|here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author:||Crack Lobster|
|Webcomic name:||Stubble Trouble|
|Author:||R. C. "Rennon the Shaved" Powell|
|Start Date:||December 16, 2008|
|Defining Flaw:||The art is ugly and the writing leaves much to be desired. I can't decide which makes me feel worse, because I think "wow, the art is so much worse than how flat the characters are", but then I think "at least the characters are merely ugly while the writing is hideously offensive".|
BWW's forum is filled to the brim with really creepy shit ripe for the reviewing. Instead of attempting to cover Sonichu (too easy), I decided to tackle Stubble Trouble. In retrospect, I'd rather review Sonichu…but I have read worse fanfics and worse webcomics. I can do this, thought I. How foolish and naive I was.
In the very first strip, Rennon (Powell's fictional comic counterpart) breaks the fourth wall. I don't think I need to explain further.
Story and Plot
There's not really an ongoing storyline. Past event shape the rest of the strips to some extent, and there is definitely continuity, but it doesn't have a storyline like, say, LFG. Usually they're more along the lines of a gag-a-whenever strip with the occasional melodrama thrown in or hackneyed romance. Webcomickers, please stop trying to write romance unless you are at least an artist that can be considered excellent and at least a writer that can be considered awesome. It's difficult to write romance and have it not be filled to the brim with unintentional comedy unless you have a considerable amount of skill.
The art would easily be Stubble Trouble's worst point if the writing weren't so bad. It looks pretty much identical to every shitty furry webcomic, except there is shaving involved. I won't get into that because I don't want to get into that. I'm afraid if I do I'll start thinking it's normal.
First, the anatomy. Powell has at least a basic grasp of anatomy (more than can be said for other artists, I suppose) and he doesn't draw stick people (again, more than can be said for other artists). However, I think he would be better off simply drawing stick figures, because looking at his attempts at drawing furries is pretty painful in an existential sort of way. I think he could improve with practice, but he strikes me as the type who doesn't really care, who already has a lot of fans on his deviantART or wherever and doesn't think he needs improvement because who cares about improving yourself when everyone loves you already? I don't really know if furries with human proportions are even acceptable in the furry community, actually, so maybe not improving would help your standing a little bit. It seems like if they're not toony they're animu and if they're not animu they're some kind of sick amalgamation of toony and animu and at least I can sort of give them credit for trying something different but then I take that credit right back because Powell your art style is fucking ugly.
What bothers me is he's not terrible when he's putting effort into his art. In a lot of his deviantART pictures he looks like he's actually trying. But in Stubble Trouble it's like he doesn't give enough of a care to actually work too hard on it. Laziness is a common webcomic sin, true, but I keep hoping someone will come along and completely suck but try their damnedest to improve. Powell seems to be of the "good enough" mold—as in, say, "this is 'good enough' to put on my deviantART account, no one will really care if I think her hair looks a little wonky." And you know what? This strip, though it's about as subtle as a jackhammer to your frontal lobe, is not shit. Did he trace it? Is he just good at drawing buildings? Why is it so much better than all his other strips and pretty much everything else he's ever drawn? I just don't understand.
The writing is pretty bad in the sense that Dan Brown could write more believable characters. To make it even worse, the author inexplicably has a right-wing, somewhat Christian bent. What the hell? Maybe it's just me, but right-wing furries make no goddamn sense. Additionally, Powell finds very awkward places to put his assuredly Very Important Opinions into his strip, such as this strip in which an inexplicable Scottish stereotype is wearing a Glenn Beck t-shirt. I have nothing against Mr. Beck, but why the hell is Powell shilling for him in his terrible furry webcomic about a self-insert wolf thing with glasses and a fetish for shaving and being shaven? Does that make any sense at all?
