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!

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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