Goblins

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GiantDouche.jpg WARNING: The creator of this webcomic is a giant douche, even by internet standards. Their behavior may include, but is not limited to: Rampant displays of racism, sexism, homophobia and/or other forms of bigotry and douchebaggery. May spew invective at critics and fans alike. Avoid real-life interaction as much as possible.
MrYuk.gif WARNING: This webcomic will nauseate many readers. This can be for a whole slew of reasons, including graphic depictions of gore, grossly unappealing depictions of sexual behavior, offensive descriptions of sexual abuse, and so on. In any case, this webcomic (and maybe even this review) is not for the weak of stomach. MrYuk.gif
Original review author(s): Turcano
Webcomic Name: Goblins: Life through Their Eyes
Author: Tarol Hunt, aka "Thunt", coloring by Danielle Stephens (previously by Forest Rhodes)
Start Date: June 26, 2005
End Date: Ongoing (?)
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Torture Porn
Defining Flaw: Trying to inject drama into a comedy with spectacularly bad results.
Things that are fucking terrible about this webcomic: Ugly art, glacial pacing, overuse of gore, schizophrenic and needlessly bleak tone, money grubbing that might even rival that of The Wotch, and pushing Hidden Agendas.
Things that aren't terrible but could use improvement: Some of the characters are interesting, I guess. Even though the overall art is terrible, the draftsmanship is pretty good.
Summary: I'M SAD.


Rating Summary
Art: Goblins tear rating 02.png Goblins tear rating 02.png

The characters all look both flat and lumpy at the same time. That's almost impressive.

Storyline: Goblins tear rating 01.jpg

Vacillates between comedy and melodrama, creating awkward shifts in tone. The narrative splinters into two and then three storylines, and tends to switch between storylines at inappropriate moments.

Characters: Goblins tear rating 02.png Goblins tear rating 02.png

A few characters are okay, but most of them are bland. Villains tend to be cartoonishly evil.

Humor: Goblins tear rating 02.png Goblins tear rating 02.png

Tends to be on the dumb side with heavy use of puns, and often inappropriate for the tone (see above).

Miscellaneous Details: Goblins Abuse Of Fan Generosity 01.png Goblins Abuse Of Fan Generosity 01.png Goblins Abuse Of Fan Generosity 01.png Goblins Abuse Of Fan Generosity 01.png Goblins Abuse Of Fan Generosity 01.png

Thunt is a shameless donation whore and an Agenda Pusher.

Overall: Goblins tear rating 01.jpg

Tedious and shamelessly manipulative.



Background

It goes without saying that the manner in which Dungeons and Dragons depicts the cultures of monstrous creatures is not terribly logical. Small groups of sapient monsters tend to live out in the middle of nowhere apart from their women and children, guarding treasure that they apparently refuse to use or spend, almost like they exist entirely for the purpose of giving the player characters easy loot and experience. This and many other absurdities in the game have provided fertile ground for parody and pastiche, and many webcartoonists (and in the case of Dragon magazine, print cartoonists) have based their careers on them. In 2005, Tarol Hunt decided to throw his hat into the ring. Most of his predecessors focused more on the issues surrounding player characters than on the monstrous creatures they fought, and he saw this as a niche to exploit. And thus Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes was born.

Downfall

SAD.jpg

Goblins started out as a dumb but relatively inoffensive send-up of the absurdities of Dungeons & Dragons in a manner similar to Order of the Stick and other comics of that nature. However, Thunt decided to turn the comic into a dramatic piece. Since the characters have no personality, the only way Thunt felt he could make readers sympathize with them was to put them through the wringers of over-the-top gore and forced edginess. In the parlance of Goblins' critics, SAD happened.

