Firstly, however, we'd like to thank everyone who submitted their entries this round. You all did a phenomenal job, and we're proud to see your high-quality comics despite being busy with so many other commitments!
Despite there being only one match to judge, the judges still had an extremely difficult time deciding. All of them admit to it being incredibly close and a very, very tough call!
That said, here are your results and judge's comments:
MYSTERY OF THE MAYOR:
"I was really disappointed to see an unfinished entry here, but this doesn't meant that Eku's efforts are worth overlooking!
Another Round, another outfit! And we really get to see more insight into Mikka's past, expanding his cast of characters, as well as tying in nicely with the NPCs we got from Falin. He really captures the innocence of Mr Tea's characters. The comic moves fast and over all is a fun read.
One minor suggestion, from a judging perspective... we really really REALLY love it when people link their pages together in the comments. I mean, we love it more then cake."
"Commentary for Ekuneshiel:
It's really unfortunate that another of Eku's opponent's had to forfeit. I do love Eku's inking style something fierce. It's crisp and clean, and the action feels appropriately kinetic in a way that makes me smile. His stories are feel-good and lighthearted tales that make us smile.
However, this round felt very cute and... Simple. Not that simple is necessarily a bad thing. However, despite the seeming story Mr. Tea had been winding within his own entries, little to none of it was alluded to. Eku's stories work very well as self-contained tales. However, this round in particular, though adorable and nice in it's execution of the prompt felt, well, simple.
It will be interesting to see how he handles his opponent in the next round, no matter who it is.
Commentary for Mr. TAC:
Really unfortunate that he had to drop out. His round had a promising start and I was really looking forward to seeing what he did with his backstory and plot."
PLOY FOR PARACHUTES:</b>
"Oh wow, Can I just say, I have never seen a more gracefully executed forfeit then Falin's? Despite knowing that he would not be able to continue with Rogue Skies, he took the time to properly give his opponent something, and working together in the scheme of all schemes the duo gave us two fantastic comics this round, ending on a bitter sweet note of brilliance from Falin. Together, splitting the story, these two artists really did an amazing job, filling both entries with fantastic character interaction, action (explosions, and okay, a little bit of blood).
Seriously. Stop reading this and go read both of them, -now-."
"Commentary for Bilious and Falingard:
What is there to be said about this round? Certainly forfeits are less than ideal, but if it is inevitable, this is definitely a top-notch, classy way to go about it.
I'm always charmed by Bilious's art and characters. Her inks work wonders to create amazing atmosphere, and I really enjoy the dashes of color that look almost like watercolors over the inks.
The art in Falin's entry is lovely. The splashes of color really pop against the grayscale, and the characters and expressions are fantastic.
Bili's entry feels a little abrupt in some places, where things just happen all of a sudden, but then, those things are often covered in Falingard's entry, and so are explained instead by the way in which this round was executed.
All-in-all, this round defies commentary, but instead can only recieve my kudos and admiration. It's saddening to see Falingard go, but at least he went out in style!"
"Commentary for Oly-RRR:
I love Oly's colors! She has great environments and attention to little details. Her characters are sympathetic and interesting, and I really enjoy how she keeps utilizing and cameo-ing many of the characters from previous rounds still aboard the Marauder. I remain intensely curious about how and why Fred has come to Clockwork City, seemingly from the future/another dimension, and I really feel bad for poor Norton's headaches and fears. She handled her opponent's character well in his kindness and natievety.
I'll admit, Norton's spiel about his invention, while interesting in the fact that is was all thought out, had me wanting to skip his dialogue.
The ending was thoroughly unexpected as well, and a rather daring move! I'm looking forward to seeing how she handles the next round!
Commentary for ArtistsBlood:
I'm very sad to see that AB ran out of time to do her entry, but want to extend kudos for her continuing to upload more of her entry so that we can be allowed to see what she would have done! I adore her storytelling and really hope to see more of her comics in the future! With her fantastic art and ideas, I'm sure she'd rock it if she tried again for another OCT!"
"Another Forfeit, I am glad to see Artistsblood at least finishing up the pages slowly, and putting them up as an afterthought. It really shows a great deal of consideration for her opponent, and reading the two pages she has put up, her writing has remained as solid as ever( though spell check again, is advised), and her characters were always a delight to follow.
Oly again presents is with (almost) all full colored pages. Filled with cameos galore! We've again got continuity with poor Norton's headaches! Fred's trash talk is... well what could you expect? We see the good guy that Fred is, and she keeps Ink as innocent acting as ever, even in light of the competition which felt very in character for me. Also, wow, the fact that she did some research to support what Norton was making really shows. Of course, there are always consequences to be paid for innovation, which is the quiet little note the comic ends on.
