|Original review author:||webkilla - written around January 2020|
|Forum Discussion Thread:||Link|
|Webcomic names:||Validation (old link) new link|
|Authors:||Kelci Crawford (Artist) Christian Beranek: (Writer)|
|Start Date:||August 5, 2013|
|End Date:||Not any time soon|
|Genre:||Trans slice of trans life|
|Defining Flaw:||This is how an SJW fetishist thinks the world works. Need I say more?|
Webkilla keeps finding these things. Why? Why can't he cease his suffering? What is our purpose here in life? Will there be no end to our tormemt?
From page one this webcomic displays an obvious need to put social justice trans-lingo ahead of any kind of story, world-building or character development. How so? Simple: On page one our already adult and seemingly transitioned trans-woman main character appears to Google dysphoria, finally learning what it means. Considering that the term is pretty crucial for the very definition being trans and getting medically diagnosed as such, then that seems really fucking stupid, like buying a condominium and then looking up what that word means.
"Wet? Oh, so that's what all this water is doing to me? Oh that's nice, I've been swimming in it for years... never noticed that!"
In a word: Colorful. The webcomic starts out looking hand-drawn, while at some point transitioning to what appears to be digital line-art and coloring. Basically it starts off good and gets even better.
For a webcomic centered around trans characters, good art is important: You have to be able to tell if a person is a biological male trying to look female and whatnot. For the most part the comic succeeds at this quite well, with characters like the trans-punk or Jim's trans-girlfriend.
Too bad the webcomic utterly fails on this point with regards to the main character. Consider this page, can you tell which of these characters are natural-born women and which is the trans-one, just by looking? Or how about here?
Now compare to a character like Roxie the punk who are drawn as much more muscular and taller. Or to June the red-head who has a massive jawline and equally pronounced muscles.
Point is: The artist of the webcomic draws the main character, a trans-woman, exactly like all the female characters, while other trans-woman characters are drawn noticeably different to the point that its impossible to not spot that they aren't women by birth. To a certain extent this can be blamed at the art style - the artist doesn't really draw male and female heads that different, but as can be seen with the June character then the artist is more than able to do so if she wants. Alternatively, then we're never told if Ally ever got any surgery or anything to look more female. I doubt the tits came naturally, but we're never shown if that's just padding and pretend. The only thing we're told is that she transitioned some two years prior to the story starting, but we're not shown what that entails at all.
This leads into how the main character is less a character, and more of a Mary Sue for whom everything just works out, and all drama is purely superficial and she's always right, getting loads of that titular "validation".
Writing and Plot
Just like my last review: If the art is good, that means the badness is found with the writing and plot, right? You fucking betcha.
The downfall example already pointed out how the very first strip foregoes character who's name is Ally introduction or world-building, in favor of teaching the audience what "dysphoria" means, because the main character apparently didn't know it ...but with the boobs and overall female physique, then she looks completely female - which means that as a transwoman she's either had surgery, or been on hormones for a very long time. This means medical diagnosis and what have you: which means she damn well knows what that term means - but for the purpose of the writing, for hamfistedly shoving it down the throats of the readers as the very first thing, then it had to be done right?
Now, while the comic is supposedly written by a trans-woman, then... that's no excuse for shit like that and it does not get better. And naming the main character "Ally" - because SJWs love using the term 'ally' to label people who support their cause. They might as well have named her "Helpful McNice"
All that said, the webcomic is a slice-of-life comic, so there are numerous bits that are quite inoffensive. Unfortunately the ratio of normie slice-of-life content to SJW bullshit is very low, as the writing sneaks in all kinds of stupid things, like dialogue going "It's so hard to find cool trans girls to hang out with", or showing us complaints over people disagreeing with Ally on the internet because how dare you not agree with the glorious and saintly trans-perfect being.
Similarly, normies who aren't main or supporting characters in the comic usually only come in one flavor: douche-bag white guys, and who often harass our woobie "tgirl", or spending whole comics talking about what a trap is and getting it wrong both times, and of course taking offense in both cases.
