Suicide for Hire

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Original review author: Pidgeon_Small
Webcomic name: Suicide for Hire
Author: Rafael Medina
Start Date: October 22, 2004
End Date: author stopped updating November of 2013
Genre: Furry, Carnography, Comedy
Defining Flaw: Excessive Violence

Rating Summary
Art: Wiki.pngWiki.pngWiki.png

When it comes to art, I am lenient. I'm sure other people here could point out many artistic faults in this comic that I either unknowingly or willingly gloss over, but I see nothing incredibly wrong with the art. For furry art especially, I like the fact that I can tell what most of these animals are. The only things I raise an eyebrow at are that sometimes his poses come off a little stiff and that Arcturus looks like a Sonic the Hedgehog fan character.

Storyline: Wiki.png

Ugh. Is there a story in this snarky gore heap?

Characters: Wiki.pngWiki.png

Most of these characters are total idiots, unlikable, or incredibly preachy. You can't relate to anyone. The victims are assholes, and the heroes are assholes. Who am I supposed to be rooting for?

Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.pngWiki.png

Well, for what it's worth, aside from all the undesirables, I managed to chuckle at a joke every once in a while.

Overall: Wiki.pngWiki.png

Not the worst web comic I've read, but I feel it leaves the glass more empty than full. I wish there was a way to give an extra half head, but that's probably pointless.



Background

I had known about this comic for little over a year, but it wasn't until recently that I decided to pay it any mind. The idea of two random guys running a "suicide clinic" from a tree house didn't whet my interests. Not until one day I heard that this comic's story was worse than Jack.

Wow, worse than Jack? I'm one of those people who are sympathetic towards Jack because I used to read it often, but I can understand why people detest it. I can think of a lot of stories that are worse, and Suicide for Hire might be one of them. This is why I started reading it.

Downfall

"Assisted suicide."

It's hard to say where or when this comic's downfall occurred. You could say the downfall is page one. The very concept of this comic is insane, but even the concept could be accepted if only it were handled in a more structured, less Gary-Stuish way. Keep in mind that Euthanasia, or "assisted suicide", does exist in real life.

Story and Plot

From what I've gathered, the plot is linear and simple. Two dudes, Hunter Ravenwood and Arcturus Winrock, who are high school attending, Gothic, sociopath nut cases, feel the unrelenting urge to play God. They take the lives of other admittedly less intelligent classmates when their pathetic little lives go downhill because they screwed up royally. Why? For Porn money of course! *facepalm* Who pays for pornography these days anyway? But unlike the infamous Dr. Kevorkian, these dudes don't give two shits about ending life in any humane fashion. It's all about the shock value, which I guess is why people read this comic in the first place. To see a girl's intestines ripped straight out of her body via her mouth. Yeeaaah. These are supposed to be suicides? Sounds like Saw, only more retarded.

Strips between suicides murders is really nothing but pointless banter between characters or a horrific story derailing political/cultural rant here and there to give this comic more girth than it needs. These belong in a Livejournal. If you're reading this comic to watch furries die in horrible ways, then that's what you want. What's the point in wasting a whole update for this? A lot of it is padding. But for the most part, the entire story is :

Duo is asked by moron to help kill him/herself > moron tells his/her lengthy pathetic story about how his/her life has burned to ashes, usually by his/her own idiotic hands and wish no longer to live > Duo then make elaborate plans to kill said moron > At the very cusp of following through with their suicide, the person backs out or gets scared > The duo, mainly Ravenwood, finishes the job against their wishes, thus committing murder. The lack of moral guilt is jarring at best.

Also, if the main characters are minors, where the hell are their parents?

Art review

Not a Sonic fan character.

I will give Rafael this much credit. Unlike many other furry comics I have seen, he is able to draw animals to look unique and largely differentiated from one another. The art shows improvement over time. Pigs look like pigs, cows look like cows, moles look like moles, and so on and so forth (except for Arcturus, who looks like a Sonic the Hedgehog character. He probably started off as such. He's supposed to be a mouse). I don't have to GUESS what animal I'm looking at, unlike Concession, where every bloomin' animal is the same malformed cat-shaped smudge with different colors. But for now, I'm still analyzing his art, so more on this later.

Writing review

The writing is really where Suicide for Hire falls flat. It tries too hard to be EDGY and DEEP when there is hardly a redeeming quality about it. Misery and woe are all over the place, much like Jack. Characters die unnecessarily, or in overly violent ways. Or maybe this is all supposed to be funny?