Story and Plot

After the attack on the goblin village, the focus splits onto two and then three groups, each with their own story:

  • The main group of goblins, who decide to become an adventuring party. Of the three, this is by far the least interesting group. It consists of:
    • Chief, who was made chief of the village as an infant as a political compromise, and has no personality besides being a coward. Becomes a cleric. Dead.
    • Big Ears, who becomes a paladin after watching his best friend die. Yeah, that's pretty much it. Was revealed to be gay due to one of Tarol's many "Agendas" he tries to push onto everyone.
    • Complains of Names, who was originally the comic's foil, and was exiled for using equipment from the village treasure chest during the attack in defiance of a taboo, creating the impetus for forming the party. Becomes a barbarian.
    • Thaco, Complains' father and generic grizzled badass. Becomes a monk.
    • Fumbles, the party's "wacky" character who creates a ridiculous alter ego for himself with the name of (ugh) Senor Vorpal Kickass'O and chooses to become 1/11th of every core character class at once (because again, "wacky").
  • The second group consists of the adventurers who survived the attack on the goblin village, consisting of:
    • Minmax, a character tweaked to be a combat monster at the expense of being a drooling retard out of combat.
    • Forgath, a dwarf cleric and foil for Minmax's idiot manchild shenanigans. Chose the DM as his patron deity. (How original.)
    • Kin, a yuan-ti and a late addition to the group who started out as a sex slave to one of the villains. Has left the group as of this writing due to forced drama.
Originally, this group also had three drow characters, a Drizz't do'Urden clone, a bimbo sorceress and a sadistic rogue, who died in the attack on the goblin village. Characters belonging to the same players show up later, but are quickly forgotten. Of the three, this is probably the most interesting group (relatively speaking, of course).
  • The third group consists of:
    • Dies Horribly, who was separated from the main goblin adventurer party and is a massive coward due to the prophecy regarding his name.
    • Klik, who is that thing from the cover of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and replaces one of Dies' arms with a semi-sentient T-1000 replacement that eventually turns evil.
    • Saves a Fox, a female goblin who serves as Dies' love interest and is obsessed with overcoming fate.
Temporary members of this group include the son of the matriarch of a goblin clan (see below), a lizardman with an apparent vore fetish (also dead), and an orc who was held prisoner by a demon (this guy might be a more permanent member, it's a little too early to tell as of this writing).

The villains encountered by the parties include:

  • Kore, a dwarf "paladin" that murders everything he comes across, including children.
  • Dellyn Goblinslayer, an elf ranger with tree body parts who tortures monstrous humanoids because it's the only way he can orgasm.
  • Duv, the White Terror, a goblin matriarch and Chosen One figure who wanted to play nice with the civilized races, but was crippled by those mean old humans and is now out for revenge. (If you've noticed an unsubtle pattern so far, congratulations! You have an IQ above room temperature.)

Art review

09/2014 site update: Thunt's ugly, lopsided showcasing of what he thinks looks cool has extended to his entire website.
Let's not beat around the bush; the art in this comic is fucking ugly. All of the character designs, even the ones for human characters, are lumpy and misshapen, being likened to melted candle wax by many readers. In the beginning, the comic was simply scanned ink drawings, which gave the art a little bit of charm, but the transition to digital inking was not kind to it at all. Also, you know how most hack cartoonists can draw faces at three-quarter perspective, but suck at drawing head-on and in profile? Well, Thunt has the opposite problem: he can draw faces head-on and in profile well enough, but his faces look disturbingly flat in three-quarter perspective, almost like his characters are wearing cheap cardboard Halloween masks. Character design is a mess as well, as Thunt's philosophy of character design seems to prioritize what he thinks is cool rather than what makes any goddamn sense. For example, one character has a shield so heavy that it requires tracks to move and wields a brace of octuple crossbows that should either break themselves, the wielder's wrists, or most likely both when fired, while another character has several tiny pouches attached to tassels on a shirt (somewhere Rob Liefeld is having a spontaneous orgasm).

