Pedur and da wulf Autopsy – Cheesecake!

Hey everybody since Pedur is now dead as a doornail, cheesecake is here to talk about it!

Edit: Cheesecake corrected some grammar and such, as well as new better cropped images!

Hi there, Cheesecake here to give you an autopsy of sorts!

As you may or may not know, Peter and the Wolf has ceased to be, and coincidentally, not long before the riffs ended! Since the riffs have been completed, I feel it would be helpful to try and give a more critical crack at it instead of another riffing/ranting of the whole comic; I’ll be going over what it did right, wrong, and what could have possibly improved with a little elbow grease. (If you are an artist or writer who would like resources on any of these points or further elaboration, do not hesitate to ask or comment!)

So let’s hop to it!

What it did right:

-Aimed for the stars by going full-color
While it may seem weird to point this out, the author did try her best to put things in full color and that certainly takes more effort than doing half-assed sketches (like kaitoshuno) and that should be commended.  Full color means the author did care enough to draw it out and try to maintain that quality.  “Bonus” points in a sense that she broke 200 pages, even if the difficulty of the pages is debatable, she did make some headway and showed about 4 years of dedication.

-Art did improve (slightly) over time
Even though in the end the art was still shaky, it had at least improved in the proportions and skull arrangement department.  The colors also softened to be less searing then they were in the beginning.  The author also learned to pull out the camera slightly when doing the art, as well as cut back on the chibis for the last few pages.  She also cut back on some of her obvious stamp-brush usage and reliance on Photoshop filters or, at the very least, blends them in a bit better with the comic to be less blatant. (However her lack of effort with backgrounds is lamentable, don’t do this.)

-Used reference
Dubious as the employment of some of them were, it was good to see that she at least tried to use reference on what she considered the most important parts of the comic.  While one can find the possible images she copied from the internet, I will give the benefit of the doubt in that she at least tried to study them instead of just copy+paste or slap a lone photoshop filter over them.

-Tried to reinterpret a fairly simple premise into a complex one
The author, based on her comments, really tried to attach a more complex plot than just the two character bonking, and I can sympathize with that to an extent.  There is also a point in the comic where the wolf abruptly stops being a rapist, and while the change in character can be bad writing I think it can be overlooked since it’s an improvement over the staple “seme” of yaoi we’ve come to know and riff.

Despite the short list, it’s very apparent that the author did CARE for the comic, even if expressing it wasn’t necessarily done in the most ideal or desirable of ways, and as such PatW does some fairly noticeable things wrong’ so let’s take a look at those and I’ll do my best to give advice on how it could have been improved; they aren’t the ONLY ways to do it but they’re the most immediate ones.

What it did wrong:

-The reference is not used well
There are major art discrepancies between when she uses reference and when she doesn’t.  This could be overcome with time but it was still pretty blatant even in the end.  A good way to avoid this is to have a strong foundation for your art, but if you’re simply “learning it as you go” then the best way to incorporate reference is not to use it selectively or too “exactly”.  References should be used as a point of reference, not something you copy directly.

-The pacing is awful
200 pages over 4 years a lot, admittedly the author had to deal with how she chose to make it full color and was apparently busy with schooling, but it still had poor pacing.  I noted at one point in the riffs there there is a 29-page long sex scene and that the longest string of plot-related events was about 9-10 pages.  This problem probably arose from a lack of planning and/or a really skewed priority of what gets page-time.  There are multiple ways to tackle how one does pacing, a simple way is simple to plan out broad events in advance or even thumbnail pages.  Another method is to consider breaking up your story into arcs and events as well, doing so gives perspective and purpose to each event. Another possible reason for the bad pacing is that the author PatW does not seem to understand the language of paneling (talked about in the next point).

-The paneling/lettering/technical
Setting aside the art of PatW, the paneling is in dire need of help.  Part of the problem with pacing probably stems from how the author doesn’t have a good grasp of how panels work, as well as how scene composition works (visually and story-wise).  She tends to focus a relative lot on eye panels in what seems like an effort to get more expression and feeling across- which is a common mistake of a lot of amateur  artists.  This mistake is that “only” the face of a character is the most expressive part of them; which is true in some aspects, but so can body language and framing of the shot/panel.  There are whole books written on it, but the long and short of it is that she uses this as a crutch and her paneling and pacing suffers for it because she builds the panels around the her limited way of showing expressions instead of building the panels around the point and flow of the page.

This also touches on how she does lettering, which hopped around like crazy throughout the comic.  Fonts changed in color and type depending on what she thought would achieve an effect and she sacrificed the literal readability of the text in it. Again, there are whole books of this (typography and lettering) but as a general rule, limit yourself to one color of font (typically black) and for the love of god don’t make your font and it’s outline be THE SAME COLOR.

