Webcomic Pet Peeve: Get a proper host!

I currently have another webcomic recommendation planned really soon, but I have a bit of a writer’s block at the moment, so it’ll have to wait (sorry). After missing out on so long, in place of a review, I feel like I have to vent on a trend among webcomic authors who are likely uploading their work for the first time.

Get a host, dammit!

If you’re not sure what I mean, allow me to demonstrate. As far as I’m concerned, every webcomic should have a single important element in its webpage design.

The four magic buttons that make browsing simple. If you’re a new reader, rewind to the beginning. Missed a few days? Just move backward a page or two and get caught up. And of course, you can just zoom to the most recent update. Other added buttons are optional, although they can be extremely helpful–Archive can take you to any individual page or chapter, and some other comics (usually gag-a-day) have a Random button, although I’m not sure why anyone would use that. The point is, they’re the greatest tool for any webcomic reader.

And this is why it bothers me when some comics are hosted on deviantArt, of all places.


(Click image for full size.)

Well, isn’t this convenient! I have to go all the way to the final page and open up every single strip in a separate tab just to read it! Or if I don’t open a tab (either by accident or because I’m not tech-savvy enough to know how to do that), I’ll have to click my browser’s Back arrow and read every page individually, one at a time. Navigating this would be a pain, and it puts extra stress on the author, because they’ll have to manually place links in the comments to save us the extra trouble.

This doesn’t look so fun, does it? I can understand why dA is an important site on the Internet–there’s some truly amazing art on there and it can give people a place to upload their portfolio and build a sizable fanbase–but please, don’t upload your comic there! Just don’t.

There are plenty of hosts that can give your webcomic a professional look. It can save readers the stress of having to click everywhere and scavenge for every page in sequential order, and it can save authors the tedious task of linking each page in the archive (the hosting sites can do that automatically).

Keenspot/Comic Genesis

These two webcomic hosts have the same parent company. Comic Genesis is an “open gate” for anyone who’s new to the scene and wants to get their foot in the door, while KeenSpot is more of an elite club for more seasoned/experienced authors. (You don’t necessarily have to be previously hosted by CG in order to be invited into KS.)

The Duck/Smack Jeeves

Two webcomic hosts with no approval process! Just sign up and you’re ready to go! (Note: Smack Jeeves, while free, has limitations unless you upgrade to premium.)

Tumblr (with conditions)

I was originally going to discourage use of this site since it’s so popular for uploading blogs and art (and yes, a few webcomics are hosted here, too), but then I learned of the Simple Webcomic Theme, which gives any Tumblr blog the look and functionality of a proper webcomic site. Alice Grove is a fine example that utilizes this theme well. If you’re just going to showcase random art… Eh, whatever. If you’re going to post a webcomic here, though, please use that theme! You’ll do yourself and your readers a huge favor.

This felt good to get off my chest. See you next time with a proper review!

Gunnerkrigg Court

Augh! It’s been half a year?! My apologies.

I’ve been dealing with a super-busy schedule these past several months. I’ve had a massive checklist to get out of the way (which I can’t go into specifics), but I thankfully have most of it done. I’m feeling a lot better now and I feel I’m ready for another review, and this webcomic is a big one.

Title: Gunnerkrigg Court
Author: Tom Siddell
Start Date: 2005
Genre: Dark fantasy, sci-fi
Update Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Website: http://www.gunnerkrigg.com

Synopsis:

Antimony Carver is a student at the titular boarding school, Gunnerkrigg Court. The place is…unique, to say the least. The Court is located at the edge of Gillitie Wood, a forest where mystical creatures reside and are segregated from (although they can often bleed into and influence) the technological, man-made forces of the Court. Gunnerkrigg is also more than just a school–it’s also a massive industrial complex that functions as a world all its own. Essentially, the Court is the exact opposite of Hogwarts, where it places an emphasis on science and rejects magic (which they refer to as yet another branch of science), even though many of the Court’s students have magical abilities, Antimony included.

Shortly after her mother passed away, Antimony was transferred to the boarding school where she has to train to be the Medium, a negotiator between the residents of the Court and Gillitie–the title previously held by her mother. She also narrates the bizarre experiences that she and her friends and classmates experience during their tenure at the Court.

Recommended Age Group: All ages.

Strengths:

The art is absolutely breathtaking. Even during the early chapters where Siddell’s art starts off as rough and a bit awkward, it still maintains a very Expressionistic look to its aesthetics that fits the tone and story of the comic beautifully. Another strength is how Siddell utilizes his knowledge of mythology and symbolism for the characters, setting, and world building. The character designs are highly imaginative and characters are well developed.

