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The Feedback

I hope you've enjoyed what you've seen here. Below I've included the feedback I've received on the site to date. The response to this work has been overwhelmingly posititive!

The following is a review of my site by The Net in their April 1997 issue. They gave my site 2 stars out of a possible 3 for 'content' (grading me down slightly for the slow pace for updates - bite me, I do this in my spare time, dammit), and a perfect 3 stars each for 'artistic merit' and 'techno smartness'. Overall, a nearly perfect score! They also had the following comments...

The Gifted is a graphic novel by Stephen Rice, available in either a high-resolution or a low-resolution. While the low-res graphics are slightly smaller on screen, both versions exhibit Rice's dynamic illustrations and beautiful design work. Calling this site a novel seems premature, since it still doesn't include enough information to constitute a short story. The plot concerns a hidden society existing alongside and unknown to our own. The main characters of the horror story are The Infidel, The Hunger, The Spook, and The Oracle, although they are not super-heroes in leotards as their names suggest. One page is added monthly.

The following is a review of my site by Internet Underground in their May 1996 issue. They gave the site a four-star rating (out of their five-star scale) and had the following good words...

We usually search for strong content and snub images for the most part when reviewing 'zines. However, there is no denying this site its artistic merit badge. The Gifted is a monthly comic that includes some divine images created and displayed in a storyboard fashion to tell a tale. The Webmaster continues the stroy each month, developing more of a graphic novel, instead of a 'zine. The mood of the publication is horror, with "adult themes". Heh, heh, cool.

The following is a message sent to me by Mike Zeck, a comics industry professional for over twenty years, whose penciling work for Mavel comics as well as several other publishers is extremely well respected. To this day, his work on Captain America in the mid-1980's remains the definitive version of that character for me (yeah, I'm a fanboy). Therefore, I was extremely excited that he had the following praise for my work...

Got your Email awhile back and took some time before finally visiting your site and longer yet to reply. I was impressed with the site, though, and it certainly deserves a comment.

I can see why your site is receiving favorable reviews. Excellent logo design for "Gifted" and the site as a whole achieves an eerie mood that's quite fitting for the material. Nice red glow effect throughout that takes good advantage of the RGB medium.

*minor complaint dept.: Without a super high speed resolution hook up, the page loading time is a heck of a lot slower than turning a printed page.

Have to say I was impressed with the pages too. Again, nice color scheme for the medium. Most important of all, a real good sense of storytelling with pictures. Panel to panel flow and choice of camera angles are all effective. Not an easy feat!

*minor complaint dept.: Would like to have seen a better underlying sense of anatomy and the way clothing drapes the figure beneath.

Still, it's impressive overall and I'll give you a 4-star rating and tell you you've earned the right to be proud of your site.

Mike's recommendations were right on, and are areas I'm still continuing to develop. Hopefully, you will see the growth in my style as the story progresses!

Here are some of the other comments that I have received from readers since the site went up...


I stumbled onto your site while surfing and added it to my bookmarks when I saw the first page. Wow! I will definitely be dropping by every month or so to watch the story develop. Very, very nice work.

Your work is great, being a long time comic book fan. You are doing a very interesting job. Don't let the world rush you. I like checking in occasionally to see what is new. It's quirky enough to make the whole project more interesting. Sell it on CD when you get done. I'll buy one even if I've read the whole thing online.

There's only one thing I can say about your comic.


I really bite my fingertips off waiting for the next page each time I read a new one. I just can't seem to get enough. Both story and graphics are appealing. Are you ever going to publish it in paper form? It isn't only economically desirable (for I'm sure it'd be a hit) but will allow non-surfers (hey, 60% of the Americans still don't know what in the world the Internet is, not to mention other countries like mine where techies are a minority) to enjoy superb artwork/comics.

Keep up the good work! Seeing the results of your hard work is inspiring for those of us who make a living out of online design and art.

I have to say that I have a very limited knowledge of comics of any kind. But oh my gosh, if the rest of the market comes anywhere near this level of quality graphics and innovative story-telling, then it looks as if I have some homework to do. As a film buff, one thing that immediately strikes me about your work is the use of perspective and lighting to heighten the tension and mystery of the story. Most of all though, I love the characters/creatures themselves. Favorites so far include the black&white photograph of the infant/bat/Gorbachev incarnation and the various facial expressions of the detective. Keep up the good work, nuff respect!

You know , I used to like the way Todd McFarlane used to draw Spider-Man because he's the only one who could make such a goofy character ( Peter Parker and all of his crack jokes ) look so scary.