Both of these main characters are their own brand of unlikable. Hunter is a jerk, guided by his lust for porn and very off kilter moral compass (if he even truly has one). He's the worse of the two, often spouting insane jargon about why someone deserves life or death and is perfectly content to just fling your ass over the edge of a building even if you aren't willing to end it all yourself. He seems to take personal enjoyment in killing people as well, using the guise of "helping those who can no longer handle the harsh realities of life" as a means of letting his true, insane colors show. Really, he just likes to see people die.

Arcturus is a wuss. At first, you might think he is the more sane of the two, but he's just a pushover. Even when he has reservations about killing, he does so anyway. He just goes with it. Every. Single. Time. It never seems to bother him too much that Hunter usually crosses the line from assisted suicide to cold blooded murder. All he does is whine a bit in the corner, dry his eyes and trudge on. His fickle characterization is hard to deal with. Is he gonna draw the line or just continue killing people? He goes constantly back and forth, but it never really makes a difference. Arcturus disappoints the most since, out of the two, he has the highest potential for character development. It's there, peeking at you through the fog, but it never comes out. All I can do is hope that, in the future, the writer will make up his mind.

"We're, like, totally moral, you guise."

Both of them are blinded by their own self righteousness, questionably lopsided to non-existent morality, stupidity, and lack of courage or common sense. Rarely have their lives been depicted outside of their "business", so we don't know if this is hinting at a horrible screwed up life they themselves live, or if they are just sociopathic pricks. I'm heavily voting on the latter.

Early in the comic, there is a brief moment of false hope, fooling the reader into believing that Arcturus is actually insane and that he is battling his inner demon for power over free thought and will. Maybe, over time, he will defeat this demon and learn to stop killing people. But this plot point never shows up again. Arcturus and Hunter continue on their merry homicidal way, making you wonder why the writer even bothered. To be brief, the writer either doesn't care or doesn't know how to write a coherent story. I'm guessing there was supposed to be a story, but it got snuffed a long time ago. Every gig is the same. They murder people and feel no sorrow for what they do. It just rolls off them like water off a duck's ass.

The world that these characters live in has some messed-up logic. It's a crapsack world to the fullest, which is the only way I can figure so many people want to commit suicide over some of the lamest of reasons, willing to pay in cold hard cash to go out in the goriest/flashiest way possible, or why the police totally fail at finding even a shred of evidence to prove that these deaths are not suicides! So what if the main characters are wearing gloves? (One wears fingerless gloves. No fingerprints?!) There are other ways to decipher foul play! The police/forensics must be idiots because there is no way the main characters can be smart enough to cover all traces of evidence. The dumb asses leave posters all over the school promoting their business.

Let's see:

  • Sudden, freakish increase in suicide rate among high school children
  • Posters blatantly advertising assisted euthanasia services by two high school goth kids

How does this not get investigated? Still, so long as there's a convenient suicide note next to the body, the police see no need to look deeper.

In one arc, a pregnant pig girl comes to them in need of their "services" because she can't pay for an abortion...

...

She can't pay... for an abortion? What?! The two goths charge an arm and a leg for them to extravagantly end your life, but she doesn't have enough for an abortion? Then how does she plan to pay them?! Even more stupid. After they have a straw-man argument abortion, they kick her out of their clubhouse of doom. Of course, since they are the heroes of this tale, there are no repercussions to their idiotic decision to let a potential witness to their illegal business run scot-free (which is made even worse because they're suddenly afraid to do that later in the comic). And in all this time, with the police actively investigating these random deaths, the stupid pig never bothers to come forward as she is the biggest piece of evidence the cops could use, since she is the only person to seek their services, know where their hideout is, and not get killed.

...They run a suicide clinic from a FUCKING TREEHOUSE! *facepalm* Adults are Useless.

Particularly insulting is the idea that these two have any kind of morality at all. They apparently have a list of rules, one if which is that they won't kill an non-consenting party. NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT ALL OF THEIR CLIENTS BACK OUT AT THE LAST SECOND, AND THEY KILL THEM ANYWAY. Also, look at how excited Hunter gets at the prospect of killing an innocent old lady.

However, truth be told, this comic's side characters are worse than the main cast. The rejects of society who go to them for their "services" each have their own woeful little story to tell. They try to butter it up, but you know they are all jerks, stalkers, and liars who deserve the bad hand they get in life but are too punk to ride it out. In a way, you want to see them die, but at the same time, you don't want to justify the insanity of the two main characters. It's a lose-lose situation here, folks.

