Charmy’s Army – August 20, 2018

08JAUGUST2018_CHARMY - WEEK 34 - 0819-0825 - COLOR STACKED - WEB

The Perfect Comic Strip!

This week’s comic strip is the perfect comic strip. This is the type of comic strip I wish other cartoonists would create. So, in my opinion, this is why today’s comic strip from Charmy’s Army is the perfect comic strip.

1. STORY

From start to finish, the reader gets a complete story. Granted, this could go on for a week with similar gags… but that would just be an expansion to this comic strip. As it stands, this is a complete story. The reader does not need to know anything about my characters in order to understand the story. There is a simple beginning and a completed end to the gag. The reader is not left wondering what will happen next. The gag and story are complete and satisfying.

2. ACTING

The acting from Frenchy and Charmy is the best we’ve seen in newspapers in some time. Look at the emotions in panel three from Frenchy. That girl is selling the story and pulling the readers into the story while, at the same time, strengthening the gag. The third panel of any comic strip is a crucial spot where the acting is so important. Guy Gilchrist taught me the most important lesson I have ever learned.

Guy Gilchrist is the amazing artist behind such comic strips as The Muppets, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Nancy. He is as talented as he is awesome. I met Guy in San Antonio at Alamo City Comic Con which ended up being the most rewarding show for Charmy’s Army  as far as “lessons learned”. Guy had been reading my strip which had my jaw dropping to the floor. Guy informed me that my comic strip loses its magic when I have the characters interact with the audience. I would always have weaver deadpanning glances at the audience. I did this as a tip-of-the-hat to Oliver Hardy who would sell a gag to the audience in this manner.

Guy explained that breaking that wall loses the believably that the audience has with my world. The audience should be peaking into a window as they watch the antics going on. The audience should never know people are looking in. I decided to give this a shot. I would try the suggestion out for a few months and see what happens. Guy is a genius. My strip seemed more funny now that the scenarios were set in a more private atmosphere.

Now that the characters were no longer selling straight to the audience, their acting skills were strongly enhanced. Now, instead of selling directly to the audience, the cast had to sell gags indirectly, meaning their acting skills via facial expressions had to increase. Everyone has stepped up their game and my comic strip has improved because of this.

3. AMAZING DIRECTOR

Every panel stands on its own. Every panel is a scene to sell the story and retain interest, drawing in the reader closer than any other comic strip in newspapers today. This is accomplished with unique perspectives. In other words, no panel looks the same. They look similar, but the camera is zooming in and out as the gag is being set up and delivered. This keeps the reader riveted, slowing down the intake of the story. The reader is taking in each scene with the altered camera shots and with the exceptional acting, giving the reader a deeper experience and a more rewarding ending.

To me, comic strips where every panel looks exactly the same is boring and speeds up the reading of the strip. I want my readers to explore the art as they read, slowing down the experience and rewarding the readers with a satisfaction missing from comic strips today. I blame the computer age for making it too easy to clone a comic strip panel over and over again, speeding up the process but dumbing down the art.

CONCLUSION

To me, these three elements make for a great comic strip. Cartoonists are no longer adhering to these elements. Each of my strips take 4 to 6 hours to create. I did not tackle the art of hand lettering above. I do not believe that hand lettering is crucial. I hate fonts though because they look fake… but so many cartoonists use fonts now. I have seen some use it effectively, but for me and my art, fonts look bad.

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Charmy’s Army – The Comic Strip