Additionally, Powell seems to be afraid of swearing. He says "crap" a lot, usually in places where "shit" would work better, but "crap" isn't really a word that offends even the most Catholic of grandmothers anymore so it comes across as awkward, like when I was ten and couldn't decide if I wanted to take up cursing or not. He also occasionally blacks out the areas where oaths are supposed to be. I don't understand why he's afraid of swearing but thinks making a webcomic about his fetish is perfectly alright. Jesus doesn't want you to make webcomics about your shaving fetish, Powell. And I'm sure Jesus doesn't appreciate name-dropping him every chance you get because what if a possible foreign convert who has never heard of Jesus before read your webcomic and thought Jesus was the god of shaving people? Suddenly whatever generic protestant denomination you are is short a convert.
I get the feeling a lot of these characters are based on Powell's friends, because there are a lot of strange combinations I don't think he could have come up with on his own. There's some kind of furry spider-woman named Gynette, I think, who has a fox's head or something and her head can be removed. There's a cat/fox amputee named Ally. There's Robert the raccoon, who is "dull" and has a "foxtaur" girlfriend named Liasoyna. There's Mel, a tomboyish fox girl with an eyepatch and a mullet and later becomes Rennon's girlfriend and later caves in and allows him to shave her. It smacks of Powell just servicing himself for the purposes of making him feel better about his presumably lonely, hairless life. There's a pair of wolf(?) twins named Rosie and Reggie who are Scottish stereotypes for no reason other than perhaps it's one of Powell's fetishes, I don't fucking know. There's a squirrel-thing who shaved herself in high school and "there's nothing sexual" between the self-insert and herself even though he is clearly willing to do something fetishy to her. Like shaving her. There's a rabbit gymnast named Becky who breaks her tibia and has a sleepover with Ally the amputee cat. There's a pixie cat wolf fox whatever-the-fuck who shows up for no reason at the beach. It's just sort of a clusterfuck and I can't really keep track of all the characters, generic as they are. Most of them basically have one personality trait. Reggie is an angry Scot and that is the extent of his personality. Mel doesn't like girly things but she's also incredibly flat because the tomboy type character has been beaten to death. Rosie is also a tomboy and didn't like to play with dolls when she was little! How droll! That makes her a totally interesting character, am I right? Anyway, Gynette the spider-thing strikes me as a type of character who is supposed to be strange and funny, but all she really does right is being strange… which I suppose is the point of her existence. She is also one of the only vaguely likable characters in the comic, at least until the point she turns into a biped. And maybe slightly before that when Reggie, who dates Gynette, is asked if he ever uses her headlessness for yiffing purposes. I hope I never think of that again.
Most importantly, basically everything in the comic revolves around Rennon. He convinces Mel to let him shave her and then convinces her to shave him. And that's perfectly okay. Not once does anyone ever think maybe she can be his girlfriend and not have to put up with his weird fetishes, or that maybe she doesn't have to be his girlfriend at all. god she doesn't want to be shaved for a while! THE HORROR. Jesus Christ Powell you are a pussy. I know you were trying to be all self-deprecating by titling that strip "Overreaction," but really, you're fooling absolutely no one. You don't have an ego the size of, say, Tim Buckley's, but having the main character toned down a little would help. Right now it just appears you're using the comic for your somewhat questionable wish fulfillment and webcomics are no fun to read if they're all about you.
I know exactly jack shit about R. C. Powell except for he's 27 years old according to his deviantART account and really really likes the idea of shaving, I guess, which is odd because he has a goatee. His fursona is a wolf/fox hybrid, how original. He likes heavy metal and Don Bluth, surprise surprise. He's very stereotypical furry. Strange fetish? Check. Mild yet inexplicable popularity? Check. Completely Original Character fursona that is a cat, fox, wolf, other cute furry mammal, or dragon? Check. Probably should stop drawing until he takes an anatomy class? Yeahhhh…
If you know anything about David Gonterman, Powell is basically him.
You know, pretty much the only thing he gets right in Stubble Trouble is strip. Sure, everyone and their dog makes fun of Twilight, but that is an accurate, true-to-life depiction of watching the film in a theater filled with naught but fan girls and undersexed housebound women.
And a message for the author, in case he ever finds this review: I don't hate you. In fact, you seem like a nice dude. In this review I'm not trying to mindlessly bash your webcomic, which is what I would usually do, but you are not without talent. I'm trying to help you.
Also, no more of this shit. It makes you look pathetic.