The Webcomic Overlook #45: Better Days

The Wikipedia entry on “furry fandom” has this to say about media coverage:

Portrayal of the furry fandom by the media is generally unflattering, although recently there have been some attempts to supply a balanced viewpoint. Articles in Loaded, Vanity Fair, and the syndicated sex column “Savage Love” focused sharply on the sexual component of certain furries…. Most furry fans claim that these media portrayals are misconceptions, and some recent coverage focuses on debunking the myths and stereotypes of furries. A reporter attending Anthrocon 2006 noted that “despite their wild image from Vanity Fair, MTV and CSI, furry conventions aren’t about kinky sex between weirdos gussied up in foxy costumes”, that conference attendees were “not having sex more than the rest of us”, and that the furry convention was about “people talking and drawing animals and comic-book characters in sketchbooks.”

I can see where this entry is coming from. No likes to be stuck with the stigma of being a sexual deviant. In a way, I sorta hold furries in the same regard I hold cosplayers. They open themselves to ridicule by dressing up in ungainly costumes that they should’ve outgrown by the 5th grade and play childish games like furry Twister. Still, I imagine they’re no more goofy or perverse than Man-Faye or the guy in the Hello Kitty Vader outfit.

What really chafes me, though, is the unashamedly editorial nature of this particular wiki entry. There are fingerprints everywhere that this section is heavily guarded by defensive furries. Take the part that says “recently there have been some attempts to provide a balanced viewpoint,” for example. What are they talking about? That one article that no one read about an undercover reporter infiltrating AnthroCon? Call me a Wiki elitist, but this is one of those entries that should be flagged. I especially love how the entry needs to point out that, at the conventions, furries are “not having sex” and they spend their time to drawing animals. Wow! Just like your grade schooler does when she draws herself riding a pony! How can drawing animals be anything but pure and lovely?

When it comes to Jay Naylor’s Better Days, you come to the frightening realization that drawing animals isn’t the innocent, harmless hobby it’s made out to be. All those “unfounded” stereotypes in that Wikipedia entry are right here — shameless, naked, and out there for everyone to see. While there is no overt pornographic content, I should warn you that the content and links will be Not Safe for Work and Not Safe for Children. So if you’re either wasting company time or under the age of 12, I humbly suggest you follow this link to my review of Dean Trippe’s Butterfly, a whimsical little tale about a superheroic young boy. There’s nothing overtly pornographic about Better Days, but it is explicit. There’s also a very good chance you’ll run into ads for Naylor’s other pornographic projects.

Jay Naylor is an anomaly in the world of furries. Only 7% of furries who identify themselves as “conservative.” Not only is Naylor part of that honored few, he’s so far to the right that Rush Limbaugh would refuse to interview him for being too out there. (Heck, from Naylor’s world view, it might be possible he regards Limbaugh as a stinkin’ liberal.)

The story follows two fraternal twins, Fisk and Lucy. They’re supposed to be kittens, but to my eyes they look like wolf cubs. Despite their arguments, it’s clear that these two love each other. More on that later. The first story starts innocently enough. Fisk asks Lucy to deliver a note to a girl he has a crush on, Lucy loses the note, and the girls in the locker room have a big laugh over it. The story ends on a bit of a risque note, but it’s a little endearing to see Fisk’s naivete as he stumbles towards puberty. The comic continues in a similar tone for the first couple of chapters: childhood shenanigans, misunderstandings, and a healthy sprinkling of je ne sais quois to keep things interesting.

Things don’t quite go off the rails until Chapter 5. The signs were there in the previous chapter, though, when the twins’ mother, Sheila, goes off the rails on a teacher for giving him bad grades on his patriotic essays, and is later given an apology by the school principal. Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with Naylor’s sentiments here, even if it is a bit of a strawman argument. However, there’s a smug, self-congratulatory tone to the chapter, which boils down to “I’m right and anyone who disagrees with me is evil and and a traitor.”