Coloring is overly simple and washed-out for the most part, with an inexplicable preference for pastels, and colors tend to clash with each other. The major exception to this is blood, which is invariably bright candy-apple red and makes the violence look much more cartoonish than the tone would normally suggest. Frank Miller was able to use garish blood coloring to great effect, but this was also done against a high contrast of black and white, not a normal comic with the luminosity turned up and the saturation turned down. Recently, Thunt has started the practice of uploading strips as he used to do them first, and then replacing them with versions that have been shaded. This attempt at improvement is commendable, but it has two major flaws:

  • Does the shading in this comic significantly improve the artwork? I'll let you decide. (But the answer is no.)
    The shading is inconsistent in its quality, and is usually quite bad. At its worst, the shading is very slight, generally only near the lines, which ends up giving elements an embossed look to them instead of adding depth; this is especially true on characters' faces, which have the most pressing need of definition (actually, some of the shading appears to confirm that, yes, these characters are supposed to look like lumpy potato-people). When this is combined with shadows cast from other elements, it gives the impression of really shitty ViewMaster-style 3D effects. Moreover, the shading appears to be done in a single transparent color rather than proper shades of the relevant base color, which makes the art look dirty, especially on lighter colors (which are all over the place).
  • Why put up an unshaded version of the strip if you're just going to replace it with the finished version anyway? You don't upload uncolored or uninked versions just for the sake of putting something up (most of the time). Just wait until it’s finished and then put it up. The way it is now, the only people who see the "good" version are people who read the comic later or who are reading from the archive, depending on the length of the delay. (It also makes copy-pasting from finished pages really, really obvious.) This decision completely baffles me, especially considering the fact that Thunt's fans have been very forgiving of inconsistent updates in the past.

Purely artistic flaws aren't the only concern; the composition of the comic is terrible as well. In many cases, particularly during action scenes, it's difficult to figure out what the hell is going on. This is usually due to major mistakes in perspective, and while admittedly perspective is one of the most difficult things to get right in a comic, it’s also of critical importance to properly convey the action-heavy story that Thunt wants to. This inability to get perspective right can also cause characters to look even more grotesquely deformed than usual, to the point where one character suddenly looks like a thalidomide baby. Facial expressions and poses are heavily overused, particularly the "landing in a crouch with one hand on the ground" pose Thunt uses whenever he wants to make a character look badass. Layout is serviceable if uninspired, but there is an unfortunate tendency to cram too many panels on a single page, especially in exposition scenes.

Writing review

It's funny when you reinterpret this speech as coming from the author.

The biggest problem with the comic, even more than the art, is its tone. The central thesis of Goblins for most of its run has been that Man Is The Real Monster; this would be a perfectly acceptable premise for a story as long as there is any sort of subtlety to it. To be fair, this subtlety did exist very early on in the comic's run. But when you have one villain who murders children because of perceived cultural contamination and another villain who tortures sentient beings for pleasure and openly brags about being a rapist, and when "human" is unironically used as an insult, subtlety is a commodity in very short supply. The only major villain from a monstrous humanoid race so far was basically forced into becoming one due to humanity's prejudice a la Frankenstein. Minmax and Forgath are pretty much the only members of civilized races who see anything wrong with treating every other lifeform as an ambulatory hunk of XP or worse. This is, in fact, taken to such extremes that it ends up undermining the comic's original premise. When Big Ears confirms that Goblinslayer's minions are evil and thereby gives his party permission to massacre them, the minions have ironically been turned into the very same cannon fodder for the protagonists to mow through without having to worry about the moral ramifications for which most fantasy authors use, you know, goblins. You can't make a philosophical statement that means anything when all you did was have the teams switch jerseys.

