|Original review author:||Phillip Chanter|
|Author:||Donald Wayne Lozen|
|Start Date:||February 25, 2002|
|End Date:||Dead. It went on hiatus on August 12, 2011 and never recovered.|
|Defining Flaw:||Blatant Penny-Arcade/Ctrl+Alt+Del rip-off that relies too heavily on violence and dialogue for jokes, copy-pasted art, unoriginal characters, and all around not funny!|
Copy-and-paste constructed art of B^Uckley proportions. The last couple of comics however had been hand-drawn, but in spite of that look even WORSE than the copy-pasted entries. The constant shift between copy-pasted and hand-drawn art, overall, makes the comic look inconsistent and lazy.
Typical "Gag a week" humor that focuses on violence, nudity, and general wackiness. Dialogue is dragged out into each panel to try to save unfunny jokes. Any story driven plot presented is largely unchanged in terms of the comic's original subject matter of blood and gore used for "comical effect".
Let's see... we've got the all around "Funny" guy, the "Straight Man" who serves as the foil to funny guy's wackiness but occasionally brutally murders somebody he dislikes, and the 3rd guy who nobody likes. Doesn't that seem a bit familiar to you?
An amazingly lazy comic, and the lack of consistent updates throughout the years (even with copy-pasted characters) makes this hardly worth the read. It has a tendency to drag out the gags with loads of text, making the comic a chore to read through.
Every comic has potential, but it's hard to make something out of a comic that's already treading the grounds the likes of VG Cats, Ctrl+Alt+Del, and Dueling Analogs have already walked upon while salting the earth so that nothing new may grow from it. "Awful" takes the standard 2 guys talking routine and does almost nothing with it, aside from adding a few gallons of blood into the fray.
We've all heard of SNAFU DOT COM. It's where all the young kids online go for a good fix of art and entertainment, oh and let's not forget their unique and original hero Bleedman. SNAFU DOT COM is easily one of the most popular websites there is today due to the collection of top artists and... OK, THAT'S ENOUGH OF THAT! SNAFU DOT COM is the internet's version of Mos Eisley Spaceport, a retched hive of scum and villainy! It gains popularity by riding the coattails of things that were once original and good like Powerpuff Girls, King of Fighters, Invader Zim, and even Naruto (before it turned into DBZ). Oh, and let's not forget how ultimately lazy each and every artist is on Snafu! Its artists take whatever original thing there is out there and corrupts it to create something much much worse, like:
- making child pornography out of the Cartoon Network line-up,
- self-inserting into popular manga (that's quickly turning into crap anyway)
- an anime version of a cartoon show made by a gothic comic artist who's original work centered around a serial killer!
I was looking at the list of webcomics above at the top of that demonic page and noticed the first comic called "Awful", I said to myself, "That's gotta be a joke, maybe this is something good, an unpolished gem that's wasted on this website." It was then that I started reading the comic. I learned the title was very befitting. I was quickly introduced to SNAFU DOT COM's version of Penny Arcade, except it wasn't about games... actually come to think of it, I was introduced to a version of Ctrl+Alt+Del, with a few hand-drawn pages here and there.
I'll be unfair and say it started off pretty shitty, although I will admit that we all start off at a level that isn't our best. After the first couple of weeks with this comic I noticed the first signs of Wayne's bad habit of copy-and-pasting characters, backgrounds, and expressions. Eight months later into this comic there seemed to be a sign of hope that our friend Wayne is moving out of the C.A.D. school of making comics. However... it looked much worse than the first couple of comics - but again, we all start somewhere, right? As time moved on, his hand-drawn art showed little to no signs of improvement from the standard "Two guys, one couch" shtick, and quickly fell back into his original bad habits, while his updates fluctuated rapidly from two or three comics a week to one comic every month or so.
Story and Plot
While there's normally not much to a plot when you've got a standard "Gag-a-day" comic going on, I will give "Awful" some credit though: not once did I see a whole plot leave it's subject matter of being wacky in order to go down Miscarriage Alleyway. One wacky fun-filled plot involves Uriel trying to fit into a conversation between two African-Americans, only to comically get beaten to a pulp, cause that's what black people do, ya know? Wayne mocks Uriel's failure only to get stabbed in the back. After which, Jeff learns of this violent act and smacks Uriel with a folding chair W.W.E. style. To which he comically remarks, "Violence doesn't solve anything." Nothing says comedy like tasteless racial stereotyping, followed up with slapstick taken to the level of grind-house style violence, followed by even more deliciously unfunny dialogue!
After a few months of waiting we get into another comic involving a "Mysterious Portal" which doesn't continue until 117 days later ... OK, let's stop for a moment and let that sink in for you folks. Here's a quick summary of the plot: Portal appears through Wayne's ineptitude (thank you God that he didn't include a stupid Portal reference), Uriel falls in, the others go into the portal, they meet up with Velma and Scooby Doo, Wayne meets his "alternative" self who looks suspiciously like Bob Oblong (No limbs and all), robots are introduced and Uriel becomes buff to fight them off, Mr. "Violence Never Solves Anything" kills his alternative self along with Velma and some other people off screen, and everything returns to normal after 23 pages of blood, robots, violence, wackiness, unoriginal character cameos, and general mayhem!
Words fail me for describing this whole thing. Well, I can say that it was unnecessarily long and tedious! But why is it that people associate wacky comedy with unnecessary violence? The creators are just splashing blood around thinking that's what humor is, when they should know that not every joke involves somebody getting turned into a pile of twitching giblets on the new rug! Has anybody watched a single episode of Loony Tunes in their life? How many people has Bugs Bunny stabbed in the back or chainsawed? How many times has Yosemite Sam made a joke about being naked and stripped down to nothing while standing in a poorly lit room? THEY'VE NEVER DONE THAT! There's lots of pies and dynamite in those things, but they never went to THAT extreme. Comedies have some thought and effort put into them, and even when slapstick is put into the mix it doesn't get so out of control that burning bodies are being piled up in the corner, while "The Three Stooges" dance around it in the nude by the burning heap trying to slice each other open with rusty razor blades as they talk to each other nonstop!
