Graphic Novel Review: Sophia Price

The comic I choose to review for the extra credit was the online comic Questionable Content. This is a comic stream that started in 2003 by Jeph Jacques. It’s an on-going story about an “indie guy”, Martin, who has a little companion robot named Pintsize. The story begins with Martin being kind of depressed about where he is in life. His life seems to get better as he meets an indie girl named Faye. Faye takes away from Martins sullen state; she is bubbly, funny, and a softly aggressive.

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From Questionable Content, strip #131: “The Fayeinator.”

What I mean by softly is that she playfully hits Martin whenever he irritates her. She really adds value to Martin’s life. As far as I have read, they do not date, but they do engage in active flirting which they both recognize continually. As the story continues Faye and Pintsize add a lot of funny dialogue to Martin’s easy going attitude. There are other side characters that come in and out, such as Dora (Faye’s emo boss), Sarah (barista Martin crushes on), and many of Pintsize’s friends. I enjoyed the story a lot because of the reality of it; their days are like anyone else’s, but the banter between the characters add depth and personality to it. It was easy to connect to and examine. The colors all seem to really portray this idea of “indie” and moody characters; its usually darker colors like navy blue and black, and the only break from those seems to be when Faye is feeling more happy with herself and wears a light shade of pink or blue. It adds to the vibe of “easy going-ness” that Jacques wants the reader to get from this comic.

The first few strips are easy to compare to Pilot episodes. The frames are, set stacked and jagged on each other.

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From the first strip of Questionable Content, “Employment Sucks”, published August 1st, 2003.

This changes after about three comics, where the frames become more just rectangular boxes on top of each other with the white space filled black. The lines used for the character’s faces are more jagged and sharp, not soft like Martin is later portrayed. Pintsize is much rounder and not given a lot of human characteristics besides the ability to talk. As the the story progresses both characters change to become more like their personalities. Faye also loses the more teardrop face she has in the beginning and is given more square, roundish edges. All of these things speak about how the artist, Jeph Jacques, adapted his style to better fit his characters. He uses lines to calm the latter strips, whereas in the beginning I was very focused on the way their faces were formed, the newer ones I am able to sweep my eyes easily over them to focus more on their actions and body language. In the later ones, it’s almost like my eyes circle around the two characters; like they themselves are the point. In most strips its clear your supposed to be focused more on two characters’, even if there are more than two in the frame.

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From questionable content strip #177: “Compliment Drift.”

The planes all draw focus on the main point by placing them near each other- often with just an inch or two in-between them. It makes it easier to scan the frame and then relax your eyes onto them.

One thing I noticed when analyzing this comic was that the textures are smooth in all pieces. The only parts that have any real texture are the background- the street, the lines on the window, and other things that are trying to pay attention to detail. The only real change in the texture is through the shading Jacques uses. It helps guide the plane of your eyes. He does this a lot. The shading in the background on the wall almost always begins in the middle of the left side of the page, then moves diagonally downward. This helps guide the way the reader moves their eyes. Jacques also uses shading in places that show his attention to detail- under the character’s chins, on Pintsize’s rounded face, and behind them a lot of the time. I feel this adds respect to the author, and helps the reader keep an easy focus on the character’s movements as the shadowing changes. The time and movement is tracked through the character’s rotating their bodies, changing their position within the frames of the strips.

The scale also shows the positioning and movement of the characters. As I noted before, the characters are always about an inch away from each other. We, the readers, are clearly supposed to understand that the characters are about the same size, standing side by side. This adds to the story because of the way the characters are equal in every measure; Faye, Martin, and Pintsize are always interacting, and taking each other’s opinions with equal respect. I think this adds to the portrayal of the storyline. The readers then take everything that happens from each individual character with equal importance. The only real change in scale is the 2-demensional depth that the background images give- a lamp, the wall with a poster, or a window. Often times you can see a plane of the floor.

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From Questionable Content strip #112: “Crt/Alt/Del.”

This gives the exact position of where the characters are standing in the room. And if Pintsize is supposed to be being sneaky in the background, you can tell because of the movement in scale from frame to frame.

Jeph Jacques keeps his story easy and flowing by keeping it relatively easy to scan your eyes over. The art keeps the story surrounding the main characters without distracting the eye with two much detail. It keeps the characters equal within the story, and lets the easy, everyday flow continue without too much excitement occurring.


Source: Jaques, Jeph. Questionable Content. USA: TopatoCo: 2017. Print.

This entry was posted in Archives, Fall 2017 Archive (336), Spring 2017 Archive (336). Bookmark the permalink.

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