Another easily preventable tech aspect of the pages is the constantly changing page size, there is seriously no excuse for it, hell it’s probably more work to have a constantly changing page size than having a single “template” page.  The only fix for this is to not be a lazy about your canvas size.

-The plot suffers from a lack of direction and purpose (oh boy this is a LONG one)
Funnily enough, PatW comes off as being indecisive about if it wants to have a plot or be porn (either is fine, really).  On one hand it has a great multitude of pages dedicated to Peter and the Wolf sexing each other up, but on the other, it tries to put in plot and drama, and instead it meanders because it’s sandwiched awkwardly between the porn.  It also does not help that on multiple occasions the author made complaints about how she simply wanted to “get to the plot”.

Despite her insistence that PatW indeed had a plot, even 200 pages in I cannot tell you who or WHAT the main source of conflict is due to how little it focuses on any of them.

Is it Peter’s relationship with the wolf? Not really, since they’re very much love-dovey and accepting of each other and they have already exhausted what little conflict they have had with their personalities* (*more on this in the characters section).

Is it the wolf’s dead girlfriend? It’s hard to be invested in it since she’s already dead and her only impact of conflict is that she makes both of them guilty- yet this is already resolved in a sense since she is ALREADY DEAD and her existence is barely quantified by anything.  Should we care about how she is stuck as a ghost on the earth? What conflict is there when it’s just a “well I loved him first and I was dead for 20 years and NO OFFENSE Peter but I WAS IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM FIRST”- and that COULD have been a good plot to explore but it doesn’t matter since her existence is apparently very negotiable based on the unspoken terms of why she’s still around and that the one she is in love with cannot perceive her in any fashion.  Adding even more to this is that we have no idea what kind of character she is so any basis for “taking a side” is burdened on the reader instead of any kind of cohesive conflict of relationships- especially since the characters’ actions don’t line up with what they know. Both characters feel guilty that she is “still there” but still screw each other anyway and then still feel guilty about it; AND they never try to really talk about or resolve this conflict despite having ample opportunity to do so.

Is it a conflict with the wolf tribe? I don’t even know what is the point of the wolves and their dream-walking/guiding hand of man schtick.  So the wolf is in trouble, MAYBE? Something which is entirely charged by his father, yet not?  The terms of everything is ill-defined aside from “You impregnated the medium, THEREFORE SHE MUST DIE and YOU, you’re in trouble but not really, we’ll pick after you’re done grieving.”  The father of the wolf is IMPLIED to have some kind of ulterior motive but we have no clue what it is or why an “heir” sired by his son is a bad thing (since well, his son exists too, so it’s not a grab or shift of power by most conventional power structures).  If he’s in trouble based on some kind of actual tradition, the reader is never told and neither is Peter.

Is it about Daddy/responsibility issues? Peter and the wolf both have “bad” relationships with their fathers, both brought on by how they can’t deal with responsibility. Peter’s deal is that he just runs away from home because I guess his dad was mean to him for expecting him to watch out for their livelihood.  If he was abusive it would make more sense, but there isn’t enough evidence SHOWN of it, there are even less pages of the father than there are of backstory for the wolves.  On the other hand, wolf’s daddy issues make more sense since, well, his father killed the woman he loved out of some obligation, tradition or law in the wolf tribe, it’s not specified, so that’s left in the air (and it makes everyone involved come off as hammy).  It doesn’t help that it’s also implied that this whole conflict would have been resolved with more fighting instead of actual problem solving.

Is it about the taboo nature of Peter and the Wolf’s relationship? I almost want to think it is, but the direction for it is middling at best.  The wolf tribe is so poorly outlined that we don’t know why Peter being “with” the Wolf is a bad thing.   Yet at the same time the Wolf thinks that at some point Peter was “hired” by Wolf’s dad to bring him (wolf) back home.  It’s also clearly not the homosexuality of the situation since none of the wolves bring it up and logistically speaking, it seems “better” since Wolf can’t get a DUDE pregnant like the last one that got killed. Perhaps it’s because it’s not an arranged marriage, but then why would the wolves focus on the “he’s with a HUMAN!”?

Is it a character study? It’s even harder to pull this off since the characters are wobbly at best. (See character section below.)

Or is it all just drama to give the sex MORE MEANING? Which is fine of itself, but why make it so complex?  And in that case why be inconsistent about the sex? Sometimes the wolf is really insistent on anal sex, yet despite initiating it most of the time, he stops and it leads to one of the most backwards ways to shove sex in a comic (go to a dream world) and from there, have scene and tonal whiplash about how it’s the “best sex ever”and segues into him angsting about his dead girlfriend.

