Behold: My righteous sandbox for my review of what I think is terrible!
|Original review author:||Colonel Klink|
|Author:||Jocelyn Samara DiDomenick|
|Start Date:||November 29th, 2010|
|Genre:||Drama, Transgender, "Comedy" Slice-of-life|
|Defining Flaw:||Long periods of time with nothing of consequence happening|
I ran into it on deviantart during one of my crawls. That magical time of the week when I have enough time to plot random courses through websites to see what happens. This time I decided to look for comics and this one grabbed me for a moment much in the same way that the short lived tv show "Pelswick" did. It had an at least interesting premise on the surface but failed to deliver due to incompetence on the part of the creator. However unlike Pelswick, it just keeps being churned out like Call of Duty sequels because people whom don't know better keep lapping it up.
It happened over time after the end of chapter 1. Where I began to find out that the bulk of this comic is just drama and angst with small tidbits of story worth paying attention to. That and when it became evident that Rain is in fact, Invader Zim, due to how nobody seems to notice the green alien in the room and just make up excuses for her (metaphorically) green skin that don't involve the obvious to people with eyes and a brain that can add numbers. It only goes further downhill after the laundry list of LGBT characters are found to either be attending or enroll in later chapters to this catholic school. Because as well all know, a catholic school is just the place you wanna go if you have anything but a standard sexual orientation. But it's less about realism and more about collecting all the orientations and gender identities as if they were pokemon.
If you hang around past the first few chapters, effort put into drawing people do anything outside of major plot points decreases significantly.
Story and Plot
Righto. See, what we have here is the high school going, drama filled adventures of Rain, a pre-op transgendered youth. Since we have 32 chapters to go over at the time of the review, I will be doing the highlight reel as it were. This will not be difficult as I will soon demonstrate. People playing along at home will notice that I sometimes skip entire chapters as nothing but drama immaterial to anything that matters can fill the spaces within.
First, we have what was a prologue constructed as a flashback. Wanna know why I think that? Because future flashbacks from this point on are formatted the same. Before actually getting to the real first page At first she is afraid of trying to blend in but this quickly goes out the window as apparently she's the hottest piece of ass there and all dudes wanna do is mac on her. Then because of plot we have this guy, Rudy tell the others because we need some conflict.
But we're just getting started. See how I summed up chapter 1 in less sentences than I have fingers? Well buckle up, because the actual content is going to only get thinner from this point on. Lets go!
We kick this off by playing the pronoun game, our cheap villain treats asthma like you can just scare it away with an inhaler for everybody that has it because we need to get our main character into some gym shorts! It is nothing but drama until they visit the bookstore and shortly after we run into the character that from this point on I shall refer to as genderfluid because most everybody in this comic is one note like a smurf.We can skip right to chapter 5 where a holloween party is being planned by the annoying blonde chick and our main cast gathers their costumes and heads out after a full chapter of bandying about. Then we skip to chapter 8 where an F in math is considered a passing grade by this person apparently as he is more concerned with her highest grade being a B-.
Now, let's skip ahead to chapter 11 where Rain's older brother decides to show up we have gender-fluid and Rain angsting but mostly gender-fluid over several pages about "why can't everbudy jus accept meh as I am!?!?" before the brother starts to predictably be a problem which is just the source of several chapters worth of angst. In the meantime we run into lesbian#2 and post-op transsexual. Annoying blonde girl throws in with Rain because of relationship drama. Rain angsts some more about wanting to mac on the new girl because you can't be male to female trans and like women too apparently in her mind. Rain goes to therapy as we waste an entire chapter talking about nothing concurrently with this. And..whoa, we hit such a huge content drought that we can skip from chapter 18 to the tail end of chapter 22 when annoying blonde girl tells Rain that her last boyfriend got her pregnant. Nearly an entire chapter later, annoying blonde chick puts 2 and 2 together and finds out that Rain is trans but doesn't freak out about it because we need her to be sympathetic.
New chapter and we actually get to the meat for once! Rain's brother decides to mend fences like a normal person and decides to get Rain's sister in on the action and causes Rain to freak out because she decides to play the pronoun and identity game. It's straight drama of the "accept me!!!" variety until they go to dietcomicon where they still managed to squeeze in more drama and angst.
But we've finally reached it. The moment of moments. Chapter 26 page 1 and two. Yes, this is totally how you behave towards a relative. You sneak into her room at night and cut her hair then expect her to stop being trans. Then Rain, not to be outdone, all but says "I HAVE NO SISTER!" and storms out. After jumping this particular shark, the story has nothing else going on for it besides preaching and more vacuous storytelling up to chapter 32 where I think they're angsting about senior prom or some shit.
The art is just...awful. People in this reality are apparently humanoid blobs with toothless openings for mouths that seem to roam around the lower half of potato shaped heads where nobody seems to have a nose. They just have a horn shaped projection somewhere in the middle of their face when viewed from the side. We also got legs that bend sideways at the knee, which the author keeps trying to hide by having the legs appear to twist to the side whenever possible. Most panels have everybody pictured from the waist up as apparently the author hates legs and feet. Too many people have similar faces and you wouldn't be able to tell them apart if it wasn't for the mops they have on their heads that is claimed to be hair or their body shapes. Also everybody emotes the same which could add to the confusion.
