Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Written by the clearly non-English speaking Carina Nor, Just Mortal is "some strange comic about an angel and a demon getting on each others nerves." True to its self-description, Just Mortal follows "Wilya Tengware," a demon, and "Jacob Ilmarin," an angel. And with names like that, you know the author means business.

The story starts off simply enough- Wilya (demon) and Jacob (angel) are immmortal enemies who made the mistake of fighting too much. So, both Heaven and Hell ruled for them to live together for 100 years. Aaaaaaannnnd let the laughter begin.

What the comic lacks is simple enough- any sort of drama. The fighting that caused the duo to be punished? The fighting that resulted in (grammatical errors hers, not mine) "more damage to heaven and hell, then all the the angels and demons have managed in a whole century"? is supposedly the super-horrific ability to wilt flowers, hurl puffs of smoke, and light trees on fire. Heaven and Hell must be joint-operated by Smokey Bear for this to be a big deal.

That aside, the comedy of the series is supposed to come from the duo's natural discrepancies. However, their alleged polar differences result to little more than civil disagreements or bland violence. I say "civil" disagreements because so early on in the strip the two share a bed after little more than two rows of dialogue exchange. No yelling, no fighting (disregard the "after a long fight"... if it wasn't drawn, it didn't happen)... it's supposed to be an angel and a demon living together, right? Nor later tries to express their animosity towards one another through physical violence but her inexperience in drawing keeps her from capturing any sort of energy. All the violence is flat and uninteresting. I think what Nor is trying to do with her interpersonal drama is what Eric Nault does so flawlessly with his characters and dialogue (not to mention his strip involves a female demon too!).

The plot is very "how do you do"-ish. They, the two supernatural characters, find jobs easy enough despite their origins and appearances. The people that the angel and demon meet care very little for the fact that the duo are theological in origin. Instead, they see it, accept it, and move on. Granted, it's a comic strip, but without any sense of reality there's no way to be interested; if no one notices nor cares that the characters aren't human, there's no way to relate to the strip's world.

The art is fair enough. Like all beginning artists, Nor will improve over time. What really bugs me is the speech bubbles. Nor changes the text to fit in the bubbles rather than the other way around; what Nor should do is create bubbles large or small enough to envelop the text. The end result is a headache after having to read through text squished to size 6 font or being stretched out to make 3 words fit in a bubble made large enough for an English paragraph.

All in all, the characters could stand to be fleshed out, the logic of the strip could use some tweaking (and by "tweaking" I do mean "utterly realizing that the real world isn't that stupid and simple"), and by god Nor needs to find an English-speaking spellchecker. Second panel of this strip. "Doorseller"? Nor means "Door to door salesman," but since she doesn't have a perfect grasp of the English language, mainly due to her residing in Norway, she wouldn't know the difference.


Blogger Tommie said...


Just reading through your blog and was wondering if you would give my webcomic the once over! It's called THE END and you can find it here:


and email me here:

Thanks in advance,
Tommie Kelly

4:06 AM  

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