Also, secondary characters in this comic usually have ridiculous or insultingly shallow reasons for wanting to die in the first place ("there is no other pussy like hers!"). It's too exaggerated to be taken seriously most of the time. I can't take the creator's "message" to heart when it feels more like he's making fun of suicide victims than, as he puts it, "attempting to highlight many alternatives to suicide". What alternatives?

Rafael always makes the victim out to be insane, stupid, pathetic, or helpless. They all come across as completely unlikable, as if ultimately they don't deserve to live, thus justifying the taking of their life. The one chance the protagonists had at saving a woman who actually had a reason to kill herself, which was a semi-realistic and relatable character, they let die and then act all righteous and holier-than-thou in some stupid act of revenge against the man who drove her to suicide. But only AFTER he voluntarily came to them so they could off him, which is THEIR JOB in the first place. Any sense of justice or heroism of the act is rendered null and void. This is twisted and backwards. Why didn't they help the woman by killing her husband in the first place? They can kill everything else, but they don't want to be hit men?

Author biography

Through this interview, you can get a pretty good idea of how this guy views suicide. According to Mr. Medina, he's not advocating rampant self-elimination and [is] attempting to highlight many alternatives to suicide. Oh really? I have trouble believing this is his true goal. After reading this interview, it sounds more like he's saying "How dare people have issues and not be emotionless, overly-logical robots?". Sure, suicide is bad, but reading this makes it seem that he believes people who kill themselves are losers who don't deserve life in the first place. Or worse, that people who complain about their problems, as most human beings do, should kill themselves.

Conclusion

This is all that ever really happens.

In one arc, they torture a deer guy when he asks too many questions after they kill a neighborhood dog. After being tortured, he realizes that his life is meaningless and he decides that he wants to die. He tells an extremely wordy story about how he destroyed his reputation at school, then Arcturus tries to convince him that his reasons for wanting to die are stupid and will hurt his loved ones, but this attempt to highlight the seriousness of suicide (not to mention an opportunity to develop Arcturus as a character by showing that he doesn't think suicide is a laughing matter) is undermined by the deer guy falling asleep from boredom in a tasteless attempt at humor. The next day, as he's about to dunk his head into a vat of liquid nitrogen, he realizes that suicide isn't the answer and starts to back out, but as usual, Hunter dunks his head in, freezes it, and shatters it on the floor. He and Arcturus joke about it, then pat themselves on the back for getting away with killing him and the dog.

That's basically how the entire comic goes. Any time a character shows potential for development, it's either thrown out or the character gets killed. All drama takes a back seat to dark comedy, which would be fine if it were good comedy, but it's not. It's the same gag over and over again: peon tells his/her sob story and asks Hunter and Arcturus to kill them, then they back out at the last second, then Hunter kills them anyway and Arcturus acts mildly annoyed. How is that funny, especially when that's all that ever happens?

The characters are unlikable, the story is senseless, the very premise is insane, and the comic treats the topic of suicide like one big fucking joke. If Rafael's trying to teach some kind of lesson through his comic, then he's failing miserably because whatever lessons there may be are insane and always take the form of pseudo-philosophical or pseudo-logical bullshit rants spewed through walls of text, and the comic comes across as little more than a series of pointless, violent fantasies. If pointless violence is all it's meant to be, then he's just an asshole.

The comic is full of straw-man arguments and rants which betray a rather callous attitude that the author may feel toward other people. Now, you might think that the opinions of these characters don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the author, but these guys always get away with the shit they do, and their "clients" and the people they often talk down to and sometimes even victimize are always depicted as deserving it, and we're all just meant to laugh at them. Even when Arcturus expresses remorse or unwillingness to do something, he goes with it anyway, and he only ever seems mildly annoyed whenever Hunter does something evil. They never get arrested or suffer vengeance from anybody they've wronged. If anything bad does ever happen to them, it's never a direct result of their actions, and even then, such instances are rare, and even when they do happen, they're often followed by more rants, 'cause, you know, nothing is ever their fault. It's always society that's wrong.

The comic never makes a point about Hunter and Arcturus being bad people, and no, simply pointing out that they have an "unbalanced moral compass" and having Arcturus say "maybe we shouldn't do this" doesn't count. In fact, it makes it worse because by doing so, Rafael acknowledges that they're evil, but by never having them get punished for it, he's demonstrating that he doesn't care. In this interview, Rafael claims that he has an ending planned for the comic, so it's possible that Hunter and Arcturus will eventually get their comeuppance, but until that happens (assuming it ever will), this just seems like a comic made to glorify sociopathy, or at least make light of it.

it should be noted that the author stopped updating in the middle of a story ark.

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