|Original review author:||DrShaym|
|Start Date||August 28, 2011|
|Defining Flaw||Tries to be offensive but comes across as sophomoric.|
I'm going to be lenient about the art because I'm under the assumption that it's supposed to be ugly.
Videogame and cartoon characters rape each other.
Copyrighted characters from videogames and cartoons behave out-of-character in half-assed "parodies" in a fashion similar to VG Cats, only worse.
Shaddai strikes me as the kind of guy who uses "gay" as a synonym for anything he doesn't like.
If Shaddai Prejean ever reads this review, he'll probably expect me to go on about how this comic is misogynistic, racist, and tasteless. While that's all true, it's also fairly obvious that Shädbase is meant to be offensive. For that reason, we considered not bothering to review it as we felt it would only give Shaddai the negative attention he apparently craves.
Of course, we're only assuming that this is meant to be offensive because Shaddai would have to be some kind of moron if he fails to see what's wrong with his comic. If it isn't meant to offend, then to think that this is a sincere attempt at making a genuinely entertaining comic is both incredibly laughable and sad.
BWW admin TheLuigiian gave a pretty compelling argument in support of a review. His contention was that if this comic is meant to offend, then it doesn't even do a very good job. It doesn't even inspire shock-laughs because it's too unoriginal to be shocking, and it uses rape and violence as a punchline so often that it just inspires eye-rolling.
Here's what he had to say about it:
Basically, the comic is bad at what it's trying to do, and we need to explain why.
The art in this comic isn't bad. While it's sketchy and the linework is often wonky, Shaddai seems to understand color theory and composition. I'm guessing the ugliness is intentional. The only serious problem I see with it is that every female character looks the same, while the male characters do not.
Addition by MakarovJAC:
Makarov here, riding a flying chupacabra, doing a ninja add-on: this same-face syndrome might be due to the author having found a single and/or likable female face easy to draw over and over again. This also might be due to the author's lack of willingness to self-improve. Some might argue this is a proof of misogyny. Personally, I think this is just plain laziness rather than a hidden, subconscious action from a person aware or not of a female phobia.
With more complicated poses, this artist loses focus and characters often end up with overextended snake-like spines. Although fronts are fully functional in this guy's drawings, it's clear he can't project any other pose properly. Mostly, it all ends in notably bad poses and proportions. Practicing hands and feet would also benefit this guy a lot!
Aside from that, it's evident that considerable effort is put into the art, but this leads me to wonder if Shaddai is genuinely trying to make this comic good. If that's the case, then I feel sorry for him.
The only thing funny about this comic is the thought that Shaddai went to art school and will probably be paying off student loans for the next ten or twenty years, and this is what he has to show for it.
The humor in Shädbase comes across like it was written by a little kid who just saw South Park for the first time, failed to understand the social satire and just laughed at all of the poop jokes on the same day that he discovered guro and masturbation. The comic is banking entirely on the gross-out factor and shock value, and it doesn't even do a particularly good job at that. It's like Elftor, only drawn better.
Aside from most of the attempted humor being derived from violence against women just for the sake of violence against women, many of the strips end with somebody getting raped. There's no wit or misdirection. It's just "lol, they got raped". TheLuigiian mentioned the Banjo-Kazooie Deliverance "parody" and explained how "squeal like a piggy" is such an overused reference that it fails to shock, and really, that's all it is. It's not a parody by any stretch of the imagination. It's a reference, like the kind one might expect to see in Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies.
Sure, one can argue that Banjo and Kazooie are hillbillies, and Deliverance is a movie about hillbillies, but by that logic, you could make a strip about Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil getting bludgeoned with a cricket bat by Simon Pegg. That's not funny. It's stupid. But that's exactly the kind of humor one sees in this comic. Here's a strip where Marcus Fenix from Gears of War gets punched in the face by Hank Hill because he blew up a propane tank. Get it? It's because Hank loves propane, and Marcus disrespected it. That's the joke. Don't worry, it becomes funny once you consider the fact that he spent several hours drawing that strip just for that punchline.
Then there's pedophilia jokes. While this one does actually come closer to being a parody by addressing the fact that Dr. Claw—the villain from Inspector Gadget—has invisible cameras all over the world, the punchline is basically "masturbation, lol".
Then there's "parodies" like this one where the Sniper from Team Fortress 2 yells about piss a lot. It's funny, 'cause, you know, the Sniper says piss a lot in the game, right? I don't know what this strip is driving at. The only thing I can guess is it's a reference to Murderface from Metalacalypse who also said piss a lot and tried to start something called "Planet Piss". That's not a parody though. That's just another reference.