Weaknesses:

The plot appears to be notably absent. The way Siddell frames his story seems to hint at a giant goal–like there’s a main villain to defeat, a conflict to resolve, a giant conspiracy to uncover–and the comic never actually goes in that direction. Every chapter is treated as a standalone story arc rather than a piece of a significant, overarching plot. Massive hints and character revelations are dropped like bombshells (or sometimes even explored, yet still kept ambiguous), then the big reveal is never brought up again. Then the next chapter will focus on something else. It feels like there’s no payoff after so much buildup, and that’s the most frustrating feature of reading the comic.

Verdict:

I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. Gunnerkrigg Court is one of my personal favorite webcomics, and I think children would love it as well. The comic’s sophisticated storytelling, lovely art, imaginative world, and likable characters would keep anyone hooked and hard to let go.

Trying Human

Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. Cash 4 Hallmark Fund) is a week away, and to celebrate the holiday of love, let’s talk about a romantic comedy…with aliens!

Title: Trying Human
Author: Emy Bitner
Start Date: 2008
Genre: Romantic comedy, sci-fi
Update Schedule: Whenever
Website: http://www.tryinghuman.com

Synopsis:

Trying Human involves the exploits of Area 51 over two generations which run parallel with each other. Starting in the 1940s, an alien spacecraft lands in Nevada, prompting an investigation and discovery of alien life and technology. One of the employees at the base, a military translator named Phillis, develops a relationship with EBE1–the surviving alien from the crash–much to the ire of her coworkers, who harbor a crush on her. Tensions heat up and Phillis winds up fatally shot, but she is kept alive using alien technology.

Fast-forward to the present day. A young receptionist named Rose sees a psychiatrist after suffering blackouts and nosebleeds. The psychiatrist uses hypnosis to recover one of her lost memories and she discovers that she is abducted by aliens on a regular basis. One of the aliens named Hue–a clone of EBE1 who is declared “defective” because he, unlike the others, can feel emotions–falls in love with Rose and tries to get her back following a failed abduction.

The relationships between all of these characters intertwine with an underground government conspiracy surrounding a group called the Majestic 12, whose job it is to monitor and cover-up alien activity on Earth which Rose’s boyfriend Roger has recently joined.

Recommended Age Group: 16 and up. It gets NSFW in some parts and there is occasional language and gore.

Strengths:

The writing is this comic’s greatest strength. The comic actually spans multiple subplots and characters (even more than my synopsis provides) and balances them all in a timely manner.

The artwork is also very strong. The flashbacks to the 1940s are deliberately sepia tone with occasional color motifs of red, while the present contains lots of shades of blue while also symbolically linking to the past with red.

The artist is also going back to the earliest chapters of her comic and redrawing them, making them more consistent with the current style that her art has evolved toward. Looking at both styles (you can compare them starting at Chapter 5 at the moment), even her older, rougher artwork looks very good.

Weaknesses:

The biggest problem with this comic is the pacing. Due to the comic’s sluggish update schedule and constant switching between the timelines, it becomes easy to forget what happened. Fun fact: When I was writing up this review, I had to reread the entire strip’s run over the span of a few hours and I saw some important details that I’d either missed or completely forgotten about since I first started reading the strip a couple of years ago. This strip is the easiest to follow when you’re marathoning it, but the slow updates may hinder your memory once you’ve caught up.

Verdict:

I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. It’s one of the most fascinating stories about aliens I’ve read in a long time. I’d recommend just reading through the whole archive once, then rewind to the beginning and read each storyline in chronological order. I personally found it easier to follow after I tried it that way, but results may vary.

Crunchy Bunches

Title: Crunchy Bunches
Author: W. Scott Warren
Start Date: 2011
Genre: Parody
Update Schedule: Saturdays
Website: http://www.crunchybunches.com

Synopsis:

Have you ever wondered what life would be like in a cereal commercial? You would meet with hyperactive animated mascots who would build treehouses, thwart incompetent villains, and encourage you to become a sports champ by eating their sugary cereal, all part of a balanced breakfast.

Crunchy Bunches takes place in this world, and Munchy is the mascot of the world-beloved cereal which shares the title’s namesake. He’s been in the business for 60 years, and he interacts with other mascots and gets involved in storylines which promote the latest flavors of his cereal.

