|Original review author(s):||oddguy|
|Webcomic Name:||Fontes' Rants|
|Start Date:||December 4, 2009, but some of the strips are recycled works from much earlier|
|End Date:||May 12, 2012|
|Genre:||Humor and whining|
|Defining Flaw:||Multiple levels of bad writing|
The internet's greatest strength, as well as its biggest weakness, is its lack of quality control. Since there's no entry bar, and anyone with minimal skill (or no skill at all) can set up his own little corner online, we end up getting an endless supply of material with mixed results. Because of this, we often get the kind of high quality works that could never have found a sponsor on any old media, or would not have been made if their talented yet lazy creators were required to put any more effort into them beyond setting up a website.
But on the flip side, we also have the utterly talentless and completely insane posting their own works online. These range from the easily ignorable, to the hilariously incompetent, to the stupid to the point of inducing rage. Although there is nowhere this problem is more apparent than webcomics, the field of self-appointed internet critics suffers from it too. I have never been one to blindly defend whatever it is that I am a part of, simply because it is I who is a part of it, and I will be the first to admit that not every review on this site is perfect. But I stand by it nonetheless, because I can still vouch for most of them.
So how are internet critics made? Well, when a person amasses (what he thinks) is a sufficient amount of knowledge on a certain subject (and enough unwarranted self importance) to call himself an "expert", and leads himself to believe that he is witty and insightful enough that people will and should listen to what he has to say, a web critic is born. Because some level of nerdiness and pompousness is required to waste time on becoming an expert on something that is utterly meaningless, this art remains mostly untainted by the stupid and unqualified. But every rule has its exception, and today, we are here to discuss such an exception in the form of Fabio Fonte, a self-asserted web critic who's unwarranted complaints, advice and opinions are so trite and overused that reading his comics is a series of deja vu's, breaking up an otherwise uninterrupted bout with narcolepsy.
I would like to say that this review is giving him a taste of his own medicine, but it's more like force-feeding him an overdose of sleeping pills as punishment for his malpractice.
I think the downfall of this comic began when the writer ran out of DeviantArt jokes, which end pretty early in the comic's run and are his only remotely original idea. That isn't to say such jokes were not also already as stale as a year old loaf of bread, but, despite seeing countless works on DeviantArt about criticizing DeviantArt, I have never seen an entire comic about it. Still, he runs out of those in about ten strips, and after that, you are left traveling the endless desert of no humor, desperately seeking the oasis of a single funny joke.
I am going to keep this section short because I don't want to bag on the art just for the sake of complaining about everything. The art is competent, which is more than I can say for most webcomics. There are no glaringly obvious flaws, he has control over a few different styles, which he switches between depending on what is called on by the comic. And, despite starting off at a relatively good level, he still continues to polish his skills as he goes along. The art isn't perfect, but I see nothing too wrong with it. I am used to all webcomic art being laughably bad. The art that isn't is usually only like that because the artist honed his skills by drawing disproportionately large tits 24/7. So I give Fabio's art a pass. He still has a lot to learn, but he isn't drawing some kind of epic fantasy adventure, so I don't expect a visual masterpiece. My only real complaint is that, for someone who complains about Anime as much as he does, he is far too reliant on drawing in an anime-inspired style.
The writing in this comic is a fucking joke. Given the opportunity, I could write a section about it that would span five miles long, but I'll try to contain myself and get to the point.
I couldn't do it. As I was writing this I realized there are so many things wrong with this comic's writing that I couldn't possibly write a coherent review of it without splitting it up into fucking sub sections.
So here we go:
It's Not Original.
Out of the many problems with this comic, the first is the lack of originality. Almost every single joke in this comic I have heard before (and always done better).
In fact, go get your shot glasses and try to read the comic. Take one shot every time you read a joke you heard somewhere else. You will be hammered by page 15. Here, let me offer you some examples of the groundbreaking and innovative humor in "Fonte's Rants":
All Sonic fan characters are just recolors. Why didn't Cloud use a phoenix down on Aerith? Why do characters in JRPGs wait their turn? Hand dryers in public bathrooms are hard to use. Navi from "Zelda" and Ashley from "Residant Evil 4" are annoying.
...You're back? Awake?
