Strawberry Death Cake
|This webcomic has had a reboot since this review was written. It may be the case that the creator has used this opportunity to improve the webcomic to the extent that this review may no longer apply. But probably not.|
|Original review author:||DrShaym|
|Webcomic name:||Strawberry Death Cake|
|Start Date:||September 1, 2008|
|End Date:||Original webcomic ended on September 20, 2011. The webcomic was rebooted on August 6, 2012. Since then, the webcomic was booted off the internet.|
|Genre:||Manga; action; "comedy"; misogynistic bullshit|
|Defining Flaw:||Unfunny mall goth humor combined with animu and gratuitous ass and cleavage.|
I was told that we already had a review of this thing on here but it was lost after a trolling incident, so I'm making a new one.
This comic was apparently inspired by a one-panel parody of the Strawberry Shortcake that appeared on Penny Arcade. From what I've seen, any comic that draws inspiration from Penny Arcade is never good. However, this isn't a gamer comic, so maybe there's hope.
The downfall came when Elliot Dombo decided to make a comic combining Invader Zim style "lol random" mall goth humor with misogynistic animu bullshit. I mean, where do I even start? I guess the easiest thing to do would be to list a few of the biggest flaws:
- There's an incredibly annoying anthropomorphic moose who's obsessed with waffles. HOW FUCKING WACKY!
- Gratuitous ass and panty shots.
- Reliance on "cheesecake" humor.
- There's a one-dimensional lesbian character who acts like a total sex fiend. WOW, I CAN'T BELIEVE A MAN WROTE THIS.
- The writing is riddled with grammatical errors. Sentences are clumsily phrased, questions end with periods, he fails to use apostrophes in contractions, etc.
- Constantly misspells the words "so" like "soo" and "no one" as "noone". YOU EVER HEARD OF SPELL CHECK, DOMBO?
- Almost every human character looks the same, which is something I have no fucking tolerance for.
- Facial expressions don't accurately reflect the mood of the characters. Often, when they should be screaming in terror, they instead look mildly confused.
- It's impossible to tell what's going on in any of the fight scenes.
Overall, the comic comes across like something a corporation would churn out if they tried too hard to appeal to the mall goth crowd, which, by the way, is one of the lowest audiences one can aspire for. If I were to list every possible audience one can hope to appeal too, I would put them just above Sonic fanfiction readers and Justin Bieber fans.
These are some of the most ill-conceived characters I have ever seen. All of them are one-dimensional, not a single one is likable, and most of them look the same. It's obvious that no thought was put into any of them.
First, we have the four main human characters: Jason, Jessica, Steph, and Marylin. I think Jessica is supposed to be Jason's girlfriend, and I'm pretty sure Marylin is supposed to be the protagonist. Marylin carries a pair of giant scissors and works for the Black Ministry as an "exorcist", which is basically a demon-slayer in the context of this comic. You ever seen a slasher movie where all of the characters are completely devoid of personality or likability? That's what these characters remind me of, only they don't fucking die, which makes them worse.
Then there's Winston, who may be one of the most unlikable characters in any comic ever made. He's an anthropomorphic moose, which is bad enough on it's own and was obviously inspired by the Invader Zim episode "Room With a Moose". He also has humanoid eyes which are creepy as Hell in an obviously unintentional way. He has no personality beyond being zany and constantly makes references to waffles and even uses it as an expletive. I can only think of two possible explanations for this: one is that "waffles" may sound like a funny word to people with child-like minds, and the other is that Invader Zim made occasional references to them.
Then there's Kendall, who's arguably worse than Winston. She's the granddaughter of the guy who founded Black Ministry. She's also a lesbian and a sex fiend. She sexually harasses the other female characters, and of course, they're all inexplicably tolerant of it, even though it can be pretty fucking extreme. In fact, in her very first scene with Marylin, she tries to pull her underwear down. Molestation is all played for laughs, of course. By the way, I know I said most of the characters look the same, but holy shit, Kendall looks exactly like Marylin, so much so that I actually thought she was Marylin wearing a different outfit when I first saw her. I guess Dombo also realized this because he changes her hair from black to white in later chapters.
There's also a talking hat that belonged to Jack the Ripper, a demon chick with cat ears named Blanca, and a talking rabbit in a Nazi uniform, 'cause, you know, Nazis are funny, right? I don't even want to talk about him.
Story and Plot
The thing starts with Jason walking though a park when he's suddenly attacked by a demon. Marylin shows up to fight the demon, but then it swallows Jason alive. She uses her giant scissors to save him, then she turns on him, and right as she's about to kill him, he wakes up. Yeah, it was all a dream.
Jason's asshole friend Steph sends him a text message saying he and a girl named Jessica are coming to pick him up to go to the music store. On the way, Steph hits a moose with his car. However, it survives, stands up on its hind legs and runs away. They then make their way to the music store and jizz themselves over the world's thickest guitar. The clerk tells them it's $700, which they can't afford, then Steph tells him that they're trying to start a band and he tells Jason to go to the car to get their demo CD. While outside, he sees Marylin charging at him, and she pushes him out of the way of a bus thrown by a demon. Marylin fights the demon until he reveals his true form and knocks her out. He then sets his sights on Jessica and constricts her with his tongue, being sure to lick her tits while he's at it. Jason tries to save her, but the demon knocks him out too. But then Jason gets back up, this time with sharp teeth, black eyes, and horns, and it's apparent that he's no longer himself. The demon swallows Jessica, then Jason kills him and eats his soul, freeing Jessica from inside him. Marylin then wakes up and kicks Jason in the face, returning him to normal, then starts stomping on him because he tried to pick her up while she was unconscious and said she was heavier than she looked. It's never explained how she knew that considering she was, you know, unconscious at the time.
