The Easy Breather
|Original review author(s):||oddguy|
|Webcomic Name:||The Easy Breather|
|Author:||James H. Vipond|
|Start Date:||February 8, 2008|
|Genre:||Unconvincing anti-smoking propaganda + Unexciting superhero adventure + Unsexy, blatant (yet never admitted) pornography = What the hell am I even reading?|
|Defining Flaw:||This comic means well (about the smoking. The author's homophobia and religious preaching I could do without), but everything else about it is wrong. And everyone being naked coupled with the creepy faces on the CGI dolls makes it even more unsettling.|
There is an article on Cracked.com that has provided us with some amazing review material ever since this wiki started. So far we have reviewed every comic on it except for two; Faith mouse, which is so impossible to understand that it can't even be reviewed, and this... thing.
I struggled a lot with this review. The problem is that there is so much wrong with both the creator and his comic and I want to include EVERYTHING. The man who made it is an old, fundie nutbag and is likely homophobic. He supports some warped version of naturalism and claims the excessive nudity in his comic is not in any way sexual. He is obsessed with game shows, wants to direct a sitcom, has nazi level hate for smoking and every single thing about his comic is wrong. I didn't know where to start and where to finish. So I opted to start with this:
I smoked cigarettes when I was in the fourth grade and it didn't make me an addict or a super villain. I spent the rest of my life not smoking and it didn't give me super powers. Your comic is stupid.
On page two of the comic we already see the parents in a state of "non sexual nudity" (sure...). At least the little girls were not naked... but something along those lines happens later anyway.
Story and Plot
Chapter one begins with two little girls playing. One of them finds a cigarette and takes a single puff, her friend stops her and throws it in the trash and is praised by her parents... who are naked. Cut to 30 years later and the little girl has grown up to be a television reporter who reacts to smoking like a rabid dog. She gets told that her parents died in a fire lit by gasoline and a cigarette, making smoking partially to blame even though the fire is what killed them and it was an act of intentional arson and not a smoking related accident. Still, she does not let common sense get in her way and goes home to read on the internet about how smoking is to blame for everything ever. On the way home she sneezes on the bus with such force that her clothes rip off (or maybe evaporate because I can't see where they went) and then goes home to either mourn her parents death naked or read Shakespeare naked, the dialog provides no clue.
A bunch of other pointless things happen, most containing gratuitous nudity, and she goes to the doctor who tells her she has the ability to exhale 20% more air than a normal person due to a life of non-smoking. In reality I fail to understand how this can be used for anything besides being a minor annoyance to people, but in the world of The Easy Breather this somehow gives her super powers. She freezes the gun of some guy who was trying to rob a lady to buy
crack cocaine weed uranium smokes with her ice breath and decides to become a super hero... except she already decided to be a superhero before she had any powers so this makes even less sense.
A bunch more nudity and boring stuff happens and Samantha finds out that her parents were killed by her childhood friend who became addicted to smoking from that single puff 30 years ago and waited until she was 18 to start smoking and contract lung cancer. Now she is evil (because she smokes) and uses black magic (because she's black) to kidnap people and steal their lungs (because she never thought of just curing herself with magic) and wants to kill Samantha (because... this isn't explained). The chapter ends with the kidnapped people being saved and the villain dying of cancer, which is something I found to be a million times more funny than this comic's few lame attempts at jokes.
That is just chapter one. Soon the comic gets off track and only remembers that it's about smoking being bad once every few months. Each chapter has it's own plot, but they all revolve around nothing important happening and that nothing being resolved by either an equal amount of nothing or three frames of fighting and then more nakedness and more nothing. calling any of this "plot" is a massive overstatement.
The art is a bunch of creepy 3D dolls made with a program called "Poser 7". My guess is that it was the most easy thing to use, and therefore also the most ugly. Everyone is as rigid as a corpse, their faces are scary and lifeless, the colors are blindingly bright and it all reeks of pre-rendered graphics designed to either entertain kids or scam money out of naive adults. It's only slightly less lazy than the art in God Hates Bambi because at least Vipond has the characters move from place to place. On the other hand, it is still far more lazy than anyone else who has ever picked up a pen, used Photoshop or did anything other than pose a bunch of ready-made models that look like store mannequins with genitalia. Another thing is that being lazy comes with limitations. That is why instead of a courtroom we have an office, the only way to make it look like someones hands are tied behind their back is to remove them and hope no one will notice, he can't make piles of snow so he adds them MSpaint and one character who is supposed to be a... how should I say this? "little person"? (Vipond just calls her a dwarf) Just looks like a regular person who is out of scale. At one point she is the size of a cat.