Recommended Age Group: All ages.

Strengths:

This is one of the most clever concepts for a webcomic I’ve seen in years. The author understands his material well. This comic pays homage to, parodies, and deconstructs cereal advertising all at the same time. The references are numerous and cleverly integrated into the content, providing the look and feel of actual commercials.

I also give props to the art. The expressions are wonderfully cartoony and exaggerated, and the designs properly match what I would expect of cereal mascots as I was growing up in the 90s.

Weaknesses:

As I stated in the synopsis, cereal commercials have weak antagonists by nature, and this comic is no different, so there’s practically no sense of threat in the storylines. I understand why the author did this to play up that particular trope to mimic the style of the commercials, but if you prefer to have grand epics in your storylines, you may feel a bit underwhelmed in this department.

Verdict:

I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. This comic makes me feel like a kid again and I find the experience thoroughly enjoyable. If you’ve watched cereal commercials as a kid or tried to follow along the silly storylines that General Mills or Post attached to their boxes in order to trick the kids into buying more of their products, then I feel you would appreciate this comic as much as I am now.

Axe Cop Season 1, Part 2 (Also, a few updates.)

Before I begin my next review (which is in the next post), I realize I’ve been gone for way too long without an update, and I feel I should apologize and explain my long absence. I was dealing with a few things in my life:

1) Computer upgrades. I’ve been using an ancient Dell machine with Windows XP for 10 years, and Microsoft announced that they’re dropping support for XP in April, so we finally had to say goodbye to the old girl. I spent $500 on a new HP case and an extra $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro. It’s a beauty and I love it!

2) Work. I had to find myself a job and I’ve also been working around the house. I’ve had to deal with travel and setting up food and decorations for holidays and family events. So yeah, I’ve been a busy bee.

3) Indecision. I wasn’t sure what to do for my next update. Should I cover one of the many webcomics from my growing list or review the second half of the Axe Cop season, which recently wrapped on Fox? I figured it would be best to settle on the former option while I just briefly summarize my thoughts on the next batch of Axe Cop episodes.

The series continues to be awesome as always, but it’s increasingly starting to diverge from the webcomic. While the first half of the season mostly consisted of adaptations of chapters from the comic, the second half mostly came up with original material, so it now has its own identity. The only exceptions would be episode 7, which adapted chapter 1 and FINALLY brought Dinosaur Soldier into the cast (although it seemed to be a single episode deal; he hasn’t shown up again since then) and episode 11, which explained the origins of Axe Cop and Flute Cop in a more epic fashion than the comic did. Other than that, everything else was original and fresh, so there isn’t much to compare for reference this time around, and that’s why I chose to review a webcomic instead for my next update.

This update post seems to have gone on long enough. I didn’t want to pollute a review with several extra paragraphs of other off-topic material, so I kept them separate this time. See you in the next post with my next review!

Axe Cop: The Animated Series

It’s my 20th review! And it only took me two years to get this far! (Yay! I’m lazy! :))

To celebrate this milestone, I thought I’d try something a bit different. The Axe Cop animated series premiered on Fox last month, and now that the show is on a mid-season break, I thought I’d discuss the six episodes that have aired so far. If you wish to see them yourself, all six episodes are available on FoxADHD.com and Hulu, or you can watch the reruns on Fox every Saturday at 11PM. If you need a refresher on the comic itself, here’s my original review.

For starters, I’d like to congratulate Fox for getting out of their comfort zone and escaping their same-y animated sitcoms. Frankly, their formula was growing stale and Fox needed some fresh blood and new ideas (god knows we need another MacFarlane rehash). Axe Cop was a brilliant pickup for them to kick off their new ADHD block, and they couldn’t have picked a better series to show that they were willing to go against the grain. The animation is great, the voice acting is top-notch, and the humor matches that of the comic. The humor was my biggest concern on the new series, like it would be watered down for Fox’s LCD typical animated fare standards. Thankfully, Fox managed to adapt it faithfully and kept the surrealism intact, so this series succeeds on all possible levels. Now, let’s talk about the episodes…

Episode 1 – Night Mission: Stealing Friends Back

This episode is a direct adaptation of Chapter 4. Axe Cop helps Bat Warthog Man to find his friends, who have all been kidnapped by the King of All Bad Guys. Due to each episode being 11 minutes long rather than the standard 22, they had to cut out some material from the chapter (which is why I’d recommend clicking that link and reading the chapter for the sake of comparison). Strangely, they also added a subplot featuring Flute Cop which wasn’t in the original, so it makes you wonder why they bothered adding things in when they could have used that time for whatever was removed. Thankfully, it doesn’t detract from the quality and it’s a good start for the series.

