|here in the "Reactions" section.|
|Original review author:||webkilla – written around May/June 2020|
|Forum Discussion Threads:||Thread 1 Thread 2|
|Webcomic name:||Tina's Story|
|Authors:||Writing by Gray Muzzle; artwork by Zenia|
|Start Date:||Some time around 2009 according to Graymuzzle (Drunkduck archive says 2012)|
|End Date:||Sometime in late 2020, when the creators started getting into trouble for it.|
|Genre:||Furry slice of life with gratuitous porn|
|Defining Flaw:||Mediocre artwork, unrealistic scenario, unrealistic main characters, the plot is intended more as a pretext to show sex scenes than to tell a real story.|
It happens every now and then that webcartoonists come to the wiki's forum, seeking critique. This one did not come for that, instead simply chatting and acting smug - claiming that he would wear our critique like a badge of honor.
That might be fair enough, if the shit he's made is worth being proud of.
When the sex scenes in your furry comic are on par, if not worse than, those in Buddies in Big Places then you really shouldn't try attract that much attention.
It should also be noted that back in 2016 the webcomic was considered for review - but at the time it seemed that the comic could only be accessed on a members-only porn site. Since then it was discovered on Drunkduck (now just 'The Duck Webcomics') which means that anyone can access it.
The stars thus having aligned, his webcomic simply had to be reviewed.
If you thought that Buddies in Big Places was bad... this is self-insert fap-fiction, where the geeky weirdo not only gets the girl, but has her fall in love with him from the moment he showed her his DeviantArt gallery.
Story and Plot
8 years of slice of life plot? Fuck that noise.
Of course it contains multiple story arcs and whatnot - but if we boil it down, then there are two main parallel story arcs in the comic and a third one that merges into the two primary ones much later in the comic.
Oh ya that is some smooth fucking moves there. Never mind that we're only really told this - note the exposition text boxes. This is how the comic likes to deliver its plot: So little is ever actually shown of plot-relevant action. This comic is all tell don't show.
Anywho - they date, fuck a lot, she gets pregnant, they get married, have three kids, they move into a house. Yawn. This summary just condensed eight years of a webcomic.
Let's just say that without all the padding that the porn gives, this webcomic would be unbelievably boring. Nothing of consequence or import ever really happens to these two, at least nothing that ever seems to permanently change or mark Ray and Tina: Tina's father gets a heart attack and nearly dies? Nah he recovers completely as if nothing had ever happened. Tina's mother is a Catholic nut who doesn't like that her daughter has married a filthy human? Nah, they become besties when Tina has her babies. Ray's mother is a Jewish nut who doesn't like that her son has married a filthy furry? Nah, they become besties when they have their son Jewishly circumsoldier'd.
Ray and Tina as characters do not change - people change around them. As characters they are as shallow as puddles - there is no depth to them at all. For this reason this review won't focus very much on the porn in the comic at all. It's just filler for the most part, and as will be explained later in the art and writing section, then it's actually pretty poorly made porn to boot.
Oh, and it should also very much so be noted that Ray is pretty clearly an author self-insert. A young Jewish man who is anything but bald (unlike Greymuzzle), who is a great but unknown artist (Greymuzzle can't draw for shit), working an anonymous government job (Greymuzzle is/was a lawyer IRL, lots of boring legal work most likely). Right, no, this reeks of Graymuzzle basically having written this story to be about an idealized younger version of himself. I mean, FFS, you don't write furry fapfiction about other men banging your furry waifu - you write that shit about your self-insert character banging her. We know how this game is played.
The B plot
The B-plot in the webcomic is a lot more interesting than this, starting out when some of Tina's DMV coworkers get drunk and end up sleeping together. Later on we learn that Colleen is living a double-life of sorts, for aside from working at the DMV she also has a sugar daddy who is into water sports. This isn't exactly an arrangement that she is happy with - and it ends with the sugar daddy at one point raping her which ends the arrangement. She supposedly can't call the cops on him because he's a big Hollywood producer (Hi Mr. Weinstein - no wait, this comic was from back in 2014)
This results in Colleen hitting the bottle and getting sent to AA by her therapist. There she runs into a former lover, a furry named Sean who ran out on her 15 years ago. They end up fucking, because unless its a parent or grandparents, then pretty much every new character introduced in the comic invariably has sex with someone - it is a porn comic after all.
