April 26, 2008

NNEW POSTT

Ununtrium (pronounced /juːˈnʌntriəm/ or /əˈnʌntriəm/) is the temporary name of a synthetic element in the periodic table that has the temporary symbol Uut and has the atomic number 113.

It has been synthesised both directly in "cold" and "warm" fusion reactions. It was first observed in the decay of ununpentium. Only eight atoms of ununtrium have been observed to date. Following periodic trends it is expected to be a soft, silvery metal.

April 20, 2008

Powerup Comics

Powerup Comics is fantastic and great. It has distilled the very essence of gamer comic into a single, beautiful, 3-panel dream. Where Penny Arcade originates and CAD and VGCats shamelessly ape, Powerup innovates and, ultimately, transcends. Yes, Holkins and Krahulik must be given their due: They opened the floodgates and let people know that yes, you could joke about video games--on the Internet, no less. And let's be honest: by and large, that's where gaming comics have stopped. Oh, there have been a few that have gone a little farther (Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman springs to mind), but the genre as a whole has been largely filled with imitators and stagnators for the last ten years.

No longer.

Some may make the case that Shadow and Chug have very little left to say about video games, since the genre has theoretically been exhausted since 1997. Some may assert that they don't say anything at all, recycled or no. These people, while their views are valid, miss so much of the big picture that there is a staggering irony in the fact that they own 80" plasma-screen TVs. Shadow and Chug have recognized that content is a thing of the past. In fact, form is a thing of the past as well. What is left? Simply the sheer undiluted quintessence of messagery. Powerup Comics is communication without language, meaning without symbols, and jokes without setup or punchline. That's not to say that they don't tell jokes, of course--who could forget such classic lines as "I know how you love to game!" and "Bam! Footshot!"--but they are secondary to the aesthetic revolution that is taking place in the minds of Wilson and Krydenski. Forget nihilism, solipsism, relativism, egalitarianism, utilitarianism, Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, Daoism: they are the outmoded relics of an age that forgot how to think. Shadow has brought us back into the light, and if you're not prepared to wear shades, you can just step down.

And you can take that to the bank.

Of course, no review of Powerup Comics would be complete without a comprehensive examination of the "haters," since much ado has been made of their (frankly ludicrous) antics. Yes, it is true that there is an inordinate amount of negative commentary on their DrunkDuck page. But let's face it: DrunkDuck is the pits of the webcomic community, below even Facepunch and ComicGenesis. They adore Charby the Vampirate and Craving Control, for God's sake. In any case, their criticisms essentially amount to two things. 1.) Powerup Comics has bad writing. 2.) Powerup Comics has bad art. Both of these claims are so ludicrously wrong as to be not worth debunking, but I shall refute them nonetheless! The writing of Powerup Comics, as proved earlier, is nothing short of the only writing you'll ever need to understand the world. But the art is no less crucial in creating the post-transcendentalist nightmare we can only hope to appreciate, and to deny it would be to do an enormous disservice to Chug Krydenski. Chug's art is simultaneously minimalistic and maximalistic. What do I mean? I mean what I say.

That is the mark of any good rhetorician.

But to elaborate further, I mean only that Chug's art, while employing only the slightest morsels of "established" artistic "technique" (thus being minimalistic), manages to convey emotions the likes of which no man has ever experienced for want of capacity to cogitate so intensely. The raw sorrow displayed by Shadow in "Shadow is being an emo" is, on the one hand, only one step beyond William Wallace's tribal face paint. On the other hand, it reaches deep inside our hearts, inverts them, and deposits them, flaming, on our doorstep where we can't help but notice the trauma we have just experienced. That is the incredible mastery that Krydenski has displayed time and time again, and it is unthinkable that we can fool ourselves into believing that it is anything but the next inevitable phase in artistic hyperexpressionism.

Ladies and gentleman, it is no exaggeration when I say that Powerup Comics subsumes and supersedes every previous artistic movement. When it goes, civilization goes with it.

March 22, 2008

The Outer Circle

You guys may be familiar with Steve Napierski's shitheap Dueling Analogs, especially since some other assholes already talked about it at length. What they did not mention is Steve Napierski's other, more ancient shitheap: The Outer Circle. The Outer Circle is different in many ways from Dueling Analogs. For one: The Outer Circle is updated daily, not twice a week. The Outer Circle has a recurring cast of characters. The Outer Circle, until recently, was not done in colour. The Outer Circle is not a den of crappy gaming jokes sporadically populated by rampant misogyny and borderline (err, actual) pornography. Oops! By the way, the reason those links may not be super-apt is that I got them by trawling through the "Random Comic" function, not the archives themselves, and apparently the site has a really shitty design and requires two refreshes before displaying anything.