Any ONE of those could have perfectly FINE plot points, but the author overloads it and as a result, produced the weakly-directed comic that she did.  Simplicity isn’t a bad thing, it gives more focus and allows for the author to explore it better.  It also doesn’t help that these are well-worn cliches ingrained in most yaois ANYWAY, so piling them ALL on worsens the overall comic.

Even strange, would have been how a must simpler route could have been supplied.  Just focus on Peter and the wolf’s relationship.  Eradicate his high status in the wolf tribe and even the drama with the ghost GF.  A meaningful AND porny relationship (had the author been so inclined) could have been explored if Peter just stayed HOME and hadn’t thrown them both off a cliff. Peter would have to actually grow up and learn how to make decisions based on what his parents expect/react to his new choices and what he has to deal with for making decisions for himself.  It’s WEIRD ENOUGH that there is a guy who can turn into a wolf for a comic, there is no real need for the extra layer of fantasy bullshit that is a whole tribe of wolf people who are dreamwalkers who can kill people just be glaring at them hard enough and are messengers of the gods who GUIDE HUMANITY THROUGH HISTORY. (Especially when they kill their only way of communicating with these gods AND the most impressive thing Peter has done is not get himself killed with his own incompetence.)

Not to say that all these points can’t be covered in a single comic, but given how it was constructed, it would have a hell of a time accomplishing it.  A good fix for this is to really plan out of your comic, just a basic outline of what happens, maybe even in a 3 act fashion it you find it to be more helpful.  Again, there are a host of books and resources on this.

-The characters are ill-explored (and the Tell nature of the comic destroys what little there is to them)
Despite the exceptionally small cast of TWO characters (three if you count the dead GF) and a host of minor characters that serve a purpose more as conflict fodder than actually developed or developing individuals.  Interactions between them are limited in scope and their personalities aren’t very much explored simply because all that’s focused on is how “in love” they are, but not the why.

More is told about Peter in the first 30 pages than in the other 170ish- yet we are supposed to believe that he’s matured, but we don’t get to see this.  Part of this can be blamed on how terrible the pacing is but another is how the comic does far too much Telling instead of Showing for it’s own good.

Simply put, because the characters announce a lot of their feelings or “observations”, the characters are cheapened and aren’t really fleshed out- and that would be fine in some comics, but this one took special pains to transcribe Peter’s masses of internal dialogue- even the author herself complained about it despite how she could have cut down the internal dialogue!

That said, for what can be described about them, they end up utterly boring.  Peter is best described as an immature and self-centered brat, his only redeeming feature is that he is somehow “really good at surviving in the wilderness” even though we never see any real sign of it.  The Wolf is also apparently “perfect” despite how his primary traits consist of being controlling and “being protective about who he loves”.  The dead GF doesn’t even have a personality aside from that she’s nice to Peter and really LOVES the wolf.  None of the characters seem to be able to grasp or show/say WHY they like each other.  It’s all handwaved with “love” and it’s such a copout that it’s baffling.

Even Bella of Twilight, who the author takes every opportunity to voice how she hates, had more motivation to be in stockholm with her vampire- she wanted to not be boring.  Peter’s “love” with the Wolf isn’t even that- it isn’t even LUST because of how the author tries to attach emotion and “depth” to each sex scene.

Again, this area can be addressed with a good variety of books; a simple method is to develop and define characters outside of their sexual relationships.  Show their good AND bad traits in comic and remember that giving a character certain skills (such as knowing what plants treat what wounds) isn’t how they make up for being bad or shallow characters either, especially if they’re contradictory skill sets. (Peter is somehow a good boy scout but the biggest problem he causes is that he runs in the rain and bumbles around in it to the point of getting hurled off a cliff.)

-The Tell, not Show (Let me tell you about it)
Probably the absolute worst part about all the telling is how things simply aren’t shown or try to take advantage of how the audience may have forgotten or possibly won’t question things.  I outlined specific examples already in the riffs, so I won’t go into detail about them but most of anything involving the dead GF is badly constructed as is the whole wolf tribe business.  Whole scenes that should have been shown are omitted in blackouts or time-skips.  Basically if you want a reader to know or care about a scene, it is almost always better to show it.

-Power balance (And introducing plot points late in the game)
The wolf is incredibly overpowered to the point of comedy in this comic and they continue to invent new powers to pass them off as “twists” during the narrative, which makes no sense since it conflicts with the overly Tell nature of the comic.  It also creates a very artificial sense of tension, in the very end of the comic there is a whole scene with a minor villain possibly, nearly killing or harming the wolf and killing Peter, but it’s immediate dispelled with how the Wolf just stares the opposition out of existence while also summoning up clothing out of nothing despite how he has been naked for most of the comic.

