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  1.  (10210.21)
    Thanks, Warped.
  2.  (10210.22)
    Okay, finally managed to pick up Sweets last night and here's what I think (with some parts hidden to avoid major spoilers.)

    Art: Really like the style. Didn't immediately remind me of anyone, which I think is a good thing. I really liked the use of dots for the shading. Sometimes the ink work was a little too dark and it looked like something was trying to be hidden but I don't think it was (IE: the city prosecutor at the end of chapter 1). Changing the art style for the flashbacks was an interesting concept that I don't usually see. Seeing an artist change styles / colours that much reminds me of Kieron Dwyer and his ability to change styles. I'm impressed by that. I can't remember what book he did it in to give you an example, but it might have been Night Mary. Changing the art made it really good for the flashbacks, changing the colour was a very effective way to let the reader know that it's shifted to a different persons perspective but letting them know that it's going on at the same time. Same as the old photograph (near the end) having the same art style as the flashbacks. The headings throughout the chapters was really well done too. They didn't come out and slap you in the face (taking up 1/3 of the page like I've seen before) and the font was really nicely done as well as the little bit of decoration around the headings. Font choice matters. Same as speech bubbles (them being different in the flashbacks was a nice, subtle touch.)

    Story: I don't usually like crime stories because, most of the time, you're trying to figure out who the bad guy is. Sweets is written as a story about the cops trying to figure it out rather than the reader. I can't really explain how, but it is. The pacing was good, with things being hinted at really well and slowly showing more and more what lead the antagonist to be the person that he is. Every once in a while the characters voices would seem a little too similar to each other, but tends to happen a lot of the time. For it being your first extended story as a writer, I was really impressed. There were things I didn't like, but I'll get to that in the hidden areas because there's a lot of spoilers and things that I may have missed. (I've been getting over a nasty cold so my mind isn't as quick as it should be lately.) The book read really well, and (with the exception of one speech exchange) it's the type of comic you could hand to someone that hasn't read comics and they'd be able to figure out the order of the speech bubbles pretty easily. (I find a lot of the time this doesn't happen, even with major publishers and writers / artists that have been doing it for years.)

    As a side note: The pages on the reverse of the chapter headings were awesome. Usually I like to see the covers, but in this case the entire thing felt like it was written more as an OGN rather than separate issues. If the covers had been inserted between the chapters it would have given too much separation between the chapters. The single colour images were a really nice touch that didn't interrupt the story at all while providing something really nice to look at.

    Here there be spoilers: (Many, many spoilers so don't look at these unless you're read the story.)
    Okay, so the first thing that really threw me off (that didn't really matter but still, I noticed it): Curt's daughter was killed in the last week or so (if not less). I had no idea it was that recently. He was at the mausoleum talking about his wife wanting a divorce and that their daughter is what was keeping them together. I just went and flipped through it again and, looking back, I realize that Curt was probably terminated because he was drunk on the job? And probably drinking because of his daughters death? And he was terminated 3 weeks ago... If that's the case, that puts his daughters death at more likely 4 weeks ago but most of the other people were killed a day or two before the story started. I could be wrong, but that's what I'm seeing it as. Not that it can be changed now, but for future work, if maybe his boss had said more about why he was fired instead of talking about the mayor's ties (which I did like though) then it would have flowed a little better. As written, at the end when they talk about the daughter being in an accident recently it pulled me out of the story as I had it in my mind that it had been 6 months to a year before.
    The other part was when the story takes place. I didn't see anything letting the reader know that it takes place a couple of days before the tsunami hit. Again, maybe I missed it, but I remember someone mentioning that they may have to evacuate the area but don't tell you why until later. And even then, I think I only put it together because I had remembered you mentioning on here that it took place right before the flooding.

    Two questions: I understand that the doctor was being threatened (I almost missed that part which would have made the entire thing a self-fulfilling prophecy otherwise), but I didn't see who was threatening her. And why did she think that releasing what she had would prevent something bad from happening?
    Also, was there a point to the hotel having Curt on camera? The only thing I could see it being used for would be to have the city prosecutor in her back pocket and since a murder was in the same hotel it helped to show that Curt was really good at his job because he had to have noticed them and if there wasn't a reason for him to not ask for the tapes it would've made the story a little shorter. It also, very subtly, hinted that him and his wife had grown so far apart that he was cheating on her. I think I answered my own question, but I'll leave it on here just in case there was something else.


    Other than those two things (which were resolved by the end) I really enjoyed it and the story flowed very seamlessly from one part to the next. Make sure to let us know the next time you have something coming out. I'll definitely pick it up.

    One last thing I just thought of: I was really glad that, right at the beginning of the book, you focused in on the biblical text. Without that I would've assumed that you had simply forgotten to put in the 'not' and that the editor missed it too.


