Neokosmos

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Original review author: Lt. Art Major
Webcomic name: Neokosmos
Authors: Amber Cragg, Shelby Cragg, Adrienne Garcia and a bunch of other jackoffs. This webcomics has no less than three writers, four artists, and two musicians who make music for the animated slides and the webcomic still feels like something that some gal threw together because she was bored.
Start Date: May 1st, 2015
End Date: November 2017
Genre: *Digs up Homestuck's rotting corpse, skins her, and wears her as a suit* Look guys, it's me! Your old pal!
Defining Flaw: This webcomic doesn't know what to be, so it decided to be all of Shelby's favorite things.
Things that are fucking terrible about this webcomic: Most of the slides are intermediate slides with nothing happening, thus the webcomic is four times longer than it should be.
Things that aren't terrible but could use improvement: There is one thing I like about this webcomic, I like it so much I wish other webcomics did this. But it has nothing to do with this webcomic, so I will reference it later.
Summary: It's like if Act 1 of Homestuck were Act 6 of Homestuck but even more unbearable, and they never go on an adventure.

Rating Summary
Art: Half.png

Characters are made of basic polygons and there is no shading. I'm taking away half a point because even though this webcomic was drawn by a real artist with a real art degree, it still looks worse than anything I could do, and I'm a terrible artist.

Storyline: Wiki.png

It's there, but they never establish the goal for the characters.

Characters: Wiki.png

The cast page is left devoid of all detail aside from age, which should tell you everything.

Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.png

The website is ugly as sin, but navigating panels is nice from a technical standpoint.

Overall: Wiki.png

You can read it in about two hours, but you could also compose a sonnet or two in that time.



Background

Neokosmos is by far the most embarrassing thing I have ever read. I didn't say it was the worst thing I ever read, I also didn't say I was embarrassed to read it, I want to make it very clear that this Webcomic should be considered embarrassing on the authors' part.

According to a very reliable source this Webcomic was inspired by some cartoon called Akira, but I've never heard of that before. Something I have heard of before - unfortunately - is Homestuck, and this Webcomic reeks of Homestuck. It didn't just nick a thing or two from the Webcomic either, every point of contention was taken directly from Homestuck and not given the right context, so it just looks lol so quirky. Here are a list of things that Neokosmos took from Homestuck:


  • The main character is obsessed with a bad movie.
  • Every strip is a single panel
  • There is no text in the strip, just a box with words beneath it.
  • It was user-driven, until it wasn't.
  • The Webcomic is written in the second person.
  • There is a joke about the author telling the main character to do something obscene on his bed, and the main character refuses to do it.
  • One of the characters preforms a stylish and illegal acrobatic maneuver verbatim.
  • Making a joke about being someone else but then saying nah be yourself
  • Humans are dominated by a group of gray "genderless" aliens with a blood hierarchy with a red and gray crustacean guy being the black sheep.
  • There is a joke about green blocks where the joke is that they are boring.
  • This is bullshit verbatum
  • Everyone writes (speaks?) in different colors.
  • Update! blog, but it's maintained by the creators.
  • Snarky news section below the page.

Probably more but I don't care.


Not only does it steal from Homestuck, but it takes the few things that were good about Homestuck and ruins them. Interestingly, the "artists" for this webcomic used to do art for Homestuck, and one of them is working on the videogame adaptation, so you would think that they would have had some respect for the intellectual property, but I digress.

Downfall

This Webcomic was a terrible decision from the start. Regardless, page three is where it starts to show its true colors. In this panel, the main character, Tye, is making fan art for Die Hard, her favorite movie of all time. While making art, she runs into a problem, she doesn't know what the characters look like, so she makes them look like whatever. Some of them are blue and have purple hair. I really can't explain why the design choice was made by the character, and that's a fault of the writers, not me.

This scene is a reference, and by reference I mean joke theft, to Homestuck. In Homestuck, the main character, John, is obsessed with a bad movie no one had heard of before called Con Air, and aspires to be like Nicholas Cage, the star of the movie. The only reason why Tye in Neokosmos wants to be like Bruce Willis and loves Die Hard is because Shelby had to work it in somehow. Except, it doesn't work in Neokosmos because people in real life actually want to be as badass as Bruce Willis. No one wants to be like Nicholas Cage, which is why a retarded thirteen year old nerd looking up to him as the epitome of badassery is funny. There's really nothing funny about a fourteen year old lab subject looking up to Bruce Willis, and as the story evolves, her taste in famous actors turn out to be out of character.

