Foreskin Man

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This author responded to a review on the site and his/her reply can be found here in the "Reactions" section.
Original review author(s): oddguy
Webcomic Name: Foreskin Man
Author: Matthew Hess
Start Date: Don't know. Don't care.
End Date: Sporadically ongoing
Genre: Superhero propaganda
Defining Flaw: The creator's insane obsession with his political agenda stops him from noticing how crazy his comic has become.


Rating Summary
Art: Wiki.pngWiki.pngWiki.pngWiki.png
This is by far the best art on the wiki. But my instincts tell me this was commissioned by a professional... A cheap one.
Storyline: Wiki.pngWiki.png
Aryan ubermensch and resident psychopath "Foreskin Man" goes around brutally beating up racial stereotypes.
Characters: Wiki.pngWiki.pngWiki.png
I have no idea how to summarize the atrocity that is the characterization. Just read the review.
Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.pngWiki.png
He wrote and recorded a song sung by a girl acting as a female character from the comic about how much she wants to fuck Foreskin Man.
Overall: Wiki.pngWiki.png
I am giving it some extra points for art. Had it not been for that, the amount of points I would have given it would have been negative five.


Background

This is a good time to preemptively defer all accusations of being biased. Yes, I am Jewish. Yes, I have been circumcised. No, I don't feel strongly about this issue one way or the other. As far as my five minutes of research done on that one time I gave a fuck tells me: Circumcision reduces the chance of contracting HIV to some small extent and other VDs to an even more marginal degree. On the other hand, it sometimes has complications and some claim it can traumatize the baby. And, as it is always in these kinds of debates, all data on both sides is highly inconclusive (claims the other side.) In other words: I don't care.

I found this comic some time ago. It took me ten minutes to finish reading it, and ten days to finish laughing at it.

Downfall

From the moment it started, it was just bad, bad, bad. All bad, all the time.

So bad...

Art review

Ribs too big. Arm should be in front of boob. Her head is too far back. And where the fuck is her fucking eye?!

The art looks pretty professional. But there are some problems like strange-looking faces here and there, some awkward poses and some odd disproportions. All of this causes a sort of uncanny valley effect when you are reading an okay-looking comic and suddenly notice that the girl with the camel toe has the upper body structure of a man. But I want to be fair to this thing. A little more polish and the art can be perfect. As it is, it's just creepy.

The only real problem I have with it is that I suspect it wasn't actually drawn by Matthew, but instead written by him and drawn by a commissioned professional. This is only speculation, but so far that is where all the clues point. The comic is a sub-project by a larger organization that promotes "intactivism" - i.e. anti-circumcision activism - which explains how they can afford things like studio time, singers, playing cards, merchandising, etc., for a comic that isn't likely to return their investment. In the same vein, they probably hired an artist for the sake of creating an overall better product. Other clues include the fact that Matthew is only credited as the writer and editor of the comic, while the illustrator is left mysteriously unnamed. That gives me a flashback to the "The Truth for Youth" review, where the suspicion has been raised that whoever drew that debacle just wanted to get his money and to have his name be in no way associated with the artistic trash bag that he helped create.

In short: The art is usually good, but all signs point to it being ordered from an outside artist, so he gets no credit for it.

Story & Writing

I have taken the liberty of combining the two sections into one for this review and going over it chapter by chapter.

Chapter One: Foreskin Man Beats Up Hospital Staff

The chapter begins with "Miles Hastwick" unveiling his new anti-circumcision museum. He chats a bit with some girl about how he hates that damn pro-circumcision lobby (all three of them) and has a drink. But his insane ranting is abruptly stopped by a distress signal from the local hospital. It seems an evil doctor has transformed into a baby-penis-hating monster, and is planning to deform the genitalia of a poor, defenseless baby. At this point, several questions arose in my mind. Like: We can clearly see the doctor being called in for surgery, so he obviously works there. Which makes me wonder why he has not been fired yet after repeatedly circumcising children against their mother's will. But there is no time for logic! Because Miles Hastwick rips off his beard, transforms into his secret identity "Foreskin Man" and flies away to stop this crime! Here I once again had to stop and force my brain back into my skull when I asked myself: Why doesn't he wear a fake beard when he transforms INTO Foreskin Man instead of wearing a toupee on his face for his entire life?