But then there’s Chapter 5. Good Lord. The title, “Predators,” should give you a clue for what lies ahead. The principal from the previous story, Longfellow, takes Sheila out to dinner. Over the course of the meal, he reveals that he’s a Vietnam vet who served with the twins’ deceased dad. He also claims that the dad cheated on Sheila. What happens next is one of the most unintentionally hilarious examples of “stacking the deck.” It turns out that Longfellow lied about the unfaithfulness of Sheila’s husband. Not only that, it turns out that he lied about his Vietnam service. NOT ONLY THAT, it turns out he pulls a Bill Clinton in the Principal’s office. NOT ONLY THAT, he physically abuses Sheila, followed by attempted rape. There’s only one way to deal with a lying, cheating scumbag who hits women. That’s right, head trauma and, eventually, death. The characters who perform the assassination are portrayed in the webcomic as good guys, so I assume this is how Jay Naylor assumes problems should be solved. Because due process is for liberal sissies!

It’s tough to top that, but Naylor tries to do so in the very next chapter. It says a lot when the scene of Fisk losing his virginity — at the tender age of ten — is the least offensive part of the story. In a parallel to the previous story, things hit the fan when someone does a little research. It turns out that the father of Fisk’s girlfriend is named “Muhammed Aziz” … and if that doesn’t fire off warning flares in your mind, then you haven’t been following this review very carefully. It turns out he’s a murder, a cop killer, a rapist, a child abuser, and the most racist caricature of a violent Black man you’ll likely ever see in webcomics. Of course, the only solution to this problem is DEATH. But the little girl feels absolutely no remorse, see, so this really was the best solution to all of life’s problems after all!

The entry in Comixpedia, by the way, was far too forgiving about Better Days‘ racist aspects:

Criticism has also been levelled at Naylor for racist attitudes, but most of these are confined to subtext – for example, the hyenas in the comic occasionally conform to African American stereotypes, and the mice appear to represent the Jews. The author has stated that the various species are intended to be direct equivalents of real ethnic and cultural groups, but has also maintained that the specific species chosen were not selected for any perceived negative connotations.

Pro-tip for Jay Naylor: here’s a quick way to tell if something’s racist or not. Would you be comfortable showing this comic to your Black friends? Assuming you have Black friends, of course.

But then that’s it, right? No way in Hell Naylor’s topping that bit of loathesomeness, is there? No, Naylor goes on to confirm every last stereotype we’ve ever had about rednecks from Georgia. We’ve already got the hillbilly justice, the super-conservative self-righteousness, and the self-delusion over racism. There’s only one way to go: INCEST. Better yet, TWIN-CEST. Even the title of Chapter 10 should give you the heebie-jeebies: “Brother’s Arms.” I guess you can say that Naylor keeps it vague enough that we could concluded that the two didn’t do the dirty deed. I mean, it’s possible that they were just platonically sleeping in the same bed … naked. (Brrrrrr…..) I think the mildest hint of shame at the end seals the deal, though.

At this point, I dropped the comic. It was originally going to be part of an all furry multi-“One Punch Review” last December. I got busy, though, since I soon discovered I had much better things to do than read a webcomic about neo-con furry incest. Like, you know, keeping my mental sanity. But I decided to revisit the comic for one reason and one reason alone: this site was woefully bereft of one star reviews, and no matter what Better Days did from this point on, it would never rise above that rating.

While Better Days never again descends into the Unspeakable Depths of Revulsion as it did in Chapters 5, 6, and 10, it never gets good, either. For one, Naylor has made the characters so unlikable that it’s a pain to follow them any further. It’s a good thing that Fisk and Lucy are shipped off to college in Chapter 14. He gets an excuse to surround the twins with a new cast of characters with none of the “My father is a child-rapist and therefore he must die” baggage to hold them down. Fisk also gets to go to the military, which plays to Naylor’s less offensive and whacked out beliefs. (Though, unfortunately, he does portray Operation Desert Storm in the most boring way possible.) As an added plus, now that everyone’s of age we don’t have to feel too uncomfortable with its perpetual focus on screwing. Still, none of them — perhaps with the exception of Fisk’s gothy girlfriend, Beth — are interesting at all.