Later on, we are told that the reason why Sean ran off was because he had knocked up ANOTHER girl - so he fucked off to Ireland and got caught up in The Troubles and spent five years in prison. This of course shocks Colleen, who ends up hitting the bottle again to handle this revelation that Sean hadn't abandoned her as much as he had been in prison for a crime he says he didn't do.
This of course gets her really drunk, and she gets picked up by Lydia, the same coworker she had slept with earlier in the comic - and they end up fucking again. Thing is, Lydia is married with children, but apparently Colleen is much more fun to be with that Lydia leaves her family and moves in with Colleen!
At a later AA meeting Colleen again runs into Sean. Of course they end up fucking, again - but they are caught by Lydia! Now, should there be conflict here? Lydia left her husband and children for Colleen… we know that Lydia is madly in love with Colleen. Still, her protege the sex-pot cat still can't understand why a furry might not want sex, so she still has plenty to teach.
Nope, they just all three start fucking - threesome established, because who cares if the woman you left your husband for is sleeping with other men, amirite?
Pretty much every time Tina is upset over anything Ray similarly just whips out his schlong and dicks her happy - conflict resolution via talking it out isn't really something that's done in this webcomic. I mean, that would actually good writing... and that's not being done here.
But ok - both Lydia and Colleen end up pregnant, because nobody in this webcomic ever uses birth control, and Sean promises to do right by the babies.
Later, Colleen and Lydia talk and Lydia is all "My life was so boring before I met you" and Colleen sets her right by telling her how shit her life has been. She started out as a farmgirl - then Sean ran off. She then ran off to Hollywood where she fucked her way to an assistant position - we assume that position was bent over. She then became a prostitute and later a madam, as in lady pimp. Then at some point she wanted out of that game and moved to New Jersey where the comic takes place, got a job at the DMV, but kept a few of her 'better' clients - in the form of the sugar daddy we saw earlier, though that clearly didn't work out. With this, Lydia understands Collen a lot better - and goes to talk to Sean about realising that both her lovers have very fucked up pasts - but that's all ok because then they fuck.
Later on Sean gets caught cheating, and is revealed when Colleen gets chlamydia from him - The two girls don't respond well to this and respond even worse when Sean gets home. Sean gets kicked out and two pages later the girls get married. It's rushed as all hell, but those girls go through a lot in what little is shown.
All in all the B-plot is by far the most interesting story in the webcomic, showing real character growth with characters rising up from being beaten down, their lives actually changing as they develop. Colleen is the best example of this, her going from being a miserable whore to being a confident and wise woman who actually helps others not make the same mistakes she did.
The C plot
The third story arc - the C-plot if you will - comes out of nowhere one day, as we cut to a random furry named Gray who is 100% Graymuzzle's own fursona put straight into the webcomic. This can easily be confirmed by comparing to Graymuzzle's Inkbunny account and comparing the pictures of his fursona and fursuits to the character in the comic.
You heard me right folks - this is some DOUBLE self-insert bullshit right here. Not only is Ray without a doubt a self-insert, but Gray is even more so - because he's just an old guy living off doing art commission in the Florida Keys (We can only imagine that this is Greymuzzle dreams of retiring to do). One day he meets a young barmaid, and as per the rules noted earlier, then all newly introduced characters usually end up fucking. So of course they do. The C-plot then goes disappears for a year or so, until resurfacing to tell us that Grey got a sugar-mamma, but she's a tad kinky and drinks too much so when he gets a call one day telling him that Nina the barmaid had a kid with him, he goes off to see her, which effectively merges the C-plot into the two main plots. Gray moves in with Nina and they of course fuck around getting her pregnant and then they marry. They then start the process with child services to get their child back. Of course, since it doesn't involve prolonged sex scenes, then this big of family court starts and stops in just two pages, with the judge giving a nice long bit of exposition summary about what would probably have been interesting day in court with interesting stories and explanations on furry child rearing. Because fuck actually showing plot, we all know it by now: Graymuzzle likes to just tell it. We don't even get to meet the grandparents who were apparently against Gray and the woman being together.
