Metapost: Huh… John Solomon’s back

I know this piece of news is going to rankle some of you and be greeted with praise and adulation from others, but I had to post it here…

Remember John Solomon?

Of “Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad”?

Well… he’s back.

The first review back from the site’s self-imposed hiatus is Chugworth Academy. I’ll have to read it to see if the rapier wit is still undulled, and if the crew is still full of their trademark piss and vinegar.

UPDATE: I just finished reading his “Chugworth” review, and … what can I say? The webcomic deserved John Solomon.

UPDATE 2: I just realized that the review was written by Lilith Esther, not John Solomon. Whoops! In any case, “Your Webcomic is Bad…” is back.

UPDATE 3: After a small time out, I think maybe I was hasty in my first “Update.” I arrived my initial perception of “Chugworth” mainly through the links that Lilith posted. I agreed with Lilith as far as what I saw, however, I will admit that perhaps the linked strips were not representative of the series as a whole. So it may or may not have deserved John Solomon. I’m not posting this update because I’m suddenly being hunted down like an escaped prisoner by Chugworth fans. Rather, I realized some readers may be taking the opinion as canon, and I decided to give “Chugworth” a little leeway in the spirit of fairness.

However, Lilith was completely right about “Shredded Moose,” and if “Chugworth Academy” is anything like it, I reserve the right to completely delete this update.

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on February 11, 2008, in metapost, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Hey, El Santo, Chugworth forums has a thread about the Esther review: http://chugworth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=136&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

    When I let them know about your take, these are the responses:
    * Dave: “Well, the thing is webcomics as a medium in general are generally a poor subject review due to the fact that they are free at the point of delivery. It’s not like a movie or a game where consumer awareness matters from a monetary standpoint. If you choose to try a webcomic, the only thing you have to lose is time; and if you don’t like it enough to read more than one strip, you haven’t exactly wasted much of that.

    Due to this, if someone is going to make a point of reviewing webcomics, the only way it can it can have any kind of worth whatsoever is if it’s ENJOYABLE TO READ. Fortunately for John Solomon, despite being presumptuous, biased and often just plain inaccurate, his reviews are VERY enjoyable to read. Sadly, he’s the only contributer to the site to whom that applies. Every other reviewer on there attempts to mimic his tone, and it just ends up sounding fake and, even worse, BORING.

    As for this El Santos fellow; anyone who reviews webcomics “seriously” really should look at finding something more valuable to do with their time.

    In summary, reviewing anything that is free is pointless unless the review in itself is entertaining.”
    * Jay: “I r srs webcomic reviewer.

    Webcomics r srs bizns.”

  2. Huh… I’m actually flattered someone thinks I’m a serious reviewer.

    As for only doing positive reviews, I guess I see the point. However, I’ve read sites that do all positive reviews, and it feels sorta meaningless if it seems like the reviewer likes everything, right? For example, if Roger Ebert gives everything 4 to 5 stars, there’s no way you’d ever take anything he says seriously. He’s of a status where he doesn’t need to see movies he doesn’t like (and in fact did so last summer while he was recovering from his operation), but negative reviews offer some insight into what the reviewer does or doesn’t like.

    As for the idea about never reviewing anything that you get for free … I guess that means that TV shows should never be reviewed. Why should anyone ever post a review of “Bionic Woman” if you could get it for free? I like to think there actually is a similar cost to reading free webcomics: time. Does someone really want to invest their time reading a long 500-page webcomic?

    The question about why I review webcomics? Well, it started out as a lark, and frankly I’m having a lot of fun doing it. Also, in some cases I get paid for it, and I’m all about the money.

    Now, for Chugworth itself: I’ll readily admit that I may have been hasty in my assessment. The only Chugworth I’ve read are the links Lilith posted, and that may not be representative of the comic as a whole. Hey, I once disagreed on a Your Webcomic Is Bad… review before, and I posted my own review on “Cheshire Crossing.” I didn’t give it glowing praise, but I did think it wasn’t as bad as Solomon and Co. made it out to be.

