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.

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