There are tons of other idiotic examples, but the core essence of the writing in the comic seems to revolve around the title of the comic itself: Validation. Getting head-pats for virtue-signaling and having the characters do the SJW-approved actions. It's essentially a circle jerk, with every douche-bro who cat-calls our "tgirl" are clearly just strawmen waiting to be knocked down.
The webcomic also talks a LOT about comics - because, riddle me this, but it smells a lot as if the makers of the webcomic really want to be professional cartoonists. So of course at a comic-con Ally meets a famous comic writer who totally wants to talk more with her, because everyone loves the Mary Sue, who somehow also later at the con gets invited to an exclusive party with a totally woke movie producers who just so happens to have a hankering for that trans-girl action.
Let's summarize: From being a nobody at a comic-con, to being someone a famous comic writer goes out of her way to talk to, to being hit on (and later dating) a supposedly famous and super woke movie producer?
Say it with me kids: Mary fucking Sue.
And keep in mind, we're only ever told that she experiences dysphoria, yet she pretty much always comes off as cheerful. We're told that she gets shittalk posted on her blog, but we're never shown. We're told a lot of things about her.. but only ever shown that she's pretty happy most of the time, at least within what you with reason could call normal.
But it gets better: When the producer gets Ally a drink, what is the first thing she does? What's the first thing you do, when a Hollywood producer comes over to you at a party with a drink, looking at you like he wants what you have?
Ally says she needs to test it for roofies, right to his face, in front of him and the friend who introduced him to her. Because that's what normal sane and polite human beings do.
"Oh hey, you just got me a drink and my friend already vouched for you, but lemme just tell you that I'm whipping out my rape-drug detecting straw because I'm a paranoid mofo with no sense of social propriety!"
Sweet jesus this is NOT how people talk to each other! That is not something you'd advertise or say out loud! The cringe... and of course the trans-humper movie guy is a PC beta moron who completely abides this and even congratulates Ally on being so stunning and brave! Oh and now her friend also wants a roofie detection thingy, because of course.
Ya, lets just say that more than once the dialogue in the comic sounds like it was written by an alien who doesn't understand how humans work, because people do not ever say "I had no clue. Thank you for educating me.". Another example of this is when Ally jokes she could get someone pregnant which betrays either a complete lack of understanding for how hormone therapy for MtF trans people renders them sterile, or how Ally is a super Mary Sue who somehow retained fertile testicles after hormone therapy. Speaking of which, the topic of whether Ally has gotten "bottom surgery" is never broached in the comic, ever.
Another failure in the writing of the comic is that it so very often tells us things, instead of showing us. Like with Ally's comic blog, we're told that it's causing a stir and that its really popular, because everyone of course loves the witty commentary of our Mary Sue, to the point that even a supposedly sassy and mean ex-girlfriend to a guy Ally dates ends up being a total fan of Ally and her blog because she totally gets her!
Not even My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ever flipped villains and antagonists this fast - and at least let them be villains for a bit!
Aside from all that, then the stuff the webcomic says about comics are also hilariously SJW-centric, like the token brown comic-shop owner being upset that white people are daring to write non-white superheroes, instead of the comic companies hiring race-appropriate writers for such characters. It is such a typical SJW talking point to advocate for that kind of race-segregation and then make it sound virtuous and compassionate. Hell, we even later get one of Ally's ladyfriends, a black woman, being upset that at seeing a black man date a white woman.
Anywho, All of Ally's friends agree that its totes bad that black and brown people didn't write the black and brown superhero comics because of course they say that, and are upset because oh no! The whole creative team for that one comic was white, oh the horror! And for added drama that comic was partially written by her comic-writing soon-to-be-ex boyfriend Jim, and then she has to be press covering a diversity in comics panel where Jim is a panelist! Oh the drama, right?
And we get a black guy asking why they're all white, with Ally asking why they didn't get a trans-something to write the trans superhero. Hilariously we don't even get the reply - apparently it was more important seeing the question asked. Right, focus on the virtue signal, not the feedback and actual character interaction.
And because she's a Mary Sue, then right after that panel Ally is invited to join a new comic publisher.
