College seems to be a popular theme for webcomics. Part of this is that many beginning web cartoonists are either in high school or entering college. They have more free time on their hands, and indulge in their creative talents by starting up a webcomic.
Also, college campuses are such varied and interesting places that it’s possible to come up with any number of stories concerning them. Naturally they become the fodder for multiple comics. These comics will then branch out and become more than just a college comic, but dealing with the characters and their own hopes, dreams, fears, and more.
Candi is no different in this, as it follows a young lady (naturally named Candi) as she struggles through a university art program, with professors who consider her favorite art form (cartoons) to be base and unartistic, an irritable boyfriend whom she’s been seeing for three years, and friends who sometimes push their boundaries.
It’s well-drawn, though I do have a problem with Starline Hodge’s tendency to cut-and-paste her artwork, changing facial expressions and the like. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a purist, and prefer drawing new panels each time. It’s not easy. In fact, it can be rather difficult at times. But it gives the characters a more natural feel, rather than just altering facial expressions.
(That’s not to say that cut-and-pasting is always bad. You can use it with such things as furniture or backgrounds, things that should remain static. Questionable Content does this fairly often, and it’s done quite well. And you can also use it for such things as people sitting on a sofa or the like… and then remove arms and facial expressions, redrawing them to be slightly different. If you’re going to cut-and-paste, it’s best to disguise it a little, that’s all.)
I must admit I had some slight difficulty figuring out the characters at first. I’m not sure if it was just me, but in the first run through the comic, for a bit I was thinking that Candi had been dating Alex and then started dating Jon. Fortunately, such confusions were quickly resolved as the story continued moving forward… but did lead to another small quibble.
Again, this might just be me, but I honestly don’t see Alex as being a jerk. He’s played out in the comic as being disliked by all of Candi’s friends, to the point that one of Candi’s friends, Linda, is going to try and break Alex and her up, and set her up with Jon. But while Alex is shown to be irritable at times, I’m not sure he’s the jerk that the others describe him to be.
Maybe it’s just me. I mean, I understand both sides of the equation. I sometimes butt into conversations, cut people off. You have an idea sparked by something the other person is saying and you want to get it out before it vanishes. What’s more, if you do remain quiet and somehow remember it, when you’re given a moment to speak, the conversation has changed by that time and you’re left with people looking at you and wondering what the heck you’re talking about. So I guess I’m a bit of a jerk at times… maybe that’s why I’m not annoyed by Alex.
But I also understand the need to meddle. I don’t like people being unhappy, so I want to fix things. It’s a bit of a need in me… the need to heal. To fix things. (But I’m not sure how much of Linda’s desire in this is to fix something she sees as broken, and how much is malicious because she dislikes Alex.)
Outside of the occasional cut-and-paste art and the fact I don’t see Alex as the jerk he’s portrayed as, I rather enjoy Candi. What’s more, I’ve grown rather interested in the story emerging from the shadows of another of Candi’s friends, Jessica, and her problems with a sociopathic brother. I held off on reviewing Candi until the current story arc with Jessica was finished, in fact.
Whatever is to come, it promises to be interesting. So I definitely recommend reading this strip.