And what about Naylor’s legendary conservatism? You’ll be happy to know that his characters are still being used as mouthpieces for whatever stokes his anger. Witness as Naylor rails against modern art and the NEA! (Seriously, Naylor… modern art? You’re losing your touch, man.)

It’s too bad that Naylor’s crazy political views get in the way of his webcomic, because the art is actually quite nice. His character designs are quite pleasing and very distinct. The anthropomorphic characters have bodies that seem congruous with their heads, a compliment that can’t be paid to some furry designs. And if you’re a fan of big butts (and who isn’t), you’re in luck. It’s quite clear, from the beginning, that Naylor is an Ass Man.

Now, to give Naylor some credit, there is one storyline where I felt he did hit his stride. The girls are looking around for male strippers to hire for a friend’s bachelorette party. Lucy runs into Marvin, a nerdy little guy from one of the earlier chapters, who turns out to be the, uh, King Cobra to everyone else’s garden snakes. His unique talent is so impressive that, by merely waving it around, he could settle violent disputes.* (The phrase “The penis spoke. And it was wise” was almost enough to raise the rating to two stars.) God help me, for the first time, I wasn’t laughing at unintentional humor. This was the first and only time I can say with total confidence that Naylor knew exactly how ridiculous his webcomic was. He immortalizes this event with an uncensored illustration of Marvin and his amazing trouser snake in his Adults-Only Gallery, which I will not be linking to this site.

Its difficult to say how the predominantly liberal furry community views Better Days. I suspected it would be the red-headed stepchild of a genre that’s already a red-headed stepchild. Indeed, the Crush! Yiff! Destroy! website has nothing but hate for Naylor. The Belfry Webcomics Index, which ranks the popularity of webcomics among its furry subscribers, paints another story. Guess which webcomic, at this very moment, is #1 on the list? Hint: it ain’t Achewood.

Seriously, furries … what the HELL?

Rating: 1 star (out of 5)

*BONUS: Can’t get enough weiner-shaking humor? Check out this Youtube clip of former WWE wrestler Heidenreich (as impersonated by the crew of Between the Ropes).

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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 June 22, 2008, in 1 Star, dramatic webcomic, furry webcomic, Furry Week, The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Big Review, webcomics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 125 Comments.

  1. I used to enjoy reading this mans comic. At first it was an innocent story of a boy with light right wing overtones that did’nt bother me too much. But his comic has turned into a right wing pro-war hate mongering retard machine. Jay naylor please go die. No one loves you, not even your parents love you, hell not even your precious god loves you. GO DIE!!!!!!

    • its one thing to dislike the comic its another thing to be a jackass about it and say someone should die for writing something i mean did the comic harm anyone? what is your problem with it you seem to hate right wing extremism when your being more extreme then the tones in the comic are this is a comic nothing more nothing less it is fiction

  2. I don’t know, shane. Given the heavy emphasis on incest and promiscuous sex, Jay Naylor doesn’t really strike me as a God-fearing man.

  3. Oh he is. He fears god when he feels and ignores the sins he likes to commit. He’s taking the inbreed hillbillie approach to being a god fearing man.

  4. For most furries, reading “Better Days” is like watching a train wreck. Over and over again. For years. Naylor is one of the most loathed people in the fandom, recently topping even Jeremy Bernal.

    So why, then, is his comics site so popular? Because it’s on the same page as his pr0n. And nothing attracts attention on the interwebs like pr0n.

    I can heartily agree with this review in every way, shape, and form, although I wouldn’t have praised the “talking penis” incident quite as much. Yes, it was seriously funny, but even if you find a tiny gem in a pile of fecal matter, it’s still covered in said fecal matter…

  5. Heh, thanks Gratcat. That was one of the things that always bugged me: I’ve hardly seen anyone say anything good about “Better Days,” yet it’s one of the most read furry comics. I wasn’t sure if it was a guilty pleasure or if people were reading it for the trainwreck quality. The porn reason is as good as any (especially since, despite all his faults, Naylor is a pretty good artist).