There has been speculation on our boards that Thunt has a crying fetish.
Furthermore, it is a sacred law that no one is allowed to be happy in this comic. If a character is even temporarily happy, it's only to serve as added fodder for the inevitable descent into SAD. The term "grimdark" gets thrown around a lot, but it definitely applies here. And for that kind of bleakness to work, it needs to be either very tongue-in-cheek or have the characters be able to overcome adversity without having everything come crashing back down every fifteen minutes. And when I say "overcome adversity," I mean in terms of character growth, not adding to the heroes' collection of overpowered magic weapons. (In D&D parlance, this practice of handing out swag like Halloween candy is called a "Monty Hall" campaign.) Thunt hasn't shown much ability to make the audience sympathize with the characters by fleshing them out (certainly not with the "main" group of characters), so his only recourse is to constantly shit on them so that the audience sympathizes with their plight. In fact, Thunt is so adamant on this tack that he pursues it even when it results in phenomenally bad narrative decisions, like killing off a main character for no reason at all and with no payoff or flushing several months of character development down the toilet (that last example is so bad that it's shaping up to be this comic's version of Ctrl+Alt+Del's miscarriage arc). Well, you can't take shortcuts like that and expect it to work. It's like watching a bad slasher movie (i.e, pretty much any slasher movie): if I don't care about the characters as people, then why should I give a shit what happens to them? And if the characters keep getting the rug pulled out from under them, what reason do I have to remain invested in their plight?
This is not the product of a healthy mind.
Thunt's favorite way to bring the SAD, by far, is the liberal application of ultraviolence. Characters are continually slashed, stabbed, crushed, shot, gouged, impaled, bisected, dismembered, beheaded, burned, digested, melted with magic, put through a Salad Shooter, and subjected to pretty much every other horrible thing you could think of and some that you couldn't. Ultraviolence is normally used for one of two reasons: shock value or black comedy. The overall tone suggests the former, but this is severely hampered by the cartoonishness of the art. Moreover, you can't really shake the uncomfortable feeling that the author gets off on all of this.

And even this would be marginally less horrible if it were at least consistent. Even though the comic as it stands now is more melodramatic than a penny dreadful, Thunt refuses to let go of the comic's comedic roots and tries to inject humor into it, which only contributes to jarring shifts in tone. Perhaps the most egregious example is when the comic goes from a strip mocking passive-aggressive DMs (a topic on which Thunt is an expert) to Kore attacking a monstrous humanoid hideout, then cuts to Fumbles being a dumbass, cuts back to Kore's rampage and child killing, and then cuts back to the goblins like nothing even happened. The attempts at comic relief fall even flatter due to the fact that they're almost always terrible puns, ancient gaming references that have long since worn out their welcome, other unfunny observational gaming humor, or situations that boil down to "Gee, that Minmax/Fumbles/other character sure is stupid and/or wacky, amirite?"

So, were you actually interested in what happens at the end of the page on the left? TOO BAD! I guess you'll have to wait three years to find out. No, I'm not kidding.

The comic's pacing can charitably be described as glacial. This is due in large part to the fact that the comic juggles three different storylines, which is hard to do even in a good webcomic. This in turn is compounded by Thunt's irritating tendency to create cliffhangers by switching to another storyline at the climax of the current one, which means that if you actually cared about that story arc, you get to wait several months, sometimes years to see how it's resolved, and by that point the average reader no longer cares about or even remembers what's happening. But it's mostly due to a perverse need to show fight scenes in as much detail as possible. Every blow and dodge from every character needs its own panel, like this is some overly detailed storyboard for a movie, and only so many of these frames can be fit on a page. Exposition also both drags out the pace and makes a page feel much longer than it really is, because it's usually frame after frame of talking heads with a speech bubble taking up at least a third of the frame. Moreover, the frames used for this are quite narrow, which normally signifies a relatively brisk pace, and this clashes with the walls of text even further. This is the worst possible way to deliver exposition. No wait, I take that back; the worst possible way to deliver exposition is to bring a fight scene to a complete stop to unload literally a full page of exposition onto the reader. And if all this didn't already drag things to a snail's pace, this comic has actual filler. When Thunt is pressed for time on an update (or just can't be assed), he'll put up some biography on a past owner of a mystical McGuffin or characters from an alternate reality or other shit no one cares about. Seriously, I don't understand how even a fan can tolerate this when it means that the pace of the comic drops yet another precious notch.

