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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2002 12:43 am 
All "official" Nightstar webcomics reviews contain a "Quick Facts" table as a simple overview of the comic's qualities (both objective and subjective). Hopefully, the names of the categorties are easy enough to understand, but just in case they aren't, this post explains them in more detail. It looks something like this:

|                        Quick Facts                                     |
|               Title:    | Example Comic                                |
|       Author/Artist:    | Joe Comicartist                              |
|                 URL:    |                              |
|            Schedule:    | daily, one strip per update                  |
| Date of First Comic:    | Sep. 17, 2001                                |
|      Archive Length:    | 360 strips                                   |
|              Format:    | traditional strip                            |
|           Art Style:    | cartoony B&W line art                        |
|                        Ratings:                                        |
|       Quality              |      Content Advisory                     |
|              Art: | +++    |                    Violence: | ++         |
| Characterization: | ++     |                      Nudity: | 0          |
|             Plot: | ++1/2  |                    Language: | +++        |
|           Pacing: | +++1/2 |               Sexual Themes: | +          |
|           Layout: | +++    |        Familiarity Required: | +          |
|         Updating: | ++++   | In-Jokes/Obscure References: | +++        |

Title, Author/Artist, and URL should be self-explanatory. The title, artist (and writer, if it's a collaborative work), and URL of the comic under consideration.

Schedule is the stated schedule of updates as of the time the review is written. So, if a comic used to be weekly but changed to daily, the Schedule would read "daily". Also, if the comic is supposed to be daily but the cartoonist sometimes (or even regularly) misses updates, it would still read "daily"...update consistency is what the "Updating" rating is for. The schedule also states how many comics appear per update--this is usually "one", but not always. For example, Sabrina Online puts up two new strips each time it updates.

Date of First Comic is the date that the earliest installment was put up online. Archive Length is the number of comics in the archive.

Format is the way panels are arranged. "Single panel" is a one-panel cartoon. "Traditional strip" means 3 or 4 panels arranged in a horizontal row. "Vertical strip" is the same, but in a vertical column. "Double strip" is two rows of panels, like the Sunday installments of many newspaper comic strips. "Traditional page" is a rectangular group of panels of roughly the same dimensions as a comic book page. "Landscape page" is like a traditional page held sideways, longer than it is high. "Mini-page" is like a smaller comic book page, usually with fewer (approx. 4-6) panels. "Infinite canvas" is a format of indeterminate width and height, and usually requires a bit of scrolling to read. "Experimental" is for comics that use innovative or nonstandard layouts, such as circular or choose-a-path layouts.

Art Style gives three pieces of information: a rough category that the artist's style fits in (e.g. "cartoony", "manga-influenced", "adventure comic", or "minimalist"), the medium (e.g. "painted", "line art", "3D/Poser", or "sprite"), and whether it is in black & white or full color.

The Ratings are split up into two sections: Quality and Content Advisory. The Quality ratings are all purely subjective ratings of different elements of the comic from 0 (wretched) to +++++ (amazing) -- N/A is used for qualities that are not applicable (e.g., a comic without continuing characters would probably have N/A for Characterization). The elements are Art (the quality of the drawing, including both draftsmanship and suitability to the story), Characterization (how well-defined the characters are; how good the character development, if any, is), Plot (how well the reviewer likes the story so far), Pacing (how well the story "flows", how well jokes are built up in a humor comic), Layout (how well the arrangement of panels supports the story), and Updating (how well the creator keeps to his schedule).

While the Quality ratings are for "how well" the comic does things, the Content Advisory ratings are for "how much" of certain elements are present in the comic. These elements could be seen as positive or negative, depending on the reader's point of view: for example, someone browsing at work or school might want to skip comics with a high Nudity rating, but someone at home looking for a little T&A might specifically look for it. The categories are:

Violence - how much fighting, warfare, bloodshed, and other physical conflict is present.
  • 0 - totally peaceful
  • + - threats of harm, some light fighting
  • ++ - cartoonish violence
  • +++ - characters get injured
  • ++++ - characters get seriously injured, sometimes killed
  • +++++ - extreme violence

Nudity - how much skin gets shown
  • 0 - everybody stays completely clothed
  • + - some cleavage, light T&A, shirtless guys
  • ++ - swimwear, skimpy clothing, boxers
  • +++ - women in underwear, man in briefs
  • ++++ - topless women or bare buttocks
  • +++++ - full frontal

Obscenity - how much rude or vulgar language appears in the dialogue
  • 0 - none
  • + - "damn", "crap"
  • ++ - "shit", "bastard"
  • +++ - "ass", "bitch"
  • ++++ - "fuck"
  • +++++ - not going to say it here

Sexual Themes - how much sex is in the comic. It doesn't necessarily have to be shown, it can appear in dialogue.
  • 0 - none
  • + - innuendo
  • ++ - teasing
  • +++ - unmasked references to sex
  • ++++ - characters have sex
  • +++++ - graphic sex, or sex described in full detail

Familiarity Required - how much you have to have read of previous comics to understand current events in the comic or get recent jokes
  • 0 - No references to previous comics, or elements from previous comics are never left unexplained. Jump right in.
  • + - reading earlier comics may occasionally aid comprehension/enjoyment of current comics, but it's not required
  • ++ - occasional comics may require knowledge of a few specific major plot events to "get"
  • +++ - several comics require knowledge of some plot events, occasional comics require knowledge of some minor plot events or subplots
  • ++++ - current strips depend on fairly in-depth knowledge of backstory more often than not
  • +++++ - most current strips make no sense without reading most of the archive first, may require rereading

In-Jokes/Obscure References - how much do you have to know about certain subjects that are not common knowledge, in order to understand the comic?
  • 0 - accessible to everyone
  • + - some knowledge of a subject may aid enjoyment, but is not required
  • ++ - comic may sometimes be confusing without some general knowledge of a subject
  • +++ - basic knowledge of a subject is frequently necessary
  • ++++ - a working knowledge of a subject is necessary for comprehension most of the time
  • +++++ - mostly intended for trivia buffs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2002 2:29 am 
Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
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This system bears the official seal of approval from the Nightstar Community & Entertainment Team.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2003 8:45 pm 
Split additional discussion of reviews into this thread.

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