|Original review author:||Webkilla, some revisions by Long Tom.|
|Webcomic name:||Camp Calomine|
|Author:||R. H. Junior (His own website)|
|Start Date:||At some point in 2004|
|End Date:||Still updating, maybe once or twice a year|
|Defining Flaw:||A few cute jokes about children's summer camp life in a sea of in-your-face political propaganda.|
RHJ... well... he is a furry webcartoonist, who is also an extremely religious Christian young earth creationist.
Basically he's been cranking out furry and non-furry webcomics since the early 2000's. Getting an exact date on this is difficult, as he has purged most of his online galleries of his older non-comic work, and he didn't date all his earliest webcomics. His webcomics have always always been known for his very strong Christian conservative bent, and of all his webcomics, this is the one where he is the most direct about it being a mouth-piece for his politics - he does have one or two other discontinued webcomics where he got a tad more religious - but this is the one where RHJ is most blatant about shoving his political opinions in the reader's face.
The very first strip sets the tone of the snarky male main character Charles as a know-it-all who has a problem with authorities. Second one introduces the second staple of the webcomic: Overly PC double-speak from the camp management, the third one sets up Charles's constant fight against the management's PC strawmen, and the fourth one introduces the politics: Here we learn that the camp is sponsored by, among others: "The ASPCA, PETA, Greenpeace, The Green Party, The NAACP, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the N.O.W." In other words, RHJ's shit list.
Story and Plot
There is no overall story. There are, however, a lot of political messages...
If there were a story, it would be about the day-to-day hijinks of a summer camp counselor named Charles at Camp Calomine, a place where idiot parents send idiot children, led by idiot management - with Charles being the only non-hippie moron of the bunch, who'll outwit everyone and teach the kids stuff about camping and nature. Too bad RHJ also dumped a metric ton of political commentary and hate-boners for anything else he doesn't like in the mix.
The basic plot of the various mini-arcs and single-strip gag-a-day comics typically fall into one of two categories: The most common is where some PC strawman is set up, paraded around, then shot down by our glorious Gary Stu main character who is forever wise and all-knowing because he prefers the right kind of politics. The second sort revolves around the actual summer camp and the kids that Charles and the other counselors have to shepherd around - usually mixed in with the first sort, like when Charles takes some of the boys fishing at the dead of night, and is then accused by one of the hippie counselors of violating the camp's vegetarian policy... to which Mr. Snark notes that the hippie can't prove anything, because he and the kids ate the evidence. Funny, yes, but the hippie is a strawman so transparent and one-dimensional that you can see RHJ lining up to beat it down from miles away.
Another example: the camp management set up a wind turbine to generate power for the camp? What a great and environmental idea! Oh wait, oops, a bald eagle just flew into it and died - guess wind power is a terrible idea and should be abolished forever, amirite? (Actually, birds flying into wind turbines and being killed from that is in fact a genuine problem. It is not just RHJ who has noted this.)
Sketchy but passable monochrome line drawings without shading, though occasionally the author reuses the same strips with different word balloons:
This isn't a comic trying to do much in the way of visual presentation - but the style lends itself well to the political caricatures it uses. The camp kids are bushy-haired runts, the hippie counselors look like dirty hippies, the man-hating feminists are fat and ugly, and the idiot manager of the camp looks like a refugee from Dilbert.
This is a political webcomic - but it will also make you laugh occasionally.
As is the enigma that is RHJ, then his comedic and dramatic writing skills are surprisingly good - but he usually wastes much of this potential by forcing political jokes and strawmen into the mix. Whenever the webcomic is focused purely on camp life, on having fun with the camp kids, on the hilarity of in-the-middle-of-nowhere summer camp life, then the webcomic shines. But those who dislike RHJ's politics will not find it worth digging throughout all his opinions to find these cute jokes.
To add insult to injury, Charles is somehow able to stay employed at the camp by blackmailing his co-workers into vouching for him - despite everyone hating his guts except the naive young female counselor (Who serves no other purpose in the stpry than to be new at the camp, allowing Charles to regale us with his endless snarky wisdom on how things work there).
Even more insulting is how RHJ sometimes reuses the exact same picture in a number of strips. There is even a story arc where RHJ reuses this picture eleven times in a row, with only word balloons being changed, about various retorts from a little girl who doesn't like the food at the camp. Holy Stalag '99!
RHJ's background reads very clearly from his webcomics - especially Camp Calomine. He's pro-gun, he's pro-fossil fuels, he's a creationist (of the young earth sort), but basically, he's very opinionated, with no tolerance for other views. Holy Adam4d!
Except for the occasional jokes about summer camp life, this webcomic is basically a right-wing I Drew This. If you don't already agree with RHJ's opinions, don't bother looking at this. It just preaches to the choir like other political webcomics.
Other webcomics by this person reviewed on this site
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger and The Probability Bomb
- Tallyho - good review