Lovechild Tournament 2021, Final Round / Maddie the Mule vs. Todd

Lovechild Tournament 2021, Final Round / Maddie the Mule vs. Todd

Lovechild Tournament 2021, Final Round — Maddie the Mule vs. Todd

This comic has been rated suitable for teens and up by its creator(s)

Icon for Maddie the Mule48.5%
724 points
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Crit level: Open to any comments or critiques
Thanks for reading! <3
tags: clydesdale horse, e.w schneider, Goddamn Todd, kozispoon, maddie the mule, mimi the mime, oh lawd the pagecount

by TheCydork and Badger

This comic has been rated suitable for teens and up by its creator(s)

Icon for Todd51.5%
770 points
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Crit level: Open to any comments or critiques
tags: Lovechild2021, maddie the mule, Todd

Critiques & Comments
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# 17   Posted: May 3 2021, 04:28 AM
better late than never!

Maddie- This was really great! Lots of twists and turns, you certainly kept me guessing.

Misc stuff I loved.
Spoiler: show
+ I loved the setting. A big, imposing warehouse full of the villain's secrets felt very suitable for the final round of a tourney. Throwing Maddie into the lion's den really set the tone.
+ I'll echo Jade's points about Maddie feels more present in this round. I love her so much ;_;
+ My favorite aspect of this story was how your Portrayed Todd, it was SO impressive how full and satisfying his appearance & eventual death felt. A special shout of to the scene where he cracked his neck, that was badass.
+ Whilst the art is slightly less polished, considering the mammoth task you two gave yourselves over this tourney, it's still high quality with some genuinely striking imagery. The Wish reveal in the inkwell comes to mind.
+ On the second reading I really warmed to Mimi's appearance, I thought you portrayed her past struggles very well, the writing in those scenes was so thoughtful and really captured her emotions.
+ A wonderfully bittersweet happy ending.

cheeky crit
Spoiler: show
TL;DR story was promising & interesting but felt both bloated and underdeveloped due to the constraints of making it in a tournament. I think things should have been cut to give the story more focus.

I just want to preface this by saying I think you both told your chosen story as well as you could have considering the limitations of a tournament/ 2 weeks to make a 30+ page comic is actually insane. That being said, sometimes less is more.
For me where Team Todd had the edge was the simplicity of their tale, Todd was introduced and had a very straightforward but emotionally engaging, fascinating path to go on, it suited this format better.
Having Maddie's tale be wrapped around two characters who a lot of readers aren't familiar with was a big handicap- then throwing in story arcs for side characters like Vanya/ the anti-toon/ post-Apoc setting just added to the weight of this comic. As a result, it felt like it lacked some focus. There's a lot going on here!
All of these moving parts paired with the large cast made me wish this was a long series of BBs that really fleshed everything out fully.

All in all, a very impressive comic, a charming character and a fantastic duo. Congrats on making it to the end I hope you both got plenty of rest after this.

# 16   Posted: Apr 29 2021, 02:17 PM
Ksoczhinsepiodoenr: Aw, this is a nice conclusion! I was expecting a dour ending, but seeing Mimi finally get something pleasant is super satisfying. This comic might be less visually complex than the previous ones page per page, but dang, you shouldn't be expected to go that hard in the first place, it's still super impressive. I figured something was up in that first page with how the bubble covered up Mimi, but I assumed that had more thematic purpose, like maybe Maddie was more lost in her ideas of her parents than the real thing, but nah there was a whole fun twist :0 In the nitpick section, I was thrown off by a couple of things, specifically what happens between pg22 panels 3 and 4. Overall though, very well-crafted comic! Highlight is obviously far and above the conversation on page 4, that's just some good classic Schneider dialogue.

Cbyaddogrekr: This is also a fun ending, as much as it is engineered to be unsatisfying. You did a really good job of viscerally depicting how mentally detached Todd was from his actions here (even if I think pg7 panel 6 really ought to have been much larger, so it feels like there's enough time spent for a whole story). And all the gooey monster stuff is primo too, obviously. I gotta laugh at demon dude's catch-22, though, it's obviously just being a dick to Todd for fun at this point. Great work!

Community Manager
# 15   Posted: Apr 29 2021, 11:07 AM
What I like about finales in tournaments is how they tend to tie everything together, so I'm gonna review both Todd and Maddie's arcs as if they were three acts throughout the tournament.

