First off, before we begin, to our competitors who, despite life and all it's trials, all managed to upload an entry, we thank you. You all did an amazing job, and should be proud!
And now, the time has come. These were incredibly difficult choices, as all four of these competitors are incredibly skilled individuals. It was no easy task for our judges, all of them admitting that these were extremely close calls and wrenching decisions.
You've strung with us for so long, but the end is in sight, fear not! We present to you, without further delay, the results of the second last round of Rogue Skies!
Eku Vs Bili
"Eku once again charmed us with, what may possibly the only legitimately good-hearted crew up in the sky. He took an interesting turn in bringing in cameos of Kip and Monty. He handled the tricky multiple personality of RAven/Newt very well in my opinion, making it very clear which one was talking by giving them each dynamically distinct faces while still clearly being being one character.
The fight was short but sweet, and Mikka's heroic choice once again separates Mikka especially from the rest of the sky scavengers.
The ending was a sweet follow up to Mr Tea and Crumpet's characters, giving us a warm conclusion to that story. It very much felt like that, a conclusion.
One thing that, while not something I am judging based on, I think Eku deserves more then a little credit for is that he was the only one to comfortably get his comic finished before the original deadline. The man has done this several times (while each time the deadline got nudged back!). I applaud you good sir and your speedy comic skills.
Billi presented us with, once again more plot. Like Eku, her fight scene itself was short, with great dialogue, and her opponent's character also felt like it was really well written in character. Her use of creative frames, (especially in the last page should be noted), though I think her comics could have used with a little more tightening up as far as shading and the darker colors went. While the blood effects were just that, effective, at times the grey scale shadeing looked rushed and were a little distracting.
Though never an each choice, my vote this round goes to Billious, for the simple reason that we were left with another cliffhanger and were offered more character development throughout, something which I would have loved to have seen in Eku's comic fleshed out a little more (much like we saw in his previous round).
Once again, both artists did a fantastic job and I think both of you really excelled in writing each other's character. A great job to the both of you!"
"Project E-Ko: whenever I look at these I can't believe you guys aren't publishing or something. It's intense. Anyway, love the use of grey and tones; it really brings the stuff out. Reads clearly enough (excellent action sequences, SRSLY) though I thought Mikka was the one who lost fingers until the second or third time I read it. So I guess you have cause there, just needed more effect? Whatevs, you get my vote this round.
Bili: love the use of colour, it really brings stuff out. cool gutters too, you seriously know how to work a page. These rounds have been SO CLOSE and I'm sorry to not knock a vote your way; these two were so close I just really had to boil it down to my personal preference."
"=Ekuneshiel vs. =Bilious
Winner selected: =Bilious
This was a very difficult match to judge. I thought both entries were solid art-wise, complete, both had interesting story lines and I loved the way both of the artists portrayed their opponents' characters. In the end it really came down to which story affected me most. =Bilious's story surprisingly touched my heart. I felt so bad for Newt as a character and his little back story. The entire entry was interesting, a page turner even, and I LOVED the hook at the end. I guess at the end of the day =Bilious's entry sank more into my heart and therefore, stood out more, which explains my selection. =Ekuneshiel's entry was wonderful and deserves the utmost of commendation as well. :]"
I really like how the interaction between Mikka and Arkady is handled. Though I'm not the characters' creator, it did feel like it caught the essence of their relationship.
Really loving the teeny bits of flashback we're getting in this entry- I feel really bad for Newt! At all manages to work well with the flow. This can be difficult to execute, and it sets up Newt-Raven face-heel turn for this round really nicely.
A minor note: I understood the overlapping text from pages one to two, but perhaps a fade on the text from the last page, or giving Newt's word bubbles tails would have helped the effect. I like the cameo for Fred and the cats.
Some of the layouts were a little muddy, near the beginning especially. I was admittedly a little confused as to where he was on pages 3-4 when he was standing on the debris.
I have to say, the way the borders around the panels slowly degrade as the round progresses was a clever addition
Eku is an incredibly fast worker. I am always awed by the speed at which he produces such gorgeous, clean art. He's also very skilled at making sweet, feel-good stories. Mikka is a character that
And we get another one of Eku's trademark Awesome Fight Scenes! I love the movement and energy in the panels, Eku really has a gift- And snap! Newt's been relieved of a couple digits there!
A quick, clean happy ending from Eku. Well, mostly happy. I love that he tied up the loose end with :devMr-Tea-and-Crumpet:'s Kip, and the finishing panels with Newt/Raven were appropriately, creepily done
These two competitors really had vastly different feels to their entries. Eku did what he did best, showcasing both Mikka's kindness and her badass skills with slick artwork and heartfelt interactions. Bili's pages were dark, intriguing and left me wanting to know more. I was an incredibly hard decision, but I'm casting my vote for Bilious this round. I really enjoyed Eku's entry, but it was Bili's nailbiting cliffhanger and promise of more that swayed my vote."
MOVING ON TO THE FINAL ROUND:
I really love the way this entry was written for all of the characters. Gwen's ability to write for other characters is truly admirable. It was really a shame that she ran out of time to polish her entry- The loose sketches hold a lot of promise, as Gwen's panelling and art are always wonderfully done.
I also really enjoyed the setup for her round, and I'm glad she included Ink! Her characterisations are always genuinely fun to read. (I love that Myriad's answer to mechanical difficulties is 'whack with a stick')
Overall, I want to congratulate Gwen- Despite being insanely busy, she still managed to atleast loose-sketch out her entire entry, which is still, in fact, interesting to look at and definitely readable.