"Penny-Arcade" greatly influenced earlier strips. Lozen even went as far as to copy and paste in an image of Gabe within the first few comic strips. An attempt at hand-drawing the comics came in a few months after the comic started, only to be taken over by bad habits for a few more years until it reverts back to being hand-drawn again! Only now the comic is being updated once every couple of months. That groan you just heard was me realizing what a waste of talent and time this whole thing is turning out to be. There's something in the art world called "Consistency". It basically means keeping something at the same level of quality or a level that gets better as time moves on. What we have with this comic is an obvious lack of consistency as it jumps from the B^Uckley-grade style to messily hand-drawn style, back to the copypasta, then back to hand-drawn with copypasta mixed in. I chalk this up to the laziness of the artist, as he tends to walk down the path of least resistance.
Aside from that issue, the art in general is simply waist up shots of each character talking to one another and a couch. Oh, and there's an occasional square drawn in here and there to represent windows, boxes, TV's, and so on and so on. Nobody who lives outside of a mental institution would attempt to argue that this is the work of an expert. With his lack of consistent updates, his art truly suffers, and he's never given a challenge of improving over time. It took the guy over a year to make one simple 23 page plot with his "Mysterious Portal" storyline, and this was during his copypasta period! Normally people become faster at putting out updates or better at drawing as time moves onward, but you have to be really dedicated to extreme laziness if it takes months to finish even the simplest wacky plot with shitty art!
Atrocious! How many times did I need to see the same joke about nudity in a dark room, or better yet... a full bare naked shot from a worms eye view leading to a joke about dropping the soap? Incidentally, the reason why he's in jail there is because he killed a mime... OH SO NOW MURDER IS A BAD THING! But don't worry folks, nobody liked him anyway. I've already ranted about the level of violence that's passed off as wacky humor, but do we really need a heavy abundance of dialogue in every panel?
No! A comic is considered a visual medium as well as a written one. Yet I found myself quickly skimming over every comic past the #125 mark because the art contributes almost NOTHING to what's being presented here. Instead the writer focuses all his efforts into writing down an overly long explanation as to why it's funny to compensate! It's the standard guy talking to another guy in every comic panel, and even that I was trying to skip over! There's nothing new after the halfway mark anyway! When you rely too heavily on text to tell a joke you lose the audience, and when you're just struggling on stage to convince people you're funny then you're clearly not. Art is what makes a comic a comic, and if you can make a joke without having to write about it, DO IT! Otherwise, you're just pouring in needless exposition.
The characters aren't that original or even clever to begin with. First you've got Wayne, the charismatic stallion who also happens to be a self-insert for one of the creators of this fine comic. Bet you didn't see that one coming, huh? Not only is Wayne the "Wacky" character, he is also the idiot who can do anything stupid, hang out with top dogs like George "Dubya" Bush, and never experience any immediate negative outcome for his otherwise childish behavior (aside from somebody stabbing him). Speaking of the potential stabber, there's Jeff, the "Straight Man"; he is the most intelligent of the trio and also a self-insertion character, and by intelligent I mean ANGRY!! Jeff is the character who never smiles and gets upset too easily whenever confronted with something he disapproves of, and... come to think of it he isn't very smart at all. The only solution to his problems is bludgeoning somebody to death with a frozen corpse or just bitching about how stupid everybody else is. Finally there's Uriel; again he's the guy nobody likes. So we've got the wacky guy, the "smart" guy, and the guy the other two guys don't like that much.
That's all I can really say about these characters as they're about as deep as a puddle! Personality and character development were sacrificed long ago to the gods of wackiness and death, leaving nothing but twisted shells of what could of been great characters.
He is lazy beyond his years. SNAFU DOT COM also has a really bad habit of banning people who have the audacity to even ask a certain artist they like if something is going to be updated, meaning Wayne doesn't even have to abuse fans himself. (And would you believe that 3/4th of the comics on SNAFU DOT COM aren't updated regularly?) Banning the fans who get upset when your comic isn't updated because they actually like it is a real dick move. They're not acting like retards. They're not being ungrateful. They are your fans and you're depriving them of the one reason why they became fans in the first place! If somebody gets pissed off and calls you out on your lazy qualities, you either work to satisfy them or you quit and get the fuck out!
Our friend Wayne doesn't seem to give a damn about his fanbase; if he did, he'd answer his fans personally instead of letting his hosting service ban them on his behalf. SNAFU DOT COM seems to coddle their artists and treat them like gods amongst men. Pray you don't get struck down by the gods when you, a mere mortal, dare to ask, "Are you guys going to update your comic soon? It's been a few months already..." FOOLISH HUMAN!! You do not question the motives of the gods of laziness!! But seriously, if Wayne here cared enough about his craft or his fans, he wouldn't allow the top dogs to take out their wrath upon them for small stuff like that! Instead he allows his fans to be banned out of laziness in order to continue being lazy. The mods handle the smallest threat to his ego with extremely hostility.
Your fans are the most important people you can ever know in the world of webcomics, so don't screw them over the way SNAFU DOT COM does!
"Awful" is very fitting title, but it proves to the world that you can be popular with little-to-no-effort whatsoever! If you want to read a comic about two-guys-onna-couch, read "Penny-Arcade" instead, It's the only comic that did it right the first time or at all!
Awful is part of a series about SNAFU