Falling Out of Love (with WebComics)

“All my love gone for nothing. Days of my love, years of my love.” ― Sophocles, Electra

I fell in love with webcomics as a medium in college. I had a pretty steady schedule which left plenty of room to check in on the comics that updated regularly and a steady WiFi connection that did not discriminate. That means that there are some comics that I have literally been reading for over a decade. I say this because it brings me no joy to admit that there are comics that I have absolutely fallen out of love with. I am passionate about this artistic style and some of the creators have been integral to finding form to the things I feel inside but some are in their slow death and to better understand how we got to where we are and how things used to be.

I don’t do this because I really just enjoy being negative. I don’t do this because I just really hate small creators. I do this because I do genuinely love the medium of comics and especially the kind for web. I love the creators that pour their hearts into this medium. I admire them. I consider myself lowly in comparison to them.

I’ll start with a comic that I started reading in more years ago than I care to admit: Go Get a Roomie. This comic done by Chlove centers around the titular Roomie (yes, that’s her name because she’s a bit of a wanderer who is everyone’s roommate at one point in time) and her misadventures through free-love and freeloading. I fell in love with the free-spirited Roomie and her friends including a dom named Ramona and her twink brother, Richard and the ultimate foil to joyous Roomie: Lillian. When this comic was just a slice-of-life day to day adventures in regional beers and taking home a different person each day, I loved it. But then the series too a more narrative turn and now in pure predictable fashion, the comic now centers around Roomie and Lillian in a relationship. Now, I have no issue with this from an LGBTQ standpoint (I hate that I have mention this) but I have a problem with it from the cinnamon roll vs. promiscuous person trope. It’s the exact same problem I had with Yuri On Ice which went out of its way to mention how innocent and pure Yuri is to his clear lecher of husband, Victor. Roomie has been around, it’s part of her character and while it is somewhat nice to see someone change for a partner, it’s just a trope I’m tired of. Additionally, it puts most of the owness on Lillian to be more like Roomie rather than having to reign in anyone else. Lillian starts off as a listless amorphic blob who barely leaves the house: sure, her arc of doing more than sleeping has been fascinating but it all just seems out of left field considering that these are all changes that happened in the comic in just the past few years. I love GGaR for its dedication to authentic diversity and mostly strong storytelling but I’m bored of the tropes, quickness to fall into a more traditional love story and occasional preaching from the author.

Next on the list are the collective comics of Giselle and the rest of the folks who work on such works as Menage a 3 and Dangerously Chloe. I found this comics in the second half of my college career and was sold on them being a little raunchy. Ma3 billed itself as an HBO-style rom-com and it was. Love triangle after love triangle and that was fine for many years. The comic is working towards its ending but with its out of nowhere wrestling plot arc for a character who is literally only known for her bust, I am tired of keeping up with its updates. Dangerously Chloe has a similar problem where we have strayed so far from the original plot of man meets succubus that I am simply wishing for the sweet release of death.

We now reach the comic I take the most ire with. We’ve reached the ultimate comic I have absolutely fallen out of love with. Each update further confirms that I dislike the current direction and only further alienates me from a narrative I began nearly a decade ago: Sister Claire.

Sister Claire started as a comic about a nun who through shady God dealings gets pregnant. The comic references a ton of other media in homage and in blatant ripoffs and at first was a mostly light-hearted romp of magical lands and a questionably hot version of God. What the comic is now…oh boy. Now the comic centers around a quest for a magical deus ex-machina, more anachronisms than a Tarantino movie. But what really irks me is the shift in comic from when it was done by one creator, Yamino, to now two creators with Yamino’s wife, Ash. Ash has seemed to take over the writing of the comic thus the shift from kind of magical romp to anachronisms and heavy-handed guilt narratives about LGBT themes. The homage and rip offs in Sister Claire have also caused some controversy. Famously, there’s a scene with some strange mecha that is somehow related to a holy war and the words to speak the robot to bring it back from its sleep are “Cast into the name of God, ye not guilty.” If that sounds familiar, congratulations, you’ve watched Big O. And so did many of the fans of the comic. And many of us said so. And Yamino was defensive! She said it was a Crusaders’ chant, which, sure. It was. But it was also in Big O and instead of just being humble and accepting that she was caught in a small rip-off, she caused conflama. Yamino has also straight up steals a character from Rose of Versailles in the form of Lady Oscar who is so indistinguishable from her anime “inspiration” that people forget that Oscar is not an original creator at all. And wait, you may be saying, but Sister Claire is so diverse with its lesbian couple at the helm and cast full of queer people. Sure, that’s fantastic. I’m happy to have diverse characters and diverse creators: you know what else makes me happy? Strong storytelling. Being full of queer characters does not an automatically good story make.

This was a negative post and I’m sure by now, many of you are asking: well, why don’t you just stop reading these comics if they cause you such strife?

Good question, astute straw-man. I have put time, energy and money behind almost all of these comics between donations and Kickstarter campaigns, I have invested in these works. Because of that investment, it’s even more personal and tragic to watch them fall from grace. It’s never easy to admit that a relationship is over so I will continue to check in on these stories just because I want to know how it ends. I want to see how we end this saga. I want to know what the final moment where either I break from weak storytelling and leave the series or how it so graciously redeems itself.

Only time will tell.