When it comes to balancing characters you should try to ground their capabilities in realism and functionality, not coolness.  When it comes to introducing new powers or elements to the plot or conflict, integrate it with foreshadowing or little elements in overall comic.  A good universe is always operating under constant rules, not when the drama calls for it.  The same applies to conflict, the stakes should be known and the relative powers of both sides should be known so that proper tension can be created, using powers “as need be” is cheap and murders your buildup.

Anyway, that’s a ton of stuff and while there is more but this is primarily the most notable points.  I have a theory that the author simply didn’t want to deal with the comic anymore since she possibly realized all of these points, or she simply got very busy.  Either way the comic is gone from the net, but not from our hearts.  In memory and summary, here are the first and final comic comments of the author.

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6 Responses to Pedur and da wulf Autopsy – Cheesecake!

  1. thomas says:

    sweet jesus fuck nobody cares how many eye panels there were and nobody cares the second time around

    yes it’s overused

    no it’s not hilarious

    reading these riffs is like if a comic had a male character with shaggy hair and the entire plot of the comic was bieber jokes

    also have you noticed in other riffs the text is usually left intact enough to give some semblance of an idea of the actual plot

    • Those are fair aspects to bring up about cheesecakes riffs.

      Yet allow me to clarify about your last point that the other riffs I.E mine leave text intact to give a sembalace of the original plot. I have altered plots/characters in the process of my riffs from time to time. Such as the okane ga nai video riff, or the closeted priest character in the Diddling kids at a rave riff.

      More often then not I leave original text in for one of two reasons:

      1.) To alter it slightly since the text leads into a joke itself such as the latest Pika Seems rude.
      2.) If I cannot make their creepy dialog sound any creepier if I tried, and therefore show how unnerving the actual story is. Such as the latest Molest the Monkey where he goes into a rant about how dare he want to take care of some flowers.

      Also to correct, I believe cheesecake has left certain text in some pages, in a similar fashion as to what I do. In my opinion cheesecake did try to go along with the flimsy plot that Pedur had set up for itself.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion though!

    • cc says:

      My only question to you Thomas is why did you wait about 200 pages and after the riffs were over to mention this? No comments on the wall of text that came before the picture? (At least there I’m being intentionally unfunny.)

      Do you have any better descriptors of how the jokes should have been handled aside from the descriptor “Justin Beiber” jokes? It really doesn’t help me figure out what I can fix except indicate to me that you really love to use that as a way to describe bad jokes.

      It also doesn’t help that your lone suggestion is to LEAVE THE REAL TEXT IN, and believe it or not, I have been doing so throughout the course of the riff; should I have used a font that stood out more?

      In most cases where I replaced text it’s because of how repetitive or plain dull the actual text is. If you so desire you can pick out any set of pages and I will show you or link to the Google-Cache of what the original pages say, perhaps from there you can show me how to better riff them since humor is such a difficult art to pin down and you seem to be a connoisseur of comedy.

      FYI: The eye panel count is literally a running tally of what the comic fucks up on a consistent basis; if it were a drinking game to a movie, it’d be the exact same thing. I guess such a thing rustles your jimmies to the point of anger, my condolences to your thoroughly rustled jimmies.

      Apologies that the riffs were just so unfunny that they weren’t up to snuff in comparison to Faps’. I have little clue who I should defer so as to make your riff-reading experience better since your lone suggestion is one I already did and I doubt the next riff I do will have an eye-panel counter.

      I’d like to do something to improve but you really gotta throw me a bigger bone here. Thanks for reading the riffs anyway despite how mad it made you!

      • wanderingaddict says:

        well I for one like both your riffs, and yeah they are different but that’s what makes it so fun! faps is a LOT sharper and harsher in tone, but then faps deals with stuff that is just a lot more mind-bogglingly shitty. cheesecake is wackier and utilizes sketches over the drawing itself, highlights the absurdity of some silhouettes and feels like there’s more emphasis on the art critique than the dialogue.

        but like I said, I enjoy both and I’ve thought that all the riffs thus far were very well done.

    • cc says:

      Sorry for the initial wording of that, it could be construed as rude.

      I would like to improve how I do riffs but you’re not offering much resource with me to better them.

      You can rest easy that the next riff won’t have the running tally and, as Faps and myself have already said, I did leave some of the original text in. (The problem is that PatW has no concrete or consistent plot to speak of, which I talk about in the text of this if you minded to read it.)

  2. Mia says:

    It’s always a weird feeling when a webcomic disappears into the void regardless of if I liked it or not.

    I will miss it ;__;

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