Milk Toast and Maple

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Original review author: CynicalStyx
Webcomic name: Milk Toast and Maple
Author: Ami Guillen, Kyoshi, Zazu, and Akyu.
Start Date August 20th, 2013
End Date Ongoing
Genre Coming-of-age/Slice of life
Defining Flaw Terrible writing tainting quality art -- nothing we haven't seen of course.

Ratings summary:
Art Wiki.png Wiki.png Wiki.png

Great coloring, great lines, great character designs -- talent right here.

Storyline: Wiki.png Wiki.png

A little bitch going through high school.

Characters: Wiki.png

Horribly established and extremely unlikable.

Overall: Wiki.png

Bittersweet Candy Bowl has more personality than this.



Background

Dude, where's my car?


You know that creepy socially-awkward guy who sits at lunch alone and wears XS Kurt Cobain suicide letter T-shirts?

Well, he didn't make this comic. It was that other creepy socially-awkward guy that you might've mistaken for the other guy cuz he also sits at lunch alone and he likes to rant about how evil Jerry Only is and that Michale Graves will always be the better frontman (Danzig is not part of the big discussion cuz he's a big-time MTV sellout, y'all).

HE made this comic.

Story & Characters

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So the story's about this blue-haired punk boy named Neil, going through "Hell" as he attends his first day of high school in America.

Neil is a bitch, and that's the best way to describe this bitch. When he's not scribbling down doodles of shooting down his school, he's being a disrespectful little tard, calling women bitches and fat, shouting like a maniac in his classroom, and slamming doors like a fuck. And this is the main protagonist of the story, people. This is him, so does that mean I'm suppose to like this guy? Personally, I'd like to give this guy the good old fashioned American History X-curb stomp because Neil may just happen to be the biggest piece of shit in Webcomic history. This is why I can never feel for Neil whenever misfortune comes his way -- 9/10 he deserves it and for good reason.

Which is also why it doesn't make sense how Hannah Mills could possibly like this miserable fuck-up.

Hannah's this happy-go-lucky ginger girl who, without any explainable reason why, finds Neil to be a very likable guy and tries befriending him throughout the comic -- only to be bombarded with a typical "FUCK OFF" and a door slam to the face every time. This is NOT how you write girls because girls DON'T act like this. Go up to any girl and scream out loud in their face -- I can guarantee you won't be seeing them anytime soon. Not much else is known about Hannah as the writer has yet to write anything significant about her character.

Dion Selinn is a stoner. But not Devon Sawa or Seth Rogen-stoner funny, just a stoner. So interesting, man.

The rest of the characters are just incredibly unlikable, like shit.

Writing

Oh boy.

The level of vulgarity "Milk Toast and Maple" presents is probably one of it's biggest scars. When it comes to writing (comedy specifically), there's a set of strict rules you have to abide by. If you plan on using vulgarity in your writing, it HAS to be balanced with the same amount of jokes you put in. But the problem with "Milk Toast and Maple" is that it doesn't have any jokes -- or at least tries. I don't recall any funny or memorable jokes ever -- this comic's a comedy right?

And what's the vulgarity you're asking? It's cursing -- and I'm expecting one of these characters to say the N-word already.

Cursing alone can actually be funny IF you do it at the right time or very sparingly. But if you're just excessively cursing for the hell of it and out-of-context like a 12 year old, it gets old real fucking fast.

Vulgarity aside, the second biggest issue is the dialogue. The writer doesn't bother to experiment with any puns, alliterations, assonance, whatever -- he just writes away with the bare minimum in mind so he can get through the story quicker instead of giving his character's unique dialects. The pacing also goes by too fast -- therefore squandering any potential chance that these characters had for participating in an interesting conversation. Let these cynical shitheads breath and talk for once so they can let their emotions out and maybe not be cynical shitheads anymore. Some of the best dialogue comes from that type of stuff!

Art review

Ya can't deny talent.


The art is where this comic actually gives a shit.

In an age where unoriginal dweebs get out the trace book and copy Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, or whatever cartoons grown men like to watch nowadays -- it's always a treat to see something with it's own original touch. Granted, your average punk-rock contrarian shithead will take one glance and point out how it's derivative of Jamie Hewlett's work, but Ami still manages to barely pinch in his own style (unlike some artists.)

Height inconsistency. Also awkward running pose.

The coloring is great, the lines are broad and dynamic, the facial expressions (while frequently exaggerated) match with the character's mood and dialogue.

... But of course you want your greasy examples.

Every 1-2 pages, you'll find those common little flaws that your average webcomic artist starting out will look over. Examples like doors that look flat, floor tiles that are incorrectly aligned, streets with awkward perspectives. And I don't know if it's just the character's style, but every single character has a dark nose. It looks cute I suppose, but it also looks awkward -- like everyone caught the swine flu or somethin'.

However, when you're dealing with art that obviously has a high level of skill behind it, minor mistakes like the three listed can SOMETIMES be excusable. Not every line you draw has to be a perfection of straightness, or every human's anatomy you draw has to be scientifically accurate. I am NOT condoning doing bad art, but I'm not denying that it's not an artistic dishonor either -- professionals do it all the time. Take a look at the backgrounds from Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life and tell me how many straight lines you see. Or look at some of Jack Kirby's artwork and tell me how realistic the poses are. I bet you didn't know comic book artists purposely don't add in details to their backgrounds sometimes because once the comic resizes from 11x17 to 6x9, you can hardly notice.

Author biography

Ami states that he suffers from PTSD, so apparently he's a war veteran. I'm not gonna bother going through his history, because this is a comic review and I don't care.

Self-portrait.

Sorry if I ruined this but... ProjectDishwasher here. I did some research on this person and found that Ami is trans. Seems ok, nothing wrong with that. But Ami also draws child porn (sometimes underaged characters would do the do with an older character), he also created a show called "Miss Officer and Mister Truffles". Then everyone found out about the porn, as well as all the disgusting stuff that Ami did offscreen. Why are there no pics? Everything's deleted.

Conclusion

I mean that's what high school was about, algebra, bad lunch, and infidelity. - Dante Hicks

You know, Dante has a point here.

I mean, aside from just copying some asian nerd's homework and bringing your own lunch, high school's not the time to exclusively listen to "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" and "The Black Parade" on your limited edition Marilyn Manson iPod nano. You're suppose to be getting laid, dude. Or at the very least, getting baked and not act like you're going through a premature mid-life crisis.

High school can be a bitch, so don't be a bitch.

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