Unpopular Opinions Strongly Held

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ― Oscar Wilde.pngFor those of you who have the distinct pleasure of knowing me either in real life or on other social media platforms, I am lovingly known as The Prince of Unpopular Opinions. I got this nickname a few years ago when I was “brave” enough to say the things I really feel. I take the title seriously, any opinion I have is rooted in an at least base understanding of the piece. So I’m seldom a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian.

So in the spirit of being the Awesome Me, I wanted to go over a few unpopular opinions. A friend of mine threw out the number 33 so let’s get there! These will be sort of hot-takes, I may got into detail on some but if you want further explanations, leave me a comment! I will answer! Also due to the nature of these sorts of things…spoilers for some stuff, probably.

    1. I don’t like The Dark Knight. I know, shocker. I’m not crazy about Heath Ledger’s Joker. He was great in that movie! Just when your lore base is Batman The Animated Series, his Joker is a departure. The rest of the movie was a bit of a slog and I’m all for gritty reimaginings but Batman was always pretty gritty if you ignore the campy 1960s.
    2. I really like dubbed anime. I use anime as background noise a lot. I often don’t have time to entirely give my attention to a thing. Also, my time coming into anime was during the Golden Age of Dubbing. I had AMAZING voice acting experiences with English dubs. Now, there are some that are hot garbage, but for the most part, gimme a good dub.
    3. Cadbury Creme Eggs are magical. Fight me.
    4. Peeps are also magical. Continue to fight me.
    5. I dislike Attack on Titan. Mostly, I dislike the anime’s fandom. If I wanted to watch a lesser version of Evangelion, I’d just watch the movies.
    6. Tumblr is a place that I intensely dislike in places but I also refuse to leave it.
    7. I really like the original run of Fullmetal Alchemist. Brotherhood is closer to the manga, sure, but it changed things that vastly changed how I related to the story.
    8. Gravitation is a garbage anime but I will fight people over it. That series was probably one of the most important things to me as a troubled youth.
    9. I really liked it when Blink 182 and Green Day went emo in the 2000s. Those are probably some of my favorite albums and I still listen to them. A lot of folks who listened to those bands when they were still grunge hated the transition to emo but I was just a little too young for the grunge days and I was a moody teen during the emo days. Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the older stuff, I just really emotionally jived with the emotional moaning of Tom DeLonge.
    10. I don’t like wearing high heels. God made me short.
    11. Naruto shouldn’t have ended up with Hinata. She deserved better.
    13. Paris Franz was the worst part of the animated The Killing Joke movie. And hell, the rest of the movie was fine even though I can fully admit that it’s an old story that just doesn’t work in the modern era.
    14. I don’t understand Modern Art. It’s been explained to me. I’ve taken art classes. I just don’t get it.
    15. I don’t hate Justin Bieber’s newer songs. Don’t @ me.
    16. I don’t like Chipotle. I more or less just don’t understand what niche it fills. That being said, I still go because it’s downtown and it’s close and it’s there. I’m not proud of myself.
    17. Bianca del Rio is my least favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race winner. But I won’t say that too loud. She can hear me and feeds upon my fear.
    18. I am not crazy about JRPGs. I love the story of many of them like the Persona series but you could not pay me to play those games. The grind exhausts me.That being said I will absolutely still cosplay as Teddie and Yusuke.
    19. Commonly said unpopular opinion: Yuri On Ice ruined anime and even though I hate it a lot less, I still will forever be disappointed at what it did for the discourse.
    20. I’m pretty over Steven Universe. I think that show can just end now. It had a good run. I also for some reason really dislike how Rebecca Sugar uses references sometimes. I’m not sure why. It may be totally irrational but for some reason when she obviously parodies something it just makes my blood boil.
    21. I don’t hate the Star Wars prequels. Hell, I still have my ticket stub for Revenge of the Sith. I can admit they are bad movies but dammit those lightsaber battles.
    22. Not crazy about the new Star Wars trilogy. Rey is an aggressive Mary Sue and it does feel like an intense re-tread of older things. That being said, porgs are great: fight me.
    23. Ewoks scare the hell out of me. They clearly eat people and have weird human teeth.
    24. I will happily watch baseball over football.
    25. French fries are made to be dipped in a chocolate frosty.
    26. Vanilla frosties are an abomination unto the Lord.
    27. I still play Pokemon Go. Team Mystic forever.
    28. Harry Potter is a fantastic universe and franchise but dammit Jo Rowling exhausts me and I am bored to tears with her mains. Thus says a proud Slytherin.
    29. Also, I will holler this on the top of a mountain: I WANT MY DAMN MARAUDERS MOVIE.
    30. Justice League: Gods and Monsters may be one of my favorite animated superhero movie. Vampire Batman forever.
    31. I’m weirdly bored of Marvel movies. They have a time and a half balancing humor and seriousness and everyone being a quip monster is starting to wear on me. That may explain why I’m tired of Guardians of the Galaxy and Spiderman as franchises.
    32. The Sam Raimi Spiderman does not get enough credit and it’s wonderful. Spiderman 2 may be one of the greatest comic book movies ever made.
    33. I don’t like Frozen. The collective pop cultural subconscious can absolutely Let it Go.

That was a fun little exercise wasn’t it? Did you learn a lot about me? Good. 

Let’s do this again sometime!