  6. Seriously, guys. This is just one person’s opinion on the comic. Once again, humanity demonstrates it’s go-with-the-flow attitude. Personally, I think it’s an unbaised look into real life dilemmas because MANY things the Mr. Naylor went over in this comic HAVE HAPPENED. Which, for some reason, people don’t want to realize, and they’d rather try and look sane enough for the next person who comes along. Better Days is one of the grittiest, most honest-to-life comics I have seen in a while, and I don’t give a damn about haters who will argue otherwise.

  7. i like naylor for his art. no matter what he draws it is respectable in some way. you all are immature to not see that he works hard to keep going with the better days comic. not only is his pr0n great but his comics and ideas are nice.
    if you all seriously dont understand furries then you can never understand his genius.

  8. I agree with Fur4Life on this, so with Kikoji and the rest, who praise Naylor’s art. I’m a open-minded man, and I respect Mr. Naylor’s beliefs. But for goodness sake people, you don’t have to like the guy or his comic, but at least just respect his view on things: it prevents most possible conflicts, debates, and arguments (if not all), which in turn, create haters and people who say “fuck you” to the other side of the discussion.

    You all are entitled to your opinion, and I respect that, too. It’s just the heated battles this generates, and I’m a man of peace, not wanting to get involved nor start anything gratuitous or appalling.

  9. The racism makes me nauseous, frankly. And the pro-life undertones… and the pro-WAR undertones… and the rather skewed portrayal of high school life.

    (Also wtf is up with Persia getting addicted to heroin and then… magically walking away with no withdrawal symptoms?)

    Yeah. I only read it out of habit nowadays :/

  10. I’ve approached naylor online about his politics – the man acts like a child refusing to stop believing in santa when you try to explain that objectivism doesn’t work IRL… and his comic, his own personal mouthpiece, is just as creative.

    i have read his comic for years – in the begining it was actually quite good, it touched on subjects never seen before, it mixed conversative politics and incest… oh my – if it had stayed there, kept the kids young and confused, that might have saved the comic, but now Fisk, the male lead character, is a randian man-god who is above the law and always right in doing so… its kinda sad really

  11. Well… I think that, and don’t kill me for my impartial mediation, that Naylor and the guy who wrote the review are crazy. Naylor, because he draws porn, incest, obscenities, and has a retarded view of the South, and I should know. I’m from south Mississippi. Naylor is pretty much your average internet nut. However, I admit that his artwork is nice (I refrain from looking at his porn though). I think the guy who wrote the review is crazy because of his liberal democrat crap views. Oh, by the way “Z”, Jesus can do that.

  12. I always enjoyed Better Days, at least to an extent.

    Given Naylor’s inability to stray far from his far-right attitudes, I had kind of a love/hate relationship for a while, but I tend to overlook that sort of thing easily enough when the the writner and art are pretty good in spite of their flaws, and I think Better Days does that well enough with me.

    Still, I can’t blame people for disliking Naylor, based on the attitudes he presents in his work.

  13. Because he hasn’t actually personally attacked me, I don’t have reason to hate the author. That said, I am 100% sure we will dislike one another once we start to talk and he finds out what I believe in.

    I can still seperate the comic from the artist. I do not watch the comics for his opinions, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t continue if that’s all that mattered. I read the comic because it is so audacious and breaks away from all the neat borders that defines what a web comic can be. It goes past how far one is typically willing to go when telling a story and frankly I found myself sinfully rooting for the twin relationship because out of all them it had the most meaning.

    But, before people read way too far into my comments, it’s good not to take a comic too seriously. They definitely aren’t moral compasses we should use and even though I admit that Naylor’s main character Fisk does give the readers “pointers”, I don’t pay heed to them. Not to mention it’s all about sex and I get tired of it.

    So, in spite of the positives I can’t disagree with your one star rating. As you said, the art and the storyline had potential. But Naylors views can definitely ruin it for lots of people if they cannot separate the comic from the artist. And a lot of them cannot.

    • Thanks for this comment.

      I’m actually thinking of reviewing another notoriously opinionated comic next (“Jack”). I’m trying to keep myself from going overboard.

      I’d like to think that every comic I’ve ever reviewed has at least a small positive quality, by the way. The ones that I feel are completely irredeemable, I never review. (Shredded Moose being on the list of comics I won’t touch.)