Anyway, he enters the hospital and gives the evil doctor a detailed explanation of why he is against this medical procedure, telling him that he believes that the choice of whether someone should or should not do it needs to be left up to the person himself, when he is old enough to make that decision. Just kidding! He doesn't explain shit. He just beats the crap out of the doctor, kisses his superfluous love interest and leaves.

The end.

Chapter Two: Foreskin Man Gets Ready To Join The Hitler Youth

This more or less.

Chapter two begins with Miles having a party on his luxurious yacht (keep that in mind; it will be important later.) He volunteers to take another cardboard cut-out love interest to her sister's baby's brit milah. When they arrive, they discuss how happy they are that her sister has chosen to forgo the traditional brit despite her husband's wishes, in a way that might as well have been done staring directly at you through the comic's fourth wall.

Suddenly the party is disrupted by... a hilarious Jewish stereotype! He barges in, dressed in a stylish zebra print talit and accompanied by his two Uzi-wielding henchmen, and announces that the father has called him to perform the ceremony and that he will not leave until he gets his hands on that baby's penis. Foreskin Man arrives just in the nick of time, hides while Monster Mohel swings around a comically large book with a random Hebrew word on it, then jumps out of the shadows to stop this using diplomacy (read: beating up more people.) He is then asked by the child's mother to save her baby by handing him over to the "Intactivist Underground", who are a bunch of people who look like some hippies are hanging out with a motorcycle gang, and who spend their days stealing surgical equipment from hospitals and setting it on fire on the beach as a protest.

The moral of the story: It is better to let your child be raised by a gang of smelly bikers than to let him be circumcised. Oh, and the fact that Foreskin Man looks like the blond poster boy of the Nazi party does little to reduce the anti-Jewish undertone of this chapter.

Chapter Three: Foreskin Man's Ode To The Apartheid

This one begins with Miles sitting in his office when he is approached by a woman asking him to call Foreskin Man to help her rescue her son who has been kidnapped by an African shaman who wants to... can you guess? Circumcise him. He flies to Africa on a plane... you know, to waste more money on his way to beat up some starving African tribesmen who live in grass huts. He then goes off to look for her son, at which point he is ambushed by some people. He hides behind a rock, changes costumes and jumps back out. At which point they yell out, "IT'S FORESKIN MAN!!!" As I was trying to ease the pain of this stupidity with hard liquor, I was asking myself: If they didn't know he was Foreskin Man before, why the hell did they attack him? And what the hell kind of pathetic attempt was that to hide his true identity? He went behind the rock as Miles and came back out as Foreskin Man... How does he expect that to fool anyone?

Never mind. So he transforms into a superhero and is captured by them. One of them approaches him with a knife in his hand. Gleefully I hoped that he is now going to circumcise him, thus taking away his powers like some kind of reverse Samson who hates Jewish people. But it was not so, and Miles gets to keep his giant foreskin intact (I like to imagine his superpowers stem from an oversize foreskin. Can you blame me?) thanks to the help of... Vulva Girl!!!! When I was done rolling on the floor and laughing at what had just occurred, I got to read about Foreskin Man beating up some skinny black people, hitting on Vulva Girl (because two girls were not enough) and going home.

To Sum Up

Matthew Hess has created a Gary Stu superhero with Superman's powers, Bruce Wayne's money and Hitler's idea of the perfect looks, who uses all those things to throw lavish parties and then brutalize starving Africans and disrupt Jewish religious ceremonies. All the villains are ridiculous strawmen with no real motivation except for an obsessive craving for removed penis skins (that is how they are described in the character bios) like they are some kind of super pedophiles who eat them to retain their strength, and are willing to somehow collect the money to fly across the world and kidnap a single child who escaped them, even though they live in mud huts and fight Foreskin Man by shooting blow-darts (Hey, at least they weren't chucking spears.)

