Talk:Slightly Damned

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I know that reviewing a review may look like a very unnecessary job, but this one is so strangely written, I think I may give my few cents.

Firstly: I think the comic made a totally different curve from that described here. I think the beginning was much more interesting, especially the infernal part, and that things went fatally slow later on, so that the comic is, right now, almost unbearable because it lacks both suspense and pacing.

What doesn't work well to me: the sections Background, Downfall and the synopsis 1-108 are written by someone who wanted to read Jack, clicked on another webcomic featuring an underworld, and began lamenting how the comic wasn't Jack. I haven't read Jack. I've heard it's crazy bad. The fact that its defining features are called out as something positive and which another comic needs baffles me - especially as the Jack article points them out as its downfall.

"And yet this comic takes the Jack beginning, where an aborted fetus is sent to Hell to pay for the wrongdoing of his mother" This line makes me suspect that the whole Jack inspiration only exists in the mind of the reviewer. The beginning of SD has Rhea (alias Raichu in the review) already dead & entombed, talking with Death; but she is no fetus. She isn't a child, either. And she is judged in a very classic scene, where her good deeds are measured against the bad ones with scales - her deeds, not her mother's, whose identity she doesn't even know, as Jakkai are born from eggs (! talk about aborted fetuses) of which the village makes a single, big, indeterminable lump.

"And, oh yeah, we get our first clue as to the inspiration of this comic, as our Devil character looks vaguely like, talks vaguely like, and uses pretty much the exact same font and word bubble style as the Grim Reaper from Jack." Besides the fact that the "font" here is actually handwritten, I fail to see the resemblance. Even the speech balloon has a very different contour, and it is pretty evident that Chu wasn't going for a spiky frame, as we can see it a few strips later. Death looks a lot more like the thing on the cover of this album , but I won't say it is inspired by it. Why? Because the design of "undetermined, flowing matter forming a raw head having a prolonged muzzle and two horns" is really, really common. You can even find it as a quick joke in Zerocalcare's comics as a personification of the Demon of Anatomy. It can be said that it is usually used to represent a demon, instead of death; but, even then, I don't see the resemblance to Jack. Besides, in medieval art you very often find demons lingering around the bed of the dying, while the death personification is absent, because demons take its role. Therefore, I think it can be safely said that the line is quite blurred.

Now, I am not going to say that the scene is very well done, because it isn't. It is slow, it is static, and it isn't very well drawn. However, it has no element to infer an inspiration from Jack, unless the author herself says so.

"Have you ever read Jack? If you have (God help you), just picture Jack with every ounce of violence and mawkishness removed and replaced with "dark" humor so grating and unfunny that you want to stab nails in your eyes trying to read through it, remove Jack for most of the strip, and replace him with a pratfalling demon, a "big sister" demon, and a "mean" demon, all of whom are obnoxious beyond the imagination of mere mortals." Wasn't Death supposed to be Jack? And, besides, take Pride and Prejudice, change characters and setting, and, voila, you have another book. I find the logic lacking.

The review then goes on rambling about how bad the scenery in Hell is. There is no reason for it, as the comic rather well states that Rhea finds herself in an odd (and undesirable) situation, and that she won't go to hell proper, but to the ring of the slightly damned. "Where's the backgrounds, the scenery of horrors and nightmares?" Yes, I forgot we were talking about someone who wanted to read Jack. I will quickly pass on the whole "that's Homer" rant, as it shows a total lack of understanding of what makes a scenery. Homer's Nekyia is made great by the contrast between the swarming souls and the fact that they don't have any memory or substance left from their lives. Only the blood of the black goat sacrificed by Ulysses will temporarily give them some consistence back, and he has to draw his sword to keep them away (a man alone menacing a swarm of ghosts with his sword and making them retreat shows how void and impotent they have become). In other words, what makes Homer's hell memorable is the contrast between the number of the souls and their lack of vital power. The fact that its landscape remains undetermined is actually a detail common to various ancient Mediterranean cultures (you can find something similar in the Old Testament).

What we are shown in SD is pretty different. The scene is rocky and featureless, simply representing a neutral and boring environment for who isn't bound to the search of food or anything else anymore; this lack of features is aggravated by the presence of only one other "intelligent" being, Buwaro, who happens to be a naive and rather gentle, even if undoubtedly dumb, demon. It is pretty clear that the whole situation is very odd, and that there must be something to it. Most of the comic's verve comes from answering to the question of why such a strange situation was created.

In the review Rhea is called a toddler, when she is 17-18 (cast page). How the reviewer came to this conclusion will never be reveal-- no, wait, he was actually thinking about a character from Jack. As the reviewer seems to have a knowledge of ancient poetry, I think he will get what I mean by saying that he allowed Ate to blind him. ;-)

The terror of the "big brothers" is legitimated by the fact that they are actually big - and likely weighting anywhere between 80 and 5000 kilograms. The fact that they are rather ridiculous is totally true, but this is deliberate, as the comic is much more lighthearted than what the reviewer wanted to read, and fit in with the rest.

"In the context of this particular fantasy world, all the demons seem nice and genuinely non-threatening, sweetly befriending this child and almost acting like they feel sorry for her. As opposed to, you know, the God of her hometown, who was such a bitter asshole that he sent a child to a place where the sun doesn't shine for breaking some wooden bat thing." Besides the "child" thing - to be blunt, Rhea doesn't talk like a child (after the first two strips), doesn't act like a child (she's an introverted jerk) and also seems to have developed breasts - we have demons murdering (even Rhea), torturing (in hell and on earth) and going berserk, and demon children suggesting to kill another child demon. Besides, it is never hinted that Rhea was slightly damned because of breaking a Guardian's statue - especially because Guardians don't seem to have any power in such matters, and because the writer seems to be greatly sympathetic with her, and the act has never been named later on. The cause of her being damned is found, for example, in moral behavior, exemplified by her willingness to lie to a child.