The Outer Circle starts off well, with the sort of bland meta-humour and sexual perversion fans of Dueling Analogs know and love. While it keeps the shitty gay jokes, it by and large dumps the meta-humour in favor of really stupid plotlines. First, of course, is the obligatory "find a new character" plot--with tits! In case you couldn't tell, the long-haired musclebound hunk of omnipotence is Steve's self-insertion, and are we in for a ride as he experiences wish fulfillment that would make Kyle Mistry envious. Napierski then descends into the absurd and fucking disgusting by writing a month's worth of story inside the fat retard's anus. Which isn't just a one-off plot, oh no! He revisits it! Steve Napierski thought that two assholes parading around in some guy's anus was a story so goddamn hilarious, it's worth retelling, no homo. I'm just gonna skip ahead, since this is taking forever, and get to the part where he introduces another female cast member just so he can deny allegations of misogyny (in a way eerily preminiscent of Brew's attempted straw man refutation), except then he fucks her. This isn't a surprise, he fucks everybody. Remember that large-breasted DJ Milkjugs in an earlier link? She was introduced almost entirely so his self-insertion could pork her. There is the horrible SASSI, yet another character designed entirely to distill Steve's disrespect for all womankind into a single archetypical bitch.

If he was borderline racist in Dueling Analogs, there are no holds barred in The Outer Circle. Anti-Semitism abounds as Richard, the twiggy jerkoff pal of Steve (and apparently based on someone he knows who actually likes Napierski's work) is the butt of two out of every three jokes, and they're all either about how gay or Jewish he is. There is an entire set of comics with the punchline that, despite his protests to the contrary, Richard just looks super Jewy. Making fun of racial stereotypes: It's the new softcore pornography!

The art is Dueling Analogs copy/paste writ large, since Napierski is no longer bound to drawing new characters if he wants to parody a new game. With a fairly small cast, he's free to copy and paste the same characters for every panel, every comic, until we realize that somehow the shit-eating grin on everyone's face is even more annoying than Shadow and Chug's (of course, Shadow and Chug kick ass and Steve Napierski is a clinical retard and member of Hitler's Youth Squad, so the comparison is hardly valid).

I'm not even a month into its archives, and I'm already pissed off at the incredibly bigotry Steve rams into every joke. It's just non-stop. The timing is also really bad, even when the content isn't blatantly ill-thought-out. There's no build-up, and there's no punchline. There's nothing but Steve standing around, smirking at how witty he thinks he is, and dreaming of writing the next story arc in which he convinces a girl to play FATAL with him so he can use his rigged dice to roll a 13-inch penis and 6-inch-wide asshole.

Then there are the crossovers with fellow shitty comic Housd (which is thankfully over; Ali is apparently one of about two webcomic fucks with the knowledge of when a new idea cannot be rammed into his extant piece of shit. The other, by the way, is Clay Yount, who started Cosmobear because he realized that it had nothing to do with Rob and Elliot.) There are the recurrent serial killer strips, because inverting Jason Voorhees is so goddamn witty and original and not-vomit-inducing and OOPS I LIED. It's possible to deconstruct shit, build it back up, and turn it into a bizarre recontextualisation of its former self. Of course, what Steve is doing is more akin to looking at the shit, drawing a little smiley face in it with his finger, and scanning it. Condescending Mac elitism, as you'd expect. By the way, that's in the middle of an entire arc that involves Steve getting his yuks at the imagined expense of other video game comics. Tragically, this is nothing new, as we already know that he is a goddamn expert when it comes to plagiarizing writing homages to his gaming comic icons. Also, is he seriously trying to say that Mike Krahulik is a crappy artist? And defending Tim Buckley? While writing Dueling Analogs?!

Yes. Well.

The Outer Circle is basically Dueling Analogs with fewer video game references and everything decompressed. What Dueling Analogs told in a day, The Outer Circle tells in two months. The throwaway characters Dueling Analogs introduces to provide commentary on just how sexy Guilty Gear is turns into an entire cast of misogynistic quasi-rapists. The occasional and obnoxious copy-pasting of a severely limited set of rather awkward poses turns into an unholy nightmare of a shitty template and obnoxious character designs. Bleargh.

Girly revisited

Ahaha, as if it wasn't bad enough the first time, now Josh is charging $100 per strip in donations. He's already received four hundred dollars, though, so I guess his plan is working. Fuck. I can't wait until the inevitable disappointment when he cops out and produces half as much as he ought to, only no one cares because the fans are SO GRATEFUL for any content at all. There will be tits!