So yes, this is the humor of Fonte's Rants. Recycled old jokes that were already stale a week after Final Fantasy 7 came out over a decade ago. Lately it has gotten a bit better (after he forgot the main theme of the comic and started doing random jokes instead of rants). After he stole every old, overused joke ever, he had to start coming up with his own material. But even with the few jokes that somehow manage to get a smile out of me he still manages to fuck it up. Which brings us to my next
Too Many Words...
The comic is waaaaaaay too verbose. The man has an almost Buckley-esqe love for text (if not more). He is the Hideo Kojima of webcomics. It's not enough that his jokes are old and unfunny. He had a nasty habit of adding a second "punchline" after the joke was already made. It got so annoying he had to stop after his readers started complaining about it. But those useless little punchlines are only the tip of the iceberg. You see, at the bottom of each comic there is a long, boring wall of text that explains the joke. And don't think you can ignore those either. In one comic Fabio addresses his readers directly to tell them to read the authors comments section, and explains he is angry at them for asking him to explain the joke.
YES! You read that right! His comic is so bad that people can't understand the humor of it without reading an elongated explanation... AND IT'S THE READER'S FAULT! Let me tell you something: If you can't get the joke across to your audience without having them read a detailed explanation telling them why it's funny, you have failed as a cartoonist and maybe even as a human being. Imagine if every strip of "Garfield" ended with a clip note by Jim Davis explaining that: "This comic is funny because Garfield is fat and wants the lasagna, but his owner..." etc. Just to show I am not blowing this out of proportion, I want you to look at this:
YES! That's right! The text is longer than the comic!
All of this would be forgivable if this comic would elicit as much as a chuckle out of me, but...
It's Just Not Funny!
He has no idea how to deliver a punch. All jokes are things that annoy him either being overblown into absurdity or being confronted with his author avatar and being yelled at/beat up by it. As this website has shown countless times, random violence is not funny, nor is pointing out that something gets on your nerves. Without some wit or subtlety you can use to display the absurdity of a situation in some other way than showing yourself being angry at it, your comic will not be funny. For all the reasons already mentioned, as well as several others, this comic is not funny. It isn't insightful either by the way. Maybe if his complaints had any merit, or were thought provoking in any way, the lack of humor would be acceptable and walls of text understandable. But it isn't.
The Complaints Make No Sense.
Forgetting for a moment that the "joy" derived from listening to people rant is the reason few people enjoy spending time with their racist grandfather. His rants are stupid to begin with. These come in many categories: Petty complaints no one wants to hear about, video game logic not syncing up with real world logic, things that can be explained or refuted with a single moment of though, and complaints that are just stupid. Like this one where he is angry at Naruto for not sleeping with Hinata. Setting aside both of them being 13, the fact Naruto's love interest is and should be a part of the main cast like in any other reasonably written story, and his stupid ferret thing's willingness to engage in bestiality with her. He is angry at the characters for acting in character! Naruto's whole thing is him being a happy-go lucky, clueless dimwit. And Hinata is meant to be the shy and insecure girl. For what he is angry to be rectified would require the entire cast to magically change all their personalities and motivations.
So Fabio comes off to me as one of those people who sits at the movie theater and loudly ponders:
"Why doesn't he just fuck her?" God, I hate those jackasses.
Cliché To The Max.
There is also some irony in this comics abysmal writing. You see, Fonte's humor often relays on the tropes and clichés of certain television and video game genres. The hilarity of this is of course the fact that his own comic is so thickly laden with those same idioms he aims to mock. The first and most obvious one is the unnecessary cute animal sidekick. A trope that has been airlifted out of 80% of all western media and 100% of all Anime ever. But more so than that is the fact he commits every flaw and mortal sin of a novice web cartoonist. With the scale of quality, starting with true humor and wit at one end, and tired old crap at the other, Fonte makes his bread and butter by pointing out all the flaws of the bottom tier, while committing all the mistakes of the one just above it. In the end, he is incapable of the slightest bit of introspection that would be enough for any other critic to see the glaringly obvious flaws in his own comic.
The "Takeshi" Arc.