Well, wadda ya know ! After all these past years reading comic books, I've never encountered anyone who got close to his eerie style BESIDES you. If you tell me McFarlane is an inspiration to you, I'll believe it. If you say he ISN'T, I'll believe you also. When I read " the Gifted ", it feels like I'm reading Spawn ! It features the same gloomy atmosphere as Spawn. Your site SHOULD BE PRINTED ON PAPER AND SOLD IN COMIC BOOK STORES ! This is some truly amasing artwork here. It's one thing to use all those nifty graphics program, but to actually DRAW what you draw with them is another ! I can't praise your site enough as it is the only online webzine I check often.

I e-mailed you a few months back after you had gotten your 3rd page up. In fact, you have my letter used in your "feedback" section... it's the longest one there (glad to see you appreciated my comment as much as I appreciate your art). I just thought that I'd mention that I've been following your site with avid interest, and, good God, you don't disappoint! Ten pages so far, and every one of them worthy of placing you in the ranks of the greats in graphic novels. The progressing storyline, the dialog, the characters, the art, the camera angles... each a genuine masterpiece unto themselves.

Hey, Image! Marvel! Somebody snatch this guy up! He's oozing talent from every pore! Please keep it up, Infidel. It's web sites like yours that keep my faith in the Net.

I wanted to tell you that I'll be following "The Gifted". There are so many crappy cartoons/comics on the Net, so I'm glad to see yours hit the Web. Just letting you know that I appreciate quality work when I see it. Keep it up!

Out-fucking-standing!!!!!!!!! Can't wait for page two!!!!!! More, more!!!

Wow. That's all I can think to say. I am eagerly awaiting the developing storyline of your awesome online comic.

Just got done with page 2. The comic is looking awesome!! I think this should go a long way to getting you noticed. I added your bookmark today!!

Page two is very good. All I can ask is "MORE"!!!!!! Keep it up! I'm hooked!

Just saw your stuff again. It's crazy good.

Aigh!!!! That picture [page 3] is SO SCARY!!

Tonight I read your online graphic novel "The Gifted"... the first three pages anyway. I just thought I'd send a note letting you know that I thought it was absolutely fantastic.

I found out about it from the magazine "Internet Underground", which I get periodically. Internet Underground gave it a mention in their Webguide, and having been an avid fan and collector of certain comics and graphic novels, I thought I might check out your work. I found it to be absolutely stunning. An excellent piece of work artistically, with both stunning graphics and a compelling storyline that I find reminiscent of James O'Barr's "The Crow" and especially Clive Barker's novel "Cabal".

Anyway, congratulations on a first-rate piece of work. My only complaint... I wish there were *more of it*. Three pages? I could go through one hundred with absolute enjoyment, if they were all at least as good as the first three. I look forward to the continuation of the story.

Again, congratulations. This is truly a masterpiece amongst the bandwidth

Man, that is the coolest site I have seen on the Internet yet. I was hoping that you wouldn't mind that I used a picture to link it to my page. I just want to congratulate you on a very cool story.

Wow. How completely and utterly fucking amazing "The Gifted" is, even in the early stages. I just can't get over how GOOD this really is. A lot of what you see on the Net is utter and complete masturbation. But this... this is what I like to see... people who are USING the medium to its fullest potential. Anyway, keep up the BRILLIANT work! I honestly don't think I've seen much on the Net that compares to what you've done so far.

This is amazing. I flew through the story in five minutes. I went back and read it three times at home.

You have a gift for storytelling that I envy. More than that, I envy the fact that you had the guts to show your work off, on the world's largest vanity press.

While it may not count for much, you have touched people. DO NOT GIVE UP. We love your stuff. While Mike Zeck is right about the bandwidth issue all I gotta say is - IT'S WORTH THE WAIT (read this out loud and scream).

I stumbled onto your site while surfing and added it to my bookmarks when I saw the first page. Wow! I will definitely be dropping by every month or so to watch the story develop. Very, very nice work.

It's just so good. So fucking good. Keep it going!

Your work is great, being a long time comic book fan, still, you are doing an very interesting job. Donít let the world rush you. i like checking in occassionally to see what is new. Its quirky enough to make the whole project more interesting. Sell it on CD when you get done. I'll buy one even if I read the whole thing on line.

All words, pictures, characters, tiles and just about everything else was created by and is copyright Stephen Hope and Electric Comics, 1996

Electric Comics