  3. I like the rebuttal regarding reviewing webcomics – After all time is a resource.

    Anyhow, if you read Chugworth and decide that you do not like it, why not use a strikethrough font style on Update 3 to show that you no longer agree with what it says, but that people will know that you made Update 3 in the first place?

    Or if you decide that you like it you could use a strikethrough elsewhere.

  4. Sure will, when I got the time to read it. (And I just may… who knows? This little debate has whetted my appetite and gotten me in a fightin’ mood.) I’m plowing through a bunch of webcomics right now, though, so it might be a while before I get to Chugworth.

  5. I dunno, I read through the 14 most recent strips and they seemed pretty awful.

    The characters really do seem to be based on the crudest, stalest possible stereotypes, and like Ms. Esther says, if they’re supposed to be some kind of parody of stereotypical characters, it’s really not obvious.

    Also the people on that forum sound like idiots.

  6. I’m surprised that Dave Cheung seemed to get pretty riled at me for what was a short throw-away comment. And it’s actually pretty fun to be pressed as a lieutenant on the anti-Chugworth forces.

  7. Actually, it’s more this Volksvimm riling things up for whatever stupid reason. Dave was pretty exited about the review, but when he read it, and it wasn’t funny or anything, and just some lady labeling everything and assuming the sales are an error or something, he got sorta bummed. I won;t describe any of his responses as angry. Anyway, I see Chugworth the same way I see Nascar and The Ramones. I think cars going really fast in circles for hours is sorta boring, regardless of how unsafe it is, or how cool an explosion would be, however so many people seem to like, how bad can it be?

    Same thing with The Ramones in my case. I do actually love the music, but the vocalist sounds like he’s retarded(like, in the literal sense. He just talks weird, and I don’t really like his voice) but I don’t discount the whole band and call everyone else stupid, because I know it’s a good band, it just happens to not suit my tastes perfectly. Obviously, both these sites are dedicated to hating webcomics(which when you think about is a completely retarded idea, if they can’t be entertaining while doing it) so no one expects this mentality, it’s just that when it’s not entertaining, and it’s just full on hate, it’s sorta… Disappointing.

    Anyway, it’s clear someone out there like dirty jokes, and simple characters, and a sorta funny weird story, and when you shit all over that, without even a hint of humor in it, people get sorta pissed off. However, it was the fact we didn’t get J. that pissed people off, so yeah… I don’t love Chugworth like some of these other guys might, but I do see something in it, and it managed to get me through the archives(with maybe 3 laughs…) and I still want to continue reading. I can’t explain it, it’s sorta like the trainwreck effect(can’t look away!) but without the horror. I don’t know, my point is, clearly he’s done something right, and I can safely call it good(regardless of what anyone, including me, thinks. People like, it’s entertaining, and it’s freaking webcomic for god’s sake. I’d call that success)

  8. Josh L, I felt like it was best that El Santo AND the people at Chugworth knew of the existence of this page and the responses; I wanted to generate a dialog about it. Of course John Solomon is not “serious” as a reviewer, so it is easy (and often justified) to ignore the message of the review. Also there is a principle called “presume good faith.” – I think it’s a good idea that people follow that.

    I didn’t make any judgments about Chugworth (I repeated what El Santo said) and I felt I didn’t act in an inflammatory manner.

    Now, regarding the rest of the response, you can read the review of VG Cats on this site and you will know about El Santo’s feelings towards that kind of humor; he understands why people like it, but it does not really “click” with him.

  9. I want to make it clear that this site isn’t dedicated to the mockery of bad webcomics. More than 60% of the reviews here are 3 stars and up, and those aren’t terrible in my book. Also, there’s some merit in the “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” philosophy (like Josh L seems to imply in his Nascar/Ramones talk). But, I don’t know, I think there’s merit in writing bad reviews, too, even if it’s only to show people where I stand.

  10. Dave Cheung now draws “Guro” for commission sketches, vindicating all who thought there was some weird seedy spank-fodder subtext to his drawings. Little did we know, he was spankin’ the monkey the whole time to his insipid loli images.

    Sorry, “Say something nice… or don’t say anything at all….” I seem to fail a lot at that.

  1. Pingback: The Webcomic Overlook #86: Boss Noodle « The Webcomic Overlook

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