This is a sub sub-section of my complaint that this comic is cliché. (Yes, I have so much to say about how bad his writing is that I need a sub sub-section.) So at one point Fabio decided one useless sidekick is not enough and broke flow completely by veering off into a retarded Manga style story arc about his imaginary son. Yes. I am not kidding. Let me explain the plot for you: Fonte finds a "Death Note" parody called the "Life Note", which he uses to create himself a son with the magical ability to create weapons out of thin air. Said son goes off on a rampage in the city and his creator is the only one who can stop him. Why the police can't just shoot and kill him like they would any other lunatic blowing up buildings with a rocket launcher is never explained. It is also not explained why the police require the assistance of a fat, greasy Portuguese video game nerd to subdue a criminal, but they do. So Fonte confronts his son and captures him in a pokeball (...what?) which he then throws in a trash can to starve to death. But the prodigal son returns and they have a climatic Anime sword fight in Fabio's living room which he (obviously) wins and makes his abomination into a sidekick.
During this story you will witness such things as: hilariously ham handed attempts at drama, horrible plot, unneeded information about the authors personal life that no one could care less about, stupid memes (God he loves those...) and the writer giving himself retarded Mary Sue powers like you see being done only by the absolute worst webcomic artists out there. The story ends with Fabio agreeing not to kill his son if he joins him in his rants and agrees to "keep the guns pointed at the haters". In those mere 25 pages I found myself facepalming more than any, hundreds of pages long, Mary Sue wish fulfillment fanfiction, partially because this person is supposed to be my colleague. Do you understand the stupidity of all this!? He needs his imaginary, super power endowed son to protect him against his non existent haters. But the problem is...
No One Fucking Cares, Fabio!
In direct continuation of the last segment, I have made this diagram for Fabio to show him who his "haters" are:
And this one to further explain the situation:
This is the problem- His "targets" consist of: fictional characters, major game companies and ridiculous strawmen whose real life counterparts would never recognize the criticism is directed at them. So at the end of the day, no one could care less. The only people I could imagine getting riled up by his comic (intentionally. We will talk about the people he might accidentally annoy a bit later.) are assorted video game company fanboys, who will rage at him for insulting their favorite gaming console (But I have yet to see any evidence of anyone actually doing that). In spite of all this, the comic has this air of self importance about it, as if its creator thinks that drawing himself beating on his most hated video game characters will somehow hurt them, or that making fun of Hideo Kojima will make him burst into tears or something. He is not the first web reviewer to go that route. But most other people I have seen do this are clearly aware that their opinion means next to nothing. You never catch "The Guy With The Glasses" going: "Next week I am going to review this bad movie...ooooooh! They are so gonna get it!" Like Fabio does every other comic.
There isn't much to say about Fabio Fonte. He has a more respectable resume than some webcomic artists, and less than others. I am not sure if he has any formal art education. He mentions being an autodidact in one of his blog posts, but I remember him mentioning something about studying art in one of his authors comment section. He used to do cartoons for some kind of gaming magazine that went under when the economy in Portugal went bad, and later recycled those works in the comic. He also has a second comic (didn't read this one because it costs money) and used to do the art for "Legendary comics" (No, obviously not the real "Legendary Comics"... As if.) where his rants were originally featured (he recycled those too.) and eventually parted ways with them. He says he was not kicked out, and as much as I would like to pretend otherwise, considering the comic has been dead since his departure, I have to believe him that he left of his own volition. But he does mention in his blog that he left that comic for the sake of more artistic freedom, so there might be more to this story.
My only real complaint about him is that he seems rather...stupid.
I know I shouldn't be making these kinds of ad hominems, but I can't help it. Every line he writes ends with either a ^^ or a XD like one of those same DeviantTARTlets he started off mocking, and erasing any illusion of pseudo professionalism. As well as him repeatedly stumbling over his own tongue and blurting out some not very politically correct statements. Like in this authors section where he called Brazilians stupid and lazy, or this one where he takes some kind of bizarre stand against feminism, or this comic where he insulted his own homeland of Portugal and was forced to apologize. There is also the problem that comes up every time he mentions a religious subject. In one comic's authors comments section he tells anyone who is offended by him mentioning God to "grow up". But my problem is not with the mere mention of God, but with his constant insistence to refer to him by the explicit name. Something that most people know is considered extremely offensive.
So, really, what I have to say about this author is simply that, considering his attitude, he may have not done anything too horrible yet. But I'm still waiting.
Fabio Fonte should not be making this comic. He should not be critiquing anything. He does not have the wit, experience, intelligence, or ability to self-criticize that is required of someone who wants to do what he does. The only thing that qualifies him to write that comic in any way is a mediocre ability to draw.
I hope he will either stop making this comic, or rants so much it induces an aneurysm.
Fingers crossed for option #2.
UPDATE: Option #1 happened instead.