Contest sponsor SILENT MANGA AUDITION® gave detailed advice on the entry, [ The Return ] for the International Comic/Manga School Contest 2020.
[ The Return ]
Pen name: Andrés Zerpa
School: University of Los Andes
In general, the artwork is of high quality and well developed. The story needs some editing for better effect, as some scenes are necessary to properly deliver the story.
General feedback: The main issue of the story is that the Protagonist is unclear. The story starts from the Chief's point of view, with us seeing the story from his eyes. That makes the reader believe he is the protagonist. Once the battle starts, there are changes between the girl's and father's point of view, ending with her point of view. Supposing the story is "a Girl and her father the village chief that saves the everyone", it would have worked better to start right away from her point of view. If the Chief was the protagonist, his feelings should have been expressed more as well as his internal drama with the girl.
There is more text and drama surrounding the village than the enemies. The reader has no information about the problem of the main storyline, the internal conflict between the girl and the father.
If the goal was to show a story about "A girl who loves her father is always trying to make her father smile, but because he is the chief. he doesn't have much time to be with her. She doesn't understand why he has to carry all that responsibility. When he goes to fight she decides to fight along her father, despite his disapproval. Once the fight starts, he shows her that the village is not a responsibility, but his family. He takes this role to protect her and everyone. The fight ends and he saves everyone, and even though she hated him for being the chief, she realizes that it was to protect her. He was doing it all for her, and even gone he will always be by her side."
If this is how the story is, it’s clear that the girl is the protagonist, because she is the only one that changed and evolved. She is not the same girl as the start of the story, she gained something new. However, for this to be easily understood, the story needed to be focused and constructed with the necessary scenes to show this. We have scenes at the start that show the love between the father and daughter, but not the conflict, so we don't know what it is. The only conflict is that the enemies attack the village, but that is a physical conflict, a stone in the road, not an internal/emotional conflict.
This is the general thought process of the following editorial advice, according to what we supposed was the main goal of the story. This could all change if the intentions of the author were different.
(1) Text and visual information needs to be related. This text is hard to tell where it’s coming from. Once a character's name is mentioned, especially in a direct way like this, they need to be shown right after, so the reader can associate the name with the character.
The text itself could have started in the second frame and then jumped directly to frame 4 to clearly show who the chief is.
(1) This entrance is great! It’s perfect for a protagonist, but everything is shown from the father's perspective, making it hard to believe she might be the protagonist.
(2) Who is she? Where was she? We only see men in the previous page. If a character is going to have dialogue, when they start to appear needs to be clearly shown, as well as how they fade away from the scene.
(3) The change of emotions between these two frames is hard to understand. It’s hard to tell what he is feeling in the first frame. If the goal is to show that he doesn’t mind the girl interrupting him, he needs to be shown watching the girl being scolded (*1) with an unbothered expression.
(1) The dialogue in the previous sentence was directed at the chief, so his expression is the only one that should have been shown bigger here.
(2) It’s hard to tell what is this... clouds, or could it be wind?
(3) She is already there, so there’s no surprise in the next frame. For better effect, first show a close up of the chief and his men without the girl, and then jump to the next frame. It will look like she showed up out of nowhere.
(4) Why does she wants to fight? As in the general overview, we need more information at the start about this girl and the conflict with her father.
(5) As a leader and father he needed to say no right away to be a more believable character. After his refusal, the ground trembles and it’s now too late to send the girl back as the enemies have arrived.
(1) Even though is a scary situation, it looks like he was never respected by his peers if he’s left so easily alone. This confrontation with the enemies is to show off the chief's qualities as a leader, so more tension and drama is needed. They run as well, so they don't get to know how good their leader is and it doesn't look like the village is very united.
(2) For example: once the enemies stop in front of him he could say something like “This is my village, as a fellow leader lets resolve this conflict between us.” That way, he can create a dignified way to fight alone for his people.
(1) Her reaction is too small here. It’s an important reaction, as she’s worried that her father is left alone. It needs to be shown larger.
(2) Until now, everything was is in the chief’s P.O.V, so that makes him the protagonist. As that make this scene hard to understand, he should have said “Take her away from here."
(3) This is still his P.O.V, so he looks like a protagonist, and the story is about him
(4) Example: “You and this village are mine to protect.” Adding this line would make the motives behind her father's actions clear to the girl.
(1) Change to girl’s P.O.V - is the story about her?
(2) Change again to his P.O.V.
(3) This pose is a sacrificial pose, not a fighting pose. It seems like he never believed he could win and decided to end it easy. It would have been better as a leader to show a ready for battle pose, so we, as a reader, want to support him because he is trying his best.
(1) Is this a different day? How much time has passed? We need a d\better depiction of the passage of time.
(2) Who are these people? We were only shown the chief's men but never the elderly or woman, so we don't know where they are and who they are.
(3) There was no mention of an earthquake and the relation with the enemies before, so the reader doesn't understand the meaning behind this information.
(4) Where did she come out from? Where was she? She is nowhere on the previous frames. When she was taken to a safe location needs to be shown.
(1) Girl’s P.O.V.
(2) Girl’s P.O.V.
(1) Girl's P.O.V - Now it looks like she was the protagonist all along. She needed to participate more in the story. Even if she cannot fight, if the P.O.V was always hers, the story would be about how a girl's father is seen through her eyes.
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International Comic/Manga School Contest 2020 Winners