Characterization is another major problem in this comic. The fact that every character is two-dimensional at best is only the beginning. Characters behave in ways that are completely baffling. Remember how I referred to Fumbles as the "wacky" character a while back? Well, in this case, "wacky" means "literally retarded," which makes him creepy instead of cute (well, obnoxious is more accurate, but whatever) and causes his antics, which are meant to be funny, to make you feel uneasy because it's like you're watching someone making fun of a mentally handicapped person. Case in point: the whole Brassmoon story arc is precipitated by Fumbles accidentally injuring a child from a passing trade caravan while swinging a sword around like the annoying spaz that he is (how the children managed to get that close without hearing him is a question for the ages). He feels guilty about this, and decides to make up for it by returning a toy the child dropped for some reason. And when he gets to the town, he asks a random passerby where the child lives. This is "in serious danger of drowning in a bowl of applesauce" levels of retarded. Kin, who is portrayed as highly intelligent, is apparently not intelligent enough to keep her mind-control rape leash (God, I wish I didn't have to type that phrase) from being out in the open where anybody can just grab it. Generally speaking, any given character can be counted on to take the most nonsensical option available for every decision they make. But it can go the other way, too: Minmax, for example, vanquishes an alternate-reality version of himself in a manner that is far too clever for his submoronic brain to come up with. This actually brings up one of the most irritating things about Goblins: there are occasional flashes of genuine brilliance, but they quickly become submerged in the mires of shittiness.

Thunt is particularly well-known for his consummate dialogue.

The writing of actual dialogue is no better than the tone or the pacing. Characters speak in an often very stilted manner, which is sometimes so hilariously bad that Thunt has to go back and change it. Intelligent characters have said intelligence portrayed using the time-tested hack formula of talking way too much while abusing the thesaurus; when you have two or more of these characters talking to each other, the walls of text would give Buckley pause. The stiltedness is particularly noticeable in Thunt's use of minced oaths such as "son of a crap" or "what the crap is this hell?" Thunt, you do know you're allowed to swear on the internet, right? If the intent was to make the comic family-friendly, I should point out that this is a comic that graphically depicts people getting their faces chopped off and where a character has a rape leash. Trust me, that ship has sailed.

Author biography

Wangst and Irresponsibility

Playing bingo with Hunt's Twitter feed is recommended over making a drinking game out of it. Nobody ever got alcohol poisoning from playing bingo.
Tarol Hunt usually goes by the handle of Thunt, which is an unfortunate choice considering what it rhymes with (although that is a very good descriptor of his personality). If you've heard anything about him outside of making Goblins, it's more than likely in the capacity of being a passive-aggressive jackass. Whether he's engaging in a feud with the makers of Bittersweet Candy Bowl over some perceived slight or airing dirty laundry regarding an ugly custody dispute with an ex-girlfriend, to pushing certain Hot Button Topic Agendas, Thunt always takes the opportunity to prove himself the lesser man. In fact, a recent newspost is so passive-aggressive that I'm not even quite sure what it's supposed to be, only that it's not an apology because he makes that quite clear. (Even under the most charitable reading of the newspost, he can't even empathize with people without sounding like a tool.) And to put the cherry on this shit sundae, he was a business partner with that cockbag Ryan Sohmer up until the end of May 2013.

Of course, being a horrible douche isn't Thunt's only problem. The skeezy feeling you might get from reading the comic gets compounded by newsposts like this, where he explains that Kin's status as a rape victim is based on his mother and that Goblinslayer's death is based on a revenge fantasy. I... Uh... Wow. That's something you probably should have kept to yourself (especially since it puts what can be very easily construed as a rape joke on Twitter in a whole new uncomfortable light). By the way, it might be indicative that the only time Thunt seems to be more creepy than his usual self is when he's making botched attempts at talking about gender.

(And a trigger warning? Really? I don't remember any trigger warnings for the strip in question, or any of the other sick shit in this comic, for that matter. If you're going to pull that kind of Tumblr bullshit, at least be consistent with it.)

In 2014, after about three months of hiatus on the comic (with an explanation promised - by his wife - early on but never given), the man comes up with this thing. This is beyond description. There is no comment that could come close to the unveiled reality of what this wall of text is. (If you feel intimidated by its absurd length, content-wise it's about four parts wallowing in self-pity to one part telling his readers to fuck themselves in his usual passive-aggressive manner for daring to hold him to any kind of standard.) And that isn't even the worst it gets; he had temporarily published an even more bugnutty draft on his fan forum implicating Tumblr drama in his breakdown (a copy of which has been preserved here). After seven months of "self-inflicted PTSD", Goblins finally had a teaser page announcing it was back on September 15th, 2014.

...and what Thunt managed to create over the course of several weeks was a single page, gory, ugly and SAD even by Goblins standards, through multiple iterations (rough draft, uncolored draft, colored draft), and the final product has been on the home page for quite some time now. If this turns out to be the very last page of Goblins ever, I'd definitely consider it a fitting end.