How about this one where Catwoman tells Batman he's full of surprises, then it reveals Batman changed himself to "Catman". How is that funny? Yeah, I guess it's surprising that he would do that, but how is it funny?
If you want a good Batman joke, here's one I came up with myself:
You see? It's not difficult to come up with a short, simple, offensive joke that makes sense. That is as long as you don't have the mind of a child.
Here's a strip where he makes fun of anime fans. I don't particularly like anime myself, and I think weeaboos are some of the most obnoxious people on Earth, but I do think Shaddai could have done better than just insinuate that they're all gay or wanted to be raped. These insults are on the level of a high school bully, which is to say they fail to impress or amuse anyone above the age of 18, or with an IQ above 81. I mean, weeaboos lend themselves to so much ridicule, and that's the funniest thing you could come up with? That's like the people who hate Justin Bieber not because he's the product of a corporation and his lyrics are vapid and everything about him is sterile and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator and his popularity is entirely undeserved, but because he's "gay". If you're going to make fun of someone, could you at least put some effort into it?
The humor in this thing is sophomoric, which I'm willing to bet Shaddai would take as a compliment. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently wrong with crude humor, but I talked about this sort of thing in my review of Femmegasm, which I also compared to Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies. The problem is there's no wit or cleverness to any of these gags. It's always just "lol, violence" or "lol, misogyny" or "lol, gay". When the only thing happening in your comic is stuff like that, then it becomes obvious that you're going out of your way to make it offensive and relying entirely on shock value, and at that point, it fails to be shocking or offensive for the simple reason that it becomes expected.
Basically, the comic is boring, and when the entire point of your comic is to be shocking but it ends up being boring, then you have failed.
I was thinking about writing a section devoted to the misogyny in this comic, but to say that this comic is sexist would be like saying Muammar Qaddafi was an asshole. I already mentioned how misogynistic this comic is, and there's really no point in going on about it, particularly since I'm operating under the assumption that this is all intentional. But I would like to point out that it's not even very creative when it comes to misogyny. Like TheLuigiian said, it's shallow. Almost every strip that features a woman has them getting raped, murdered, or objectified in some way, but it never really gets any more creative than that. I'm surprised there's only one menstruation joke so far, and it's not even a particularly good one.
Just like the weeaboo example I talked about earlier, if he's really trying to offend these people, he's not doing a very good job. If I were a woman and I stumbled upon this comic, I would just say, "wow, what a jackass" and move on. I mean, you can't make a joke about feminism or something? It's always just, "lol, women are stupid, let's rape them!"
To summarize, just about every gag in this comic ends with one of two punchlines: "lol rape" and "lol gay". It's the kind of humor I expect would appeal to 14-year-old boys. Specifically, the kind of 14-year-old boys who listen to Insane Clown Posse and Slipknot. I would also like to point out that the website's about page suggests that Shaddai went to art school. I take that to mean he's an adult, but the comic's humor makes it come across like he's still in high school. In a few years, he'll probably realize how embarrassing this is and try to remove all traces of it from the internet.
Also, the "About" page has a lot of grammatical errors.
This review is short because a comic this unoriginal and surprisingly bland doesn't inspire a lot of thought. I probably could have gone into more detail about the art, but like I said, I don't have many serious problems with it. As ugly as his art may be, I assume it's intentional, so I will say that Shaddai can draw, but he doesn't know how to structure a joke.
My advice to Shaddai is to get somebody else to write his comic for him.
UPDATE: August 28, 2012
Well, it's been about seven months since I wrote this review, and I decided to go see if Shädbase has gotten any better in the mean time. I see it's still trying just oh-so hard to be shocking, having done strips about Anne Frank and the recent movie theater shooting in Colorado, and relying on random violence against women and rape. However, it's also been making increasingly frequent porno "spoofs" of various children's cartoons, including Teen Titans, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ben 10, and especially Kim Possible, having started an entire arc about it that's been running for over a month now. I also noticed that he now has an entire section of his website dedicated to showcasing his hentai drawings which consist largely of various cartoon characters.
So yeah, the only thing that's changed is Shaddai is spending more time drawing porn of children's cartoons.
It's been a few years and all pretenses of drawing a webcomic have been dropped. He now just draws dick-girl, incest and child porn (usually combined).
- The comic
- Here's an article on the science behind why people laugh at gross-out humor. The article explains that when taken too far, something disgusting or offensive ceases to be funny and it just becomes stupid.
- Webcomic Overlook' review of Shädbase. Their review is a lot nicer than mine, but they still gave it a 1 out of 5.
- Shaddai shows the world how he makes art.