Anyway, this progresses the C-plot to introduce Greg/Grayson - who knows where that'll lead?
Ok, there are two ways to look at the writing for this webcomic: One is to consider it as a slice of life comic. The other is to look at it as a porn comic.
Here is how this webcomic fails most of the time on both fronts:
Now, with eight years of comic pages, for a slice of life comic, going over every story arc and bit of character development would take forever - but that's ok, because this is the kind of badly written comic where our two main characters Ray and Tina never ever change as characters, so you miss absolutely nothing.
Compare to a webcomic like Buddies in Big Places. Yes, it’s a shit comic, but its main cast actually grows and changes throughout the story, going through different jobs and make changes to the status quo every now and then. They develop, grow as people, that sort of thing. Sure it doesn't do it well - it's reviewed on this wiki for a reason - but it does it far better than this shit.
Looking at Ray and Tina - the two main characters of this comic - they completely fail with regards to this. Sure, they married and have some kids, but as characters they do NOT change. Tina is still a horny sexpot who’ll drop trou and bend over at the drop of a hat - because that’s all her character ever was once you scratch the surface on her. Her personality can be summarized as "Hi, I'm totally in love with you all of a sudden, lets fuck". The same with Ray, who is magically rich because of the plot, despite merely being a department manager at the DMV.
The real irony is that there are characters in this comic that grow really well: The real winners in this are the girls from the threesome crew in the B plot - Colleen and Lydia. These two characters grow. They change. They struggle, they have setbacks, they overcome them by supporting (and fucking) each other - but there is no doubt that they have come out different and for the better compared to how they started in the comic. This of course also means that they are actually written a lot better, with far more depth. Colleen especially goes from being a miserable whore to being a confident and wise woman who actually helps others not make the same mistakes she did. That's growth.
But Tina and Ray? Nothing that happens to them has any kind of permanent effect. The best of example of this is the 13 page arc of Ray suddenly getting fired by a corrupt commissioner trying to get his mistress a job. We’re told that Ray is popular enough that his impromptu firing makes EVERYONE in the DMV walk out. Right… because we are NEVER at any point told or shown in the comic that Ray is a beloved, influential or popular DMV department manager. The whole arc is written so poorly, yet if Ray did have some depth as a character - other than being Tina’s slightly chubby fuckstick - then it could have worked, could have been a good jumping off point for some change in his life, perhaps another job, a new career, something!
No, instead we got a resolution so rushed it leaves your head spinning - and a complete reversion to the status quo afterwards, because massive institutional corruption and a city-wide protest clearly doesn’t leave any kind of impact on society, right?
Fucking hell. This was less a written story and more a bullet point plot outline turned into a webcomic.
...and Graymuzzle had the fucking nerve to claim that he’s been asked to teach what he does at furry conventions? This reviewer knew that standards were low at furry conventions, but that they were that low? Holy shit.
I can buy that its a soap opera - because the emotions of the characters go from 0 to 100 at the drop of a hat... well, if its to allow for a porn scene, and like any good soap then the characters never really change… and yet they do - some of them, showing that Graymuzzle can write character development - when he’s not busy writing more piss scenes or incest references.
And nominated for three (count 'em, three) awards? Competition must have been light. There are webcomics reviewed on this wiki tagged with nuclear bombs with better writing than this shit - even more so for better quality porn.
Sure, in his own words - words aimed at this wiki’s forum community, Graymuzzle has stated:
Well, duh. Create something and show it to an audience, expect cheers or flying tomatoes accordingly.
Thing is Graymuzzle, what you have created is not good. And we create warnings to people not to waste their time with your drek. "Nobody has built a statue to a critic", goes the old saw, but that doesn't mean critics are unnecessary, or newspapers and magazines would not hire professional movie and literary critics to begin with. If someone learns of X book or movie, they would prefer to have some idea what it is about before they view it. You might not agree with a critical review, but it at least gives you knowledge of what somebody thinks of it.
