Bittersweet Candy Bowl
|here and here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author:||oddguy|
|Webcomic name:||Bittersweet Candy Bowl|
|Author:||Veronica "Taeshi" Vera|
|Start Date:||May 3, 2006|
|Genre:||Furry teen soap opera.|
|Defining Flaw:||Sickening angsty drama.|
Blobby cartoon cats in Technicolor.
Take a love triangle, multiply ad infinitum.
Angsty Mary-Sue couple and a supporting cast of one-dimensional characters.
Before I start, I think a little reveal is in order: the truth is that I used to be (or maybe still am) one of this comic's biggest fans. I was a regular on the forum, talked to its creator on a regular basis, drew a fancomic, wrote a fanfic, and voted for it on TWC daily. Hell, I even wrote the dialog for one of the pages. If you look around the artist's Deviantart account you will find a reply by me on every single page of the comic and my name in more than one of the sketches. And I won't lie, even after writing this review I will still probably buy the fucking book.
I would just like to say that I'm not writing this review out of anger, but out of disappointment. Disappointment for something I had high hopes for, but ended up being just another piece of mediocre trash.
It's hard to pinpoint the downfall of this comic. I think it's different for everyone. It happens when, after reading several hundred pages of whiny cats, you realize you are just bored with it - that the story is going nowhere and the plot-lines will never ever get resolved. It will just go on and on and on and you just won't care anymore.
At this point a lot of the comic's fans jump to the conclusion that the comic has lost its edge, but the truth is that it has always been boring. But just like watching a clown getting hit with a pie in the face, it's funny the first few times, then it starts getting dull, but only after having to watch it for hours does it become torture.
This part was supposed to be the plot summary, but there honestly is no plot. It's just back and forth romantic entanglements. Characters falling in and out of love with each other over and over and over. There is no need for going into details about it; you'll get all the information you need from a rundown of the characters and drawing your own conclusions.
- Lucy: The female protagonist Mary-sue. She is a white cat who is soooo beautiful that all the boys fall in love with her (literally, everyone!) but she is a tsundere who secretly has a heart of gold. Also, a beautiful singing voice that makes everyone cry, a classic Mary-Sue trait. Basically, she is the author's fantasy fulfillment self insert. She has the personality and beauty that Veronica wishes she had, her multiple suitors and drama is the kind of thing she wishes would happen in her own life. . . all in all it's a classic girl fantasy, the same kind of self-indulgent trash that was the inspiration for Twilight.
- Mike: The oh-so-dreamy boy. All the girls want him, but he only loves
VeronicaLucy! But wait - no he doesn't! He hates her now! Nope, false alarm, he loves her again... oops no, hates.
In the review of Latex BLUE it's mentioned that two characters who are in master/slave relationship both serve as surrogates for the comic's writer. This is kind of the same (save the creepy S&M, thank god.) Mike is both herself, her fantasy for a man, and her over-romanticized version of her husband in the fantasy she built up for herself in her head - he is everything in her sick little fantasies.
- Sandy: She is a female cat who is EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL then Lucy. This is again, a stand in for Veronica. You think I'm exaggerating? OK, consider this: Mike and Sandy are in a long distance relationship that mirrors the one that Veronica herself had with her current husband when the comic started. You might say she is writing from experiences she had in her own life, but the line between writing what you know and writing what wish you had is thin, and she has crossed it.
- Paulo: He is the cool but sensitive kid who is - you guessed it - in love with Lucy. It's hard to describe exactly what is wrong with this character. I'll just say this: in her "formspring" account, where she answers literally every question she is asked no matter how disgusting, Veronica replied to the question: "which one of your character would you sleep with ?" with "Paulo." (The correct answer would have been "no one, they are all cats and dogs".) And when asked which one of the characters had the biggest cock it was once again Paulo who had the biggest dick out of all the cats. (7 inches! Woohoo!)... Why just cats? Well, there is this theory that dogs are the black people of the BCB world, but let's not get into that. At the moment Paulo is already sleeping around and has romantic feelings for 6 different girls (that's TOTALLY not disturbing in the slightest).
