I think the color (clearly digital), uses a ton of color holds and effects. I imagine the colorist is a fairly patient person.

Really, the overall art gets an “A-” from me. The art really works well with everything put together.

– – –

Can any art be perfect? No. Nothing is perfect. My “grade system” is a combination of multiple factors: not strictly based on objective nor subjective aspects. Though it really does boil down to “How does it look?” and “Does it look like they know what they are doing?”, plus a “gut feeling”.

– – –

So to the story itself. It’s only about 10 pages in at the time of this review. I think this is going to be some sort of “space opera” or sorts. It starts with a betrayal, and is leading into a mystery. Could be a straight up suspense too. I dunno. If this were a movie, we’d be barely into the first 10 minutes. It could go anywhere.

There is a build of character development already, but mostly with only a few. Again, this is a story comic that has just started. It’s a full page, once a week, so this could be a really slow-going story.

However, there doesn’t seem to be any decompression or compression going on, so the pace feels quite nice. I’ll be adding this comic to my bookmarks, but might only check it once a month to get more of a helping each time I check it out. The comic feels very promising.

Webcomic Beacon #356: Comic News & Discussion: Fair Use, ComfyCon 2013, Meeting Your Heroes, and more!

Mr. Chris (from Playing with Props) joins Ben Carver and Fes Works for another newscast edition of The Webcomic Beacon! Comic news and discussion mostly includes a discussion about fair use, and how to meet your heroes. Very full episode for a return Webcomic Beacon of the newscast kind!

Quick heads up on WCBN goings on:
Comic Reviews,
Comic of the Week (ish),
Submitting Press Releases,
Fes’ 60 second webcomic review show, from 2007, is online at WCBN.


Commentary on the online, cartoonist convention.

PCMag.com Seems to be confused about what “Fair Use” is
PCMAG.com did a list of their favorite webcomic, posting several strips in part or in full, without asking permission. Though it’s said this is fair use to do this, PCMag.com had sent emails to those creators saying that if they wanted to quote the article, they would have to pay a fee?
This is mainly about the double standard.
Ryan Estrada:
PCMag.com Article in Question:

How To Meet Your Heroes
An article on ComicM!x goes over how one should conduct themselves when it comes to meeting your hero(es).

Artist Work Tablet for $400?
Monoprice will have a Motion Computing pen interactive tablet for $400 coming out in December.
Motion Computing Tablets:
Webcomic Beacon #347:  Screen tablet Reviews:

The One Word, Go! Show: “Hobby”

Today on the show, “hobby”, Dan builds a robot in his closet, Breanne puts a spin on the classic swear jar, Mat realises he doesn’t have any hobbies, and Mat’s Mom steals a car while filling in for Fish, who is away in Mexico, getting it on with several different men.

The song at the end of the show is called I Need a Hobby by Robbin’ Pain!

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

Webcomic Beacon Review: Flycoren: Kausin by Mana & Andrew Glubrecht

Flycoren: Kausin
by Mana & Andrew Glubrecht


Reviewed by Fes Works

So, a quick heads-up about the Webcomic Beacon Reviews, Trial Run. There will be one more after this, and then December will only have Comic of the Week picks. We will open for another round of review submissions in December, for a new bout to start in January. Stay tuned www.WebcastBeacon.com or @WebcomicBeacon for details as they come.

– – –

So I’ve talked about backgrounds a lot on webcomic websites, and this one takes the cake thus far! But let me back up a bit. This is “Flycoren Kausim”.

The first thing that jumps out when I load up the website is the header and background. And what a background it is! It’s not fixed, but I think that is fine, since it is also designed to work as the header image for the logo.

There are several images of difference characters from different scenes, all blended in together. It feels like something you would see put together for a movie poster. It’s a full-sized image that is fairly well designed to look great, or at least decent, with a variety of computer screen sizes. Even with the narrowest possible size, the BG image works as just the header image.

If I were to give a grade for the background image alone, it would be an “A”.

The title logo, however, could use a little more work. I mean it’s fine, but it doesn’t really pop as much as I feel it should. Especially the “Kausim” part, to which I didn’t even notice at first. That and the fancy script typeface for the “F” in “Flycoren” is… well, I could not reall tell what letter it was untill I re-checked the name of the comic elsewhere.

In the header is also the phrase “An Online Comic – Updates Mondays”. Which is fine except that this part pops WAY MORE than the logo does, which should not be the case. Because the eye pulls to that phrase, instead of the logo. It also all takes up a huge amount of space. It is 40-50% taller than what I personally recommend, but it does work very well with that background.

