The Librarian Arachnid Slayer
I've seen your comic around a lot recently, and I can see why--it is without a doubt the most polished comic in the thread. It's curious how it does not also have the most views. There's a lesson to be learned here for everyone.
The maiden voyage of comic creators is always heartwarming, maybe because I myself am in the same position. But beyond that, it is obviously an exciting time for anyone. It must be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling--and maybe even vindicating--that you have seen such a large positive response. I assume that is a great example of one goal feeding another. No doubt your success creates fuel to feed your artistic pursuits. It helps to have an audience at your back when facing down self improvement. You have these well in hand, I think--except for one, perhaps.
You said it yourself--you should have expected a younger audience. I was hit hard by nostalgia looking at your art, It radiates the same warm, comforting crayola motif that I got from many of the children's books I read as a kid. I'll mention it again, the biggest strength you have is how professional and polished your work is. Were it in a published paper book, I would not question it. Were it on an advertisement, I would think it natural. I could see myself picking such a book out to read to my young daughters in the future (IF I HAD SOME). That in and of itself sets a threshold for my expectations, and it obscures many of the mistakes or cut corners that there are in here.
So, yes, it is a professional and appealing art style--for the most part. I have to be honest, I am low key unsettled by Kida and Zeezle. Their prominent teeth and bulging eyes are not adorable. Kida ebbs and flows in this regard, but there are several panels that are downright freaky. Most notably in Episode 5, where she's laughing and in Episode 6, the panel where she goes "You coming or what?" Terrifying teeth. What is less terrifying and more amusing, in a relatable way, is how stiff the legs of most characters look at least half the time. They're like tree trunks. This is largely in the first half of the work, mind you, but I did have a chuckle or two seeing the baby's legs in Episode 7 or the altogether goofy pose in Episode 5 where Kida mockingly says"Come on, Slayer." The scene with the sirens has some rigid poses, too, but I have no doubt you'll flush these sorts of thing away in time, if you haven't already.
I was going to start a complimentary paragraph here, but come to think of it, I'd say one of my core issues is how eerily similar many of the characters are--you mention having same face issue in one of the QAs, but I'm not sure that is exactly what I'm talking about. Naturally, every character will have your art style, but there's something mask-like about their faces, a waxy, wooden aspect. I was wondering why I found myself simultaneously nostalgic and unsettled, and I think this is it. Each character looks like they were all in the same line of dolls. The exceptions, to bring in the positive, are the titular character and the spider lady.
Alice is adorable. The Spider lady is lovely. Their designs are unique and appealing--not doll like, but as characters in their own right. Even if Alice's agape face when she sees the fantastical city for the first time is as frightening as Kida's, she almost always looks adorable and expressive. She also seems to move much more fluidly than the others. She has her share of stiffness, and it might be her hair creating a liquid illusion, but Alice has a flow that others do not, which helps make her far more appealing. The spider lady is lovely, but I don't see much of her, sadly. I like the female monster archetypes. Her hair and third eye do all of the work--that and her glaringly mature body compared to the other gnomes in this comic.
it's a madhouse. Now that may work as intended, because I still know the major peril--Alice is the prophesied slayer meant to save the local world, and she will have allies and enemies in that goal. That's solid. As long as I can anchor myself to that idea, I can navigate flashbacks, dream sequences, and cut aways to other characters. It might just be the interspersing of holiday pages and QAs, but I felt lost at several points of the comic, drifting further from the prophecy plot.
Other than that, i don't have much to say about the writing. So much has yet to happen that the story is both with and beyond me. Looking back on it, little has happened--and it's only been in production for a few months, so I feel premature already. That said, it is delightfully open, and I feel no concerns about structure other than pacing. Even then, pacing needs more time to be measured, doesn't it?
The dialogue isn't noteworthy. It does it's job. It is neither poetic not hamfisted. I get enough information about each character from their diction (verbal patterns like Zeezle's help with that) so there are no wasted words. What bothers me is that Alice has had so little to say, or even do. She's being led around by the nose, and it is already getting tedious to watch. The sooner she gets a spoonful of agency, the better, I think.
We talked briefly about audience, and this is where I think knowing your audience will pay off most. If you're serving a younger crowd, then you can channel the whimsical diction of the great fables, myths, and nursery rhymes. If not, there are plenty of other inspirations to glean from--the point is that I haven't picked up on the narrative voice at all. Characters say what they have to say in the way you'd expect. No more, no less. If that's enough, very well, but I suspect you want more. If so, dig deep and pump this baby full of whimsy and daydreams.
This is a solid comic wreathed in a professional and polished mantle--this is great because it masks minor issues in the artwork, but it is not so great because of its potential for encouraging complacency and stagnation. Hard to say if the style has improved over time. Despite the relatively unremarkable dialogue and early, hard-to-judge narrative, your work triumphs in one of the most difficult arenas of creation: tone and atmosphere. I feel this comic every step of the way. I feel the pull. In time, I have no doubt you'll have my skipping along after you.