|Rules and Information
The time has come, ladies and gentlemen. For nearly two years we’ve watched as sixty-four were slowly whittled down to two. Countless competitors poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this tournament. It has been a fantastic ride, and we judges cannot express properly just how honored we have been to bear witness to every moment of it.
Before we announce the winner, we would each like to present to our finalists a final statement, giving our feedback on their rounds as we could not while the tournament was still in progress.
You've certainly come a long way since the audition, and you've improved both in terms of storytelling and dialogue. While your earlier rounds were never horrible, they didn't really stand out to me. But as time passed, you proved that you've definitely earned a spot in the final! Your rounds were always entertaining, unique, humorous and a lot of fun. Your final round had all of these qualities, which made it an enjoyable read.
The biggest problem I had with your final round is the pacing. The climax is over before it really begins. For example, it would've been nice to see a bigger confrontation with the Fratelli, or explore Speakeasy's feelings a bit more. ( Having her sing a song was a nice touch though.) The ending was also very sweet, and I have to admit, it made all warm and fuzzy inside.
You have come a long way, and you should be proud of what you have accomplished!
I gotta say, I am so impressed with the improvement you’ve shown us over the course of the tournament, and it’s very nice to see you grow as a storyteller. By the middle rounds your dialogue sounded very natural and Untoten developed into an adorable, tough protagonist. That being said, your pacing could be inappropriate for the scenes you wanted to convey and sometimes your work seemed a little unpolished.
Focusing on your final entry, the story was engaging, emotional, and still filled with your unique, quirky sense of humor to the end. You developed not only your own character but your opponent’s as well. You’ve always given us something creative every round, and I thank you for broadening my sense of cuteness with Untoten’s belly o’ fetuses.
Corvus, you’ve always been one to march to the beat of your own drummer, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. You have a very distinctive way of telling stories, and your characters always have a distinctly Corvus charm to them. This makes for an odd at times, but overall very lovable entry.
The improvement we’ve seen from you over the course of the tournament has been fantastic. Characters that had little development when we first met them grew to be endearing, and your dialogue has come leaps and bounds from where you started. (Though you’d do well in the future to be just a bit more careful with your word balloons.) I just wish Jason had made more of an appearance earlier on, because his conversations with Unoten are some of my favorite parts about your entry.
One of the things that stands out the most to be about your entries is the logic within them, and most of the time it was extremely entertaining to try and figure out just how the cogs in your head were turning. Your entries sort of existed in their own little unique world. After all, only in your entries would the end be spelled out in the blood of a rat that was killed and is being eaten by puppies.
An issue that haunted you throughout the tournament was character consistency. For example, your portrayal of Beyra was kind of confused, as though you couldn’t decide if you wanted her to be a villain or not. You often would portray her with menacing evil grins, and troll faces and what not, but all that would be undermined by the peaceful games she had Unoten and her opponents play. As though she secretly wanted to manipulate things to help the pregnant, tiny dog win. This got significantly better towards the end, presumably once you figured out where you wanted to go with the character. There was a bit of this going on with Unoten and Jason’s relationship as well. In the audition she blames him for breaking the rules against her knowledge, but in the final round you show that Jason explained the rules, and she willingly broke them. In the future, you’d do well to think out where you want to go with your characters before you start working with them too much, even if only roughly. That will prevent any future conflicts.
Overall your entries were an absolute joy to follow. They weren’t too concerned with relishing in the darkness and brutality of the tournament, but they knew when to take things seriously. The humor was good, if a touch bizarre at times, the characters were lovable, and you should be proud of how far you’ve come. I wish you nothing but luck in all your future endeavors.
I have to say, you have certainly come a long way from the beginning of the tournament. While your earlier entries had a distinctly tongue-in-cheek feel, the humor was a welcome change of pace from the otherwise rather dark tone of the overall tournament. Still, you were never afraid to let the plot take itself seriously when it needed to, which provided us with a fun, interesting story to follow through the rounds. Untoten is a unique character- it would have been easy to let her pregnancy be all that defined her, but she quickly showed the audience that she had a lot of intelligence, courage, and spunk to go along with her maternal instincts. Her desire to reform the tournament’s barbaric practices, rather than abolishing it entirely, was a unique spin on things that set her apart from the other competitors.
However, you occasionally undermined the supposed barbarity of the tournament within your own entries by having Beyra set up little games for her to play, such as the spoon race in round four or the proctor roundup in the final. It really made no sense for Beyra to do such things, especially in the final round, so it came off as a bit of a forced contrivance to weigh things in Untoten’s favor.
Still, in the end Untoten proved the strength of her resolve despite the oddly placed proctor fetch quest. The defeat of Bosso, while it had some pacing issues, was well done, and the emotion in Speakeasy’s expression as she sings of the collie and the Labrador feels very raw and real- it was a superbly written sequence. Untoten is a great character, you’ve had some great entries, and I cannot stress enough how much you deserve to be here. You did very, very well, and I am proud to have been able to follow this story from beginning to end.
I will start off by saying that your entries have been consistently good and intriguing throughout the tournament. You've also been able to maintain a fully colored comic, which is nothing short of impressive. As for Speakeasy, she is a unique character that, despite her vulgarity and questionable morals, is very likable. Your final round showed much of the things that characterize your rounds. It was gripping, exciting and enjoyable. You also dared to work with subjects many others would avoid.
