Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The List 'O Buckley

I don't like Tim Buckley or Control Alt Delete.

This is pretty much a given among people whom are well-read in the world of webcomics or comics in general. I'm just getting into the comic market and discovering exactly what I like and do not like. I've got my guilty pleasures, The Boys among them, but there are things about Control Alt Delete that I just cannot stand. So I have made a list.

Top Ten Reasons Buckley's Comic is a Shithole!

10 - Tim Buckley's shitty attitude. You know, he might just be the nicest guy in the world. But when you start talking trash about his comic, be it ragging on it for lulz or actually to give criticism, oh shit son it's on now. He has gone to his own forum and banned, locked, or deleted threads or post that rag on, criticize, or otherwise question his comic in any way. And he always puts it up to the classic 'jealousy' tag.

"Oh, I'm running a big webcomic and living off of it and you aren't, therefore anything negative you have to say is just you wishing you were me!" If you don't believe me, I offer you proof.

There was even a time when his horribly stupid "Church of Gaming" storyline was challenged for being extremely juvenile and offensive to people whom were actually religious. Ban and lock? You betcha!

9 - Tim Buckley's delicate ego. The man edits his own Wikipedia article to avoid making him look bad while under a false name. Gratuitous inclusions of "Criticism" being replaced with "Reception" as per the rules.

Best part: Current edit says that Tycho called the miscarriage storyline "the first Horsemen of the Apocalypse."
What they actually said:

I think he's an art criminal.

Tycho: I think Tim Buckley is the antichrist, and I think that miscarriage storyline was the first horseman of the Apocalypse.

8 - Tim Buckley likes to hear himself talk. Granted of course that's exactly what I'm doing. But I have a point. Most of his newsposts are like most good newsposts - don't talk about anything topical. Just keep it short and sweet. Nerd stuff for a nerd crowd.

But then he goes ahead and says shit like this. Whining? Moaning about his love life? Teaching people about miscarriages? You decide!

7- Everything Tim does that attempts to be shocking or incredible doesn't change the comic at all. This isn't just the miscarriage storyline, either. Just look at the overall time that CAD has been around - since 2002, right? And when did they get engaged? Like, what, 2005? Even if it isn't a direct parallel to real-time, you're still looking at the entire thing as a terrible plot device just used to attract attention. They mentioned wedding plans, what, once? And Ethan blew it off in favor of going to play video games? And it was okay because he's Ethan and that's what he does?

The miscarriage story arc was just an extension of this - Oh man, drama! But everything's better now. I got wind of that and actually was interested. A miscarriage? Intriguing! Maybe Ethan will grow up now? Maybe Lilah and him will have a rocky relationship and have to reconcile it, ooh, all kinds of possibilities!

And then, a few episodes later, Lilah returns home. They're fine. Nothing is changed. Everything is identical to what it once was. Publicity stunt = over!

6 - His strict adherence to the four-panel template kills every good joke he has. I don't know if I need to explain this, but if you just open up and go to the site (Well, okay, I can excuse you this time) and just look at any comic not featuring the main characters. We'll use his Soul Calibur 4 joke.

Panel two, Darth Vader holding Soul Edge, looking at Luke Skywalker with a saber. Funny by itself, no need for anything else. That alone is great. Combined with sitting and talking about it for three other panels it's not even a 'meh'.

5 - Every damn character that isn't the three protagonists is a shitty rip on the very culture Buckley claims to be a part of. I'm all up for making fun of gamers. A little self-fun-poking never hurt nobody. But god damn, every single gamer in the world that isn't Buckley himself - Oops, I meant Ethan - is a fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, you name it, they are it gamer. He lampoons the very culture he's a part of, but see, he isn't, since he's already got the girl and therefore his life is perfect.

Hot damn, I knew Ethan was a Mary-Sue, but the parallels are becoming more distinct by the minute.

4 - He makes up shit for cultures he's not a part of and gets it all horribly wrong. The Gaming Religion was horribly offensive, and I'm not even religious. But come on - A bunch of priests come telling Ethan and Lucas (rightly!) that their religion is a huge pile of shit, and when provoked into explaining the existence of their gods, stare like a bunch of morons at an SAT test. I would think that people who are religious have a better answer to those who question their faith, Buckley.

Hell, why not go into gaming subcultures, anyway? He's got a comic where a guy rolls a d20 and kills a dragon. Dragon protests. "But I'm a fucking dragon." Guy says it doesn't matter, natural 20. Dragon dies. Has Buckley ever even played DND, or anything like it?

Favorite moment - Lucas, the bigger and burlier guy, going out with Kate while she was wearing her fatsuit. Really classy and sensitive, jackass.

3 - The comic itself's art style, layout, and execution. God damn son, that is one ugly comic. Every damn face looks the same, plus or minus 'fat' for Lucas and 'thin' for Ethan. The faces are identical for men and women, the only thing separating the former with the latter having breasts.