Oh, and there was some cat girl there, but she didn't do anything.
Marylin leaves them with a business card saying "Black Ministry, district 7". Of course, Dombo can't show it, so instead, this is all explained through exposition while Jessica and Steph drive back to Jason's house with Jason unconscious in the back seat. Jason has another dream, this time about the fucking moose, then he stares at Jessica's cleavage, then right as they're about to have a romantic moment, it cuts to them playing Resident Evil 5, complete with a zombie that screams "MAYONNAISE!" 'Cause, you know, it's wacky and random!
In the next chapter, we're introduced to Heidler the Nazi bunny, and Kendall, the worst character so far. It's also revealed that Marylin works for the moose, who's name is Winston, and he's obsessed with waffles. They talk about how Jason is possessed by a devil, then Winston makes them agree to work for him so they can get rid of the devil without killing him. Also, demons and devils are two different things in this comic. As part of their initiation or whatever, he makes them fight a giant shit monster, which opens its mouth to release a bunch of little monsters that promptly snap off Jessica's bra. Yeah, she just decided not to wear a shirt that day, I don't know. Winston and Kendall then start ogling her through the surveillance monitors, and you know what? Fuck it.
The art creates the illusion of being good by being highly stylized, but there are numerous glaring flaws. The most obvious is that it's black-white-and-red (blue and yellow also appear in later chapters), which you might think looks cool, but it starts to wear on the mind as you read it. The thing about the color red is that it really stands out to the human eye. When everything in a picture is red, it looks garish and can quickly start to get annoying. It's the visual equivalent of listening to a baby cry. It makes me feel like I just popped a blood vessel in my eye.
The next thing that bothers me is that in the earlier chapters, everything is so heavily anti-aliased. It makes everything look like it's out of focus and it bothers my eyes. Fortunately, he stops doing it pretty early.
The biggest problem is that most of the human characters look the same. They all have the same big-eyed, pointy-chinned anime face. The only way to tell any of them apart is by their hair and clothes. Well, I guess you can tell the girls apart from the guys because they all have D-cup tits. That's another thing: all of the girls were designed from the same "female" template and all of the guys were designed from a "male" template. Elliot Dombo employs the classic animu technique of "take one of the only two human figures that I know how to draw and slap different hair and clothes on them" to make a new character. It's made even worse when we see bit characters in later chapters that actually do look different, so it's like Dombo knows how to draw different people, but just doesn't because he's fucking lazy. Also, the character's proportions constantly change, so it's like Dombo is only willing to draw two figures but can't even do it consistently.
Something else that really bugs the hell out of me is that the character's facial expressions often don't accurately reflect the emotions they should be experiencing. Often, in situations where they should be screaming in terror, they instead have looks of mild confusion.
Also, for some reason, Dombo always draws people with a shadow to the side of their nose. He almost always puts it on the side of the nose that's facing the viewer, regardless of light source.
You know, I knew this comic was going to be bad before I read it just from the imagery, but I never would have imagined that the writing could be this bad. It's fucking terrible. Dombo constantly misspells "so" as "soo" and "no one" as "noone". Punctuation marks often appear on the next line in speech balloons, contractions often don't have apostrophes, questions end with periods, shit like that. Dombo even fails to conjugate verbs from time to time. It makes me wonder if he's ever passed a fourth-grade English class. Also, the dialog is stilted. Incredibly stilted. Nobody in the comic talks like a real person and nothing flows naturally. It comes across like it was written by a robot.
Even worse than the grammar, however, is the humor. It's insufferable. Remember when Invader Zim was at the height of its popularity and all of the humor-challenged mall goths were constantly quoting Gir and screaming random phrases like "RADIOACTIVE RUBBER PANTS"? Combine that with the kind of cheesecake humor that only people who have absolutely no respect for women could possibly laugh at and you've got a sense of what reading this comic is like.
Oh yeah, and let's not forget the objectification of women. Just about every female character gets ogled at by every male character at some point, including Winston and the Nazi bunny, and just about all of them get groped by Kendall at some point. Every monster they encounter also either tries to grope them or rip their clothes off. In chapter three, for no reason, Jessica wears nothing but a bikini top. It's never explained or addressed. Not only that, but she's wearing it to a job interview, which makes no sense. Later, it gets ripped off by little monsters. Oh, I'm sorry, I guess that was the reason. Jason gives her his sweater to wear, and for some reason, it's so tight on her that it exposes the curvature of her breasts, even though it was loose when Jason was wearing it, which also doesn't make sense. Also, she doesn't zip it up all the way, 'cause, you know, you gotta have cleavage, right?
The thing is also riddled with ass and crotch shots. In fact, when we first see Marylin, the very second panel of her is a panty shot.
By the way, the last image up there, in the bottom right, the one with the orange tint, that's Kendall's ass during a flashback to when she was a little kid. Make of that what you will.
Not only that, but every chapter cover and most of the filler are pin-ups of the girls.
If his DA page is to be believed, Dombo lives in Ohio and his favorite cartoon character is Spike from Cowboy Beebop. Other than that, the only thing I know about him is that he's a horrible writer and evidently has no fucking shame. Below is the donate button on his website.
UPDATE: Death has come to the Strawberry Death Cake webcomic. Yay!