|Original review author:||Izzus|
|Start Date:||August 09, 2002|
|End Date:||It's on hiatus, just like half of the comics on Snafu's website.|
|Genre:||Video Game Comic,
|Defining Flaw:||It's not funny. It's objectively not funny, it was never funny. Anyone who thinks it is probably just laughs at everything anyways and has no idea what shame or tact is.|
Back in the day, I found an image on the internet, and thought "Holy shit this is so cool! A bunch of my favorite characters drawn in this snazzy new style really jives with my tastes." (Yeah, we all liked weird things as kids). So I eventually found out that, hey, it's from a comic. I found the comic and started reading it for a while before I realized that it had some undertones which I was quite frankly uncomfortable with. However, I did happen to read several of the other comics on the website that it was hosted on, and found this garbage. It has been a stain on my memory ever since I discovered it. This article will explain why.
Right at the beginning. I really don't like saying that, but other than the art, this comic improved its quality by approximately zero percent.
The comic began in 2002 as a gaming comic. and a very generic one at that. It was one of those four celled comics which use the three panel set up for a punchline in the fourth panel. It had two characters, the straight man (Travis) and the idiot (Dave. That's not sarcasm, the author named his idiot character after himself.) The formula for the comics usually progressed as such:
- First panel: Introduction concerning sensational media or a popular subject (Which I will refer to as SMOPS). If you don't know what the SMOPS is then you will in most cases not understand the comic.
- Second panel: Remark about the SMOPS.
- Third panel: Set up for the punchline about the SMOPS, or an awkward pause. Usually one of the two.
- Fourth panel: Reaction.
As 2002 went on, the author started to veer away from this formula more and more, but the comic didn't get any funnier, it just got less painful to read. There were sparse guest comics, if any at all, and the art saw no improvement whatsoever. Some of the jokes didn't even make sense. Travis and Dave become interchangeable as the idiot and the straight man later in this year's run.
2003 began with a strip in an even worse art style than ever, and the comic made it clear that the numb formula which it so regularly utilized during its first year was now abandoned. The first strip of this year also included a copyright of 2002, but the archives for the comic say it was posted on the fifth of January in 2003. The strips started to become more wordy, and also saw a more regulated usage of SMOPS. The art quickly becomes cleaner and there are even more jokes which don't make sense. This is also the year which has the most updates out of the entire 8 year run of this comic, and the frequency at which new strips are posted steadily declines afterward.
2004 introduced the advent of dynamic panels, if you can believe it. It, quite oddly I might add, also introduced the notion that The Butterfly Effect is the best film ever, wholly ignoring what a moronic statement that is... Yeah, the idiocy in this year's run of strips kind of moves away from "bumbling around and not knowing what to do right" to "just gonna say shit without thinking". The artwork becomes even sharper this time, too, but the character designs change so often that you can't tell whether or not it's a guest comic. The humor on the other hand starts to include a whole lot of internet references rather than SMOPS. It wasn't even new humor either, pretty much all the internet jokes told in this year's run have been around since 1996. There was also a small story arc but it was awful and wordy and very unfunny.
In 2005 the comic lightened up on the internet humor and tried to include more gaming humor. It still wasn't funny. The art pretty much stayed the same, in that the character designs change so much that you can't tell what's a guest comic and what's not. The only indication of a guest comic is when Dave Stanworth bothers to put "Guest Coimc" at the top of the page. He also finally figures out the difference between "your" and "you're" within the span of two pages. No joke, the author used "your" in place of "you're" constantly up until that point in the comic, despite having attended college. It didn't seem to stop him from making obnoxiously obvious spelling errors, though.
2006 moves away from gaming humor and gets back into the whole SMOPS thing. The art stays pretty much the same, except that the character designs stop being as frenetic and change only once in a while instead of every other page. It also brings us misogyny and pedophilia. Wait, this has it too? Damn, I'm beginning to wonder what comic on that website doesn't include at least one reference to pedophilia.
In 2007, it starts off lovingly with some more game humor and a severe case of not understanding what global warming would actually do should it be realized. The art gets as good as it's going to ever be, and we get a look at probably the only funny strip in this entire comic's run. In addition to this, there's more sick shit with the pedophilia angle.
2008 gives us more gaming humor than the other years have, which I guess is good for a gaming-centric comic, but bad because gaming-centric comics are hardly ever funny. The strips begin to make less sense than they did before, too.