But it isn't just the faces, either. The whole comic! Body parts and hands and sizes and shapes and everyone looks the same. Period. He's done some experimenting lately with clothes, but it still doesn't change the fact that women = men with boobs in his art style.

And the comic is stuffed with words. For no reason!

My favorite comic is one from late 2007. A man is standing outside (I think it's outside, there's clouds and no buildings, trees, or anything) holding a guitar hero controller. The text bubble says "La la la, I love Guitar Hero. So much fun!" or something. Another man comes on, tells him to learn a real guitar. They argue. Final panel: Guitar Hero controller is a bat, and the head of the other guy goes flying into the background.

Not funny, full of unnecessary words, shitty drawing, lazy (no background AT ALL), I mean, the problems stack up. Speaking of which...

2 - Violence = punchline is the most awful comic ending you can have. I swear to god that for each comic that has a good joke there are five comics in CAD's archives that have absolutely no joke and tenuously related violent moment at the end of the comic.

Leaping in circles in an MMO irritating Buckley? Violent punchline. Middle aged jackasses telling you to play a real guitar because they see you with Guitar Hero? Whack his head off abruptly with the controller. First set of comics you've ever made and don't know what to do? Shoot an arrow at the protagonist and make him be okay the next issue. Penny Arcade did it, so why not?

Penny Arcade's genius lies in the hilarious avatars of Gabe and Tycho. They are extensions of the artist and writer, yes, but they are cartoon characters. They can die, act mean, kill people, kick babies, whatever. It doesn't matter because they are just mediums to make a joke.

Aaaaaaaand the number one reason that I hate Control Alt Delete...

1 - CAD's characters are completely, utterly, and incredibly awful. I have a hard time believing Buckley could possibly fancy himself a writer with the kind of protagonists in his comic. Ethan is a Mary Sue Superman in every way, right down to the godawful miscarriage story arc. He spends his time abusing his friends, family, and coworkers. He has the awesome girlfriend despite his alcoholism and violence and apathy. He is into comics, he draws, he writes, he games, he can build himself a robot best friend and robotic super-hands, he does whatever he wants to do because he can do it cause he's Ethan.

Let's not forget when he bought a scorpion and it nearly killed Lucas' new girlfriend Kate, and everyone just sighs, rolls their eyes, laughs hysterically, and the credits roll. That silly Ethan, endangering people's lives in wacky ways!

Lilah is the ultimate shitty stereotyped gaming chick. She exchanges things that girls actually do in favor of being some crappy plot device, (especially her ability to get pregnant and have a miscarriage, of course!) right down to having absolutely no friends or discernible life beyond being Ethan's Girl Gamer Fiancee. She is the ultimate woman in Buckley's mind; hot, pro gamer, no life, and willing to be with you regardless of how much of a dumb prick you are.

Lucas is the Shitty Luck guy. You know how in Tom and Jerry they have evenly matched blows with each other, whacking one another on the head with giant hammers at an even exchange? Well Lucas is like the entire stretch of Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Ed Ed and Eddy rolled into one. Every girl he ever meets he either screws it up with, never goes after it with, or they end up being completely insane. He is always at the receiving end of Ethan's physical assaults, and yet he never thinks hey, maybe my best friend is completely batshit fucking loco.

And the Linux guy, fucking a, the Linux guy! I don't even know his name! He's been in the comic for like, what, the entire stretch of it's history and in the last year he's been in like, four comics? You've got a train of hilarious potential right there if you would just include him! But, nope. You got the Wacky Roommate, Straight Man, and Mary-Sue's Girlfriend. Anything else would be too much.

One might say, but Julian, he'd run out of material if his characters kept changing! To which I'd say, god forbid he ends up a little less like Megatokyo and a little more like Shortpacked. And so what if he ran out of character development material? That's fine with me! He could just as easily go find a new set of gamers to develop next, use them as a storytelling medium. Make them go through interesting story arcs! I am totally okay with that.

It offends me to no end as a writer that he expects me, time and time again, as a reader to take his characters as real people. The miscarriage story arc was a perfect example; here we go with Lilah suddenly pregnant, meaning that maybe Ethan has to actually man up and take some responsibility and grow up, but instead we're given a miscarriage. An awkward stab at provoking emotion and drama, erasing any possibility of doing anything beyond feeding his constant, steaming, shitty meal ticket.

CAD is a million times better when it doesn't feature his main characters. But that isn't saying much.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just jealous of Tim's success.

The best part about this blog is that I know if he ever does catch wind of it, he's going to blow it off in his usual, high-and-mighty, flippant attitude. And hey, I don't mind him disregarding some guy on the internet's opinion of him. But I would have guessed all million of us 'some guys' would have shown him that his comic sucks.

But than again, I guess not.

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