The story beats in the webcomic are - for the most part - predictable and nothing of consequence ever happens to your two main characters. No real consequences for anything ever happens for events that most certainly should have had some, as noted in the plot section: Father in law gets a heart attack? Nah, he recovers as if nothing happened. Ray gets fired and arrested? Nah, that shit is over and rolled back so fast you wouldn’t be at fault to think it never happened.
You could cut Ray and Tina's story out of the comic entirely and just run it on the B and C plot, and it would only improve the comic. This is the most damning thing about the whole comic. What other webcomics have been reviewed on this wiki where the entire main plot is the least memorable part of the comic?
Then again, on Graymuzzle's SoFurry account you can find the original written story that the comic is based on, which explains a lot. Lets just say that it's not exactly on par with Danielle Steele - in fact, it reads a lot of like a script, with most of the conversation being entirely without descriptions of what the characters are doing while they're talking. The linked chapter is the material used to produce the 13 page "Ray gets fired" arc - and it appears that the comic arc was a word-for-word adaptation of the written story, which is not a good thing: The original written story reads like a list of bullet points that just list off events, never going into depth with character interaction for crucial story beats.
This explain why the plot moves at a breakneck speed, and why characters talking in the comic rarely do anything but stand and look at each other - because the story being adapted never covers these things, and there is no sign of Graymuzzle or the artist having expanded on the original written story to make the comic flow better.
For comparison, Hollywood script to screen time norms would have it that the script page to screentime ratio is one page to one minute for the most part - and the Ray getting fired arc covers A LOT of events that in a movie would have required far more screentime to cover. But instead pretty much everything is just blown past via exposition dumps in text boxes. What should have been a Ray being flung to the lowest he's ever been in the comic, accused for a crime he didn't commit and possibly ending up a situation where he might go to prison, should have made for loads of melodrama. Soap opera writers live for shit like this. No, instead everything is resolved off-screen in just a few pages at the end of it.
Graymuzzle says he was nominated for awards for this shit? Note the phrase "nominated for", not "winning". As meaningless as the phrase "patent pending", which means the item with those words upon it has not actually been patented. A little deception for people who don't keep their eyes peeled, to make the comic sound a lot fancier than it really is. For fuck's sake, the writing in Buddies in Big Places is better than this! The writing in Tina's Story is on par with what one might expect from a 14-15 year old trying to write fap-fiction: “A pretty girl meets a guy who’s totally not me, and I show her my DeviantArt gallery, and we fall in love and date and have lots and lots of sex”. No, this is a webcomic that gets nominated for things so that what actually ends up winning just looks all the better by comparison. This webcomic is award nominee list filler.
Extremely grimdark setting
Wait, did you think we're done talking about the writing? Oh no.
You see, Graymuzzle - in his infinite wisdom - has throughout the comic sprinkled in the occasional bit of world-building, because how else do you explain why there are furries in a world that also has humans?
The problem here is that the world Graymuzzle has described is an absolute nightmare world. See, on the very first page of the webcomic we're told that in this world furries got made via some 'misguided' medical research, where they were first used as sentient pets. Ok, that's an ok lampshade I guess. Problem is that later on we're also told that this happened VERY recently - as in, Tina was her family's first member get a proper education and a proper job. When Colleen talks about her past as living on a farm, she says it was as LIVESTOCK. When another character talks about her past, she notes that she born in a lab in Japan but sold off cheap because she wasn't kawaii enough, which landed her as a sled-dog in Alaska where she had to fight regular dogs for a spot at the feed bowl and a spot to sleep, wearing only rags. (Presumably Graymuzzle has seen this old Peanuts TV special.) Oh and when she got older her owner started molesting her, because lol furries didn't have any human rights. Never mind the fact that in most places in the world, especially the US, its illegal to molest/have sex with animals. But hey... who cares about legal consistence from a story written by a lawyer?
Similar story beats are covered as we're told that Tina is a rape-child - but her mother couldn't call the police because lol no rights. Sure, this turns out to be a lie later on, but we're told that shit like that was just... the norm?