March 21, 2008

Bwahahaha

My plan worked! I will commandeer this blog! Actually, no, probably not.

March 15, 2008

Girly

I should preface this blog entry by stating that I haven't read Girly since after the end of Chapter 11: The Big Mix-Up because it was so boring that I didn't want to risk getting into it. I wouldn't be writing about this if not for the fact that apparently there are quite a few people who actually like this comic, most notably in the comments section of one esteemed John Solomon.

In a way, it's understandable. Josh Lesnick, author of Girly and a multitude of other comics that are more-or-less pornography (as far as I know, Girly is the only one that's less), is another person who is vocally opposed to bad webcomics. In such a small world of webcomic-hating, it's no surprise that the followers of Solomon have gravitated to Lesnick, and possibly vice versa. There are only really two great blogs that even address webcomics: Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad and These Webcomics Are So Bad, by Sonty Mick. The rest are crap like Eric Burns or Robert Tangents or Malethoth Kazyanenko. Self-effacing humor: a way of nullifying the fact that I suck? Not likely.

The thing is, while Josh Lesnick may be an admirable man for daring to take on the Culture of Nice, he's not exactly the bee's knees when it comes to making webcomics. You see, as I subtly stated in the opening paragraph, Girly is boring. What is Girly, you might ask? It is the tale of two wacky lesbians, who are also superheroes! That's all there is. From that description, you can easily extrapolate all the stupid drama and plot points: Are they really going to fall in love? What about the other superheroes? What if they break up? Oh it's just so fascinating and also arousing.

Okay, I lied, there's also an entire chapter dedicated to gender-swapping. Even hotter!

There's a cast of supporting characters, such as the Stupid Asshole Guy who gets yelled at in a way eerily reminiscent of early (and middle and later) Dominic Deegan, and Stupid Ditzy Girl who is basically Kyle Mistry's creation transposed into a lesbian drama. There's Super Hot Guy, the Mexican who is irresistable to the ladies, but must learn to curb his raw sexual prowess. Also, he has two brothers or something who dick around trying to rescue him. There's the Super Hot Policewoman and the Shy Nerdy Will-He-Or-Won't-He Policeman who finally plucks up the courage to ask her on a date and ends up having super hot sex you guys. There's the Super Hero Who Is Really Not That Super who nevertheless gets in the way of our wacky superhero lesbian pals. It turns out, by the way, that these obnoxious labels are the sum totality of their characters. If you're thinking to yourself "well but they're just supporting characters" I remind you that the two principle characters are defined entirely by the traits Wacky Lesbian and Depressed Lesbian.

There's no easy way for me to transition into the discussion of the art at this point, so I'll just do it with arbitration. The art is stupid and terrible. It just... it just is. It starts off as animu shit with giant eyes and no noses and ends up as animu shit, only with completely incomprehensibly dense panels that are so goddamn action-packed that nobody can say what's going on. The whole time, the characters' tits are getting bigger and they're making out with more people so the intended audience (people who won't shell out ten bucks for his fully pornographic comics) can jerk off more-or-less continuously. It's basically if all the creepy softcore teeny animu boppers of Chugworth were combined with the creepy softcore levitationtits of Lowroad, although Lesnick's characters are even more "stylised." (read: hideous abominations of flesh and ink.) The art revels in mawkish facial expressions, distended bodies, and poorly-drawn fanservice. Based on what I've read of Doctor Voluptua, it's not just limited to Girly.

Beyond the fact that the comic is constructed entirely of shitty characters and shitty animu, it's really, really, really boring and long-winded. You have weeks where all you hear is Depressed Lesbian whining about how depressed she is and wondering what her true feelings are for Wacky Lesbian. Multiple times, even after it's clearly established that they're an Item (wink wink). That gender-swapping arc, in addition to the sort of lame fanservice you'd expect from a TG comic includes Mookie-esque exposition, which is to say redundant, impossibly long-winded, and ultimately more obscuring than illuminating. From what I hear, it's even worse with more recent comics. I don't even dare look.

This post doesn't have any links in it, because I'm terrified of providing links. If you just sort of skim through the first comic of each chapter, which are actually fairly difficult to find (try the bottom of the page), you'll get what I'm saying. It's a fast-forward of Lesnick's development from shoddy animu wank provider to professional shoddy animu wank provider, with a heaping dose of terrible writing to accompany it. I don't think I can brave the archives long enough to actually provide more specific examples. This is the reason why I probably will not write about Questionable Content, although the fact that it has some 1100 comics in its archives might have something to do with it.

Girly is shit.