Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Morning Bad Webcomics Routine

Every morning I get up (i.e. hide in bed with a web browser), and check my usual websites.  

I check the New York Times for News.  I check CNN for Sensationalist Hype That Looks Like News.  I check Facebook because I'm an old fart.  I check DOMAI, because I'm a dirty old fart.  I check my book's page on Amazon because I'm a narcissist.  I check Twitter to remind myself that everyone else is a narcissist, too.

Then I check a small set of webcomics that I really don't know why I check anymore.  Some men can't explain to their wives why they don't throw out their "little black book" after they stopped dating or stop following the Cubs after their last winning game in 1870.  I can't explain to my wife why I don't stop checking these comics since they stopped being funny.

Maybe you can explain it to her.  Here's what I read (in the order I read it):

PVP was once one of the funniest comics I'd ever read.  It was about a bizarre bunch of journalists and their adventures covering the game industry.  Everything that happened to them was hysterical.

Then, sometime around 2006, something went wrong.  I really can't tell you what.  The story became about the characters who became boring.  More characters were added, but they were just as uninspired and flat.
Now, I just check the comic, but I never laugh.  I just, sorta, sigh and remember when it made me laugh... Back in 2001.

Sinfest started as a wildly offensive comic.  God ridiculed people with hand puppets.  Satan tempted men with sexy demons and robot slave girls.  It featured a sexist boy and the (vapid) hot girl he pined for.  Sinfest had always been a guilty pleasure, allowing me to laugh in secret at things I'd disdain in public.

Then, one day, the creator found feminism.  Don't get me wrong, feminism is a wonderful thing, it's just not... Sinfest.  Suddenly, a group of feminists on big wheels rushed through the comic, dominating the strip, criticizing the characters and forcing them to become enlightened.  The hot girl became the dull,androgynous, feminist girl.  Satan's sex robots went on a rampage against him.  

In short, every single comic became about fighting the patriarchy.  Every. Single. One.

And there's only so often you can tell the same joke.

I still check Calvin and Hobbes.  However, the creator hasn't created a new strip in 20 years, so it's starting to get... Old.

Bloom County was the first strip I loved.  It was the first comic I bought in book form.  It's also the first comic I said "Wow, it's just not funny anymore" about.  Maybe Gary Hart and Dan Quayle jokes just don't hit home.  Maybe Opus was funny in the 80s, but in the (What do we call this decade?  The teenies?  The 10s?) current decade, he seems kinda pathetic.

I came across this comic by chance and used to use it as an example to my class about how practice makes your art go from mediocre to awesome.  Seriously: check out his first comic and his most recent.  All that improvement came from drawing a little every night.

QC used to be about sexual tension and silly situations (and the occasional obscure joke about music I didn't get).  Then sexual tension disappeared.  The characters mindlessly followed their dead-end jobs and repeated the same situations over and over.

So, those are my comics.  What do you think?  Should I drop them?  Hope they'll change?


Anonymous said...

I disagree completely about Bloom County. It is as funny and as relevant as it has ever been.

Matthew Kagle said...

Except you're posting a comic written a few days ago. The ones from the 80s have lost their shine.