P.S. As a side note, unlike the comic, Dinosaur Soldier doesn’t appear in this series at all (or at least so far). I wonder why they would leave him out…?

Episode 2 – Zombie Island… In Space

This episode is an indirect, abridged, veeeeeeeeery loose adaptation of Chapter 3. Chemist M is captured by Adolf Hitler to create a zombie army on Zombie Island… In Space! When Axe Cop heads to the island, he discovers that the zombies have built a giant robot under the command of Dr. Doo Doo.

This episode is easily the weakest so far due to its lack of focus. We never find out what happens to Adolf Hitler after his initial introduction; he is neither seen nor mentioned again (he’s also not in the comic, so putting him in the pre-intro sequence seems pointless) and the sudden switch of antagonists is utterly jarring. What I find interesting, though, is that they actually gave Dr. Doo Doo a plan–and even an origin, albeit vaguely explained–rather than just some random villain who shows up and is quickly killed off in the comic (he only lasted 7 pages). His death is also different. I’d recommend giving this episode a skip.

Episode 3 – An American Story

This episode is a direct adaptation of Ask Axe Cop #39 and #40. Axe Cop tells a story about his ancestor Book Cop and his participation in the American War for Independence. He single handedly destroyed the entire British Army and killed the King of England. This episode expands on the original story by justifying the antagonism between Book Cop and the King–they’re both fighting for the Secret Attack Almanac, a book which would turn the tide of the war. They also changed Book Cop’s parents’ death and showed more of the war and the epic battle with the King. This episode is my favorite in the series so far. If you thought Axe Cop was hilarious, Book Cop is even funnier. This one is definitely worth seeing.

Episode 4 – Babysitting Uni-Baby

This episode is a direct adaptation of Chapter 5. Axe Cop is hired by Flute Cop (although in the comic it’s Uni-Man) to babysit Uni-Baby while Flute Cop and his fiancĂ© (or Uni-Man’s family) are on vacation. Axe Cop can’t stand babysitting her because she poops too much, so he invites his friend Sockarang (Dinosaur Soldier in the comic [seriously, what’s up with the show purposefully avoiding using him?]) to have fun in Magic World while cyborg versions of themselves babysit in their place. Unfortunately, the cyborgs have turned evil and they must be stopped.

Not much to say on this one. Save for the minor changes and the shortened ending, this episode remained mostly intact from the comic version. Still, though, why are they keeping Dinosaur Soldier out of the show?

Episode 5 – Birthday Month

This episode is surprisingly not an adaptation of the comic, although it does combine minor elements from Episode 0, Chapter 6, Ask Axe Cop #50, and the 2010 Christmas special The Power of Christmas. It also features a one-off character from Episode 5 as the antagonist. On his birthday, Axe Cop learns that his parents were killed by Santa Claus (or rather, an evil version of him). Axe Cop travels to South Pole World to exact his revenge before Bad Santa enacts his plan to kill God and become Jesus (yes, seriously).

This episode is tons of fun. Bad Santa is way cooler in this version, both in terms of character design and character development (in the comic, he’s overweight and devoid of personality). In fact, I’d say he’s the best antagonist so far in this series. Out of all the changes that were made in the adaptation, this was certainly a good one. It’s certainly one of the most awesome Christmas specials you’ll ever see and I hope it becomes a staple for years to come.

Episode 6 – The Rabbit Who Broke All the Rules

This episode is an expanded adaptation of Ask Axe Cop #43 as well as Ask Axe Cop #18 and #46. It also contains minor elements from Chapter 7. Axe Cop’s first kill as a young child was a rabbit that didn’t eat carrots and walked on two legs rather than all fours. That’s where the original comic ends. This episode continues decades later, where the rabbit’s ghost returns and possesses a young boy, ready to take revenge on Axe Cop. Another fun episode, although I wouldn’t say this one is for the faint of heart. The ending is heart wrenching.

In summation, WATCH THIS SHOW! This is the best animated series–no, make that BEST SERIES–to air on Fox in years. This show has definitely gone on my list of personal favorites and I can’t wait for the second half.

