|here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author(s):||The Luigiian|
|Webcomic Name:||Sarah Zero|
|Start Date:||Sometime circa 2007 (no date I could find at time of this review)|
|End Date:||"Updated randomly whenever I can!" Direct quote from the author.|
|Defining Flaw:||Decent but rather generic art takes the place of storytelling and writing.|
|Things that are fucking terrible about this webcomic:||This author is a whiny pretentious asshole. There is no story in his webcomic.|
|Things that aren't terrible but could use improvement:||His art has a style, but said style is bland.|
All right, I admit it. I couldn't stand to read through this webcomic. This is the first time I've ever done a review for the BWW where I literally could not goad myself into reading the full extent of a webcomic. Let me remind you, I've reviewed Jack, Megatokyo, Shredded Moose, TwoKinds, and King Nightmare Travesty of the Internet Ctrl+Alt+Del. I've seen the worst there is. I've even got a few hundred pages into Boston and Shaun before closing my browser. Yet somehow I could not drag myself through Sarah Zero.
I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the story isn't there. Maybe it's because it looks like a bunch of latter-day cell phone advertisements strung together with no coherency of story or any uniquely interesting hook that might catch one's eye. But I think the biggest reason I couldn't get through this webcomic is the same reason the Something Awful forums ripped creator "'Ace' Plughead" a new one: Namely, this is one of the most pretentious webcomics on the whole Internet. That in itself makes it a truly grueling experience to actually read.
Pretentiousness. That would be on the first page, where Plughead starts his webcomic with the statement "I'm Gonna Rock Your World". Note to others: Don't start like this. Your readers will decide whether you rock their world. In fact, any of the so-called "cliches" he lists in his little tirade on "cliched Internet comic themes" could work, if the writer and artist didn't suck.
Plughead is an obnoxious asshole who took time out of his busy day to go on to the Something Awful Forum's "Webcomics Megathread" looking for advice. He made a jackass out of himself by using phrases such as "awesome.con" and substituting "gently caress" for "fuck" to attempt to win points from the SA forums. Eventually, he was banned for being an obnoxious nuisance.
He continues to be an obnoxious nuisance through his webcomic Sarah Zero. As just one example, he actually made the SA ban a subject for his webcomic here, and he makes other shit detailing tirades that are absolutely retarded and make no sense. I know nothing else about Ace "awesome.con" Plughead, and don't want to know anything more about this man.
There's one thing Sarah Zero's art has going for it, and that's style. It looks like a sleek, sophisticated cell phone ad, like an ad you'd find in a glamour magazine or something. Something a hotshot young Madison Avenue artist would make.
The reason I use all them pretty words to say Sarah Zero's art is "sleek" and "sophisticated" and all that other garbage is because this is pretty much my only positive thing to say in this entire review, and I want to dwell on the good times for a moment before I must bring myself back into the real world and sadly realize that the art is bland. I'm not saying it's not well-done, I'm saying it alternates between bland and terrifying. In the bland webcomic, we have a very stylish sort of look that wouldn't feel out of place as a centerfold magazine ad. That's the webcomic's biggest problem; it fits in with 2008-era Americana almost too well, and therefore has nothing of interest to add to all the other rabble images we're constantly bombarded with. The other webcomic is terrifying in the lack of detail. If this guy were a Transformer, it would be badass; as is, the dark eye sockets with big happy smile remind me more of the Wyoming Incident videos than a cool looking guy. Is he supposed to look like a creepy rapist Plughead? 'Cause that's what I'm getting from that facial expression.
I recall at least one moment where the art got even creepier, though. Once Plughead made a fanservice ad for his site, featuring a naked Sarah Zero, in that style. It was linked here. This was the censored version. If you gave the guy money or voted for him (one or the other, I can't remember which) he'd give you the full nudie version. I can think of no better reason not to give money to this man.
Pretty much nonexistent in Sarah Zero is the writing. Oh sure, there's one of those silly "oh look at me, I'm a tough modern chick!" storylines wherein the rebellious lead character tries to find some sexy lovely manmeat. But that's it. There's nothing of interest to be derived from the writing here.
Also: Notice how all her clothes are ripped off in the ocean. As if the art isn't already hard enough to look at.
Other than that, it's a series of "witty" faux female-empowerment shit, or something to that extent. I really don't know what to make of the whole of it. You've got shit like this, for example, and then you've got obnoxious shit like this that looks stylish but is absolutely vapid in what it's saying. None of the characters seem to have anything remotely approaching a personality, much like most of the other webcomics listed here. Whatever personality to the characters, much like the personality of the webcomic itself, it vapid, corporate, and exceedingly boring. What good art is here, other than Zero's blocky breasts and other ridiculously over-the-top concessions to "style", is washed away by a complete lack of good writing of any kind.
In the links below, I've included a review by John Solomon, which notes a storyline involving a rock band and Zero's being a "genius entrepreneur" and a "miracle substance". I'm sorry, but I couldn't read that far. For more information on comic writing, you'd probably be better off reading Solomon (nee Fuego)'s commentary anyway. So here's the full Fuego bit, included in case the current page is dropped from the SA forums.
Sarah Zero is proof that style does not equal substance. In fact, it's the opposite. Here we have a webcomic with heavy-handed messages, overdone styling, vapid story, vapid characters, and unreadable plot. There is nothing worth reading in Sarah Zero. If that isn't the mark of a bad webcomic, I don't know what is.
- Sad and Oppressed Bi Teenage Robot Girls, which actually sucks far worse and is more pretentious than Sarah Zero.
The following are all of the posts made by Ace Plughead to the Something Awful Forums, with choice commentary from other posters on the comic:
- Ace Plughead's first post to SA
- Very first comment regarding Plughead's post to SA, regarding his usage of the phrase "caress gently"
- This SA poster is correct on all counts. Plughead uses Photoshop, GIS backgrounds, and has a poor grasp of anatomy.
- SA agrees with me on most of my points.
- Plughead keeps on postin'. I've stopped reading what he has to say at this point.
- I'm not sure if these are in order.
- John Solomon's critique on Sarah Zero
- Shitty comic, shitty SA poster.
- Finally, SA admin Fistgrrl bans Plughead.
- Rap sheet from the forums.
- This is where SA poster "Howard Beale" linked to the Sarah Zero fanservice, since taken off the main site.
- Another dang review of Sarah Zero
- Amock tumblr
- Yet another bad review.
- And a one star review on the Webcomic Overlook.