Why? This doesn’t make any fucking sense at all!?!?!! What kind of nightmare world is this where people make sentient slave people and just sell them to random middle-of-nowhere dog sled crews? Or to farms as livestock?
Fuck me - this setting does have black people in it and it is set in New Jersey, on the East coast of the US in a seemingly contemporary setting. Do not fucking tell me that a new species of humanoid slave creatures were cooked up without anyone going “Hold up, didn't we already agree that slavery was bad?” and objecting to it.
This is basically the exact same problem that Buddies in Big Places suffered from - in that the realistic ramifications of the shit being put into the comic doesn't appear to be something that is ever thought through, despite the setting supposedly being very realistic in how things work, based on how the comic portrays itself. We're supposed to believe that at some point in very recent living memory in the comic, around 40 to 20 or so years ago, furries were treated as chattel slaves, many of them routinely raped without consequence and bought and sold as one pleased?
It very much seems as if Graymuzzle never at any point considered just how incredibly dark his webcomic actually is - because everyone is cheerful, always having sex. Lots of sex. Normal sex, weird sex, a little of watersports here and there. We get it Graymuzzle, you like the piss, but its not hot to sexy to see two adult women talking about pissing in the jacuzzi and even less so being shown it. For fuck's sake. Of course, even creepier was the underage incest reference that got dropped at one point, with all the subtlety of a an erect horsecock being forced up your ass.
But of course, why bother thinking about the nightmare dystopia the webcomic setting actually is, when you can be distracted by amazingly badly written porn dialogue going on about flooding you with semen. Lets just say that the porn, just like the rest of the writing, reads like its was cranked out by a 15 year old who was very much so writing with only one hand, which only becomes worse once you realize that it was written by a 50-something year old guy who you would expect had read a few things in his life, and thus would have at least a basic grasp on good storytelling.
Remember that quote from Greymuzzle that this comic is supposed to be "fun" ? Dude has no clue what he's doing.
An overall judgement of the art is quickly handled: It's not good, but though it does inch its way above bad into the lowest end of mediocrity. No shading, flat faces, generally no depth in the artwork at all - and stiff poses galore! Strangely enough, against similar Buddies in Big Places, then looking at the artist's FA account reveals that she can actually do pretty decent or at least passable artwork. It stands to reason that the quality of the comics are lower because of the volume being cranked out. Still, after having drawn the comic for some 8 or so years, then as can be seen here there hasn't been much improvement at all - which by any standard is the hallmark of a subpar artist. A great example of this can be seen with Colleen in one of the earliest pages to her from one of the latest - barely any noticeable difference in how the character is drawn. Greymuzzle, your money could probably have been spent better.
Of course, there is one other way to judge a comic - especially when it is a porn comic: How good is the porn? Not going to show it here, because... reasons... but here's the deal:
The older pre-2018 porn, if i’ts any indication - for the 6 years that the porn was uncensored in the comic, before it was hidden behind a paywall due to… reasons… it's shit. It is the most lifeless and soulless porn ever, on par with most mediocre furry porn from the late 90s. Similar to the regular art, then it suffers from the lack of shading which leaves the porn without any feeling of depth. The anatomy on display is amateurish at best, and never seems to improve. There are webcomics with much better porn content on this wiki, hell there are several to choose between. Hell, each of these webcomics are better drawn all around, and their writing is much better too.
Now, this is primarily a critique of the artist, but as noted previously, then the writing for the porn is also atrocious - and since Greymuzzle wrote the scripts that detail what goes into the artwork, then he's very much to blame for this as well. Oh, and it should be noted that at one point during 2018 the porn in the comic started to get blurred in the comic, with the uncensored stuff appearing behind a Patreon paywall. The official excuse for this from Greymuzzle, according to an InkBunny journal post, was that with him getting older he wasn't working as much, so he had to pay for the comic artwork to be made some other way. Oh yes, did we mention that he has actually been paying the artist who illustrates the comic?