Those are the main characters you should know about to get a general idea of what this comic is like. The rest are a bunch of paper thin stock characters, each having essentially one personality trait. There is the cute one, the nice one, the dumb one, the cool one... Veronica has taken on the age old practice of writing her characters like the line up of a 90's boy band. These uninteresting fucktards spend the next three years of story time (about five years in real world time) falling in and out of love with each other until an accurate relationship chart of the cast look roughly like a Star of David through a kaleidoscope.
The art is fucking atrocious. Like I mentioned earlier, I have been reading this comic from the day it started. When I did, I thought that this story had a lot of potential if only the artist could learn to draw better, or at all, and if some of the writing issues get resolved. I quit reading it when I realized none of these things will ever get fixed and Veronica doesn't even care enough to pretend otherwise anymore. I know not all comics start off at the top of their game, they improve over time, but Veronica's improvement follows it's own curve: she started off drawing strange blob people, but gradually got better until around the summer vacation arc. Her pencil skills were almost acceptable. Then the art ground to a screeching halt. Since then she had moved on to digital drawing and coloring (Why, Vera? Drawing pencil crap is how real artists do it.) and has been trying to cover up her hideous mistakes with bright colors and special effects, while stubbornly refusing to learn any of the basics.
Yes, after over five years of drawing cats she still manages to get the proportions wrong and draw some characters inconsistently. The anatomy is fucking terrible and so are the proportions. Characters still have squares for feet, no elbows or knees, no muscle structure or bones, so that their arms flail around like tube men. You might try the classic defense "it's her style!", but no. Surrealism is a style. Expressionism is a style. Lazy and ugly are no styles I've ever heard of.
_*MakarovJAC, as a student of Arts and practitioner of it for the last 7 years totally supports the statement above.*
You might say I'm being unfair, that I shouldn't judge her by her old works if she has improved. Then let's look at some of her recent works, shall we?
These are the kind of mistakes that would be unforgivable from a tenth grader, let alone someone who has been drawing the same shit for five years and expects people to pay actual money for her work.
There are only three explanations for these kinds of mistakes: 1. She doesn't see anything wrong with these. (So her work is actually not bad for a blind person). 2. She saw there is something wrong but didn't know how to fix it. (Inexcusable at this point.) 3. Or, most likely, she saw it and after a half-assed attempt at fixing it went, "Eh, fuck it...
Also, her recent transition to tablets and Photoshop did not treat her kindly. At least with the pencil she kind of got the hang of it by the end, but these new tools seem to be too much effort for her. Despite using Photoshop for some time she never seems to be getting any better. I know another webcomic artist with the same problem.
Finally, her coloring is horrendous. It's an eyesore. Everything is so bright it looks like the stuff of Tim Burton's nightmares. If you look at one of the pages and blink rapidly you get an epileptic fit.
Lately, Veronica has started going to art school (after failing out of teaching school if I'm not mistaken). Well, too little, too late. After five years of drawing comics and asking people for money, only then has she bothered to start learning how to draw correctly.
This is the only thing about this comic that makes it somewhat redeemable.
The plot moves in several interconnected storylines. It's pretty interesting if you can get emotionally involved with the characters (a task that does not get easier as the story progresses). I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty good. It's actually what kept me reading all this time. Despite being a Mary-Sue, there are actually consequences for Lucy's actions, and the characters act in a semi-realistic way. There's even some character development. Every turd has a silver lining... but unfortunately this turd's silver lining has another turd encrusted around it. The writing is definitely not perfect, despite being heaps better then what I have come to expect from your average webcomic (making this less of a compliment to the writing of BCB and more of a testimony to my own diminished standards). It still falls flat in two major points:
The dialog. Veronica has a real problem writing believable conversations that are supposed to be being held by teenagers. Here, check this out:
Not that bad, you say? That's until you find out that this scene is a flashback and both of them are twelve. If you tried to talk to me when I was twelve you would have gotten nothing but detailed information about Pokemon. She has addressed this issue in the past, but her response looks more like a childish excuse than an actual answer.
The second problem I have with the writing is the subject matter. In essence, it's just plain angsty tween drama shit. At some point in the plot Lucy considers whoring herself out to Paulo to make Mike jealous, then she developed a dependency complex, and is now borderline insane. Paulo broke off his relationship with one girl, slept with two others who only wanted him out of spite for his previous girlfriend, and now he's dating a new girl while still having feelings for Lucy, everyone else already mentioned, and another childhood friend who is already taken. The aforementioned childhood friend's boyfriend is in therapy due to severe anxiety attacks from watching his dad murder his mom in front of him and...