All told, Thunt gives the impression that he's only a few steps short of becoming a serial killer. And I guess this comic justifies its existence if it keeps him from gutting homeless people, but the point of a webcomic is ostensibly to entertain an audience, not to vent embarrassing psychological issues through vicarious revenge (a lesson that he should have learned from other webcartoonists), or push bullshit Agendas.

Greed and Unaccountability

Besides being a passive-aggressive Gordian Knot of creepyness, Thunt is best known for milking the hell out of his fanbase. Yes, for some demented reason, this comic not only has fans, but fans whose fanaticism was put on full display during the shitstorm when Goblins lost a voting contest to a much better webcomic despite rampant cheating on their part (seriously, they behaved so badly that Thunt and the other finalist were shamed into donating their prize money to charity). And they're very free with their money. Thunt was able to buy a house in large part due to donations (more on this below). And that's money that they're just straight-up giving him, on top of merchandise sales and ad revenue.

If you don't donate, we'll kill this goblin. (Yes, that is a Predator.)

Thunt's most cynical donation drives are the "Tempts Fate" series, which puts a goblin of the same name into retarded but extremely hazardous situations and can only be kept alive if donation thresholds are met. Sort of like the old National Lampoon cover that threatened IF YOU DON’T BUY THIS MAGAZINE WE’LL KILL THIS DOG, but not a joke. The first ten Tempts Fate drives have netted Mr. Hunt a total of $18,142.86. That is not a typo. One of the larger drives offered a PBS-style "gift" of a T-shirt for donations over $25, and a very small amount went to charity (Thunt’s idea of generosity is apparently one quarter of the proceeds of one drive), but that’s still a ridiculous amount of money for holding a cartoon character hostage, especially one that was created specifically for this purpose. In fact, the titular character is so confident in Thunt's fans coming through that he looks almost bored in most of his screen-time.

The latest Tempts Fate drive was even more successful than the first ten put together, bringing in over $37,151.67 (also not a typo). This is how Thunt was able to afford a down payment on his house, and he was understandably grateful to his fans, but apparently not grateful enough to finish the relevant comic as of this writing, even after he promised to do so twice and it's been nearly three years since then (and if the "I Quit" newspost is anything to go by, he probably never will).

But as far as fan-fleecing goes, even this doesn't hold a candle to the Kickstarter launched during June 2013. It's called "Goblins: Alternate Realities" or "G:AR" for short. Thunt's fans gave him $177,850 (again, not a typo). For a collectible card game. Why the everloving fuck would anyone pay money for a collectible card game based on a webcomic (even a good one)? Who are you going to play it with? And if you think it'll ever get an update or support, then dream on, you mad bastard. I mean Jesus, not even Penny Arcade has enough of a following to make that enterprise worthwhile. This is either a scam or hubris of the highest order.

Pledge Backers Rewards ETA
$2 89 Credit as a Supporter & Eligibility for all Instant Rewards. Jul 2013
$11 63 ^ + Personalized Character Badge Dec 2013
$37 621 ^ + Core Game with all Stretch Goals, Set of KS Exclusive Unseen Treasure Cards Dec 2013
$55 958 ^ + Shield of Wonder Effects Card Set Dec 2013
$99 337 ^ + Map of the Realm Playmat Dec 2013
$151 57 ^ + Character Cling Stickers, T-Shirt of your choice Dec 2013
$252 110 ^ + All Expansion Sets (shipping not included) Dec 2013
$404 8 ^ + Map of the Realm Gaming Tablecloth Dec 2013
$707 2 ^ + Demo Copies of the Core Game, Shield of Wonder Set and First Expansion Set Jul 2013
$1,111 9 ^ + Signed Prints of the Cover Artwork for the Core Game and all future Expansion Sets Dec 2013

To sum all that up, if you're one of the nine people who gave $1,111 towards financing Hunt's card game, by December of 2013 you should have received everything on that list.