However, I think that the ending was a bit of a letdown. You had so much set up for this round, but in the end little was actually resolved. Questions were left unanswered. For example, why did Speakeasy ultimately decide to return to Bosso? How did the relationship between the two change after the confrontation they had, or did it change at all? Questions like these will leave the readers unsatisfied. I know what you were going for, but you didn't quite manage to pull it off.
Overall, you've done a great work and you're definitely a worthy finalist!
Throughout CC you’ve been an involved and inspired competitor. I know you pushed your limits with Speakeasy’s… hm, shall we say, delightful philosophy on sexual relations? You pulled it off well, and Speaks has been a trip the whole way. I was especially impressed with the complexity of the Pripyat you created; however, your protagonist could be overshadowed and almost swallowed by the environment around her and it was hard to tell which character the story centered on at times. Your final round showed the true nature of your city in full, dark force, which evoked a thought provoking solemnity in my mind. Speaks completed a long journey, and though everything came full circle, Speaks isn’t quite that same kid anymore.
Songdog, your entries have always been good. Your rounds have been close several times, and every time Speakeasy’s general likability as a character, and the excellence in your world building carried you through.
I do want to talk about the world building here. You portrayed Pripyat as a city that’s been around a long time and will be around a lot longer. It had its own songs, its own culture, and its own elaborate social structure. By the time you got finished with your entries, I felt like it was a place I’d been. A place I knew intimately. That’s all I can really ask for when it comes to world building.
Science fiction as a genre generally has an emphasis on building the world, or the scenario of the story over character development and plot. Frankly, I could see a bit of that in your entries, which felt a bit odd in this context. That’s not to say your characters were bad or uninteresting. Speakeasy herself was interesting enough, as was Bosso, and Bloody Beard came to be a personal favorite of mine. It’s just, overall they felt static.
The idea of a ‘the story goes on’ is a nice one and your world building almost necessitates it, but I feel like a story as long as yours was should have a bit more resolution. You built up a lot of things, introduced a lot of concepts that never really came to much. Again, that’s not to say your entries were bad, because they weren’t. More or less it’s just that you never quite got around to wrapping up everything you set up, and the payoff wasn’t nearly as good as the buildup. That’s too often a problem with your choice of medium, especially over the course of six rounds.
Overall, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your entries, and getting to know the world it takes place in. I wish you nothing but luck going forward.
There’s no question that from the very beginning that you were a fan favorite. It’s not hard to see why. Speakeasy’s bawdy sense of humor juxtaposed against the dark events going on around her struck a unique balance of comedy and pitch black drama that is very difficult to achieve. You took on a singularly difficult challenge; tell the story of a character who is neither the hero, nor the villain, but the villain’s lackey. Speakeasy never really wanted to be a protagonist, as her frequent attempts to forfeit made clear. She just wanted to go back home to the place where she was safe and happy, and live in her cocoon of childlike innocence where the horrors she witnessed on a daily basis could not hurt her. The longer she was kept away from that place of safety, the more she was forced to confront the lie she was living. When finally life returns to its normal course for her, she sings the songs of her “childhood,” longing for the nostalgic innocence they now represent for her. Even if your entries weren’t always action packed or dripping with tension, they were entertaining in a way that kept us wanting to see more.
While you could occasionally let Speakeasy’s reluctance to be our protagonist put her on the back burner in favor of Bosso’s shenanigans, overall you did a good job of keeping her in focus and telling her story. Her obvious sadness at the carnage of the final round and her horror at Beyra’s gutting show just how far she has come from the dog who casually dismissed death in earlier rounds.
However, the subject of the carnage brings me to my biggest critique of your final- something of a plot hole that I noticed that needs addressing. What was it all for? I understand that most of the characters involved wanted to end the tournament, and for good reason. However, the ringleader, the character who set those events into motion in the first place, was Bosso, and we are never given any insight into his motives. Given his characterization, I find it a bit difficult to swallow the notion that he was motivated by any sort of legitimate disdain for the death brought on by the tournament. I suppose it could be assumed that the culling of the population the tournament represents could hurt his business, but then why would he slaughter a dozen or more dogs that otherwise would have survived that tournament and continued contributing to the famine? He’s a seven year old dog, by the time another tournament would have rolled round he likely would be dead anyway. As a reader not knowing why it was triggered in the first place makes all the blood and violence feel a bit mindless.
All the same, I thoroughly enjoyed your entry. This was ultimately the story of Speakeasy’s coming of age. Even if she didn’t break off from Bosso, she has learned to think for herself and shed that blind devotion to his every whim. I thank you enormously for sharing that story with us, and wish you only the best in your future endeavors.
With that said, we are pleased to announce that the winner of Chernobyl Curs is…
Congratulations on your well deserved victory, and to Songdog-StrayFang
for winning second place. Feel free to contact the people offering prizes at your leisure.
Chernobyl Curs has been a fantastic tournament, and now at last it comes to an end. We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to all of the competitors for their hard work and our spectators for their faithful support. WE LOVE DOGS!