      • Oh, yes! Review Jack, please! I’ve been waiting for that. I can understand not wanting to touch it, though, which is why I wouldn’t have brought it up had you not said anything about it.

        • I did look at the pros and cons, though.

          Con: pretty much most webcomic readers will cite it as one of the — if not THE — worst webcomic ever made. So that means the reputation’s already there, so what hasn’t been said? It would save my mental state. (I’m on chapter five, and I already feel like my sanity is falling apart.)

          Pro: Despite that, the criticisms are always directed at the same storylines (mainly the second one about Columbine), so I don’t know if the definitive review has been written.

          Also, I’ve been giving out too many good reviews the last two weeks. :p

          Besides, the comic might surprise me. It DOES have quite a few fans who gave it 5 stars over at The Webcomic List (as if that counted for anything).

          (Incidentally, it might be the review after next. I plan on ticking off some Ulysses fans first.)

          • Pretty simple, the characters in Jack are waay to over the top and hence unrealistic. Found the dialogue to be lacking and the so called “OMG” moments seemed forced.

  14. Huh. I’m actually a Jack fan and TBH I didn’t really notice the strong opinions, excepting ‘OMG GUNS!’ and OMG REALZ MEN’. In fact, this is the first I’m hearing about it. I’m not very active in the furry community, though. Actually, the complaint I hear most is ‘OMFG FURRIES HAVING SEX!?!!!!11?!?’

    But yeah, Naylor…never been a real big fan of his. I read his comics more out of habit than anything. The only thing I really liked was the incest! storyline. It was nice to see a story where it wasn’t this horrible, horrible thing. That said, most of naylor’s viewpoints are pretty awful.

  15. Your review of Naylor’s comic is far too biased. All artist will of course add their opinion to their artwork. From what I gathered in your review you seem to dislike this simply because his views are different. I take it that you find anything conservative or somehow related to conservationism to be disgusting. How very close minded of you.

    • Dude, I spent most of that review talking about how I think Naylor’s a creep for glorifying incest. How is that a conservative value? As a conservative, I’m offended.

      • I think Jay’s story hits things right on the head. he’s wiiling to actually put a “face” on things the conservatives AND Liberals think is “wrong ” and “shameful” and these are the Peopel who’re RUNNING this country (straight into the ground). I remeber that kind of “school system” that Fisk and his mother dealt with, and while the “Twin-cest” was odd it was also cute in its way as an example of the love Fisk and Lucy had for each other. You’ll also note that BOTH Fisk and Lucy grew up to be decent people with families. I’m offended that conservatives even exist and I’m neither conservative nor a liberal, just an American citizen.

    • I consider myself at least part conservative – and i find the ‘values’ that naylor portray in his comics disturbing, if nothing else. “my cousin is in trouble, i must go murder her captives, not call the cops”

      also, did you know that the entire story arc of lucy as a radio host was made to ridicule two people who had characters quite similar to her two competitors. an entire story arc, just to get back at two people he didn’t like. that is saying something.

      • This is entertainment, not a guide for the morality of others.

        That situation you described is no different from movies like DEATH WISH, STRAW DOGS, etc.

      • You do realize if he’d called the cops his cousin would most likely be DEAD? Ever seen the movie “Taken” starring Liam Neeson? It’s about a man (similar to Fisk in experience and training) who’s daughter is kidnapped in France by “White Salve traders” or if you prefer, “Flesh Peddlers”, so he hunts them down and kills the guys who hurt his daughter. I don’t know about you, but I’d do the same for ANY member of MY family. His work is FAR more realistic than that “conservative” junk being spewed today.

    • my bad – not radio host – but news reader

  16. Doesn’t being based against not only the style of artwork, but conservatives make you hate this comic before having read it?

    A number of assorted points:

    INCEST: No, the comic does not “glorify” incest. It depicts incest. There is a difference. Incest has been depicted in another of dramatic and comedic works. Do you think that every book, film, television show, etc. depicting incest is glorifying it? It’s discussed because it’s a topic that makes us uneasy. Even the people who write incest themes in their books, etc. are uncomfortable with the very idea. But it’s discussed because of how uncomfortable a subject it is. There have even been films featuring TWIN INCEST, just like in this comic. I saw a play once where the mother described their children as being born with the daughter holding the son’s penis. Did I think that the author of the play was glorifying incest? No.