Also, Backgrounds! take a look at those perspectives and detail put into each background."
MOVING ON: </b>
HIGH NOON IN THE HIGH SKIES:
"Queen Gwen starts off strong, with an entertainng look into the winterball itself, tying in very nicely with the special event that we'd held. Right off the bat her comic has me amused, and I have to mention, she gets major props for designing Gen's nightgown. Extra attention to attire and accessories (guns, and oh so many felines!) has always been one of this contestant's stronger points and she does not disappoint this time! Her dialogue, especially between Arruk and Genesis feels very real and personally I think she really nailed the relationship those two have. Again she does the same with Edward and Mary in the following scene.
Cameo's afoot, it's another positive thing I'd like to mention, as it always catches my eye in entries. Taking the effort to pay tribute to other entrants is an excellent display of community and sportsmanship!
Fantastic backgrounds all through out! Especially the airdocks and Edwards trip throughout the city.
Overall it's an entertaining read, with a charming end when everyone (aside from Arruk perhaps) still wins to some degree. She pays a lot of attention to the other characters, making this feel very much like it's for the people of Rogue Skies, though, again, we could stand to see a little more of her characters perhaps. A sassy swashbuckling lady that she is, we would love to see more of this woman and get to know her better.
Another entry that begins, much to my delight, right after the ball. It's jumps right into the action the second page in, grabbing the reader, clutching us in the claws of suspense only to have out hears break for poor Edward. This is one of the stronger parts of Zara's writing, her ability to tap into our emotions so cleverly. We feel for these characters, surrounded by so much misfortune.
One big thing about Zara's entries is that they're very encompassing of the world this is set in. There are bigger forces out there then the NPCs we tossed at this OCT and she makes a point of making the reader very aware of this. You really get a sense, while reading the comic, that this setting is very real, it's tangible and believable. Even with the odd assortment of crews. She plays up Genesis to be the evil heartless woman that she is, and people around her do suffer for it, Namely, again Edward.
We see a sudden snap in Edward, which, given all he's been through, was probably due. It was rather sudden from a reader's perspective, and still shocked me. Not because, again it was unexpected, but because we see a darker side of a man who's usually so well reserved.
Once again, everything more or less ties together in this entry at the end. The plot is starting to really pull together, and she makes sure to mention things that happened in the past comics, rather then write them off.
This choice wasn't an easy one, even if it was the only one we had to make this round. Both contestants, I felt, ha their strong points and had things that I think could have been improved upon.
Zara's always swooned me with her plot. This is the stuff that deserves to really be explored more in depth and this time, unfortunately, I felt more confused then usual when reading it. Ultimately I think I understood everything, but maybe a few more pages explaining what was going on, even in the action scene, switching back and forth, got really confusing for a bit there. Once I finished it, I was left, of course wanting more, as her comics always do, but really wishing that there had been some more clarity.
Gwen, as I've mentioned before, really could do to focus a little more on her own character. Her comics tend to have a very episodic feel to them, and could stand alone very well. This time she did play with continuity, and she really has a way of taking her opponent's characters and writing for them, what I feel to be really in character.
After a lot of flipping back and forth, I choose Gwen."
"Gwen: I do love how it picks right up after the Winter Ball, very clever. I'm a big, big fan of her panelling. I like the way things pop out and the angles really help to keep the pages from anything resembling monotony. However, the way panels are sometimes placed sequentially vertically can sometimes be a bit confusing if you don't have the entire page set up on your monitor. I sometimes catch myself having to correct the order in which I am reading the panels as I went from left to right instead of down to right. The inital exchanges between Genesis and Arruk are gold. I really, really enjoy how she brought back mention of Ink-n-Paper's character Cecil and TheToshihiko and ginchael's character Baxter as the tipoff to the prompt.
Delicious layouts. Clever interaction between Fatima and Edward with the secret messages.
All-in-all, a truly splendid job with this round's prompt. I thoroughly enjoyed this entry. Depite-or maybe because of-the seeming lack of super-background-plotstuffs in Gwen's comics, she was able to fit in a large amount of care and detail to the story Zara is crafting. Her eye and care for detail really made itself known. Excellent characterizations and stunning artwork.
Zara: Hah! I'm very amused by the fact that both of these entries seem to pick up right after the Winter Ball.
I love Zara's black and white, inked style. The mix of solid black and hatching is really pleasing to the eye.