2009 is pretty much more of the same, and in 2010 the comic only updated twice. The first of 2010 was powerfully meh, and just a little bit gross in retrospect. The second makes very little sense because... Well who the hell is that supposed to be? Tim "The Toolman" Taylor as a superhero? Someone fill me in on this please, I'd like to know what relevance this has to the Avengers movie and why it's supposed to be funny. This is why I hate reference humor. It's hardly humorous if you don't understand the reference. Even redneck humor, as much as it isn't to my taste, can still be understood by people who don't know what a redneck is, because God dammit the jokes actually work. That's right, I just said that redneck humor is better than reference humor. That's how bad this comic is.
So you see, when I say the comic never improved its quality, I meant it. You can always do certain things better, but if you completely disregard everything else, letting it rot in its own proverbial bile, those aspects will get worse. The saying about polishing a turd very appropriately applies here. In this comic, David Stanworth applied coat after coat of polish to the turd he called SNAFU, while in reality, he was only making that turd shinier. In the core of that turd, it festered and became this sort of solitary ecosystem supporting minimal effort to put on a show with absolutely no punch to its punchlines.
Well, it started off awful at first (overuse of copy/paste, abominable terrors which burn themselves into your retina, etc.), then slowly got better. However, there are many problems which continued to plague this comic throughout its life, the first of which I'll mention is the fact that Dave Stanworth kept using filtered photographs the entire time. It can only be described as laziness of the highest caliber, the shittiest bullshit to have ever been shat by a bull. Dave Stanworth quite obviously did not care about putting effort into his comic. In fact, I guarantee that I can use that very same strip to describe nearly every problem with this comic's art, that's how sloppily he treated it.
The perspective is another thing I should mention. Do you not see how oddly everything is angled? It's horrid. The author clearly just rushed out a clumsily doodled background in order to push a joke which wasn't even funny. It's okay to leave your backgrounds undefined and undetailed, it's a gag comic after all. But God dammit man, put some more effort into it than you would with a scribble! What we're looking at is without contest some of the ugliest art I've ever seen in a gag comic.
I believe that I should also mention the use of memes. I've seen a few in this comic, and I'm deadly serious when I say this: There is no greater banality in the field of humor than an internet meme.
Memes are quite possibly one of the worst things to happen to the internet. The original purpose of a meme was to describe a set of cultural information. Then, when image sharing became popular on the internet, the purpose of a meme was to reference an inside joke among select groups of peers, and those peers laughed at the meme when it was applied to a situation wittily. You with me so far? Okay, because this is where everything turns sour. Memes are no longer descriptions of cultural information. Memes are no longer inside jokes. Memes have evolved into this sort of blasphemy that can be either a phrase, image, or action which can be repeated by anyone in an attempt to be humorous for the purpose of fitting in. Do you get what I"m saying here? Memes don't hold any significance as information or wit anymore. Memes are now the measure of how redundant people can be. Do not use memes in your comic. It only shows how easily you can be swayed into following a cultural fad.
Sorry for the tangent. Moving on, we can also take a look at the anatomy, but in a gag comic it doesn't really matter because cartoonish proportions are essentially a staple of the genre. Good humor can very easily carry bad art, as seen with Space Moose. What we can look at critically though are the faces. See that image up there? No, not the meme, the one before it. Where is Travis looking? I thought he was talking to Dave. Why is he looking down? Is Dave's schlong hanging out or something? The least you can do when drawing your comic is have the expressions make sense according to context, but they don't make sense here. If I were this guy's art teacher I'd fail his ass immediately. I'd have a Hall of Shame billboard up on the wall, and every single thing he's ever done would be on it. Even the stuff which has nothing to do with art. It's that awful. Nobody could put this crap out there and claim that they still have dignity.
If you're doing a gag comic, please don't take cues from this hack. He puts little to no effort into his comics. I can see how making these strips could be tedious, but talent wise, they're very much destitute. Patience ≠ Talent, this is important to remember when you're about to respond with "It took me a long time to do!" if someone says to you "This is bad."