There is a lot going for itself here, but I think there’s room to improve. I’d give the header a “B”.

Below that is a styled menu bar. Very nice presentation. Then there is a sidebar and the main comic area below that. This is where my first really big issues with the design come in. There is a large amount of dead space under the menu, before the comic. The comic is pushed down farther than it should be. ESPECIALLY with the header/logo taking up so much space.

I have a 1280×800 screen, and the comic is more than halfway down the screen. If I were on a tablet or netbook, I may not even see the comic at all. This goes against my rule of thumb for webcomic websites: The first third or first row of panels of a comic page should be visible without scrolling.

Additionally, attached to the comic image itself is another header?? Complete with the name of the comic, who it is by, plus the copyright, year, and website url.

There is no reason for this to be at the TOP of the comic, especially when you already have a logo on the page, just 6cm above that. Additionally, why isn’t the creator credit in the logo, but here? In any case, I can understand the need to brand the comic image as well, but put it under the comic page. Right here it is both redundant AND pushes the comic down needlessly.

Tighten up that dead space,, and move that 2nd header, and you move your comic up by 4cm. That’s a HUGE difference!

Aside from that, next to the navigation on the top and bottom of the comic (my personal preference), they utilize the space well enough. They have an ad in the space next to it on the bottom, and they use a rank-link for a webcomic listing site, plus an archive dropdown, at the top.

It all works well enough, though it is a little crowded for the top. The navigation links have text along with images. Having ONLY the navigation would probably look much nicer overall. Especially the top. Which kinda brings me to the sidebar.

The webcomic listing site image link is ALSO in the sidebar? Pick one spot. In fact, remove the link from the navigation, as well as the archive link, and keep those in the sidebar.

The giant “Subscribe or Like us” is OK to draw attention, but gets redundant with the 4 line text explanation of how an email subscription works. Honestly just delete all of that text. The text field with the value of “Email Address” and the “Subscribe” button is all you need.

So far, the biggest problem with the website design is redundancy. So much space is wasted, and design can be a bit tighter. Delete that text and the rest of the sidebar should line up with the comic navigation more, and help remove some more deadspace under the comic. Aside from this, no other issues with the sidebar ads.

Under the comic, with the “inner background” for the main area, actually has a nice transitional image before it goes to the blog (and lower sidebar). I actually like that the home page of the website will also show the blog’s comments immediately, so one can get started in the conversation right away. May not work for everyone, but I kinda like it like that.

The lower side bar is OK with with the ad on the top, and a dragon image link for the comic’s branding below it, but the middle is a mess. The affiliate section mainly. I highly recommend that they get all of the affiliates to have the same image sizes. It would really make everything look WAY nicer right there.

Below that is a user login field. Now I’ve not even read the comic yet at this point, but with the comments available on the home page, and a login field immediately available, I’m going to assume that reader participation is probably fairly decent on this website.

Overall website design, I give an easy “B+” right now, but for sure an “A-” after a few tweeks are made.

– – –

I am hesitant to give “A”s easily, and an “A+” would be something that would really blow me away. We’ll see how this grading aspect goes. To be clear, the grading system I am employing is based both off of what would be off of effort, function, structure, and aesthetics; which is all a part of the readibility and enjoyability of the webcomic reader experience. So basically: F = Failure, D = Below Average (bare minimum effort), C = Average (standard functionallity and structure), B = Above Average (more customization and care), A = Exceeds.

– – –

OK! On to the comic itself! Another story comic, so I will start by at least reading the first chapter, and end by reading the whole last chapter to present.

Well, the first thing that really stands out in the artwork are the characters… of which I have no idea what they are. They don’t really look like humans, elves, or even humanoid animals. The first characters almost look like cow people… kinda. The main point is that the character design is somewhat familiar yet unique.

Hmmm, the character design is mainyly human-like, with the ears changing, possibly by “sub-species” or possibly meant as ethnicity. The color schemes plus the ears seem to indicate the type of “animal” plus human. I’m getting flashbacks of Blue Sub Six for some reason. In any case, I am liking the character designs.

Oh, there’s tails too!

More on the art. The backgrounds and surroundings have more detail than the characters. Typical of many cartoons, sure, with the characters colored more in flats and simple shadow. It’s all real fine, really, though I would prefer more coloring detail in the characters. Characters are mostly in flats, with barely enough shadowing (or highlights)… It’s simple most of the time, and more detailed other times.