Men and women have the same shoulder length, leg shape and thickness, and facial features. It's the reason our pre-op transsexual main character can pass so easily. All you do in this reality to pass for female is to wear girly clothes and have girly hair. To appear male is to wear baggy clothes that hide your body shape.
Backgrounds most of the time are a friendly shade of beige or green. the author isn't even going to try and make consistent backgrounds between panels. That would require effort.
You might be asking yourself why I care so much, well it's because this comic has been on for almost 7 years now. Let me say that again. 7 years! This comic has been on that long and the art has only changed in 4 ways:
1. The linework is clean now.
2. Most of the manga stuff has gone by the wayside, thankfully.
3. People have appeared to lose some detail with time. I guess because it's too hard to maintain consistency in designs you set out for yourself.
4. People have grown more wooden and appear to use pre-fab expressions.
Now on 4. Past the first few chapters, characters for the most part stop having unique expressions for scenes. Like people are just posed mannequins with expressions slapped on that belt out walls of text. It's almost like the author decides to take a page from Buckley of ctrl+alt+nobody cares fame and pre-write all their expressions and just paste them in as needed because making those deadlines you set for yourself over long periods of time is hard with such artistic complexity as this!
Also people keep talking with their eyes closed. That drives me up the wall.
Now, you're probably asking yourself, "How can we have a flashback when the story hasn't even started yet?" Well, you take a prologue and format it the same as your future flashbacks in the story, that's how. Way to kick off your story with shit formatting and a confused audience.
Our author, Jocelyn has a show and tell problem. Like, holy wall of text, Batman! See, early on she tries to convey emotion through action and expression to put feeling to those word walls of hers. That stops happening for the most part after the range of the first few chapters for the most part. Now it's just endless exposition with toothless faces mouthing words and posing their arms while facing what would be the camera perspective as if they were being cartoon characters and not two or more people talking to each other. Do you and your friends regularly face a blank wall and talk to each other without looking each other in the face? I don't. This is mainly in the latter half as apparently drawing characters from the side or from an angle became too hard.
Then we have entire chapters spent going through events that should take minutes to happen in real life. It's as if this story operates on a football clock and wastes your time stringing you along until something happens finally. It makes me feel like I'm picking through shit to find bits of corn to get to plot points of consequence and not just angst ridden filler. I might as well be watching one of those puffed up japanese cartoons. Bleach for example, The cartoon that takes half a story arc to finish a fight between two people.
Beyond the first few characters plus a couple of exceptions, everybody is one note. It's to the point where you can describe them by what part of the LGBT rainbow they occupy because it would seem that Jocelyn is of the opinion that you "gotta catch 'em all" plus some of what tumblr decided to staple on. It's like The Smurfs but with gender identity. To name a few, you got Gender Fluid, Lesbian number 2, Bisexual, and Homosexual that likes to cross dress.
On the surface, Jocelyn appears to be an alright person. Posts regularly without being paid patreon money. Only recently starting having one actually and the rewards are rather low cost and tame. She's cool with her fans in her interactions seemingly (I say this because I don't wanna search all her comments and posts for the past 7 years to find that one time she was anything but nice. It exists...somewhere.) and refers to them as "Rain-beaus" which causes me to feel retch-inducing disgust. That's just how i feel though.
Then I decided to google her full name as displayed on her deviantart and public facebook (She has a personal facebook but it wouldn't let me look at that without making an account and I have no desire to do that). She's an e-begger after all. As in, she was asking here and here for people to subsidize her transition, raising 3,203 dollars. Now, people are perfectly able to give her free money, and more power to them. I just can't help but think "bullshit" on needing that small extra amount. The "you caring" page has a description that states that they require 900 dollars to meet their transportation needs to reach the location of the surgery as their previous mode "fell through". This is all well and good, but then there's the "gofundme" page which has no description and raised 2,203 without a stated figure cap or reasoning beyond the title "male to female transition". Perhaps it was just a link from another page explaining what's what.
I looked in her deviantart journal history and public facebook from the time the e-begging pages were posted and found so such thing. Just about how she managed to get her insurance to pay for the surgery and how she got there by train. No mention of funding for transportation.
This just bothers me like all hell. I feel like..as if..and stay with me on this one. That she may have not collected the money for what she stated it was for. This could just be seeing patterns where there are none though.
It might have been something worth paying mind if it wasn't for how mindlessly tedious reading this thing is for anybody who isn't an angst ridden teenager. Entire chapters can be set aside for drama and angst of the "why dun they jus accept me!?!?!" kind. Anybody who has a problem with the cast is portrayed as completely unsympathetic when they do it. You see, in reality, people have reasons for dislike of LGBT people. They may not be good reasons to you or I, but they are reasons nonetheless. These people have no reasons, just visceral reactions like, "it wrong!" or "it icky!"
People probably wouldn't pay this comic's bland dialogue any mind if it wasn't for the pictures. If it's one thing I've noticed about bad webcomics is that pictures make everything better. Even if the content is garbage, it's as if the pictures trick the mind into thinking what's on offer is better. It probably helps too that this is the only transgender webcomic I have had the misfortune of seeing that treated being male to female transgender with any weight. Not just being one of those piles of drek where it's a dude who just wants to have tits cuz BEEEWWWBZZZZ!