Oh, and just one more thing that I didn't know where to put in: In the character bios, it said that one of the characters joined forces with Foreskin Man after finding out that the company she worked for was smuggling foreskins.

What the fuck?

Author biography

I couldn't find much about Matthew Hess, and I don't care because I don't really consider him a webcomic artist per se. But what I did find is this: Hess is the founder and leader of the MGM group, who oppose circumcision and are trying to pass a bill to make it against the law. The interesting part is that his crusade against circumcision is a result of him blaming the loss of sensation in his penis (he claims) on his lack of a foreskin, which he has been trying to grow back (he and Jay Naylor should get together.)

The result of his comic, chapter 2 in particular, is that he has been named an anti-Semite and entering either his or his comic's name into Google will result in an endless amount of articles about how he hates Jews (I don't understand why no one called him out on the fact that chapter three is also pretty racist.)

Personally, I don't think he is either of those things. He is just too obsessed with his agenda to notice how offensive his comic comes off. I can just imagine him sitting around at home and foaming at the mouth, unable to understand why all those damn fools are angry at him for exposing the evil mohels for the claw-handed monsters they are.

Conclusion

This is a comic in desperate need of some perspective.

You can accuse some people of not seeing the forest for the trees, but if this comic were a person it would be vigorously rubbing its face up and down a single tree trunk until the splinters penetrated its skull and reached its brain.

Whoever made this thing is unable to step back for a moment and look at how ridiculous it all is. He can't see how his cartoons of non-white people can come off as racist. He can't see how his hero's actions can seem malicious, rather than heroic. He can't see how this comic has no target demographic because adults are too old to be persuaded by superhero comics and children who are old enough to read this are too late to do anything about their own circumcision and far too early to be thinking about circumcising their own kids. This person does not realize that NO ONE wants to buy (or for that matter, trade) his trading cards. NO ONE is going to purchase his sexy anti-female circumcision thong (because nothing gets you in the mood for sex like thinking about having your clitoris cut off, right?) NO ONE wants to listen to his gross song about Vulva Girl wanting to fuck Foreskin Man, or, for that matter, give a fuck about any one of his other potential girlfriends, who are unnecessary to the story. NO ONE.

Like a schoolteacher using the "hip" new slang that the kids are using to try and reach out to them, this comic is a laughably transparent, cynical attempt by someone to use popular youth culture for his own goals, and it is greeted with just as much cynicism from its audience.

But this time I would like to finish this review a little differently. Instead of spitting out a few last insults and signing off, I would like to give you all some homework. This is Matthew Hass's comic's E-mail. Some of you may not know this, but circumcision is also common in Muslim society. I don't know if Matthew knows this, but I wish to make him painfully aware of this fact. So here is what I want you to do: If you have a few spare moment, please send Matthew an e-mail. Tell him how much you love his comic, and mention to him that genital mutilation (as he likes to call it) is also common in the Middle East, and how much you would like him to address this issue in his comic.

I can't wait to see his fair and sensitive portrait of Arabs.

Okay, he actually made a new chapter about Turks (possibly thanks to your help.) Moving on to Aborigines...

Update

It seems some of you may have actually taken the homework seriously. Because, after a two-year hiatus, Foreskin Man finally updated with a new issue about him fighting people in Turkey (I don't think he understands that Persians and Arabs are not the same thing.) And it is just as racist and stupid as you might have imagined.

So let's see if we can follow this up. You know what culture has circumcisions that he has yet to insult? Australian Aborigines. Here is his email again. If you want more bigoted adventures from our pureblooded hero, why don't you go inform our friend Matthew of this and send him a link to any of these articles or videos to rile him up and see if he makes a new issue?

Good luck.

Oh God It Keeps Going

Since the above mentioned update, the author uploaded another two issues, and that seemed to be the end of it. Then he uploaded a seventh, in which he juggles legitimate avenues of activism versus the vigilantism he fantasizes about. That's the thing about crazy: it's unpredictable.

Links