On a final note in this art section, I should mention that the art changes so much that you can't tell whether or not it's a guest strip. Does Dave Stanworth actually do all that art himself? Is it done by other people? He denotes guest strips on occasion, but it's also very likely that he simply forgot to do so on others. The reason I say this is because he copyrights all guest strips as his. There's no way to tell if he tried drawing in different styles or if it was done by other people. He claims to have done it himself, but I'm not exactly sure which ones he did himself. As a result of drawing in different styles so often, he also claims that it improved his art skills vastly. I'd agree with him if you consider going from a child's scribbles to sloppy scribbles a vast improvement.
Only two characters exist in this comic.
Dave shortly had the role of the idiot, while Travis is a dude who shortly had the role of the straight man. Otherwise, their personalities throughout most of the comic are pretty much whatever the author decides they should be. Dave usually happens to make silly faces, while Travis hardly ever does, and they riff on each other constantly, but it has very little impact because the author does nothing special with it. It's just two dudes being mean to each other. When they aren't riffing on each other, they're coexisting in an equally uninteresting way, where it's just two dudes living comfortably with each other. They apparently live on their own, but they look like teenagers and have no source of income, so I haven't a clue what the fuck is going on there. Oh, sure, they act wacky, but what wackiness they have is mostly derived from their actions, not their personalities.
As mentioned earlier, the character Dave has the same name as the author. The reason for this is because (not shitting you, he admitted this) Dave Stanworth is unoriginal, so the most gratifying thing I can say is that it's not an objectively bad thing that this character is not a self insert. Honestly, it's the best thing I can say about the characters. I believe it's prudent at this time to mention that the main difference between the two is that Travis is a sadistic pedophile, while Dave is not. This is truly the most personality they have. Oh wait, I guess they like video games too... In a video game comic...
Okay, you know what? Here's the deal. No no, don't worry, we're just going to play a game. It's a good way to see whether or not someone has a personality. I call it "Describe the Character". The rules are simple: Describe a character without saying what they look like, what actions they've done, or the things they've said. Here's some random selections from the archives, no cherry picking here.
Describe them from this. What I got from Travis was that he's sadistic. Dave had no personality, just an appropriate reaction.
Now let's do this one. They're... Uh... Movie going? I guess? Not really representative of a personality. Oh wait, they're also easily entertained by jackassery (har har) but that doesn't tell us anything about their personality either because hobbies and interests aren't necessarily a good look at someone's personality. I'm sure that there's multiple spectrums of people who enjoyed Jackass 2.
How about this one? Dave is playing the idiot again. How archetypal. Travis had no personality, just a predictable reaction.
Okay, now let's take a look at this strip. Dave enjoys reading Harry Potter, but once again, hobbies and interests aren't necessarily a good look at someone's personality. Travis isn't very artistic either. I mean, did you see that doodle he was working on? It sucked. No personality here. No personality there. Hardly any personality anywhere. Their personalities aren't funny because they're practically nonexistent. They aren't funny characters. The comic could quite easily use a new set of characters in every strip and it wouldn't make a difference.
The jokes are atrociously unfunny. I wish I could just leave it at that, a simple and to the point sentence, but what kind of review would this be if I did? Let's look at this calamitous execration in all its inferiority.
Have a joke but can't fit it in with your subject material? Either fix the joke or use different subject material. Don't just use the damn joke and hope that the audience you're catering to won't notice. It's your job as an author to make sure the joke fits the context, anything less is just laziness.
"Haha, she's addicted to heroin! She's killing herself slowly!"
"Haha, he's addicted to eating! He's fat, has diabetes, and has problems coping with stress!"
I could do a mini review like this for every single strip. The comic simply isn't humorous. If you were to quantify humor, and then make a graph charting each strip's humor level, it would depict a line which only peaks above zero once (that strip I said I liked earlier in the review). There's usually supposed to be a joke (sometimes the punchline is nonexistent, hence "usually"), but it's pretty much never funny. If you're touchy about spelling errors, then this fact will only be magnified due to the unforgivably titanic amount of grammatical horrors committed throughout its entire run.
There's always going to be two questions going through your head while you read this comic. "Why are you pandering?" and "Why is this funny?". During the entire run of this comic, Dave Stanworth never stopped pulling jokes out of his ass or pandering. When he pulled jokes out of his ass, he was trying to keep to a schedule. When he was pandering, he was actually trying to make something popular.