Oh my goodness, -Edward-. I really am a fan of how Zara pulls you deeper into the minds of her characters. The the delicious plot grows thicker and thicker with every page. Some of it, however, makes me scratch my head a bit, almost a little too vague with a little too much going on.
(The Catherine the Great thing still makes me giggle!)
The backgrounds feel a little sparse and times, but I'm not at a loss for knowing where we are.
(I'm a big fan of the way that page 17 plays out like an animated scene with the opposing lines. It's something I'm a big nerd for.)
Alright, another brilliant entry from Zara. Chock full of delicious plot and hints that left me dying to know more about what's going on. I am also incredibly curious about how this secondary plot with many of the previous round's characters coming back (now including Myriad) will play out!
Between Gwen's rollicking, hilarious and beautifully drawn adventure and Zara's ever-increasingly epic plot and intriguing hints, this is nearly impossible to vote on. It absolutely breaks my heart, and I feel unqualified to choose between these two truly amazingly talented ladies. My vote goes to ZarathePirate for the promise of plot points revealed and mysteries explained!"
"Gwen's comic was well drawn and well executed. Her comics are very light hearted, but I'm not sure if this is entirely a good thing. While her writing is good I feel like she would greatly benefit from injecting a little more substance into it.
Zara's comic was likewise very well drawn and executed but I feel like there is something I am missing. She has a lot of backstory behind her characters that I feel left out on. I can't quite get it entirely from the comic, so I'm a little lost as to her plethora of characters."
"This was an extremely difficult round to judge, probably one of the most skilled matchups I've been anticipating. It took me the night of mulling it over to figure out who to vote for. I really loved Zara's characterization, especially the deeper glimpses into Edward and his past. Mary as well felt like she'd grown an extra layer over the course of the round, I really appreciate the depth that Zara gets into her characters. However, I felt as though there may have been too much going on. Several outside characters, parties, and plotlines were referenced and I was getting kind of lost trying to follow them all. QueenGwen's comic was almost the polar opposite. Her story was much more lighthearted and easier to follow, but I feel like there was a lot of wasted space spent not focusing on the story she was supposed to be writing.
I kind of regret saying so, but I think I have to give this round to Lady Gwen. If Zara's had just been a tiny bit easier to follow I would have given it to her in a heartbeat, I felt like more than half of Gwen's read like "Arruk and Genesis: Hungover Shenanigans". By page ten I was giving up on the story turning into anything more than pointless fluff. I was very disappointed with Gwen that out of a 22 page comic, only two really had any confrontation between the opposing characters, and what little there is was mostly cut short. I almost felt insulted that the time spent on the Arruk and Genesis acting silly amounted to five times what was spent on Edward and Myriad's actual faceoff.
I find Zara's characters have a lot of substance to them, while Myriad is fairly one-dimensional. However, I think Zara may have let those involving backstories bog her down and leave readers not following the entirety of Rogue Skies with a finetoothed comb a little out of the loop. Zara's makes me want to know what's going to happen to her characters next, unfortunately I don't feel like Queen Gwen's going to do anything with Myriad that will surprise anyone. I think Zara's story might have more significance than Gwen's when you look at the scope of RS as a whole, but for the sake of treating this round and the stories therein as a self-contained entities, I think Gwen's might have been more of a solid, cohesive piece. I almost don't want to say it, because I really want to know what Zara has planned for her characters in the future, but I think I may be casting my vote for =QueenGwenevere"
And there you have it. Congratulations go to everyone this round, and for our sky pirates still flying, rest your drawing hands and prepare yourselves for the SEMI FINALS!
MATCHES WILL BE POSTED NO LATER THAN SUNDAY THE 22ND!
Steampunk, Clockwork City and You
How to Audition
Now I'm all conflicted.
(Oh, but thanks for all the feedback and judges comments, it's really, really appreciated when we can see the thought process behind the judging instead of just "win/lose"... And it's helpful for improving future attempts, of course.)
(And yes, I admit my second half was a lot more abbreviated than I'd have liked, compared to the opening pages - the result of lack of time, endless struggling with the prompt, massive rewrites and cuts and an ending contrived literally the day before the due date. UGH. A mess. Will try better next time.)
To Ekuneshiel, Billious, and Oly - congrats on an win and a job well done! I'm so very much looking forward to seeing where your characters go.
Thanks everyone for making this such a fun tournament to watch!
ah well...I suppose good luck to the ones that made it >.<
Really looking forward to the semi-finals, everyone's got such amazing promise.
Congrats all around, though!! Shame about all the forfeits but at least two of them posted up something for us! Man I can't wait to see our matchups!