    Kody, you should be very proud of what you've accomplished with this book.
  3.  (10210.23)
    Wow, very kind of you to go into such detail about Sweets. Sorry I somehow missed your reply until today. You bring up a lot of great points. But this: "the type of comic you could hand to someone that hasn't read comics and they'd be able to figure out the order of the speech bubbles pretty easily" —I consider to be one of the best compliments. Being friendly to new readers was VERY important to me and one of my 5 goals for the book.

    As for your points with some replies, hidden to avoid major spoilers for those that haven't read the book yet:

    Okay, so the first thing that really threw me off (that didn't really matter but still, I noticed it): Curt's daughter was killed in the last week or so (if not less). I had no idea it was that recently. He was at the mausoleum talking about his wife wanting a divorce and that their daughter is what was keeping them together. I just went and flipped through it again and, looking back, I realize that Curt was probably terminated because he was drunk on the job?

    ***Curt wasn't terminated, he was on personal leave for a few weeks because of his daughter's death, and was reluctant to return to work. He was at risk for being fired because he didn't return, Jeff was trying to save Curt's job.

    And probably drinking because of his daughters death? And he was terminated 3 weeks ago... If that's the case, that puts his daughters death at more likely 4 weeks ago but most of the other people were killed a day or two before the story started. I could be wrong, but that's what I'm seeing it as. Not that it can be changed now, but for future work, if maybe his boss had said more about why he was fired instead of talking about the mayor's ties (which I did like though) then it would have flowed a little better. As written, at the end when they talk about the daughter being in an accident recently it pulled me out of the story as I had it in my mind that it had been 6 months to a year before.

    ***I'm not completely certain the timeline is perfect, but I did my best. But the chain of events with the daughter, divorce, and first murder is only a few weeks. I'll have my editor triple check my timeline on future work to be sure it works, because this is the type of thing that also bothers me when I read/watch other fiction. Thanks for the note!

    The other part was when the story takes place. I didn't see anything letting the reader know that it takes place a couple of days before the tsunami hit. Again, maybe I missed it, but I remember someone mentioning that they may have to evacuate the area but don't tell you why until later. And even then, I think I only put it together because I had remembered you mentioning on here that it took place right before the flooding.

    ***There are several spots in the story where the hurricane is mentioned as approaching, it's a fine line, you want to make sure the reader is aware of it, but you don't want to do it in a way that is heavy handed and annoying. But there are at least 4 points in the story where it's brought up, and a sense of urgency is maintained. Give it another read with that in mind, I'm sure you'll find them all.

    Two questions: I understand that the doctor was being threatened (I almost missed that part which would have made the entire thing a self-fulfilling prophecy otherwise), but I didn't see who was threatening her. And why did she think that releasing what she had would prevent something bad from happening?

    ***She wasn't trying to release it, she was trying to compromise with the people that were trying to get it from Patel. She may have been selling it, or simply giving it to them, I didn't feel it was important to the overall finale, we just know she was there to get rid of it, and the killer was there finishing his job.

    Also, was there a point to the hotel having Curt on camera? The only thing I could see it being used for would be to have the city prosecutor in her back pocket and since a murder was in the same hotel it helped to show that Curt was really good at his job because he had to have noticed them and if there wasn't a reason for him to not ask for the tapes it would've made the story a little shorter. It also, very subtly, hinted that him and his wife had grown so far apart that he was cheating on her. I think I answered my own question, but I'll leave it on here just in case there was something else.

    ***The implication is that Curt and Gabrielle had a sexual history, and this was probably the central reason his wife wanted a divorce. The daughter was the only thing keeping them together, and once she died, the wife cleared out ASAP. So Curt was cheating on her with Gabrielle. But when we meet Gabrielle, it's clear it was in the past, so the wife never forgave him. I thought it was an interesting character moment to have him attempt to avoid painful things from his past while dealing with the reality of a live investigation. It was also a clue planted I thought would be fun to pick up on if I decided to do a follow up story.

    ***A lot of what I did with SWEETS was an attempt at subtle storytelling since so much of what happens in comics is punching and very obvious storylines. It was an experiment to see how far I could push the concept of saying things without actually saying them, and testing the limits of what works and what doesn't. Example, when Jeff meets Curt at the grave yard, he's been considering suicide. The characters never talk about it, it's just something we observe by studying the gun, and the fact that he's ashamed when Jeff shows up, so he hides it with his newspaper. There are MANY subtle things that happen in the story and it seems you've gone FAR deeper than most, so I'm grateful.

    ***In many ways, SWEETS was an experiment and a personal challenge to step up my game in a big way. Time will tell how it holds up, but I've found by a large majority, people appreciated the type of subtle storytelling I applied to this book. If nothing else, I pushed the boundaries and knocked down a few walls, so I now have a much better understanding of what works and what doesn't and new scripts are already in progress.