David Stanworth started making comics because he was bored during summer school in college, and then wanted to compete with comics like Penny Arcade and VG Cats. This is when he bought some archaic machine from a mattress warehouse for $200, installed Photoshop 6 on it, and set to work on making this anathema beast we all know as Snafu. He believes that the best way to start writing a webcomic is to not worry about how to write it and just start writing, so I guess he hasn't really changed his philosophy in that respect, considering that all his comics read like they were automatically written in a drunken haze at 3:00 AM. He adores not having a boss to tell him what's good and what's not good to put online. I think he somehow confused "no quality control" with "no boss".
His last post on his DeviantART page is a journal entry from 2008 about new merchandise for his store. His last post on snafu.com's news feed is from April 08, 2013, and it's about helping the users target ads toward the fanbase's tastes. It doesn't look like the survey worked though, because when I pause Adblock, the site just gives me a bunch of ads for hiking shoes, beanbags, and a sell-out online game called Marvel Heroes. His post before the ad survey? It advertised an online game called Tera Online, which is infamous for its depiction of wide hipped adolescent bunny girls. His newsfeed post before that one is a self advertisement for a bunch of idiotic shirts from his online store. But you don't have to go to the store to see how bad they are, I brought some examples of their exciting merchandise straight to you!
So up until about 2010, Dave Stanworth was an active player in the webcomic scene. He was making another comic called TIN The Incompetent Ninja up until that point, too, but it has since been abandoned as well. The reason he made TIN in the first place is because he imagined Naruto being a fuck up, and then repeated the idea over and over to himself until he was convinced that it was good. Fuck it. Both of the comics are awful, I think that abandoning them was the best decision he could have made, except that now instead of making bad webcomics he just supports his bad online store. Unfortunately, the comics are now part of his legacy, and this is the crap he will be associated with in the future. As for his mode of conduct... Well, he thinks that naming Link "Nigger" in the Legend of Zelda games is both hilarious and original, and he also enjoys dressing up as a used tampon for Halloween (scroll down).
Dave Stanworth tried and failed miserably to make a good gaming webcomic. This isn't surprising, since gaming webcomics are essentially one of the most difficult genres of webcomic to pull off. This wasn't even an attempt to try and make a good comic, though. He doesn't know how to deliver a punchline, and at certain times doesn't even present any knowledge on the subject material of his comic in the least. This comic was never good, and while it only improved its art a little bit, it didn't improve in anything else. I guess it's a good thing that it ended, but it seems as though David Stanworth hasn't ceased his pandering in the least. Now that I think about it...
Oh God. I've figured it out. It makes sense now. Dave Stanworth only made a comic in order to make money. He went with a gaming comic because gaming comics were popular back in the early millennium, he even said that he wanted to compete with the big gaming webcomics. He used the comic as a platform to cater to the lowest common denominator with SMOPS. His comic gained enough momentum to have a website which wasn't coded in shitty HTML, and this attracted other people to the website. These other people brought their comics along, and Dave Stanworth hosted them on the website, increasing its popularity tenfold. With this new popularity, he gained unwarranted ad revenue and saw no reason to continue his weekly update schedule, diminishing his updates to a trickle until in 2010, he stopped updating all together since his website had Bleedman to carry it along. With Bleedman as a driving force, his website had enough witless visitors to fuel his online store's upkeep, and so he now spends most of his time doing self advertising. He never wanted to make a comic because he loved making comics. He never wanted to be funny because he loved comedy. He only wanted to be rich and famous.
To be fair, he's never admitted this, but to any keen individual, it will most certainly appear true. I mean, the evidence is right there! His store stocks up on merchandise of the likes which Hot Topic sells, and he spends most of his time nowadays making public appearances and promoting said merchandise on his website. The site makes about $330 per day, from advertising alone. That's not a number inclusive of what's made from his online store. If he truly loved making comics he would have tried to keep it going and improve it at every turn possible. But no, he did not do that. If he did, I imagine that he would have said to himself "I have a popular comic now. Might as well sell some stuff to keep it going and make it better." Instead, it seems like he said to himself "I have popular comics by other people now. Might as well sell some stuff and profit off of them rather than continue this stupid thing." The enormous lack of effort he put into this comic exemplifies just how much he actually cared about it, and the content of the comic gives us a good idea of just how much he wanted to appeal to the masses. This is very easily one of the worst comics I've ever read. I rate this comic a -1x10∞ out of 10.
- The comic.
- A different bad review of both the site and the comic.
- A more appropriate title for this comic would have been "FUBAR".
Snafu is part of a series about SNAFU