There really isn't anything more to say about this. It's ugly, it's lazy, he didn't actually draw any of it, the faces give me nightmares, the end.
The story is badly written and the plot has more holes than a whorehouse after a gunfight. The dialog sounds like an infomercial, the characters have no personality, the main topic of the comic is constantly forgotten, the villains have no motivation for their actions, half of the stories are resolved or driven by convenient coincidences, everyone keeps getting naked for contrived reasons, other things happen for no reason at all, the comic as a whole goes absolutely nowhere and is generally just a big mess.
The first thing you will notice is how often everyone is nude. That is because the writer is some kind of naturalist who claims none of this is sexual. That is obviously a lie, but let's not dwell on that. So the story keeps twisting in a way that will lead to people get naked, and anyone who is shy about his nudity is clearly a villain. Vipond will find any excuse to strip his characters. When they aren't naked in the bath or the shower (usually together despite being of opposite genders), they are hanging around their house nude, sneezing their clothes off, being walked in on while getting dressed, having clothes-liquefying potions squirted on them, getting naked at the doctor's, the tailor's, the prison and at one point some girl who was clothed a moment ago has no shirt or bra the next with no explanation of what caused it. The second issue this comic wants to focus on is smoking (it's the main topic of the comic but takes a back seat to the cartoon porn). The hero of the comic is some woman who hates smoking with a passion. In fact, at one point the comic actually implies that people who smoke are evil. Vipond later reluctantly recanted this but without fully admitting he thinks it isn't true. The level of anti-smoking propaganda in the comic is laughable. When Vipond isn't calling all smokers criminals, he is pretending there is an embargo in the news about reporting that smoking is harmful, even though it's obviously not true. In one chapter some guy literally tries to force some girl to smoke! Thankfully, FUCKING GOD HIMSELF has granted Samantha with super powers to fight smokers. Sadly, since smoking isn't a crime and you can't just beat up people who smoke she is the most ineffectual superhero ever. On at least three occasions she tells some people to stop smoking and they just tell her to fuck off. In one of those cases she just breaks down and cries like the strong female role model that she is.
And the plot holes? Here is a list of stupid things that I can recall off the top of my head that go unexplained: A witch casting a curse on Samantha and nothing happening, demons from hell blowing tobacco smoke, the ghosts of parents show up (naked) in her room for no reason and it is never mentioned again, she gains the ability to become invisible for no reason (other than to give her an excuse to strip) etc. Here is my favorite one: In one chapter some girl who looks like the main hero is robbing a bank when she suddenly slips and falls. The fall makes her lose her memory and some guy who is evil and is there for no reason tells her to pretend to be the hero and rob it anyway. This plotline ends when he tries to have sex with her which makes her run away and regain her memory. Then she confesses and the guy who kidnapped her gets sent to jail for it and she gets sent to jail for her pre-amnesia crime. At this point, if you have a brain, some questions should be in raising your mind. Questions like: Who was that guy? Why was he there? How did he know someone would fall there and lose her memory? Why did she even follow his orders? How did she rob those banks? What got her to get her memory back? Why couldn't she have been not a bank robber so that the story's end won't be so morbid? And why the fuck is she naked in this story like fifty times? But the biggest question I was asking myself at that point was: "Why the hell am I still reading this?"