Also, the comic suffers endlessly from sameface, as Zenia can't seem to draw furry characters that are of the same species in ways that make it possible to tell their faces apart. She also draws cat furry faces oddly flat. If there are multiple cats or dogs of the same race on the same page, then you better hope that their hair or clothing is unique enough to tell them apart.
So, who is Greymuzzle? Who is Zenia?
Additionally, then he used to be city council-member somewhere in the US, but someone found his SoFurry account which said that he "tolerates rape" - plus apparently his InkBunny account used to subscribe to a ton of cub-fur (read: Pedo) content. Oh fun! And yes, his SoFurry and Inkbunny account was scrubbed of anything incriminating after this, though there is a Kiwifarms thread which documented everything before the evidence was purged.
So ya, he's some old lawyer who gets off writing furry smut - and without a doubt jacks off to furry porn. So... ya... nothing new there. Oh and he claims to be asexual - sure, buddy. Couldn't just be that you're a creepy mid-50s porn addict who's way too fucked up to get laid IRL. And I could have sworn you mentioned having a wife? Or did you make her up, like the late Albert Temple's fictional girlfriend Catswhisker or the late Jim Hardiman's fictional girlfriend Desiree Lee? (I checked SoFurry just now, and it seems the "Gray Muzzle" account is active again...and he says he really does have a wife. OK, I am sure he told the truth.)
The artist that Greymuzzle has been paying for the last many years to illustrate the comic, one Zenia, well - looking at her FurAffinity account its easy to see that she can actually draw stuff that looks pretty decent. And though she removed her Tina's Story artwork from her account because it ended up causing her trouble. she still does pornography as well as regular furry artwork.
This is a webcomic set in a scenario where at some point within the last twenty years furries were slaves that could be raped without consequence, kept as livestock, and then some. This is unbelievably dark, yet every time it's brought up in the comic, it's dropped just as quickly - as if Graymuzzle doesn't want to bother writing anything that can actually show how shit like that could actually have happened.
It just doesn't make any sense - but it's probably not supposed to either. You're supposed to be distracted by the endless stream of shit-tier porn. Every time a character is upset, a good fucking makes it all good again. The sad thing is that there are so many other far superior furry webcomics out there (a number of them on the wiki, but still better) - and there's even more really good furry porn out there - so why anyone would ever want to read this, is beyond this review.
UPDATE: Around March 2021, Zenia was accused of producing child pornography (she has said she did no such thing) and has faced legal troubles because of it. Gray Muzzle's reaction was to delete this webcomic from The Duck hosting service and change his SoFurry account name to "Deletedaccount99999999999", with some remnants of this webcomic still remaining as of this writing. Gray Muzzle could just have dumped Zenia as his artist and found another, but that makes me suspect that it had something to do with the comic itself. Who knows? This will likely never be revealed, seeing as Gray Muzzle appears to have gone to great lengths to completely erase all furry accounts he's had, along with any traces of the webcomic.
SECOND UPDATE: Zenia herself has said on her FurAffinity page that she ended up deleting everything she drew for Tina's Story because she also got into trouble for it. She also admitted she deliberately did not do her best artwork for the comic because she was doing it on the cheap.
Apparently the offending artwork was from Tina's Story, on a comic page featuring a flashback to one of the characters reminiscing of playing doctor as a child, not even really showing it - on a page uploaded to FA back in 2016. This was apparently enough to trigger FA's "no child porn" rule - and the joker who made the report also ended up getting banned. Zenia herself got a one month ban.
The comic only remains available on Gray Muzzle's Patreon, because apparently Zenia wants to "finish" the story (to get some more money if nothing else). So its not entirely gone... yet - but it is no longer available to the public.
Tina's Story: the webcomic. (Requires that you register an account, takes no time, no age verification)No longer there.
- The written story that the comic was originally based on - bring your own sipping bleach. (Requires that you register an account, takes no time, no age verification)
- Zenia's FurAffinity page, where she mentioned deleting everything to do with Tina's Story so as to not get into any more trouble over it. She still has plenty of other porn artwork though.
- Zenia's InkBunny page
- Zenia's DeviantART page