Are you still reading this? I hated this teen shit when I WAS a teen, let alone now, when I'm an adult.
The writing problem is compounded by the ridiculous art. I mean she thinks she can tell a deep, dramatic, violent, trauma-filled horror story with fucking cartoon animals. Look at their eyes! Look at their big, badly-drawn hands and their big squishy noses! They look like they should be swinging goddamn mallets at each other; not contemplating the meaning of life and death. Oops ! Sorry, that's not my review, I copied that directly off the review for Jack. Still, I think it accurately explains the problem here. For lighthearted comedy, the art could be acceptable, but if you're trying to tell a story like this with cutesy, glaringly bright art, it feels mismatched.
Let's just hope none of the characters has a rape backstory. . . Oh, wait.
Veronica "Taeshi" Vera: This is the comic's writer and illustrator. She isn't a bad person as far as I know. The main problem I have with her is that she is greedy for both love and money. I first began to have mixed feelings about the comic when I was randomly jumping from one webcomic to another and saw an ad for BCB on five consecutive websites. She has no shame about plugging herself on furry websites, webcomics she hates, and essentially anything that will get her more readers. And speaking of comics she hates, she also has no problem trading cameo art with a comic she in the past called "total shit" in a private conversation. All this despite the fact she in the past criticized another comic for attention whoring.
The merchandising in this comic has gotten out of hand, too. Every news update always has something to do with their online store. The site might not be shamelessly covered with Paypal "donate" buttons, but at the top there is a large banner advertising their goal to sell 600 books (at 49$ a pop no less!). But the true peak of shamelessness is the "BCB international club" (not even a hint of irony, mind you). Let me tell you, I didn't like it when "achwood" pulled that shit, and "achwood" was "achwood". BCB, on the other hand, is nowhere near that level of quality or popularity. So what do you get when you join the club? Nothing really, just some cheap merchandise, your nickname on the forum gets colored gold, and you get a crayon drawing sent to you... oh, wait, no you don't. That was just for the 50 first subscribers who were willing to pay an extra $10 . Also, you get exclusive excess to the dead "paid members only" forum and to the archive of her TWC vote initiative comics that she stopped updating as soon as she was done hustling her readers out of over $3000 .
Don't see what's wrong with this blatant extortion? How about selling a gold plated BCB necklace/key-chain..? Yes, GOLD PLATED. If you are reading this, Veronica, I have a question for you: is it a necklace or a key-chain? If it's a necklace, who would wear something so hideous around his/her neck? And if it's a key-chain, why the fuck is it gold plated?!
Still don't think it's that bad? OK, pop quiz. You are a failing webcomics artist who sells shitty candy on her online store. Suddenly some of it goes rotten and melts, do you:
- A. Throw it away.
- B. Eat it yourself.
- C. Cry.
- D. Lower the price and sell it anyway.
If your answer was D (and maybe a little of C as well) then, Veronica, please go and look in the mirror. Really look at yourself. How in the hell do you think that's okay in any way possible?
When she isn't whoring for money she is doing it for attention. At one point "Thunt" who writes "Goblins" showed up on her forum and declared her comic is his children's favorite comic. Seeing as how at the time his was the #1 on TWC (wow, real achievement) she immediately jumped on his and his kids' dicks like they were giving out free candy, spitting out such gems as "wow! you should be proud! your kids are so talented!" (they wrote some shitty fanfics for her) and "we can be the king and queen of webcomics!" (modesty, thy name is Veronica). But this relationship did not last long and was soon broken off after she started making immature passive aggressive jabs at him on her webcomic description.
Her other exploits include constantly shoveling memes into the comic to show that she is "aware of all internet traditions", and having a "guest webcomic week" that no one but her forum members singed up for because not a single respectable webcomic artist (note: oxymoron) will ever take her seriously.
She blocked DeviantArt user MikeCone69 for no reason, banned him from the stream for asking why he was banned, and ignored the Tumblr question as well. Veronica doesn't care about the fans at all, and all of the other cases point towards further evidence that Veronica doesn't care about her fans at all and is doing it for profit. Mike was a fan of the series who milked his deceased grandmother's money and his own into the books, yet Veronica still disrespected him like dirt. Mike made 2 comments on her profile, neither being offensive or annoying, yet he got treatment like a stalker just because he talked with her.
