Edge the Devilhunter

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CODE RED: PORN
(STRONG NSFW WARNING)

The following comic contains naughty parts on full display, and more than likely includes banging, screwing, porking, jacking, etc. Whether or not it's actually arousing is up for debate. Be on the look out for more extreme fetishes as well, such as scat, vore, bestiality, and so forth. Getting caught with this comic in your browser history may lose you some friends... or gain you some unwanted ones. View with extreme caution, preferably in a deep, dark cave, far away from anyone you know.

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Broken1.png Someone (either the creator or the hosting service) pulled the plug on this webcomic. The links in this review are dead. If you want so see more of this webcomic for some insane reason, the Wayback Machine is your best bet. And even that's a long shot. Broken2.png
Original review author(s): Norad Bush
Webcomic Name: Edge the Devilhunter
Author: Sam Romero
Start Date: January 1, 2004
End Date: Ongoing Dead
Genre: Action Manga-inspired
Defining Flaw: Some of the worst writing I HAVE EVER SEEN.



Rating Summary
Art: Wiki.png Wiki.png Wiki.png Wiki.png

The art here is at a professional level.  If only Romero would use his talents for good instead of drawing cock monsters.

Storyline: Wiki.png

Contrived.  Heaven and earth, bad ass sent to earth to fight for the good of mankind. Nothing here you haven’t seen before (cock monsters excepted).

Characters: Wiki.png

Jack is a miserable horndog who tries to come off as an edgy good guy, but ends up looking immature, stupid, and highly politically confused.  Everyone else is a bunch of misfits from every “edgy” comic book that came out in the 90’s.

Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.png

Two words. Cock monsters.

Overall: Wiki.png 

The artwork is great, but the writing is among some of the most atrocious crap in the cosmos.




Background

Before I begin, you should know that just about EVERY LINK IS NSFW!!

Back in the ‘90’s there was a surge of “edgy” comic books that hit the mainstream.  This was the result of artists finally gaining the freedom from their publishers to stop writing cheesy superhero stories and start writing darker, more mature pieces. Creators took this freedom and ran with it, and the market responded quite well to this new influx of “edgy” products.  Before long, however, the entire market was saturated with “edgy heroes” and their “edgy stories” and their “edgy problems” and books eventually got published based on how “edgy” they were, rather than on their raw quality.  All this edginess eventually ruined mainstream comics for the 1990’s and while the industry is beginning to regrow their brain cells and produce less “edgy” garbage, the foul stench of “edginess” still prevails.

And people wonder why I took to the hills for webcomics.

In spite of how stupid the “edgy” movement was (or I should say still is because it’s not like it went away), there was an entire generation of creators that grew up on this stuff, so it goes without saying “edgy” comics became their prime source of inspiration.  And, given all the new technologies and distribution options available to independent creators, where will all the creations of the new generations “edgy” inspired comics end up?

On the fucking web.  Of course.

One such example of webcomic “edgy” is Edge the DevilhunterETDH is the “edgy” story of an “edgy” hero, Jack, who’s an “edgeknight” for heaven on an “edgy” mission to fight “edgy” monsters with his “edgy” sword (with an edge!) and get into “edgy” misadventures.  Have I beaten the word “edgy” into the ground enough for you?  Is it starting to lose its meaning?  Well, that’s pretty much how Edge the Devilhunter treats it, by beating the reader over the head with the material to the point where the edginess becomes ridiculous.

And overdoing edginess is the least of Edge the Devilhunter’s problems.  


Downfall

Honestly, I found this comic and went into it thinking it was actually a GOOD webcomic.  I mean, the pictures are so pretty, what could possibly go wrong?

How about horribly racist cops, horribly tasteless dialogue, and walls of text? Jesus, and that’s just the first page.  It doesn't get better after that.  Oh, no.  The rest of the entire comic from there, Sam Romero persists to push his extreme political agenda, his love of violence, his misunderstanding of what breasts look like, and his horrid dialogue TO THE EDGE!

…Edge of reason that is.  Suffice to say, this thing has always been awful.


Story and Plot

The story is cribbed from just about every “edgy” comic that has ever been.  This is the official blurb.  See if it doesn't sound familiar:

Mysteriously resurrected and enslaved by divine forces, a crazy teenage thug named Jack prowls the night a reluctant assassin and slayer of demonkind. Jack is brought back to life into a world of ruin and drafted into waging a lone campaign against hell's earthbound minions! But will his overall disregard for the law and lust for treasure and girls get in the way of fulfilling the mission he was brought back to do?

Okay, so it’s Spawn meets the awkward sexy parts of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but I guess that isn't enough to call it bad.  It’s all the other crap that follows that makes it so bad. 