"This is an issue with every badly written Hell story out there. There is absolutely no understanding made whatsoever in Slightly Damned about what differentiates a person destined for Hell versus a person destined for Purgatory or Heaven. The demons in this comic are nice, cute and sweet, but somehow they're supposed to be evil. But the flying sister supposedly has done evil while in Hell, so it's supposed to make sense. Daddy comes around to be cute to the kids and coddle them, when he's not apparently in the ninth circle gnawing on traitors or elsewhere sending bees to torture people at the gates. A little consistency would be nice, 'chu!" While true that the damned are shown as rather decent people, it is also clearly stated that Buwaro is a failure of a demon and doesn't show any of their typical behavior. As for Daddy, he has no access to hell proper.

"To get to the meat of the issue with the way this comic handles racism is that it does it by detailing the hatred angels have for demons and vice versa. And yet it's hard for me to feel sorry later on when this hatred leads to drama, because, well, they're fucking angels and demons . That's kind of the fucking point. We even find out later that the demons we met early on are actually special cases taught to be good by a certain character, and all the other demons really are the kind of jerks you'd expect them to be, what with killing angels and torturing people and all that. But the comic tries to tell us how sad it is that humans prejudge demonic beasts and angels go to try to kill the demon, and how we shouldn't judge one another. But telling a story where the author seems to imply that a human shouldn't be afraid of a lunatic beast with giant fucking claws and teeth so sharp they could cut diamond feels incredibly bizarre, especially when the only thing keeping said demon from ripping a new asshole into everything within five miles is a necklace he hangs around his neck with a thin string. It's like telling a lady in a back alley that she really shouldn't be afraid of the large man coming towards her with a knife in one hand and a gun in the other and a disturbing look in his eyes. But yeah, totally, the human characters should feel just fine hanging about with demons from Hell." I think this is the best part in the review, as it points out to many of the real flaws: are demons bad or not? Are angels good or not? The demonic inner brutality comes and goes, comes and goes, comes back worse, then leaves again...

"These "bad" demons corner the angel and work to kill her, which is only slightly awkward and bizarre, mostly just boring. Were you expecting a rape scene? Silly reader, this isn't Jack!" Since when is inserting random rape scenes in a story whose intended target seems to consist in ten years old something to be looking forward to? Thanks God, this isn't Jack. Why, I was expecting Mr. Darcy to come in flying accompanied by Tinkerbell, but this isn't a P&P-Peter Pan crossover, either.

"It gets way too sentimental and sappy for my tastes, like something meant for children" Yes! You got it! Ok, on to explain what I mean. I am not going to say that the author had a target audience in mind, when she began writing. But, as the reviewer neatly notices, the most important sources of inspiration for this comic were Nintendo games and their derivatives, as well as Disney Gargoyles. I don't really feel the Gargoyles vibe, but a lot of time has passed, so I can't say anything; the Nintendo part is, however, undoubtedly true. I think the author simply and instinctively took up all of the tropes and narrative themes in them for his story, which, because of this, happens to be a sappy romantic tale about otherworldly creatures travelling a world populated by different intelligent races, with a simple magical and theological system, talking tamely and fighting opponents in G to PG rated combat scenes. How much this was made consciously is all to be seen. So, a summary of what I qualify as weak points:

• Lack of originality

• Slow pacing and lack of structure

• Inconsistencies in the presentation of the demons’ evilness

• The comic is written as if it were destined to children, which can make it too sappy or exceedingly naïve.

There also are strong points, as shown in the second half of the review. To tell the truth, I was surprised to find the comic on the wiki, but I doubt I ever understood how you tell a bad webcomic from a good one, given how quirky most webcomics are. Anyway, I think a review should be better done than this one, and calibrated on what the reviewer is reading. Mistakes like calling Rhea a toddler are honestly hard to understand, especially when you are criticizing a work. Arantir (talk) 17:33, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

  • This review is a bit of a mess. The original was written by out site admin, then someone re-wrote everything but in such a positive light I suspected it was a fan. In the end, after some discussion, I just combined parts from both reviews together. I know it isn't perfect but I don't have the heart to delete it nor the energy to re-write it. Busey.pngoddguyBusey.png 18:12, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
    • Ok, that explains many things! I would offer to write it, but I don't think it would be suitable for a 'bad' comic. I think of it more like of a 'meh' comic, because I see weaknesses, but none of them are all that heavy, and it also has a few strong points (characters with well-formed, even though occasionally cheesy, personalities). The fact is that I don't see the horrible fault which usually condemns a comic to failure - unnecessary insertion of serious themes followed by their childish handling, or artless dialogues, or over-diffused strawmanship, for example. There even seems to be some decent fore-planning, and the tone and mood don't jump up and down like it happens in other webcomics. So yeah, I would end up writing a half-fan's review, and I doubt this is what the Wiki needs. ;-) Also, thank you for the answer! Arantir (talk) 18:49, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
      • According to this thread on the old site, yeah, it was The Luigiian who wrote the original review, with its numerous comparisons to "Jack". Also, I believe it's unfair to the artist and to readers to leave this review as is (or, at the very least, without a disclaimer) due to its inaccuracies. I'll throw in a quick warning about this review, but it would be best to have a new, more accurate review instead of this one. Renduras (talk) 19:00, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

An Alternate Review

Hey, I made a review. Check me out on my page, and let me know if it's okay.