Oh Marisu, when will you learn. You needed a swirly straw.
Still wouldn’t be big enough.
Cute but dumb will get you tied up, Marisu. I don’t remember her being quite this dippy – Flanderization setting in?
Well, as the creator, i’m not really the one to frame what you think the trope is or not.
But if i had to defend my work, i’d say that in “The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of The Amazing Marisu”, the humour was all around the fictional universes’ mechanics and story, while Marisu was the One Sane Person getting punished for her sanity (by being the Damsel In Distress, despite being the more sensible one).
This worked fine in those fictional universes. But doesn’t work for these quick Slice Of (DID) Life shorts. If anything, it made Marisu feel like a straightgirl at best, and a flat character at worst. She doesn’t have any fiction hopping powers in the “real world” either, so she’d just be the Sensible One… which is sort’ve boring in a comedy.
So i decided to make her more of a “playful ditz” outside of the fictional universe (as opposed to Elena’s cloudcuckoolander ditzy persona). “Playful” in that she’s mildly aware that what she’s saying and doing is pretty silly and is doing them because of that, as opposed to simply doing them cause she doesn’t know any better.
This way, Marisu could be a part of the humour instead of just be the one it’s acted upon. Nor risk getting overshadowed by her vastly more interesting companions.
I felt this made the most sense, because Marisu (being a writer and fan of fiction herself) would essentially be treating the fictional universes she finds herself in as a real universe, and the “real” one she’s in as a fictional universe.
I would say that’s a pretty good defence; Marisu’s relatively new found ditzey-ness does help get around the problem of being the Straightgirl in normal situations (in other words, being bland). Besides she was never a genius or anything (except in math because Asian) or totally straight/normal, she was just surrounded by morons and in dangerous situations. Now that she’s not you could say we get to see her something closer to her real personality, or at least a part of it anyway.
Plus I’d imagine it’s hard to write for characters who have to end up in DID situations in every short comic they’re in.
I’ll start out by saying I like your work, but I immediately noticed this was out of character for Marisu. Now it’s your character and you can do whatever you want with it, but I want to offer you my thoughts here too.
Some of the best comedy acts have a really good straight man paired with a wacky ‘cloudcuckoolander’ partner, going all the way back to Laurel and Hardy and Abbot and Costello and probably before them, to more modern examples such as French and Saunders (both female for those unaware, so it can work with women), Reeves and Mortimer, Laurie and Fry etc, etc. Now you have a ‘power trio’ here, with the already unreliable Elena, and the cynical and practicable Sixteen, but you can actually use that against Sixteen, by subverting our expectations.
Here’s how I would set up this joke that would have preserved the existing characterisation:
Panel 1: The same
Panel 2: Marisu just says ‘I thought we could draw straws” in the last speech bubble
Panel 3+4: Small panels showing the backs of Elena working at something with a “Got it” or similar comment, Sixteen with an “A-Ha”
Panel 5: Full width panel with Elena and Sixteen presenting their straws, I’d probably add ‘Slam lines’ for impact to emphasize the dichotomy, Elena’s straw is a drawn straw much larger than Marisu’s, Sixteen’s straw is an actual piece of straw, also larger than Marisu’s while Marisu holds a short drinking straw.
Panel 6: The same as panel 4
Panel 7: The same as panel 5
The comedy here obviously coming from Sixteen’s overly practical mind means she overlooks that Marisu clearly means drinking straws, instead thinking of literal straws. Elena is the ditz here, and finally the joke stays on Marisu because despite being the straight woman, she is still completely unable to realise that what the other two have done is not considered normal for this competition!
I’m not trying to tell you what you have done is wrong, because, again, they are your characters, you can do whatever you want with them, but there are other ways to approach this, and I’m sure my example isn’t the best way either, but it keeps Marisu the central figure of the joke, while the others are merely sight gags, and it also keeps her as a (ever so slightly dim) straight woman.
Just my thoughts and deconstruct or ignore my comments at will, I’ll still keep visiting!
I appreciate the comment!
I actually want to hear what other people think of my work. If they think something doesn’t work, i’d rather people tell me than just silently stop reading and never say anything (the more likely scenario).
I thought this personality didn’t break Marisu’s character, but others disagree so i’ll have to think about that next time i do a comic with her.
It’s only a short comic, so if anything, it’ll just be that one no one likes and i’ll try for better in the future.
I like your comic idea. But i would never do that because it requires drawing three characters in multiple frames and many more panels. I know my limited artistic abilities _shouldn’t_ dictate the story telling, but it does very often :(.
Believe me, I understand about the artistic talent thing, given that I have very little to no talent in that area myself. My own talents are specifically within the writing sphere, so even as much as you have done here is certainly beyond my capabilities. I wouldn’t say it was a complete character break, it’s not quite as severe as that, but it did strike me, and apparently a few others, as unusual for Marisa. Giving characters an occasional odd moment is fine, I’m sure you personally have been in situations where afterwards you felt like you did something stupid or odd for you to have done, so it’s not a big problem, and the only reason I brought it up was the fact that you gave such a detailed reply, so I felt a little discussion would be constructive.
I’m not trying to break you as an artist down with criticism or anything, just giving a little feedback, it’s up to you where you go with this from here, I’ll still keep visiting anyway! I enjoy your work
I fancy myself more of a writer, too. But fiction has become so visual that being a visual artist is almost a necessity.
Reality is unrealistic. I am told i’m a completely different person in different situations. And that’s probably true. But fictional characters written this way come off seeming “fake”.
I really liked the build up and pay off with this one. Maybe Marisu still hasn’t learned that Sixteen doesn’t have a good sense of humor.
*pats Marisu’s head* It’s okay Marisu, I liked your pun.
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