I love how Oly used all sorts of loose ends to bring together her round. Like Gwen, her characterizations are lovely. Her version of Myriad and the cats really brought a huge smile to my face. As always she brings consistent art and gorgeous coloring to the table with her entry, despite the last page being lineart only at this point. I really feel for Norton, too. He's only trying to do his best!
Both of these ladies are incredibly skilled in both writing and art. Despite the unfinished art in Gwen's, her writing was still enjoyable and the effort she put in to atleast somewhat finish it is highly commendable. My vote, however, must go to Oly, for a brilliantly done entry that still leaves me wanting to know what happens next."
I'm overjoyed that even when you were running out of time you still whipped out some REALLY badass angles, and stayed as ambitious as you could. The dialogue carries the images well enough so even with the refined scribbles I'm getting the same effect, and can't wait to see it all finished up. IMPOSSIBLY UNFORTUNATELY I had to give my vote to Olinski this round for no reason past me having to cast a vote and adoring their entry so much. I'm pretty sure I had voted you every time before now though, so I'm hopefully not coming off as too much of a cock! I hate having to pick, I really do. Bug Walla to make an anthology of these when it's all done, and possibly see you next round!
I was saying in another JUDGENOET I don't know why you're not published. I really hope there are plans to put all of these in some kind of book on Lulu. The odd colour schemes are absolutely gorgeous and set the best mood/tone/environment I've seen in a while; I'M IMPRESSED AND IMMERSED. Past that I don't even have anything to critique; nuts hey? You got my vote, and here's hoping you make it to the finale!"
"Oly comic was an entertaining read. All through out I don't think I was the only one fascinated by how close Myraid came to a full on wardrobe malfunction. Oly mixed light hearted humor with heart touching moments which made this a really strong read. And who, who dared to venture into the Rogue Skies chats in it's prime, didn't laugh out loud at the Ginch and Pep cameo? It was a nice throwback but, I would like to emphasize that it was NOT a decisive factor for me, but rather an amusing side note.
Oly seemed to handle Myraid's character very well, toeing the line between cat crazy and just plain crazy isn't easy but I think she managed to keep her within character.
That said, Oly's creative writing and ideas, as well as the trials of Norton made this a powerful read and, as always, leave me wanting more.
I would have loved to have seen (and to see) the last page colored. With such fine detailed line work, it gets quite lost without the aid of shadeing or color.
QueenGwen continued right where Oly's last round left off, something which I thought was a very nice touch. It showed a great consideration and interest in your opponent right from the start. It was a delight again to see Odette and Pitor as well as Ink. She handled Norton and his machine passion very well and the interactions amidst all the kitty chaos was very well written. That said, time wasn't on her side this time and unfortunately, while much to me delight, the comic was posted finished, the pages themselves were not. This meant that reading the pages got to be a little hard to follow at times. I applaud that she did post a finished comic, out of respect for her opponent, and I really hope to see these pages finished once that fickle thing called time returns to her but, that in mind,
my vote for this round goes to Oly.
Great work from the both of you, both entries had a lot of heart in them and both were delightful reads with a clash of eccentric and colorful characters."
=QueenGwenevere vs. *Oly-RRR
Winner selected: *Oly-RRR
Another extremely difficult decision to make. I thought each of them did an excellent job of keeping their opponent's characters in character (oh my god =QueenGwenevere's Ink is the cutest thing I've EVER seen i___i and I am a personal fan of her art to no end), as I know that is a difficult thing to do. Both of their stories were great and cohesive and most importantly, fun. What stood out for me was *Oly-RRR's wonderful imagination (Norton's invention, fffff SO CUTE) and really, the fact that the entry was completed. I do understand that problems and other issues may arise that disable participants from finishing their entry, and even =QueenGwenevere's story boarding was easy to read through (and interesting to look at, really) but it's hard to beat a fully colored, beautifully illustrated, complete entry when they're at the same level in every other facet as far as I'm concerned. Also, *Oly-RRR really made me feel for Norton and Fred. Especially Norton, that poor man. ; _____ ; HE'S BRILLIANT, I TELL YOU. lkajsdasdf"
MOVING ON TO THE FINALS:
Congratulations, Sky Pirates, on a round well-fought! These were such tough calls, and you all deserve hearty thanks!
And now that we know our finalists, check back shortly for the official start of the Final Round of Rogue Skies!
Steampunk, Clockwork City and You
How to Audition
Aside from the fact that, come ON, Oly had a great entry, and mine was barely holding on by a thread, the fact is I wouldn't have had time for another round until mid-May anyway, so.... big sigh of relief, here.
GO OLY! GO BILI! GO GO GO!!
This said, I'd be really grateful if it could be announced as soon as possible.
I'm really really hoping that we'll either get a couple months to finish, or have a bit of a break between rounds- We're about 75% done our packing for our move, and then me, my dad, two rats and three cats are all jumping in a car to drive from New Jersey to Southern California over the course of a few days- then our stuff won't get there (including the scanner) until about a week after that so we're looking at about a month of "I seriously will not be able to do any drawing" D: After the truck with our stuff arrives, though, that's a different matter XD
Maaaan I'm so excited, I have such plaaaans >:3
I really appreciate that Gwen still finished despite the lack of time. It was quite a round!
(And regarding that last page, it will be colored next week, I'm having a kind of short-term time crunch of my own right now XD)
So it's finals now, isn't it? GREAT SCOTT 8D