Okay, so what about the racism, homophobia and pedophilia? You must have noticed me mentioning them and now you want proof. Well, those things are not blatant, but some strange moments and offhand remakes in the comic that are hard to overlook. For example, there is this racist comment about how prison is full of Mexicans (who all love spicy food...) an Irish character with the Guinness symbol on her T-shirt, a black one with "Fat Albert" on hers and a Japanese character that looks black. So if he isn't racist, he is at the very least extremely insensitive. The anti gay sentiment is much harder to deny. In one page the heroes sort of imply that they dislike gay people, and later James admits it outright (quoted lower down) in an article he wrote. Lastly the sexualization of children sticks out the most, not because there is more of it, but just because... well... it's bloody kids being naked! Even though none of them are actually shown fully nude, it's still hard to ignore the fact that they are. Setting aside some old, crude drawing of a naked girl from long ago that he had on another site, there is a particularly creepy chapter about one of the minor character's twelve year old daughter babysitting an eight year old boy who tries to take pictures of her in the shower. Vipond mentions that child porn is wrong, but he seems to think that child nudity is A-okay as part of his political views. It's hard to figure out how James discerns between the two until you realize he himself has no idea. This holds true for everything else in his philosophy. As a matter of fact, he seems to think that porno either should be or already is illegal. Then how are all his drawings of naked woman in the shower/bath/hot-springs or in public places (both fetishes) any different?... Let me just say this:
The correct definition of "Hypocrite" is not someone who says something and then does the opposite. It's someone who claims to believe in something he doesn't actually believe in.
Jams H. Vipond epitomizes hypocrisy.
To get a better feel for this man, why don't you read this excerpt from his site:
(If you are wondering which kind of Christianity is "true Christianity", it's Lutherans... Obviously...)
The comic is made by James H. Vipond, who became somewhat infamous after his insane comics and other ventures were exposed by known Cracked.com columnist "Seanbaby", and as you can tell from this quote, he is a homophobic old man who is stuck in the past like crazy version on Marty McFly. Vipond is presumably somewhere around the age of 45 at the moment and resides in South Dakota. He has an insane obsession with game shows and a slew of broken down old websites about things that he cares about but no one else does. He also used to run another webcomic about naked Christian superheros called "The Spectrum Force" of which I now cannot find a trace. Finally, he has a web page about a television shows he wants to make (there used to be more than one), or should I say "have made for him"? It seems he thinks that by writing down a list of television networks he would be willing to work with he will inevitably have Rupert Murdock knocking down his door to see what this no talent hack with no prior experience has to offer. And all he has to do is simply write a half-assed description of the "wholesome black sitcom" he wants to make, along with two ugly videos made with the same program he makes the comic with where he does the voices for both of the characters.
Seriously, watch this, it's hilarious. Not the actual joke, but the way Vipond tries to imitate a woman's voice:
But his main passion is... well... it's hard to describe it. It isn't exactly nudism in the traditional sense. What he believes is that people should be able to just walk around naked all the time and that movies should have more "non-sexual" nudity in them. Now, it's easy to pick out the flawed reasoning in his statements on this issue, as well as the idea as a whole. It is also easy to point out all the inconsistencies in the way he portrays nudity in the comic that show that it is indeed sexual. Still, I don't want to waste my time trying to prove what is obvious to anyone who so much as glances at the comic, so let's just sum this up:
Lazy, untalented, delusional, perverted, probably homophobic, racially insensitive, disagrees with the idea there is anything wrong with child nudity, religious extremist, vapid political commentator, crazy and far too old to be unaware of how what he is doing is making him look (he has been online since the days of Usenet. He should get this by now). He has, to some extent, a little of everything we criticize on this website all rolled into one. People might actually pay more attention to him (not the good kind) if he wasn't also so unspeakably boring.
As I was putting the final touches on this review I noticed his latest journal entry from two days ago on his Deviantart account, where he announces that he is ending this comic. And all I can say is:
THANK FUCKING GOD!
And thank you James H. Vipond! Thank you for the years of entertainment you have provided people on the internet with this horrible comic and your general insanity. You have done a fine job, and if I wasn't smoking up until now, I will seriously consider starting.
- The webcomic.
- James H. Vipond's shrine of broken crap. - contains forgotten projects, abandoned sites, moronic rants, tributes to shows on Dakota's local access channel etc. All of it broken and outdated.
- Seanbaby's original article about Vipond. - Contains his drawings of a naked five year old girls that look like they were drawn by a five year old girl, his instructions for a potato themed game show, and all kinds of other craziness.
- TV Tropes page for this comic.
- TV Tropes review of this webcomic.
- The Easy Breather is on the TV Tropes list of horrible webcomics.
- The article mentioned at the beginning of the review.