    RACISM: This comic is not racist. You made a rash judgment – jumping to conclusions without absorbing all of the facts. BETTER DAYS is set in Georgia. All of the characters – including characters you perceive as Caucasian have Southern accents. There is no such thing as a “slave accent”. Slaves did not automatically come to the South sporting a Southern accent. Even suggesting such marks you, the reviewer, as a racist. The depiction of African-Americans, aside from accent, is not racist. The comic depicts negative characters from all walks of life, including negative depictions of Caucasians, as previously noted. The panel you describe as racist is not racist at all.

    I should also note that the main characters are cats with black and white fur. There are also cats with entirely black fur. Doesn’t that imply that “black” characters exist outside of the hyenas?

    • And how about the fact that you completely ignored that most hyenas – except for that one character – do not have that accent, just as most white Southerners do not have that accent? But some white Southeners do have that accent. As do some black Southeners.

      I live in the South, and believe me, this comic depicts real people. It’s unsettling at times, yes, but that’s the point. Aside from the unsettling moments in the strip, there are a lot of interesting an compelling aspects. It is not racist, sexist, or any of these things. It’s a story. Featuring animal characters with an ounce of depth and complexity – and that’s a good thing.

      May I suggest that you try writing your own comic, without any of the things in this strip that so offended you? I bet it’d be as boring as Wonder bread.

      By the way, I’m guessing that you are white, and have never even met an African-American. Please do not try to speak for African-Americans. Thank you.

  17. Ok first off, Naylor is an amazing artist. With that out of the way, Naylor mentioned it himself. In Better Days he is portraying a believable, honest to god, life story. Bad sheet happens every day, and, honestly, I don’t see much racism. People like to take things that weren’t ment to be racist and twist them until they do and as soon as said “racism” is “brought to light” everyone without a clear conscience jumps onto the “hate train”. Anyway, I LOVE Better Days! I give it 5 stars on behalf of everyone who doesn’t twist things and squirm at a different point of view

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper

      For some reason, most comments I’ve seen defending Better Days want to parrot the justification that “It’s Real Life Dawg, live with it.”

      But you have to admit, a really well-done story could say everything Better Days did without becoming the victim of an internet-wide hate train.

      It’s not true that conservatism automatically equals being hated. Rorschach from Watchmen makes Jay Naylor look like a windsock full of a large man’s personal breeze yet he’s simultaneously repulsive and compelling, becoming the most popular character out of the entire series solely for his uncompromising beliefs. The idea that a bad webcomic should get a pass for being bad simply because it’s conservative indicates a lot of twisting and squirming over beliefs that really shouldn’t matter in a question of quality. So stop squirming already.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is, a true 5-star comic is something like Moore’s Watchmen.

      Better Days is no Watchmen.

      • i have to agree with you – i think… (i’m not a watchman fan, so i’m not totally understand the comparisons)

        still, there are a lot of furry slice of life comics that are far less offensive.

        take a look at naylors current project: “Original life” (more like un-orignal life… seriously…) The writing is so bad. the children all talk in ways no child, or even few adults, would ever talk, and it is so painfully obvious that most of the events in the comic are just strawmen-beatdowns to tout naylors personal opinions… poorly written and poorly explained strawmen that is, since personal opinions can form fun naratives in comics, but not when your characters act in ways that just do not match up to the notion of ‘slice of life’

        • Naylor brought something up on his Twitter that I can’t help but agree with –

          //Whenever I get criticized for comics having “unnaturally complex dialog”, I imagine the critic’s friends speaking in small words and grunts.\\

          Okay, so, you don’t like this comic because the author’s a Libertarian and uses anthropomorphic animals to tell an adult storyline.

          Like his work or not, he has made his living completely off of his work. That’s impressive for a comic strip with limited mainstream appeal.

