Poison Ivy Gulch
|here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author:||GJon|
|Webcomic name:||Poison Ivy Gulch|
|Genre:||Newspaper comic format with a vaguely "Wild Western" theme.|
|Defining Flaw:||Lazy concept, lazy execution, and mostly plagiarized punchlines.|
For those unfamiliar with Max West, you can get the gist of him and his comics from the Sunnyville Stories page.
To sum up: After being kicked out of the furry fandom for being too antisocial and bitter, Max has gone on to create multiple print and web comics, all of which are thinly disguised rip-offs of 80's and 90's cartoons. Sunnyville Stories is the anime Maple Town with the names changed and mommy issues added in, and since then, Max has gone on to create a Zatoichi clone, a Van Helsing clone, and a Karate Kid clone. If you haven't heard of them before, that's no surprise - when they fail to garner Max the praise he so deeply desires, he abandons them in a public tantrum and moves on to the next bit of plagiarism.
Poison Ivy Gulch is the latest in his string of low-effort, low-inspiration attempts to gain a following.
Seriously, most of the time, Max doesn't even bother to change the words.
Story and Plot
In the style of daily newspaper comics, the characters are basic stock stereotypes that just serve to deliver a punchline. The characters themselves are rarely relevant to the delivery, as most of the punchlines are of the wacky coffee mug variety.
In his typical style, Max phones in every detail of his art. Most characters are so poorly designed, they can only be shown in profile or straight on, even when it would help the delivery of the joke to throw in some variety.
Additionally, while the "Old West" doesn't have a huge range of background settings to draw from, it's a highly iconic genre with lots of well-established tropes and symbols. Max uses none of them. If it weren't for the characters' vaguely frontier-style clothing, you wouldn't be able to tell the theme at all. Most backgrounds just get a few boxes and a window at most, and many comics just have no background at all.
As Max is not actually published in any newspapers, the tiny black-and-white imagery is a limitation he's taken on for no real artistic reason, but it probably saves him a ton of time.
As mentioned above, Max rarely writes new content for this comic, preferring to outright plagiarize the punchlines from other famous or formerly-famous properties. Considering how well-known some of the sources are, it's amazing Max thinks it's not noticeable.
Since there's not a lot to critique about stealing punchlines, we'll just do a little experiment instead: For each published strip thus far, we'll pop the punchline into Google, and if there's a clear instance of plagiarism, we'll list the comic here:
This punchline is one of those weak-ass jokes that shows up everywhere, even in management joke blogs. If multiple blogs on management techniques haven beaten you to the punchline, you need to rethink your approach.
More than 70% of the archive doesn't pass the most casual internet search for plagiarism. Great job, Max.
The Sunnyville Stories page has the bulk of Max West's bio, but it's worth repeating here that Max is a Shy Trump Republican who screams on Twitter at any non-American who has opinions about the U.S.A. He is unable to get along with anyone, even other furries and comic artists, and his fear of the modern era makes him retreat into the bland safety of 80's pop culture.
Also note that, like every other Max West property, Poison Ivy Gulch features two Max staples: a busty woman and her mouthy kid sidekick, and faking fanmail.
If at first you don't succeed, cry, cry again. Max perpetually seeks recognition and applause for doing the minimal amount of work possible, and Poison Ivy Gulch doesn't even bother to file off the serial numbers from what it stole. If you took out everything that wasn't created by Max, all you'd be left with is a vaguely-cubist hat.
This strip, where Max misses the framing of the joke so badly, there's no punchline... just a Muppet-y dude executing someone before mocking them.