Pretty much every conflict in the webcomic is resolved like that: Something dramatic happens, Ally and her buddies are all "Oh snap gurl!?" and then they morally grandstand, and that's it. Oh, getting lots of nasty comments about her press coverage of the diversity panel? even death threats? Nah, we're just told that and then its never touched upon again.
How about instead we get a reminder of the absolutely shit dialogue as yet another admirer gushes over Ally?
The final bit of absolute idiocy in the writing comes in the form of a very poorly veiled reference to a RL YouTuber who used to be known as "Diversity in comics". He got big on YouTube via "Comicsgate", similar to Gamergate, talking about forced diversity and SJW bullshit in comics. Got 100K subs on youtube, managed to kickstart some of his own comics, seems legit enough.
In the comic we get instead "comicsway", where a YouTuber Corey Nelson (instead of Richard Meyer) is the big nasty shit-talking anti-SJW joker who has "attacked" high-profile comic writers and artists. Basically the comic takes the mainstream media 'side' on portraying the controversy, to which end the question is whether he should be thrown out of the comic-con that Ally and her friends magically managed to conjure up. An interrogation is necesary, of course, but what's this? He brought a little brown girl as a trump card!
Now, having revealed him to a nice guy with a brown daughter we actually get to see him treated fairly, while that ex-girlfriend of now ex-boyfriend who is a total fan of Ally's blog wants to complain to the con about the guy's very presence, others calling him a Nazi and wanting to punch him or wanting to shut the whole con down since it's letting the guy stay.
It's a strange tonal shift, and the writing actually seems to be focused on the cancel-culture aspect of the ordeal - coming out against it. The whole thing is of course incredibly hamfisted, and since the "Comicsway" drama wasn't introduced at all until that very moment, then suddenly hearing regular supporting cast members advocate for violence, all the while the supposed villain is flipped into a neutral aquaintance before he could even be shown to be much of an antagonist, something you're equally only told of, never actually shown.
With better writing, then this guy could have been an interesting antagonist to Ally - a fellow blogger, but one who talked shit more, was more crass, and was an ideological opponent in that he wanted less forced diversity and whatnot in comics - and then him and Ally finally meeting to joust verbally at a comic con. Could have been interesting, but instead we get a "he's the father of a brown girl = that makes him good" before he ever even gets to really interact with anyone.
Christian Beranek, trans-woman from the looks of her Tumblr account avatar, is the writer. Has done all kinds of shit and even worked back in 2008 as a producer with Disney.
Kelci Crawford is the artist, who does two other webcomics with one of them featuring characters that look an awful lot like the trans-punk in this comic.
In the words of Zach, the diversity in comics guy: "This comic sucks."
Virtue-signaling going before story-telling, strawmen left right and center, the main character being a Mary Sue of such celestial proportions that the heavens weep. The sad thing is that the few bits of non-SJW mini-arcs and whatnot hint that the writer can very much write compelling stories, but the writer fails to follow through on this. The artwork is pretty good, despite the artist failing on making the main character look... not entirely female. It makes Ally come off as too perfect, visually, too flaw-less. She never does anything wrong, no, other people do wrong things to her, and that just makes her all the more morally superior.
This could be so much more - the skill is there - but the product... is not.
Equally, the title of the webcomic - Validation - is really silly. What is one supposed to draw from it? That it's about validating certain life choices? Nah, doesn't seem like it, Ally seems to be a normie outside of being trans. No, the validation thing is more likely a reference to that SJW notion of trans people being "valid", as if to imply that without constant headpats and reassurances, that they would come to question if transitioning is ever right... or something like that. This isn't something that's ever shown in the comic, making it a strange choice of title.
At some point since the making of the review, the comic website was taken down and replaced by a redirect to the artist's Patreon where the comic, at the time of writing this (mid '22), was being put up without paywall - so you can still read the comic by going there, but all the links in the review to the original comic site won't work anymore. Putting the comic up on Patreon is probably cheaper than paying for one's own website - still, dick move. Patreon is NOT a good site for a webcomic, since it has shit archival functionality. It's a great way to host your comic for free, assuming that you don't want any new readers to ever be able to read it from the start. Bloody hell, just put it on Comicgenesis or some other free comic hosting service.