Two Guys and Guy

Title: Two Guys and Guy
Author: Rickard Jonasson
Start Date: 2011
Genre: Science fiction, comedy
Update Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Website: http://www.twogag.com

Synopsis:

Wayne, Frank, and Guy are a comedy trio who live under the same roof and go on adventures. Wayne is a jerkish hippie slacker who lives off other people’s misery (and he’s the most developed character). Frank is a mad scientist with no regards for morality or consequences. Guy is the chick…who is a bully and a sociopath. They each hate the world and each other, but they’re roommates, so they have to tolerate each other, anyway.

Recommended Age Group: 17 and up. NOT FOR KIDS!

Strengths:

Jonasson’s writing style is a riot. The main trio bounce off each other really well, and a unique trait of the comic is that each strip takes place in In Medias Res. For a three-panel, gag-a-day strip format, that’s an impressive feat to pull off.

Weaknesses:

The comic suffers from copy-paste syndrome, and its usage is obvious and rather distracting. The artwork for the comic doesn’t look bad at all, and the author clearly has a good grasp of drawing, so the quality of the product does feel rather cheapened. Also, Wayne and Guy feel like they’re the same character sometimes. Frank stands out from the trio due to his interests and traits (physical and personality-wise), but Wayne and Guy seem to just meld together; they’re both equally snarky to other people and each other. You can swap out Guy for Wayne and vice-versa and still feel like the strip hasn’t changed.

Verdict:

I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. This comic is among my favorite comedy webcomics (I’d probably even place it in my top 5). If you’re in the mood for some good laughs–I honestly can’t think of a single strip in the archive that was a dud or left me confused like I’d missed the joke–then I give this my seal of approval.

Everblue

Well, guys, I’m finally done with my internship! (Well, actually, I completed it a few weeks ago, and I just needed some rest.) After a bit of relaxation afterward, I feel like it’s finally time to start updating this blog again.

Title: Everblue
Author: Michael Sexton
Start Date: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Update Schedule: Biweekly
Website: http://www.everblue-comic.com

Synopsis:

Everblue takes place in a world that consists of an endless ocean sparsely populated by a few cities. One of the citizens of Rose City, Luna, is an adventurous (yet timid) shipwright who dreams to see the world and find her place in life. Unfortunately, Rose City is a military-run state, so they don’t allow contact with the outside world. When an energetic drifter named Ten crashes onto the city’s docks, Luna seizes the opportunity to escape with him by placing a powerful wind turbine on his ship. They’re now both wanted and on the run while exploring the world ahead of them. However, before they both left, it turns out that Luna carries a secret with her that she’s unaware of, and now her own adopted brother and uncle are after her.

Recommended Age Group: 13 and up (according to the website).

Strengths:

This is one of the most beautiful webcomics I’ve ever seen. The artist has a good grasp of coloring and shading motifs, especially according to the timing of each chapter. For example, the beginning of the chapters are typically warm and vibrant, but as the chapters approach their end, they become darker and more shadowy, perfectly fitting the tone of each portion of the story.

Weaknesses:

The characters, while well-developed, do feel like a rather cliched dynamic. You have your adventurous main character who aspires to grander opportunities beyond their dull life. You have the spunky, energetic sidekick who’s a bit on the ditzy side. Finally, you have your family members who antagonize the heroes (usually the elderly figures want to kill them while the son is trapped in a morally grey area between both sides). Finally, there’s the “greater evil” who is worse than the main villain and has a tendency to throw a wrench into the plot. We’ve seen it before. However, this is only a minor complaint; even though it’s already been done, the characters are entertaining enough on their own merits, so they don’t ruin the comic at all.

Verdict:

I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. Despite the “13+” rating the website suggests, I think this is actually a fairly suitable read for kids. The only objectionable material I could find was minimal blood. It’s a fun adventure story with great characters and stunningly gorgeous artwork that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

Erstwhile

Before I begin, I owe you all an apology. Yes, I know I’ve been gone since November, and I have a perfectly good reason for that.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of real-life problems over the past few months. I’ve been under a lot of stress. I’ve been working on an internship (and I still am). My sister got engaged and has moved out, so we have to save money over the next year while we make wedding preparations. My family has also had to deal with health problems that I’d rather not get into. It’s been a stressful few months, and thankfully, the worst of it is out of our way, and I feel confident enough to be updating this blog again.

Anyway, there has been a recent trend in Hollywood movies to adapt popular fairy tales for the big screen. So why not review a webcomic that does that as well?