Oliver "SuitCase" Bareham: Her husband and site admin. He can be seen berating his wife's fanbase on the forum, begging readers for money, and having elongated arguments with anyone on his forum who holds a republican point of view... arguments he hilariously still manages to lose, despite going to law school. Yes, SuitCase will be glad to tell you his opinions on such diverse subjects as: why conservatives are dumb, why religion is evil. And how to properly use internet memes. (Christ, how can someone be so pretentious about memes?)
But, as he is a man of honor, he doesn't ban Republicans from his forums like some people. . . (B^U). No, he takes the high road, by arguing with them and adding insulting little monikers to the nickname of anyone that pisses him off, implying they are retarded. And if anyone complains about the poor treatment on the forum he puts a sticky in his thread so that they can be laughed at by all.
Some of you may already be familiar with him if you visit our forum, because he appeared as soon as a thread about the comic was opened and started arguing with everyone. Lately, he made his triumphant return in less than a day from the moment the review was posted. So either he is constantly googling this comic or he has spent the last year watching that thread like a hawk, waiting for someone to write a review. As soon as someone did, he zoomed over to the forum to put on the classic "I'm not butthurt, look, I'll even help you make the review better" act. Although his act of aloofness crumbles to the ground when you ask yourself, "If he doesn't care why was he here so fast?" He can say it's a coincidence but I refuse to believe it. In a way, all he's really done is win the record for fastest person to warrant being added to the "authors response section", leaving a whiny reply for us to add a full year before his review was even up to. (It's not even really his comic.)
Once this review is revised, I expect him to make another rebuttal, twice as long as the review itself.
I dare him to prove me wrong.
The fan community AKA "drama central": I didn't know where to stick this, but seeing as how this is the part of the article that moves from professional insults to personal ones, I figured this is the place.
They are goddamn furries.
Seriously. Though the artist makes dubious claims of not being a furry, her comic is obviously furry bait, and its readers are so annoying I can almost justify her treating them the way she does. They've made threats due to her not coupling their favorite couple together, used the P.M. system on her forum to have cybersex, and gone on raids of the TwoKinds chatroom in attempts to "troll" them. (These always fail hilariously.)
And what about the "furry" part? What proof do I have? Well, before Veronica started heavily policing the forum (for the sake of more ad revenue), there were "BCB NSFW" threads. Four of them in fact, each spanning for dozens of pages, all full of disgusting rule 34 drawings made by users. To this day I don't think there's been a single thread that drew this many responses. (Now deleted, but trust me, it was gross.)
This is not the worst comic online, but is certainly in need of some serious improvement.
It's long, it's boring, it's horribly drawn and full of teen angsty shit, and its makers have alienated their readers to the point that people who in the past made fan characters now request they be removed from the comic. (And hey, I'm writing this review, aren't I?)
Everything Veronica does just seems to scream, "Please give me your love! Please give me your money!" but she never stops to ask, "Do I deserve it?" (No.)
I know this article seems awfully personal, but here's the thing: this is me being nice! I know some Encyclopedia Dramatica-worthy shit I could add to this article, but choose not to out of what little respect I still hold for the artist. I'm not being mean, it's just that bad!
My advice to whoever's reading this? Don't give these people money; it's all they care about.
And don't read this comic. Your time could be better spent reading a book, watching a movie, or hammering nails into your own eyeballs.
I am not going to make a link to the comic, because knowing the people who made it I think they will squeal with glee at the thought of this review giving them more traffic. I do not want to give them the satisfaction.
- Instead, here is another unfunny comic by Veronica about Sonic. Veronica is what some would describe as a "raging sonic-fag".
- For the love of god woman, it's a video game from the 90's. Get over it.
- In one post he makes a long rant about how Sonic themed webcomics don't have to suck, but his own wife's comic completely disproves this hypothesis.
- A video made by one of the forum mods with the help of Suitcase making fun of how stupid their fans are
- This year they finally did the smart thing and shut that forum down for good.
- On "The Webcomic Police".
- This time from "The Webcomic Relief".