That best samples about eighty percent of the writing-related flaws in this Webcomic.

Art Review

NeoKosmos 9 vs sheep 01.png
If you thought that Homestuck meets Steven Universe would be too autistic to be true, then get a load of this.

A guilty pleasure of mine is to laugh at really bad art. I like to go on DeviantArt sometimes and laugh at what some thirteen year old cooked up and laugh until I don't think it's funny anymore at how bad of an artist this guy is. To me this art is funny, because in the artist's mind, it's a masterpiece. The artist made it, and the artist thinks it's very epic and cool, and the artist thinks the whole internet needs to see it. Then, someone tells the artist, "No, you suck balls!" and the artist no longer knows what to do with the work.

The gangs all here!

The art in Neokosmos is not funny, even if it is some of the worst art I have ever seen, because it was drawn by no less than two artists. And these aren't any old fools, these are people with actual degrees in art from actual art colleges. And they have jobs outside of webcomics that involve drawing.

What? How does this happen?

I think the most offensive part is that Shelby can actually draw worth a damn if she really wants to. She's not a master, but that's still better than anything she's making today.

I don't know if it's because they tried to make a panel every day, or if it's because they just didn't care, but the art in Neokosmos is just lazy. There's no tone or shading, which is a poor decision for a story that takes place in a spaceship with dynamic and blinking lights. Yes, there are things going on in most frames, but that doesn't make it complex. Detail in composition doesn't make the frame complex on it's own if it isn't stylistically complex. This conflict of interest makes the composition unclear if any of the detail actually means anything or not.

There is a string of frames from here to here that are visually interesting, even if they don't make sense. These are vibrant in both color and tone. Why can't the rest of the webcomic be more like this?

Character Review

Something that is extremely (un)interesting about every character, except one, in this webcomic is that they all wish to be called they. Not that they are all a hivemind, but every individual wishes to be "they". I'm not going to play dumb and ask what is the narrative purpose of the choice. They (everyone) don't look and never act androgynous, thus there is really no reason for everyone to be "they". The reason for this was made in a cynical corporate move by the creators under the fallacy that if the characters are neither male or female, then the characters will appeal to both. Because while gender roles don't exist, gender entertainment demographics do.

This choice for the characters makes very little sense for the location of the story. The humans in this story live in a lab run by aliens. The aliens in question are shown to only have one sex, thus it makes sense, in a way, for the aliens to have a tertiary sexual pronoun. The humans, however, do not. The humans look and act clearly male or female, thus it makes no sense for the humans, except one for some reason, to be comfortable with only having one pronoun, when every developed language up to today has two sexual pronouns used in conversation. How any of the human characters feel about these pronouns goes unmentioned and the creators really dropped the ball on that one.

Shelby Cragg is a professional illustrator. She went to a university to learn how to draw. These are the character she can create.

There are two main characters. Fans, and possibly even the creators, will tell you there's three, but one of these three doesn't physically appear in the webcomic until the very end before the hiatus. The main character is some guy who only accidentally begins the plot, and her friend, who is a short, fat, and annoying elite hacker with mad skill (make the lights flicker) who will to anything to figure out how to open the door. These two have no motivation or stake in any of the outcomes. Then there are these tree people who live upstairs. Their personality is that they are hippies, but also little kids. They are wacky and so random when it comes to saying the words. Then there are aliens, who wear lab coats, and have epic science going on. There's also a giant beetle who has a super rad stick that makes marks on the ground.

Did you know that between these awesome characters and their epic going places, there is an actually interesting character? I even remember his name. It's seven. I don't know why, he isn't the seventh of anything. Seven is mentally disturbed, it's played completely straight, and he has psychic abilities. That's really is an interesting combination, because it means he has to find peace within himself in order to balance his mortal boons. He falls down a hole and never returns.

Plot Review

I already told you how it begins, with the cold open to Tye's fan fiction. I'm not going to add anything else, because it doesn't relate to the rest of the story.