Title: Erstwhile
Author: Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy, Elle Skinner (artists), Brothers Grimm (writers)
Start Date: 2011
Genre: Fantasy
Update Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Website: http://www.erstwhiletales.com

Synopsis:

Erstwhile isn’t bound to just one story, but several. This webcomic adapts the lesser-known tales from the classic German folk lore writers, the Brothers Grimm. Each of the three artists takes their turn adapting and interpreting one story at a time. (Note: Although Gina Biggs is credited with “adapting the story” on nearly all of them, the illustrators are left to their own devices.)

Recommended Age Group: All ages.

Strengths:

Each comic is stunningly gorgeous to look at. Even though this comic is drawn and colored by three different people, their art styles complement each other nicely. It’s also fun to watch how each interpretation plays out, depending on their ranges of narration and visual flair. It also helps that they’re specifically adapting the more obscure titles from the Grimms and none of the popular ones. You won’t see anything that was already covered by Disney in this series.

Weaknesses:

Unlike adaptations which like to modernize a classic fairy tale or play it for parody, the artists adapt the Grimms’ tales completely straight, as they were originally written. If you’ve read these stories before, you will be spoiled on how the tales end.

Verdict:

I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. Children and adults alike would love this. They would be great in school courses for exposure and critique. This comic is a fantastic gateway to explore the often overlooked tales by these classic authors.

Ctrl+Alt+Del

I’ve really been terrified to do this particular comic for the longest time due to its reputation, but now that it’s over, I feel I should give it a eulogy.

Title: Ctrl+Alt+Del
Author: Tim Buckley
Start Date: 2002
Genre: Gaming
Update Schedule: Complete (a reboot is underway)
Website: http://www.cad-comic.com

Synopsis:

Ctrl+Alt+Del can be defined as two different types of comic. The first is a standard gag-a-day strip where a bunch of roommates play video games. The other involves these same characters–best friends Ethan and Lucas, Ethan’s girlfriend Lilah, and their robot Zeke–who deal with everyday situations in their lives, including relationships, jobs, and the occasional adventure.

Recommended Age Group: 15 and up, due to cursing and violence.

Strengths:

What makes CAD stand out among most gaming webcomics is that it has one characteristic that others lack: a story. Gaming webcomics are generally not designed to have storylines due to their overly comical nature; they usually make referential humor and little else. As much as the comic has been overly divisive (see the Weaknesses, because we’ve got a LOT to cover!), I can at least give Buckley credit for adding variety to a rather stale genre.

Unfortunately, just having one unique trait doesn’t make up for its many, MANY shortcomings…

Weaknesses:

Tim Buckley loves to copy and paste.

Every single character has the same face. He uses Google Images for backgrounds and adds a Gaussian blur. Lighting and shading are inconsistent. Simply put, Buckley’s talents as an artist are notably limited.

The characters aren’t well-defined, either. Ethan has been criticized for being a Mary Sue. He’s a constant jerk and he gets away with every stupid thing he does. Even worse, he winds up with all the rewards in the comic. He becomes married to the girl of his dreams, despite not showing his affections for her. He manages to construct two sentient robots that perfectly mimic life. He creates his own holiday and a church for it. He easily outwits all his opponents and winds up owning a gaming shop despite having no business experience. Finally, the characters have to apologize to HIM for all the wrongdoing that HE caused.

Remember how I mentioned that CAD is divided into two comics in the synopsis? They tend to clash constantly, interrupting the storylines with abrupt comedy and killing the tension once the drama reaches its peak.

The humorous comics aren’t structured well, either. A common complaint of the comic is that the punchline is revealed too early, leaving the rest of the panels as meandering filler. This tongue-in-cheek parody of the comic exemplifies this particular issue with the strips.

The comic also breaks the show-don’t-tell rule constantly, relying on long dialogue balloons and walls of text to get the point across (comically or dramatically) rather than allowing the characters to express their emotions.

Verdict:

I give this comic a halfhearted recommendation, if only a rather faint one. Despite all my criticisms, I don’t think it’s as nail-bitingly awful as other webcomics on the Internet. The comic still has a large fanbase, and if you’ve never read it, you could probably give it a quick read and determine for yourself whether or not you would like it. It’s over, so it definitely wouldn’t hurt.

Personally, I used to read this comic many years ago when I was developing my reading habits for webcomics. I enjoyed it during its early days, but then I grew out of it when the flaws started to become more apparent. And they just continued to worsen. I stopped reading around the time the animated series came out (yes, there was an animated series, and it’s best left forgotten).

I wish Buckley best of luck on the reboot. I don’t think I’ll be tuning in, though.