As of June 17, 2014, nearly one year after the Kickstarter was funded, the fans began wondering where their rewards were. They were right to wonder. The last update from the game developer was on June 12, 2013 while the Kickstarter was still running. The last Facebook update for the card game was in October of 2013 (excluding Thunt changing the heading 11 months later) as was the last update for Evertide Game's FB page.

These topical remarks from the Goblins forum aren't exactly reassuring either...

"I'm one of those backers. And my faith in Evertide Games is rapidly dwindling. It took them nearly 6 months to give me a usable reply as to why G:AR isn't showing up on my Evertide Games Store profile.. And even that reply is just an excuse. "Some database migration problems".."

Etc.

They also rarely respond to questions posted to their Facebook page, and replies tend to be "send us an e-mail."

But I've seen comments about taking upwards of 6 months to get a reply via e-mail in some cases, so yeah.

One month later someone from the gaming company showed up in the thread and posted an apology and a link to a press release. The real highlight of it came from the company president:

After the Goblins campaign ended, as we further tested the game in preparation for production, the design team discovered irreconcilable problems with the design and embarked on a comprehensive overhaul of the system. Due to the vicissitudes of R&D work, that overhaul has generated numerous other unworkable designs and false starts before we were able to find a system that was fun, representative of Goblins and matched what we promised during the campaign.
Tempts Fate 11, Challenge #1: Defeated by jumping on its head. "KersplosionForNoReason" was the sound effect. Alternate possibilities include: "NotNowImBusy", "AlreadyGotMine", and "YouPaidForThis"
Tempts Fate 11, Challenge #2: Oh look, Tempts jumped onto someone's head again, instantly killing a demon... which Thunt's established can only be killed with holy weapons.
Tempts Fate 11, Challenge #3: Yes, he jumped again and turned into a statue. Yes, he overcame a challenge via being an irritant.
Tempts Fate 11, Challenge #4: "Nobody knows how he did it. Jumping was probably involved. Now, for something completely different..."

"Vicissitudes" is a pretentious $1,111 word for "frequently changing" and, if the other comments in the thread were true, it's likely the R&D was hampered by simultaneously making a card game out of Kingdom of Loathing and another one out of Romantically Apocalyptic. It may also be why (as of this update) the Official G:AR Rules haven't been updated since August of 2013.

By now you're probably wondering why I haven't been talking about Tarol Hunt for around 3 paragraphs. I've been setting the stage to make a point. See, I recently read the thread from the Links section where Goblins fan critiqued this review. Goblins fans complained that we attacked Tarol Hunt over being a shameless, irresponsible, ungrateful, narcissistic, passive-aggressive, agenda pushing... well, all those things we said. So instead of attacking "Thunt" I'm going to address the fans, because as a former fan, I have some sympathy for you all.

Let's do a little role playing!


It's November 4, 2014, and let's say you were someone who pledged $1,111 in this bad economy. You lose your job. Winter is coming. You don't have a Goblins t-shirt to add to the layers of clothes you're wearing, you don't have any cards or prints to fuel your barrel fire, stickers to trade with your fellow bagpeople for food, a tablecloth/placemat to use as a blanket, or even a personal character badge to remind you of your former life. Then, when you slip into the library to check your email, you find that your request to the publisher for information from June still hasn't gotten a reply.

Frustrated, cold, and confused, you pop over to Twitter to see what Thunt has to say about the game. The first thing you see is he's been wasting time he should have been putting a comic out emoticon acting a scene from Star Wars. He probably was just blowing off steam though. You look further and find him bragging about a hangover, creating a Spanish Spiderman out of a Spiderman head and a stick-on beard, speculating on the merits of listing the definition of "definition", and complaining about the least important piece of visual continuity in a comic he totally fucked up most of the visual continuity in.

You keep scrolling backwards in time through all the goofy drivel Thunt's tweeted about until you realize you're coming up on the edge of The Gap. You remember that dark, 7 month period where Thunt neglected his comic and his fans trying to overcome self-inflicted PTSD. You think how he must have suffered in that house you bought him in exchange for those Tempts Fate comics he phoned in. I mean one demon had a sound effect announcing it exploded for no reason, and the comic ended with fucking framework drawings announcing nobody knows how the comic ended. No. No! We're not going to take out our cold, shirtless, homeless angst on Thunt! Let's skip past remembering his struggles to realize you're not his boss. That was a dark time for him.