Tye bums around her room and looks outside. The conflict is established almost immediately. Tye is bored. Some might say the conflict is Tye has to escape, but that's not a big deal to her at any point. Then an alien shows up and does tests (takes her blood pressure) on her and she feels dehumanized. She hates the alien because she never lets her have any fun. Then the aliens leave. Tye gets a call from two of her best friends, Z and Iris. Z is really kooky, she says things like "Wazzup" and is an 31317 H4CK3R (don't tell mom), which Tye thinks is really funny. And Iris, get ready for this guys, was born biologically male, but identifies as female. And you just have to deal with it.

Z's conversation lasts a page because literally no one cares about her, and Iris lasts a million years just to learn he won't even be apart of the story. Yeah. He is getting transfered to somewhere, and that makes Tye really sad. We also learn that Iris has a book called "Astrophysics, Gender, and You." I have no clue what relates all three of these things together.

Then the door opens and Tye can escape. Wowee. She decides to go snoop in a filling cabinet, which lasts for thirty panels and no one learns anything. Then she finds a room, and it turns out that it was Iris's room. This makes her sad, she "cannot handle it right now," and flounces from the dorm. Then the doctor alien appears and says it will be all right, we have to go. It turns out that pirates have invaded the lab, which sounds awesome, but it's not. The pirate is really lame. She just lumbers about and doesn't even say "Aargh!". The pirate kills the doctor alien and Tye gets even more sad. Tye runs about and appears in Z's room. Z goes "shhhhh, pat pat" on Tye to calm her down, which fans of The Divine Comedy will recognize as a clever reference.

Z and Tye pry a computer chip from the alien's head and use it to teleport away. They appear in a small wood where they are greeted by small African children. The albino African, who I presume is the leader, greets them and invites them to join her tribe. Z says, "No, that's fucking ghetto," and the two leave. They confront the small alien, who is the doctor alien's best friend, and she is sad and mad about doctor alien's death. She tries to get the two, but then the small African tribe get her instead. At least that's what I remember happened.

There is also a subplot where some paki named Seven tried to escape, except he is much more competent than Tye. He jumps up a hole and never returns.

Bye.

Then the story shifts to Iris. Do you remember Iris? I didn't. He appears in a giant test tube, and he says, "How did I get here?" Then the story ends abruptly because the webcomic is on hiatus.

There are many issues with this story. Mainly, no one has any motivation. Why is anyone here and why do they want to leave? This should have been answered or at least hinted at in the first fifty pages. Why are there pirates? What do the pirates want on the ship? I have no clue. Another problem is that I have no idea why anyone are friends with each other. Everyone seems to be annoyed by everyone else, which makes it hard to believe that anyone are friends with each other and actually want to help each other. I don't care if the plot magically picks up after the hiatus, because any picking up it does should have been issued two years ago. Everyone cares about each other, but I don't care about any of them.

Writing Review

Now that you know about the characters, and you know about the plot, I can tell you all about the writing, and how there isn't any.

The creators behind this webcomic clearly put a lot of effort into designing the characters and the places they go. It's clear that the creators have an end goal in mind. Note, how I said "effort" and not "work" because if those behind this comic wanted to put in work, they would have written a story about these characters and what they do.

The Webcomic starts out with mountains of text that don't explain anything, and dwindles to a few lines every five pages that try to explain what's happening, but doesn't. Your characters and plot mean nothing if you can't integrate them into your story with good writing. The dialogue is color coded, which takes away from the writing, because some colors are harder to read than others.

As mentioned earlier, everyone is referred to as they. This also makes some dialogue hard to read, and this isn't a well favored sacrifice to make as it doesn't add to the world building or characterization in any meaningful way.

Why this doesn't make any sense

I feel like bringing this up because, as a reader and not a creator, like I really should be, I really hate seeing people pander to demographics that for all intents and purposes don't really exist. And this webcomic has the most egregious use of the singular they I have ever seen. People say they want these things, but I don't think anyone really wants to see these things. Because it's fluff, and gets in the way of the story.

