Feb 24 2010

The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies

Published by at 1:07 pm under Book Review,Comic Book Reviews,Comic Books

Wahab Algarmi put together a free comic, The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies, and would like you to read it.

Here are some impressions.

–The characterization for the four protagonists is handled fairly well.  In particular, I recommend page 21 as a dramatic portrayal of loyalty as a character trait.  Usually, I roll my eyes when authors say a character is “loyal”  because “loyal” characters rarely get opportunities to act differently than a super-bland protagonist.  In fiction, EVERYBODY will save friends in trouble, so  a character that is truly loyal needs to go beyond the norm.  It helps if the decision to help someone bears a high cost on the loyal character, something more definite than “it could be dangerous.”  In this case, a loyal protagonist spends crucial seconds tending to a dying teammate rather than trying to defuse a bomb.

–I wasn’t fond of the political edge. Among other things, it made the side-characters a bit cartoonish.

–The art was generally passable, but one of the four characters is sort of horrifying.  Natalie looks like a man in a wig!

–A “Charles in Charge” pun… What the hell?  That show got cancelled 20 years ago.

–I love the final panel on page 24. Great use of empty space.

–As far as cliffhangers go, the last page is okay.  It could have been more effective if it had foreshadowed more about the new girl, but the concept is okay.  Or at least, I *hope* the concept is okay, because the first issue of my comic book ends very similarly.

19 responses so far

19 Responses to “The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies”

  1. Contra Gloveon 24 Feb 2010 at 3:55 pm

    An interesting little story. The art style was too reminiscent of Kim Possible, so it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I say he did a good job.

  2. B. Macon 25 Feb 2010 at 12:17 am

    He also has issues #2 and #3 available. I’m not a big fan of the of the 1980s references, but I think the new artist is an improvement.


    The necks are a bit long, but the faces have gotten substantially better.

  3. Contra Gloveon 25 Feb 2010 at 5:41 am

    Hmm…this secret-agent setup just isn’t my cup of tea.

  4. B. Macon 25 Feb 2010 at 9:43 am

    Personally, I prefer superheroes and cops.

  5. Johnon 25 Feb 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Clicking the “next” button doesn’t work for me.

  6. B. Macon 25 Feb 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Ack! Which internet browser and operating system are you using? It worked for me on Chrome/XP.

  7. Johnon 25 Feb 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I was using IE but Firefox seems to work fine.

  8. B. Macon 25 Feb 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Ah, I’m glad to hear it. Some websites work better with some browsers than others. I used to use Firefox as my default browser, but it gets REALLY screwy when I try to read an SN page with 500 or 600 comments. The browser window goes all black and it’s generally just a mess.

  9. Lighting Manon 25 Feb 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I heard that Bill Gates uses IE as a tool to harvest souls for Satan, which makes sense until you realize that IE is still IE, even while being used for mystical soul-harvesting means, so the devil might get pretty angry the first time it exploded as he was trying to upload his homework assignment and harvest souls at the same time.

  10. Beccaon 26 Feb 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Yeah, the ‘next’ button doesn’t work for me on IE either. Which sucks ’cause I don’t have another browser that I know of. Oh well, that’s what I get for being lazy/a noob.

  11. Contra Gloveon 26 Feb 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Who would have thought that a webcomic would cause compatibility issues?

  12. B. Macon 27 Feb 2010 at 9:03 am

    If you’re interested, Becca, you can pick up Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome for free. I think that both are far faster and smoother than IE. However, there may be usage issues with Firefox on 3-5 popular SN pages.

    Also, I let Wahab know about the IE compatibility issues and he says he’ll look into it right away.

  13. JClarkon 28 Feb 2010 at 11:02 am

    So the Punky Brewster and A-Team references, and the fact that the team is comprised of the cast of The Facts of Life was OK (“you take the good, you take the bad”), but the Charles in Charge bit was over line line? Seriously?!

    I liked the art. The juxtposition of Archie Comics style art with a more serious(ish) story worked for me. Plus, it kept up the 80s theme. Natalie in no way looked like a man in a wig. Just because a female character isn’t slender and busty doesn’t make them masculine.

    (you did get that “the new girl” is Punky Brewster, right?)

  14. Lighting Manon 28 Feb 2010 at 11:36 am

    There’s no reasons to make accusations of sexism, the way fat deposits form on female faces and male faces aren’t entirely different, but male faces reach the flat-face stage instead of the puffer-fish type face a lot earlier then females, by the design of her body, Natalie should still have the tell-tell bloated cheeks of heavy set females instead of her flat face, and given the black and white coloration, coupled with the tone, there is no racial identity (Native American females, and Hispanic females generally don’t experience the bloated cheek stage) to excuse it, making her look like a him.