So you dismiss all this bullshit he's posting instead of drawing as leftover damage from the legitimate PTSD Thunt totally suffered. You just do a search on Twitter instead. Huh. Thunt hasn't said word-one about G:AR since July 1, 2013. In fact, the last thing he said about the Kickstarter is, "If you include the 'alternate payment methods', we've passed $180k! 96 minutes left!" The Goblins blog is empty of comments about the state of the game, except a single post from January announcing everyone loved the demo game (which will be scrapped) and the backers should have their stuff by June.

You sit there, cold, t-shirtless, and probably reeking of urine, as the realization sinks in. It dawns on you that Thunt hasn't done anything to facilitate communications between his fans and the company he got them to give their money to in order to produce his game for him. You even begin to feel a little chafed that Thunt, while living in that house you bought him, has put out a paltry 9 comics this year and it's early November.


You all have made the point that this review is very harsh on Hunt as a person. My counterpoint is he has shirked all responsibility to you as fans. It's true that there are fans with bloated, unjustified senses of entitlement. However, there is nothing false about feeling entitled to not find a diatribe at the end of a 7 month hiatus announcing you will no longer bully Thunt in his imagination.

There is nothing false about feeling entitled to a Tempts Fate that you paid $37,151.67 for to consist of more than every challenge being overcome with an anti-climactic handwaving of difficulty moves from Super Mario Brothers games. With a couple more challenges Yoshi might have shown up and eaten someone. There's no excuse for this; remember, Tempts Fate 11 wasn't exactly rushed. It was announced in April 2011, Thunt declared in July he would work on camera with no more than 6 hours sleep to get those 4 pages quickly completed, and by May 2013 he was "done".

21 months after it started, Tempts Fate 11 ended with 3 of the 4 cash goal challenges defeated by jumping, except the last one where Hunt copped out and didn't show it. Remember? He had wireframe characters, one year in the future, debating what happened to Tempts before starting a plan to break into a prison named "Waffles." By the way, this final page telling you that you don't get to see the ending was announced as a bonus comic 'to thank you for your patience. You were entitled to better than that.

Lastly, there is no false entitlement in expecting a man who got you to spend over $180,000 to finance his card game to keep you up-to-date on how it's coming without being asked. It's even reasonable to expect more than one update in the 16 fucking months since you funded the damned thing.

You don't have to hate Thunt. You just have to recognize that it's far from unjustified, even if Goblins technically is a "free" comic.

Conclusion

As I've said before, this comic is not completely irredeemable. It's just that any potential that it might have had has been buried under a mountain of terrible art, grimdark, torture porn, lame referential humor, and pacing as slow as an iron toad. If Thunt just put some real effort into improving the art, composition, and writing, and finally decided just what the hell he wants to actually do with this comic, it might even become passable. But that's not going to happen any time in the foreseeable future, not when the comic has this many easily-pleased fans stepping over each other for the opportunity to throw money at him and blow his e-penis.

It's... well, SAD, really.

Links


Goblins is part of a series about Blind Ferret

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About: "Blind Ferret" is the media empire of Ryan Sohmer, the Crown Prince of Webcomic Smugness. Most infamous for its involvement in the execrable CAD: The Animated Series.

Comics

l Ctrl+Alt+Del l Goblins l Least I Could Do l Looking For Group l

Goblins is part of a series about keenspot


About: Created by Chris Crosby, Keenspot has developed a reputation for insane owners and snobbish elitism, which is really rich considering the kind of dreck that has been (and still is) part of the portal.

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Comics

Current: $ God Mode $ Last Blood $ Sore Thumbs $ Stalag '99 admin $ TwoKinds $ Wayward Sons: Legends $


Former: $ Bridgette's Belly $ Candi $ Dominic Deegan $ Goblins $ I Drew This $ Look What I Brought Home! $ Ménage à 3 $ Raine Dog $ Real Life $ School Bites $ Sinfest $ Wapsi Square $ Zap! $