Spoiler: Todd • show

Hoo boy, Todd!  You've got consistant quality throughout all three entries and established a good start of darkness for this boy.  There's just enough to glean from the dialog that I got the gist of why he's posessed and how dangerous a person he can be without needing to read the bio, but


that first entry was kinda rocky when framing Todd and Strigoi's fight, and the foreshadowed consequences weren't fully realized.  It's mentioned as an aside in the first page fo the second round, but it would have been kind of cool to see Todd try to evade this secret agency because oh shit he just killed their uber vampire.  But I digress.  What we have here, at its core, is a story about a young man struggling against his curse, and it's gruesome and merciless, and if you win the tournament, I want to see more paranormal angst from this runaway exorcist.  This boy's living a tragedy, and I can see the potential of what kind of monsters his opponents could morph into if he comes in contact with them.

Spoiler: Maddie • show

To exclude "The Heavens Themselves" and "Surveying the Damage" would be a detriment to the Maddie arc, so I guess I gotta brush up on them really quickly before getting to the meat of your story.  They're good at explaining How We Got Here and what the Bakshi term means--
and hey, sick reference there.  I do love a pulpy animation nod.

And now we get to the actual bit with Maddie.  Precious starchild, she has my heart.  I had to go back to the previous rounds to catch all the foreshadowing for her reveal, and it was done splendidly.  I just wish this final entry was as polished as the previous entries, so that's a point against its quality.
I'm really not sure what to make of the decision to have this star go out, assuming she faded away at the end of the comic.  If she is gone, it's eerily similar to what Petey had done--popped into existence as a consequence of a thing Mimi did, helped with an existential problem, and when their task was done, they ceased to exist.

My subjective opinion is that I understand that Clyde and Mimi only have each other, but I would love to see them expand their support circle without having those people dying.

Anyway, good entries for Maddie, I'm just mad she's gotta poof like this.

# 14   Posted: Apr 29 2021, 08:49 AM
Splitting up the crits so I don't run out of characters or something
Spoiler: badork • show
Each of your comics during this tournament was better than the last, and this was certainly no exception! Your creative use of paneling, sound effects, and color really made this stand out head and shoulders above the crowd.

My favorite thing about this comic was your portrayal of Todd. I could viscerally feel his exhaustion, his desperation, his defeatedness. Between new wrinkles on his face, increasingly unkempt hair, and his expressions, he looked like he had aged years since round 2. It's unclear how much time has passed between rounds, but it's clear he has aged more than is natural from the stress and the toll on his body and mind from multiple demonic possessions. The details in all of your backgrounds inside of his house are enough to clearly show what his struggles are without any dialogue or character art on top of it. Every square inch of his apartment screams that he is someone who has fallen apart and yet somehow continues to crumble.

My complaint with this comic is the portrayal of Maddie and Clydesdale. Maddie is as upbeat as ever, but she is too conveniently naive for my tastes. It really felt like you just needed an excuse to get her into the basement rather than really considering what kind of person she was. I like how you showed the struggle Clyde went through to find and save his daughter, but he seemed like little more than a plot device that could show up just in time to be completely useless in any meaningful way. Which to be fair, the thematic sense of both him and Todd being unable to save someone (Maddie in Clyde's case, Todd's potential future victims in Todd's case) and being denied their primary desire was excellent. I just think you could have made both Maddie and Clyde stronger personality-wise. Maybe Todd could have been forced to fight both of them. Maybe Clyde could catch him before Todd could get Maddie into his home. Maybe Maddie would get suspicious and run off to find Clyde, and Todd would have to find a way to get away from Clyde. The fact that Clyde could figure out exactly where Maddie went seemed too convenient, and I'm not sure how he knew where to go once the footprints ended.

I'm not sure what the best solution for this would be, but I think you could have pushed harder on characterizing your opponents instead of just using them as tools to show how low Todd has fallen in his own journey.

Still, this was an AMAZING final round comic. I am absolutely FLOORED by how you portrayed Todd's demonic hauntings, how you showed his mental state deteriorating, how you showed us his despair and resignation as he was forced to make a choice with no final solution. I'm invested in this stressed out child, and I want to see more of him no matter who wins. Thanks for giving us a final round we could really remember!

# 13   Posted: Apr 29 2021, 08:29 AM
Gonna split up these crits because they might be long haha
Spoiler: ewspoon • show
Life problems clearly got in the way this round, but it's still an amazing showing. Even in the absence of unexpected events, this would be a strong entry.

The art, where it was complete, was beautiful. I found myself staring at your detailed backgrounds, loved the textures you used in your shading, and took extra time to inspect Todd's face in the panels where he appeared. I think the level of detail in his face especially shows of your talent. I thought Todd's body looked a bit stiff and awkward as he fell backwards into the inkwell with Maddie, but otherwise the only problems were the places you couldn't finish, and that's just a casualty of life getting in the way of big plans that you expected to be able to follow through on!

Writing-wise, I think it's pretty clear that you had more planned that you had to cut out. Which is ironic, because I think you could have told an equally compelling story with fewer moving pieces. I know you set up a lot in rounds 1 and 2 that you wanted to bring full circle, but I don't think you necessarily needed to do that to give your finale the emotional impact it needed. You obviously couldn't have predicted that life would get in the way of completing all of your plans, so take my feedback with a grain of salt.