In the first chapter, we meet a lovely girl named Hana.  We don’t see her for more than a scene and a half before she is brutally raped and murdered.  (Cheerful.) As it turns out, she is murdered by her boyfriend, who has a detachable penis that he leaves at the scene of the crime.  Jack goes on a quest to avenge her death, by retrieving the severed breast her killer kept of hers and returning it to her burial.  But he can’t kill the killer.  Oh, no. Only maim him horribly. 

Because that’s what Jesus would've wanted.

From there, it just turns into a series of disjointed misadventures ranging from barely legal cop girls kicking ass for no reason to giant cock monster fights.  I don’t know.  It’s ridiculous and the array of ludicrous plots gives me the idea Sam Romero is clinically insane or on the best drugs ever.


Art review

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Relatively safe for work page

The art is the best thing about this comic.  The pen and ink renderings are beautifully done, the action sequences are incredibly dynamic (if not a bit confusing to follow), and the cast is diverse and pleasing to the eye…

Well, at least until you get to the melon tits and the underage girl panty shots. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the sight of the female form, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do everything.  Sam Romero can’t resist the urge to draw stripper tits or panty shots on 90% of the female cast in this comic.  With all the sphere-boobs, one would think that he’s never seen a woman outside of a strip club, but no, he’s actually perfectly capable of drawing normal women.  He just won’t.  It’s all pander, pander, pander to the lowest common denominator.  To be fair, he also draws his protagonist, Jack, as a muscle-bound freak despite being 100 lbs soaking wet, but in either case, that sort of thing is exploitative and stupid.  Women don’t look like that.  16 year old boys don’t look like that either, for that matter. But it doesn't matter because Romero would rather stick to his hypersexualized scribbling and generate web hits than, you know, have some frickin’ artistic integrity.

Oh, yeah, and about that integrity thing:  Romero spends an entire 2 chapters rendering…

Wait for it…

Cock monsters

That’s right.  Hell beasts with more than a passing resemblance to the male genitalia.  Dear God I wish I was making this up.  Herein lies Romero’s greatest weakness as an artist: the tendency to draw base, horrible, eye-scarring things.  Again, don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t believe the world is all lollipops and candy canes and that Romero should spend his time rendering Care Bears (though I’d be morbidly interested to see his take on that).  I just think that everything requires balance.  Yes, there are horrible demons in his world.  No, they are not pretty.  But did I really need the images of dead body with severed boob, exploded eyeballs, Arab guy humping a nun, a guy with cockroaches all over his junk, and a chapter and a half of COCK MONSTERS burned into my retinas?

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Oh, now my eyes are bleeding again. Along with every other hole in my head.


Writing review

The art has its shortcomings, but they’re really only symptomatic of this story’s abhorrent writing.  Actually, abhorrent doesn't begin to describe it.  Atrocious, contemptible, beastly, vile, vulgar, loathsome, all these $5 words I can use to describe Edge the Devilhunter’s writing still don’t capture the magnitude of its sheer awfulness.  As I said earlier, the story execution is just bizarre and this comic contains some of the worst dialogue I have ever seen (and I've read some horrible shit).  And while Jim Balent is still the king of mind-bendingly horrible dialog, Sam Romero’s Edge seeks to give him a run for his money.  Here are a few of my favorite gems (with links so you know I’m not kidding):

“Any longer and these porkers might've busted out a plunger or sumthin'. Bro would've been shittin' stitches for months.”

“I'm bored and {scanning your urine is} probably the most stimulating exercise I can perform at the current moment.”

“You're the one who golden showered me on the willy!”

“I'd do titty cracks but I'd need a better grasp of the material!”

“Your Puerto Rican love cake is winking at me.”

Oh, and that last one about the Puerto Rican love cake?  That’s a reference to a vagina. 

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Thanks, Sammy, in one line you simultaneously ruined Puerto Ricans, love and cakes for me forever.

Yes, the dialogue is unjustifiably bad, but the characterizations are worse. Case in point, Edge the Devil Hunter's main character, Jack. He's is pretty much a [Mary Sue], or I should say an "Edgy" Sue (guffaw!) Every move this guy makes is dedicated to the absolute idealization of this character. He spouts out whatever REALLY IMPORTANT OPINIONS he wants, he insults girls, he swears, he smokes, he commits crimes as an act of TOTAL REBELLION, and he is literally invulnerable. *Sigh.* Sure, he gets punished when he insults women, but Romero only does this for the purposes of comedic banter. It's not really meant to develop his character.