Men and women are inherently different. Not necessarily unequal, but if you really want to compare numbers one of the two does come out on top. Both human experiences are parallel, no overlap whatsoever. I think the root of the singular they arises from how people are beginning to realize that they are missing out on something one can never grasp. You can read all the books in the world about whatever you want, and can become a master of any skill or craft, but one can never become something one is not.

"They" as a singular is an attempt bridge the gap between men and women, to say that there was never really any difference between men and women all along. Any curiosity you or anyone else may have had was simply a case of cultural puppetry. "They" as a singular only makes people confused about who one is and who others are.

There is already a singular gender-neutral: one, used to speak of someone in a hypothetical sense. If I say, "One went to the store," you know what I'm talking about. If I say, "they went to the store," I shouldn't have to ask how many, because realistically, you told me that earlier in the conversation. The introduction of the singular "they" implies that only one of the group went to the store. Consider the following: "Alex went skiing, they didn't have any water." Does they in that sentence refer to Alex, or the people running the resort? Likewise, those who use "they" as a singular still conjugate the pronoun with are, which makes everything more confusing, because the singular third person is verb is. "They" as a singular makes the language more ambiguous, and does not belong in conversation or in media.

Author Biography

This webcomic has a team for some reason.

Amber Cragg is the storyboarder for Neokosmos, which makes no sense at all, because a webcomic is a storyboard. Who cares? She only calls herself the storyboarder because she storyboards in real life for Steven Universe which is not a fucking accomplishment. "Storyboarder" is probably a big deal in her mind, because on Steven Universe the storyboarders are also the writers. She is so delusional that she thinks others will level with her accomplishments as someone who draws roughs for the worst cartoon ever. I'm not kidding, do you know what Steven Universe is? First, that's his actual first and last name. This is how you know you're in for something retarded. The whole show is about this kid bitching about how his shoes are untied and crying for his three moms (I'm serious) to tie it for him. He cries about every God damn thing for no reason. That's not a hero that's just being a tool. I want someone to kick Steven's gonads in and make it his answering machine recording. Hey, Amber, if you're reading this, I have a great idea for a Steven Universe episode. Make an episode where Steven loses some weight. That fat fucker could stand to lose a few pounds. And then make him thinner for the rest of the shows run time. I think that would be a good message to send to your audience.

For more information on Steven Universe, ask [Oddguy].

Shelby Cragg is the artist for Neokosmos. I think I've said enough about how she's actually a good artist, but won't be a good artist for this webcomic because fuck you, donate to my Patreon. She was a part of the Steven Universe team too, but she got kicked out because everyone was tired of her autistic memeing during board meetings. She only got the job through Amber. Shelby currently works for Andrew Hussie on the game "Hiveswap" which took five years to make when it would have taken maybe two to make by anyone else spends her time looking for a new job because she [got fired from her position] at What Pumpkin after it was absorbed by VIZ Media and she was unsurprisingly toxic to work with. She only got that job because her sister, I think her name is Amanda Michaela, is currently dating Andrew, so Shelby has some weird leverage over Andrew because he thinks she might take Amanda away from him if he doesn't do what she says.

Amber (left) and Shelby (right) getting married in their garage with a scruffy hobo for a priest.

There are other people who worked on this webcomic. There is Adrienne Garcia who did the animated parts. By animation, I mean she drew slides and put them into Windows Movie Maker. There is Josephine Sheppard the credited ghost writer. And finally, there are music men, and one of them is Toby Fox. Well isn't that something. Why was world famous Toby Fox doing music for some chucklefucks in 2016? This is because a long time ago, Shelby decided to pull a dastardly prank where she pretended to be straight, and dated Toby. She did this because she wanted to be on the art team for Homestuck, but didn't want to audition. So she went to Toby, a high ranking member of the music team, presumably fucked him, and said "Can I be on the art team?" and he said "lol sure whatever". Then she dumped him. Toby probably has an STD now.

If you thought that was incestuous, wait until we finish the Homestuck review, where SmashLampjaw won't go into any detail, because all of this was leaked on the MSPA forums, and Andrew deleted all of it.

Conclusion

I really liked how you can flip through the pages with the keyboard arrows. No other webcomic does this and I like it. Good job. Too bad everything else about this webcomic is absolute shit.

Links