I mean all of the art design is very good and consistent on the whole. It’s all good. My sticking point is that the characters’ coloring could stand a bit more color detail to better match the backgrounds and surroundings level of details.

It could be my personal tastes, but the shadowing is really simple, and should be improved upon. It should contour better than it does. If you really look at it, the shadow lines don’t behave as they should with the body contours indicadted with the actual line art. Well sometimes it does. Shadowing is very inconsistent, and now I’m paying too much attention to it. If anything should be improved with the overall art, is the characters’ shadowing. And maybe more with highlights.

Overall, I give the art a “B+” for the style.

Now the story! Starts off innocent enough but soon adds a foriener that gets wash upon shore. So this has a number of potential directions for the drama to unfold. Chapter one is fairly solid for an introduction. I started reading through more of the chapters. I can say that there is certainly the makings of a complex storyline here.

The pacing is actually pretty good overall. I really don’t have any major complaints about the storytelling. It has a few characters I like following, but this is really a plot driven comic.

If you like stories set in a fantasy environment, with inter-country drama potential, this is for sure a comic for you to check out. I’ll be adding this to my bookmarks.

– – –

Alright! One more comic to review for the trial run for next week!

Comic of the Week: Oh Joy, Sex Toy! by Erika Moen

Oh Joy, Sex Toy!
by Erika Moen

Comic of the Week picked by: @fesworks

Clearly not safe for work, and not so much a comic that is like any other. This is a sort of review comic… for sex toys. We should have expected this come from no one else. Erika manages to bring her own journal style of cartooning, with her passion for sexual content, into one incredibly informative comic.

There is content for persons with male or female parts, as well as parts that are on any gender. A variety of body styles and relationships presented in the comic is refreshing. Even as someone that does not have a personal use for a lot of the toys mentioned, it’s still interesting and informative.

You can also listen to Erika Moen on episode #125 of The Webcomic Beacon!

Comic Website | WebcomicZ Entry
NSFW*: Nudity, Sexual Content



Send the WCBN your Press Releases!

On the subject on guidelines about sending the WCBN and its programs emails, I decided to revamp the whole Press Release policy, while also trying something new.

While there are many ways to contribute to the WCBN and its shows, including submitting your own original article, one can also submit promotional information via Press Releases. While I would encourage everyone to read the entire FAQs page first, I’ll give a quick overview on what we are looking at.

Everyone wants some recognition, and that’s fine. But please email us enough information. Too many emails come in where it’s barely a sentence or two, and doesn’t really say much. We want to know who you are (and what you go by), what you want us to know (and be detailed but still brief), and really try to sell us on it.

Remember, part of being a creative is selling yourself and your brand. That means to work on your pitch!

Why does all of this matter? Well, I’m going to trial run monthly post regarding Press Releases sent to us, as well as other information around the webcomics industry and community that may be of interest to be. Anything more news-like will be pushed to The Webcomic Beacon Newscast (if related enough). Otherwise we’ll collect the other information (where appropriate) for a monthly post for the first of the month. So if you have an event coming out during a month, get the information to us a before the 28th of the previous month.

We would prefer Press Release style notices for your own work, or heads up about news articles and tutorials. We want to increase the content of the WCBN website as well as our individual shows. This means we want to get things a little bit back to how The Webcomic Beacon was first run. Meaning more community building and sharing. We’ll be looking to have more assorted guests on that would like to talk about particular topics or recent news or upcoming events. We want to get back to that sharing of information, and promoting each other.

But first we’ll start with this trial run project first. So the next Press Release post will be on December 1st. I will be looking forward to suggestions and more submitted information. I have always been on the side of experimenting. This goes from articles to podcast episodes, to entire segments or series, or a whole new show!

I will also remind people that the strength of The Webcomic Beacon in the past was when listeners became very involved, and many eventually became crew in some fashion for some period of time. But it starts with those individuals with a drive to do something and be share it. It’s not about us telling you want to do, it’s about you telling us what could or should be done!

Frequently Asked Questions
Including steps on sending us Press Releases.

Other ways to contribute:
Podcast Appearances
Original Article Submissioms
Cover Art and Becky Beacon Art Submissions
Original Music Submissions
Webfiction Submissions for Readings
Product Reviews / Giveaways / Prizes

The Geek Life #213: “Bacon Mead” – Video Releases, iPad 5G, Beer, and other random stuff.

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, November 19th. We’ll be on a live Google+ Hangout starting at  ~8pm (?) Central Time . You can follow us on Twitter @thegeeklifetv with the hashtag #thegeeklivetv.