Speaking of the REALLY IMPORTANT OPINIONS THING, Edge the Devilhunter is riddled with this odd “Kill Whitey” left wing diatribe (which is hilarious when you consider Jack, the protagonist is shown to be a pretty pale guy himself).  I can only guess this stems from Sam Romero’s personal experiences growing up in New Jersey.  While I cannot purport to know what he’s been through as a person or judge his life experiences, I can say that the ultra left-wing material is out of place in an action comic.  If this were a comic about politics or if the storyline touched upon politics, that would be more appropriate.  Even then, it helps to present the other side’s opinion to achieve a true balance.  Using the police as an antagonist is a common bad writer’s weapon of choice, but it’s stilted and unresearched.  Not every cop is a bad person.  Not every cop is a good person.  There is good and bad in everyone and for Romero to completely ignore that and simply use his protagonist as his personal mouthpiece without presenting a counter argument shows his immaturity and inexperience as a writer. 

It’s like they say, “A liberal is a conservative who's been arrested. A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.”


Author biography

Sam Romero is an artist who grew up in New Jersey, so he already has my pity.  Also, he apparently doesn't have the highest opinion of authority figures.  Interestingly, trolling his DA account shows me his affinity for editorial cartoons, and he’s actually quite good at them. See, this is what I meant when I said political punditry works in a more appropriate setting.  Editorial cartoons is where Sam Romero’s biting left wing commentary belongs, not in an action piece.  This makes you wonder why Sam Romero bothers with this webcomic of his, at which he sucks so very much, when he’s so much better at editorial stuff.

For the same reason Dave Cheung doesn't want to go into porn.  Because he’s too classy.

Furthermore, Sam Romero has also co-written a book on how to publish webcomics called, pretentiously enough, Webcomics 2.0. The other co-writer of the book is a guy named Steve Horton, whose comic is starting to look like my next victim if he keeps company with the likes of Sammy-boy here. According to user-created reviews on Amazon, the book is a raging piece of shit. For your entertainment...

The First one


I really regret buying this book. What I thought I was getting when I purchased this book was an in depth guide to how to run the business side of a web comic. Of the book's 236 pages, only 25 pages cover promotion and only 24 pages cover online revenue generation. Of the information presented on these pages, there is almost nothing of value. It is either common sense like posting on forums to advertise your site or information that you can get off the start page of Google AdSense.

So what are you really buying with this book? Well, you get four chapters describing the different genres of web comics. If you're thinking of making a web comic, you probably already know about comic genres, so four chapters are wasted right there.

Also you get 32 pages of reprinted web comics. All of which are uninspiring. When I saw how many pages of this book were wasted on these comics that I had absolutely no interest in, steam was shooting out of my ears. What a waste of page space.

Next you get 20 pages of how to write a comic and 26 pages of how to draw them. This information is very basic. Again, if you're thinking about doing a web comic, most of this stuff you will already know. Every topic covered is breezed over with a few paragraphs. If you're looking for in depth information about how to use the computer itself to create comic art, look elsewhere. It's not in here.

Finally, you get 18 pages about how to find a web host for your web comic. Something that you can do with a quick Google search.

There are a few other sections, but I think you get the picture. I strongly recommend that you avoid this book. You can get the information here for free on the net, and there are other better books on creating web comics. Avoid like the plague.


The second one


This book was a thorough disappointment. The title promises an "insider's guide", so I expected that we would get a book written not only by people who know what it's like on the inside, but also what people who wants to get to the inside needs to know. There are no signs of such knowledge in "Webcomics 2.0".

The title also gives the impression that the book will look at webcomics from a Web 2.0 perspective. That's not true. The book has nothing to do with Web 2.0 at all.

The book is very colored by Horton's and Romero's opinions on things, and it is very clearly biased. The example that stuck with me was in a paragraph about webcomic portals where you can upload your own comics -- veterans ComicGenesis and DrunkDuck are picked apart while the one truly recommended place to upload your comics is a MySpace clone which at the time of writing the book wasn't even open yet!

Some of the tips given are in my opinion pretty bad, for instance you're recommended to send out press releases almost every time you update your comic. Wow, what a great way of getting blacklisted by all the credible sources! If you disagree with me on this one: Check out one of the big news sources listed in the book -- [...] Go to the search field, type "Horton" or "Romero", and click "Go". Zero hits. And these guys are supposed to teach *me* how to get my press releases picked up by Fleen?

I know enough about comics to figure out when someone doesn't really know what they're talking about: Two examples from early in the book: Art Spiegelman's "Maus" is labeled as a soap opera (what?). The creator of webcomic XKCD has the name "X" (come one [sic], at least you could have proofread!).

And, as has been mentioned in earlier comments: Much of the actual information given is information that most of us already knows, and a LOT of the book is spent showcasing the creators' own work (32 pages of reprinted comics, all by Romero).