    If she was drawn with dimples or indentations to give the impression of puffier cheeks, the feminine nature would be a lot more apparent.

  15. J Clarkon 28 Feb 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Fair enough, I just thought it was an unfair complaint. Calling her “sort of horrifying” struck me as mean, and deserving of my comment. Most of the people I’ve known who say things like that really mean “I’m not attracted to her”, which was unfair for me to assume. Looking at the basis for these characters though, Natalie certainly did have more defined cheeks than depicted in the comic (lower left): http://www.sitcomsonline.com/photos/thefactsoflife-seasons1and2.jpg

    However, I am still unimpressed with this post. It’s pretty obvious that B. Mac didn’t get the concept at all. Just as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen brought together male characters from 19th century novels, this comic is bringing together female (and a few male) characters from 80s TV shows. If he actually got that, why would he exclaim “What the hell?” at the Charles in Charge reference (he telegraphed it right at the start, “Charles and Buddy” are the main characters in Charles in Charge)? Criticizing a joke that is part of the basic premise, without criticizing the entire premise, isn’t fair.

    By the way, having read issues 2 and 3 now, I’ve noticed: Charles in Charge, Facts of Life, The A-Team, Murder She Wrote, Night Court, Lassie, Punky Brewster, Small Wonder, Out of This World, The Addams Family, Perfect Strangers, Blossom, and Diff’rent Strokes.

    Did I miss any?

  16. B. Macon 28 Feb 2010 at 12:16 pm

    The plane looks a lot like a Star Wars X-Wing. I don’t really consider Lassie much of an 1980s icon, but okay. (It had a TV show that ran from 1954-1973 and 9 movies from 1943-1978, but in the 1980s it had only a briefly lived TV show from 1989-91).

    As far as period pieces go (or pastiches), I don’t feel like it was particularly entertaining. I think that Saturday Morning Watchmen handled references in a much more effective manner. For one thing, SMW offered commentary rather than just importing them because they were from the 1980s. Also, I think SMW works even if you’re not familiar with the allusions.



    As for Natalie, I felt like it was more of an uncanny valley issue than a “OMG SHE’S NOT HAWT” issue.

    Leaving aside the hair, this face doesn’t look remotely female to me. As for the body type, I’m actually pleased that the artist worked in a variety (such as Natalie being somewhat more pudgy than her svelte teammate, above). Also, I think Natalie’s face is stylistically jarring. It’s a lot more simple/iconic than the other faces in the first issue (male or female).

  17. J Clarkon 28 Feb 2010 at 5:07 pm

    As someone who grew up in the 80s (born in 1980 in fact), Lassie was a big deal. I’m pretty sure it was the 70s show reruns that I watched, but I can understand Lassie’s inclusion. And I guess I can see what you’re saying about Natalie, I just didn’t have that reaction at all. Sorry for jumping to an unfair conclusion.

    You’re still dancing around the fact that you didn’t get it (for example, it wasn’t the artist’s decision to make Natalie portly, and Jo a bit of a tomboy, that’s are how the characters were in The Facts of Life).

    Don’t get me wrong, I can absolutely understand not liking the concept, I’m just saying (it is a little… empty, like why DID they make Punky Brewster the team leader? What’s the point of it aside from using 80s characters in a completely oddball way?). Regardless, I’m done harping on it, and the posts on this site are about 90% great, so carry on :)

  18. wahabon 28 Feb 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Wow! Thanks for all the back and forth. To answer some of that stuff… It’s not entirely 80′s. I did bend here and there, there were choices of certain characters as opposed to others. Look at Wednesday, I don’t think that was in the 80′s at all. The one thing that got me though was, “Why Punky?” I say, “Who else, but Punky?!!!” You’ll see why she’s a formidable team leader later in the series. As for why, any of those girls? The main core of my story is about family relationships. Each of these girls brings something unique to the table and how they react and interact with each other.
    As for the art in issue 1, D.Y. is an amazing artist and did his job great. She’s Natalie… The fat one. It is what it is, my man. Besides, her name and wardrobe help you fill in on the fact that it is indeed a female. I love the art, he brought a lot to the work as does Joel. Both very different artists, but both, amazing to work with. Thanks again for checking out my comic and I’ve let my webmaster know about the problem, hopefully we’ll be able to fix it.
    Wahab

  19. Merideson 09 Mar 2010 at 10:55 am

    Only three issues?? I want to see what happens next…

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