First off, I loved how much you showed off Maddie this round. It's clear that you listened to the feedback from previous rounds about her parents being the real stars. Maddie took center stage, and is present throughout the comic, even on pages that aren't explicitly about her. Her personality really shone (no pun intended) this time, and I think that perfectly set us up for the bittersweet ending.

At the heart of this round, I think you only had two things you absolutely had to accomplish: 1) kill Todd in a way that meaningfully wrapped up his story, and 2) bring Maddie's story to an emotionally impactful conclusion. I think you did both of these well. I love Todd's desperate attempts to reverse his curse, grasping at the tiniest of straws to look for a solution. You did an excellent job of integrating last round's Todd comic into the setting you've created for this tournament. I appreciate the Abby cameo, although clearly Nina and I did a poor job of showing that Abby was short for Abbadon rather than "Abby Abbadon" being a first and last name. I think that's on us, even though neither Abby nor Todd ever referred to her as Abigail in our last round. C'est la vie. I'm not docking points for it, obviously.

I think that including Vanya's demise was a nice touch, but could have been cut. She didn't need a resolution for this comic to be successful imo. You could have also cut some of the opening banter and exposition. I think the first few pages were perfect; showing Maddie's motivation (while also setting up that really cool repetition at the end to show Mimi's side of things) and tying it into her mission at hand. Perfection. Chef's kiss. But as much as I love Todd and Vanya's dialogue, and as much as the White Jackets vs Valkyries entertained me, I think both of those could have been shortened or cut altogether.

TL;DR: you two could have saved yourselves some headaches and given your story better flow if you had sacrificed the less important details instead of just chopping down the full story. Some elements seemed rush, some resolutions came too abruptly, the pacing was just a tiny bit off throughout most of the comic. And as much as life events were part of the problem, I think you were also just unwilling to compromise which plot points you wanted to include enough for the final product to feel fully complete on its own. It feels like you cut parts out, and the only way to fix that would be to plan for a shorter comic from the beginning.

All that said, you two did a fantastic job, both with this round in particular and with the whole tournament in general. I am astounded at the amount of high quality art and top tier writing you two were able to produce. I'm almost relieved we didn't make it to the final round, because going up against this powerhouse is intimidating. Maybe we'll battle another time. Applause all around; you can be proud of yourselves for everything you've done, win or lose, you succeeded in creating an amazing story, and that's what matters the most!

# 12   Posted: Apr 26 2021, 09:47 PM
jesus how do i crit these, they were both so FANTASTIC

shneiderspoon: as always, AMAZING gesture and expression, beautiful composition. this one tho felt a little sparse this time artwise- backgrounds, shading, spotblacks, it was kinda give and take. Demon Todd was awesome- i loved him cracking hsi neck back into place, and the smoke from his mouth. Vanya's death had less impact than i thought it would given how shes been built up this whole tourney- offscreen death and then a throwaway line. Todd's ending, though, was WONDERFUL. Bittersweet, the best he could hope for. Poor Maddie though, she wasnt even real.... maybe now that Mimi and Clyde are reunited, they can MAKE her real <3

BADCY: oh my GOD Todd breaks my heart why is everything so HARD for him! The colours in this were GORGEOUS, god, so INTENSE you could just FEEL his anguish, and that decision he had to make? CRUEL. I hope he can find a new way to life his curse, somewhere in the world. I also cant get over his expressions- just how DONE he is. Even picking Maddie up at the park like "it may as well be this, too." Comparatively, though, your 'toon' style work was a little lacking. Since theres so few details on 'toon' characters they need to have really big movements and expression, and that didnt come across super well... though its hard to fit a toon into a story like this, i grant. I wish poor Todd the very best. Come see Auntie Lily, she'll help you out~ =P


# 11   Posted: Apr 26 2021, 01:15 PM
First off- Congrats to both teams for making such stellar comics for this tournament!

Kozi & Schneider - I really loved Maddie's entire story and that her parents were prevalent throughout the tournament. You gave so many characters intricate stories that weaved throughout your rounds that made it even more tragic when Todd was killed at the end in this round (I also loved the hellbound line, I'm just a sucker for cheese). I also thought it was really clever to make Maddie a wish the way you both did, I definitely didn't see that coming! The art was absolutely lovely to look at, but the story is what really wrenched my heart.

Badger & Cy - Your rounds were really fun to read, and your art styles come together in a beautiful way! I like that Todd ultimately gave up his chance at reversing his curse, it reflects his personality as someone who doesn't -truly- want to hurt people and is forced into his position. The portrayals of the characters throughout your rounds was very well done and really fit the stories told!