Finally, a friend of mine who just happens to own this book also had this to say at the request of this humble author:

Final Opinion


Well, those Amazon reviews give a pretty clear picture of the book (though what they and I both neglected to mention was that the Edge the Devil Hunter pages shown in the book were in glorious eyestrain-inducing Blur-O-Vision - I guess ETDH wasn't originally designed for print publication).

I personally could have sworn the part of the book going over promoting and making money was larger when I bookmarked the beginning and end of that section with my fingers, and now I go back and count, it's still 70 pages of the book. I never really did much more than a cursory read-through of that section - making money off a comic wasn't what I was primarily interested in, and IIRC, any useful stuff I did see was pretty much advice I'd already gotten from free sources. It's true that almost any "good" advice in there seems to be common sense stuff - their section at the end entitled "The Hardest Thing About Webcomics" basically just says, paraphrased, "The hardest thing about Webcomics is actually doing them, start with one a week, don't miss updates (this is possibly why they don't seem to have interviewed Fred Gallagher, despite dropping MegaTokyo URLs twice), everyone gets better with practice and most of the popular webcomics were crap when they first started (which is a hell of a thing for Romero to co-write)". They also say that "writing can count just as much as art" - which is true, but the way they phrase it gives it unfortunate implications - and they then assert that it's natural for creativity to be more emphasized than artistic skill in webcomics (when in my experience, the vast majority possess neither).

A lot of the promotion section reads like a how-to guide for very specific (and rapidly changing) online advertising systems - in fact, things like this are dotted throughout the book, including step-by-step barely-readable screencaps showing you how to use one particular FTP program (CoreFTP). Oh, and they (briefly) pimp Tangents, though thankfully I can't find an interview of Robert Howard. They spend ten pages (including screencaps) going over Project Wonderful, then two on Google AdWords. Note that these screencaps are of ever-changing web interfaces.

There are large sections with brief tips on how to lay out a comic page and design characters - generic stuff, really - which are broken up with numerous large step-by-step examples of Romero's art, including the aforementioned blurtastic excerpt from Edge. There's a fair bit of an odd little comic called The Versus Verses included too - apparently it's a somewhat bizarre cooperative effort between T Campbell (hear the name everywhere, don't have a clue who they are) and Romero, which takes popular figures and characters who sound like each other (Vader and Nader, Calvin and Alvin, Osama and Obama) and, basically, puts them in a rhyme-off with each other. It seems like DMCA bait to me, but then, so did South Park's Imagination Land. There's also a rather dry section on webcomics hosts and collectives like DrunkDuck, Halfpixel and Keenspot (with a rating table for these services - it'd be interesting to check this for any bias), as well as stuff on hosting your own comic - including a very brief guide to using ComicPress which I know from personal experience to be outclassed by several articles available for free online.

The front of the book has a list of contributors; I'll just give you the webcomics people interviewed, in case you spot some familiar names:

T Campbell – Penny and Aggie (writer
) David Willis – Shortpacked!
Howard Tayler (Of the shitty-art, okay-to-good-plot, watch-out-for-the-tech-geek-rants Schlock Mercenary)
Jennie Breeden – The Devil’s Panties
Steve Napierski – Dueling Analogs, The Outer Circle
Phil and Kaja Foglio – Girl Genius
Jeph Jaques – Questionable Content
Sarah Ellerton (I recognise this one too, she did Inverloch)
Chris Crosby – Sore Thumbs (writer)
Steven Goldman – Styx Taxi
Vito Delsante – Stuck, among others
Dwight MacPherson - Sidewise
Chris Arrant – 1 Way Ticket, Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo

There are other people interviewed, I believe, but they run hosting services or handle the business side of things (like that Khoo fellow from Penny Arcade).

I personally get the impression the book was written mostly by Steve Horton - might be a good idea to check out his comic Grounded Angel for… pffffft, I just went to the website halfway through typing that, and the most prominent thing on the comic page is a cat-person (anthro rather than Japanese-style) with a faceful of uncanny valley.


Conclusion

Edge the Devilhunter is something that could have been good, but because Sam Romero didn't have the wherewithal to fire himself as writer back in 2004, we’re left with this maggot-covered pile to contemplate.  Sure, the dialogue is abominable and the titties are spherical, but the most tragic part of this whole thing is that it reeks of wasted potential.  If only Sam Romero had put down those fucking “edgy” comics of the 1990’s and read more thought-provoking material.  If only he kept channeling his energies in a direction more fitting of his political beliefs.   If only, if only, if only.  At the end of the day, this comic that could’ve been about some awesome action ends up being about overblown politics, immaturity, and one man’s struggle with some serious Freudian issues.


Links