No show notes (as we had no actual show notes).  Video releases, and we just kind of winged it the rest of the time! We do talk about the new iPad 5G, bacon and beer, a bit about Midwest FurFest, but mostly random stuff.


The One Word, Go! Show: “Piracy”

Today on the show, “Piracy”: Mat sings a song he’s never heard, Breanne makes it just in time to watch a bird explode, Dan has no shame in participating in illegal activities, and Fish is a pirate, yar har fiddle di dee. Also, we mourn the death of MSN Messenger and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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

About our webcomic reviews trial run, and rules about emailing us.

I wanted to give a recap about the webcomic reviews review trial run, as well as plans about the future of them; but I also wanted to clarify rules about emailing us. Mostly for organizational purposes, but also to keep spam down, and avoid passive aggressiveness.

The Trial Run
I may do one or two more from the initial trial run, then I will do a few “Comic of the Week” posts through December. I was hoping to do Comic of the Week and the reviews at the same time, and I still might.

I will announce a new opening for submissions in December, with instructions. (keep reading)

Comic of the Week
The Comic of the Week picks are supposed to be unsolicited quick picks with non-reviews attached to them. Either from me or the crew picking them from our own crossings, or from emails sent to the Webcomic Beacon. (keep reading)

Emailing The Webcomic Beacon
Yes, I do get a lot of emails to interview or review comics/creators, as well as press releases. These go un-replied for many reasons, but sometimes I do bookmark some.

As always, people may email the WEBCOMIC Beacon email address with press releases and other sorts of “hustles” to see if we may be interested in your work. You may also tweet at us. I fully understand the desire to get recognition, and get the word out. You may especially ask us about retweeting relative events, projects, and fundraisers. Just be sure to email/tweet the correct program’s contact info. (webcomic stuff goes to webcomicbeacon, webfiction to webfictionworld, general creative stuff or site questions to webcastbeacon, etc)

But there are a few rules I would like people to respect:

PLEASE DO NOT SPAM our twitter or email for your comic updates.

  • Do not add us to your single comic mailing list…. However, publishers, comic groups, and organizations may add us to newsletters. Just not simply for only comic updates.

PLEASE, do not simply ask to be REVIEWED or picked for a C.O.W. pick

  • … unless there is a request for submissions. Comic of the Week picks are not for submission. You may still send us a press release or a one-time email pitching you and your comic. We may not get back to you, but a detailed pitch or “hustle” would help better than a couple of sentences.

PLEASE, do not simply ask to be INTERVIEWED, or speak on a subject

  • … without making a really good case. You really should be learning to sell yourself. If you think you would be interesting to have on the show, tell us why. If you have great ideas for a topic, tell us about it. If you would really love to talk about a comic/creatives news article or event that recently happened, please tell us about it and what you think (this would be your best bet to get on the show).  Anyone we have on the show can certainly plug their work too (in case you were wondering).

Please do not ask about reviews without our posting a request for submissions. Please follow The Webcomic Beacon on twitter at @WebcomicBeacon. There you will find if I am asking about review submissions, or if people should “bump” their old emails to us if we never got back to you on something, etc. Again, this is all mostly for organizational reasons, as well as a quality control.

Response to the reviews so far
I was hoping for more of a response to the reviews, but I’ve not recieved too much feedback yet. Mostly from the creators themselves, which is absolutely fine. I am hoping to keep the reviews as an all-around review of the entire webcomic experience, which includes the website. It is possible I may turn them into podcasts, in addition to the written review. We’ll see.

The Future of The Webcomic Beacon and reviews
It is possible that I will turn the reviews and C.O.W.S into the new Webcomic Beacon, which is why I was wanting to wait after the initial trial run, and after the Semi-Finale of The Webcomic Beacon, before I further considered it.

I would also try to get more people than myself on the show to give reviews or COW picks. I may also consider looking into making videos of the reviews, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Still, keep checking the main website, the facebook page, our tumblr, google plus page, or our twitter for announcements and updates!


Webfiction World Readings: Berlin Confidential

The Webfiction World podcast presents a reading of Berlin Confidential (chapter 1); written by A. Scott & E. Cowles, and read by Kara Dennison.

Read from the beginning: Berlin Confidential, chapter one.

More of Kara Dennison’s work: www.conscrew.com

“Black Hat Magick” is © A. Scott & E. Cowles. The audio reading is © Kara Dennison, Webfiction World, and Fesworks, LLC, under a license to use from A. Scott & E. Cowles. Not to be redistributed without permissions. All Rights Reserved. More information on Webfiction World Readings.