Community Manager
# 10   Posted: Apr 25 2021, 10:54 PM
This was a fantastic comic and both of these sides in the finale are fantastic, the quality of art on this site is always amazing and inspiring.

# 9   Posted: Apr 25 2021, 02:26 PM
oooh boy here we go again.

well this final round certainly delivered, however, one entry managed to surprise me by its intensity...
The other kind of let me down.

Kozi and Schneider, as usual, baffling amount of page, solid narration, solid art.
But I have a problem. The story is not about Maddie. The whole tournament from your side isn't really about Maddie. It's about Mimi and Clyde finally reuniting. And Maddie got the Petey Peyote deal. In fact I knew it would end like with Petey Peyote when the inkwell came in.
The character we were supposed to root for, for her survival, in the end, didn't matter, she didn't exist. I understand it's your own way to subvert our expectation here, but it also defeat the purpose of the tournament.
I felt like the story was more like a long elaborate way to reunite Clyde and Mimi.
Also the revelation of how Maddie came to me suddenly reminded me of a certain character from a popular tale who at one point also was sporting donkey ears and tail... hmmmmm
Maddie= Pinnochio? Where's jiminey the cricket?

As for Todd... Oh boy was it dark! The tension could be felt early on. It's a violent, cruel tale you told us, and it had such an impact, the corruption of stood and his dive with no return in the rabbit hole.
We constantly joked about baby killing on the discord server, but here, it's an actual child getting killed. It's cruel, unfair, and in the end, didn't change anything for Todd. Worst, the consequences of his actions will now forever haunt him.

# 8   Posted: Apr 24 2021, 07:42 PM
Both sides:"I Guess fuck your feelings hella"

In all seriousness. This lived up to the hype. Lovebab tournaments bring out some next level stuff, damn.

# 7   Posted: Apr 24 2021, 05:18 AM
Both teams have done a remarkable job in this tourney, really inspiring stuff- congrats on making it to the very end! I hope it's ok if I split my comments up, I need to process Maddie's side a bit more. xD

GOD DAMN IT, I WASN'T PREPARED. I have a lot to say but let me attempt to be concise here

WRITING. Cy, you killed it. Great job.
Spoiler: show

+ Opening scene = the tension at the start had me squirming in my seat, fantastic pacing, and build-up to the basement scenes.
+ Maddie= You really captured how naive and vulnerable Maddie is. The way she talked was very child-like and believable.
+ Overarching story/ its end = Having all of Todd's desperation and torment over his curse, end with him committing a truly heinous act was a tragic turn of events. Great writing. You really sold me on Todd's despair in that final scene with Clydale.
+The cruel twist with the Demonic deal was griiiim, this guy just can't catch a break.

Final thoughts- What's Most impressive here is you've made this sad story compelling and accessible when it could've easily fallen into misery porn territory. Whilst I would've loved to have seen more of the overarching story in round 1, I think you've done a good job establishing the character's personality from the get-go & later his motives. You took a very straightforward approach to the tourney setup but made it work for the story you wanted to tell. Impressive stuff.

Spoiler: show

+ Badger your pencils and art style are to die for. Big fan.
+ Cy your inks were competent as always, There were also some perfectly placed spot blacks especially on page 9.
+ Colour-wise I'm not sure who worked on what pages, but similarly to your round two, I love how the intensity of the colours would shift depending on the scene. I loved the muted foggy scene & colours on page 10 as Todd's world breaks down in every way, it was all very effective and enhanced the story and inks.
+ The backgrounds were topnotch I appreciate all the detail & personality you put into them.

There was very little wrong with this comic but here are a few minor things.
Spoiler: show

+ Page 17- Clydales swing felt a little lackluster, I didn't feel the full power behind it. I'm not sure if this was down to the pose not being dynamic enough.
+ I wish you showed more of the cured humans at the end. Even if it was just a couple of close-ups during the final scene, they felt a bit glazed over which is a shame. I really want to know how those people feel about their situation & Todd. I'm so curious! I hope you make a bb in the future!

# 6   Posted: Apr 24 2021, 01:10 AM
I need to lay down after reading these. My heart can only handle so much.

# 5   Posted: Apr 9 2021, 11:40 PM

# 4   Posted: Apr 9 2021, 10:14 PM
Let's see these babies fight!

# 3   Posted: Apr 9 2021, 09:47 PM
there are two kinds of sportsmanship

# 2   Posted: Apr 9 2021, 03:39 PM
Time to fucking die

E.W. Schneider
# 1   Posted: Apr 9 2021, 08:29 AM
Good luck! :)

Comic Details -

Type: Death Match
Drawing Time: 2 weeks
Ended: May 1st, 2021
Votes Cast: 31
Page Views: 1927
Winner: TheCydork and Badger

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