          • Perhaps, but calling someone (and their friends) who doesn’t like your work a bunch of grunting morons doesn’t speak well, does it? I mean, I could say the very same thing about critics of this site, but such a statement would lack a lot of class.

          • Like santo says – then the mere fact that naylor refers to his critics in such harsh words say more about him than his critics.

            and bare in mind, he has stated that he wanted to keep Original Life (his current comic) lighthearted and fun – but so far he’s managed to make it appear that it is ok for children to beat each other up, have children talk about topics that are completely unrealistic for children their age to talk about…

            that is what most people have against his “unnatural dialog” – that it is unbelievable and smells too much of naylor using them as mouthpieces, instead of writting good dialog that fits the characters

            but hey, small words and grunts right? i’m just stupid because i cant grasp naylors brilliance? i dont think so tim

  18. //so far he’s managed to make it appear that it is ok for children to beat each other up, have children talk about topics that are completely unrealistic for children their age to talk about…\\

    When people make statements like this, it’s as if they’re trying to sound like they were born full-grown adults who knew everything in life, never had any conflict, and never talked about anything beyond the simplicities of day to day living.

    As far as Naylor using child characters as a mouthpiece for his opinions, perhaps, but also perhaps that many writers do the same. If you are equally irritated by writers on “The Simpsons” and “South Park” having similar dialogue, that would be fair. But to say that either of these shows are perfect while bashing a comic that you dislike hardly constitutes a balanced argument.

    • way to miss the point

      and you may interpret my criticism towards naylor that way – but i can assure you my teen years saw their fair share of trouble and more than enough conversations of painfully complicated matters.

      but it isn’t as much the topics being discussed – a ten yr old can talk about god, but a ten yr old doesn’t speak of it in the same way an adult does. thats where naylor keeps making his mistakes

      http://www.jaynaylor.com/originallife/archives/2009/11/051.html

      what child uses the word festooned? seriously?

      plus, for the overall writing it is so painfully obvious what naylor is doing, erecting idiotic strawmen to bash down by having the eldest daughter character repeatedly win in poorly constructed arguments with various other children on matters of faith. the problem here is both that the children surprisingly well knowing of these subjects, but also that fisk’s daughter constantly appeares to know better, despite the whole thing revolving around the notion that she wasn’t supposed to know anything at all on the subjects. its things like that make it clear how bad a job naylor is doing at this.

      • You seem to have a very low opinion of children for having been one yourself. While you might have been a simple child, that does not mean that every child speaks the same way, or that it is completely impossible for children to convey words, feelings and dialogue in the way that you criticize these characters for doing.

        Main point being, “Original Life” and “The Simpsons” are cartoons. My toys have never come to life, but I am not about to paint “Calvin and Hobbes” as unrealistic because it didn’t capture my childhood experience.

        As for the discussions of faith within the comic, many arguments on faith are poorly constructed because faith, is, quite simply, faith, not a statement of beliefs based in factual evidence of existence of God, but an expression of the faith and hope that a higher power exists.

        To act as if these portrayals are unrealistic on the basis of your own experience is to ignore the fact that not every man lives the same life. Life is not cut and dry, and what may be real to you may be unreal to another, and vice verse.

        • why yes mastar, my childhood very simple – so i very stoopid, so i no understand

          dude listen to yourself – you may not be able to accept that i dislike the comic and that i am able to point out flaws in it, but not everyone likes naylor and not everone can ignore his flaws.

          i’m sorry that offend you by speaking of naylors poor webcomic skills, but i am merely commenting on what i percieve. if naylor starts doing a good comic with good writing and good character development, then i wont speak ill of it

        • I know a lot of kids, they don’t talk like that. They do care about the world but they just don’t have the vocabulary or usually the awareness to construct arguments like that.

          Arguably, Naylor doesn’t know children either. He has a subset of idiot children to make his favoured child characters look good.

          He’s a bad writer and he’s ham-fisted. Deal with it, Timmy boy.

        • ok i’ve seen you defending naylor with all your heart in these replys and I have a few things i want to point out.

          One is the calvin and hobbes reference and how you missed the point of that comic, the toy never came to life it was about calvin’s overactive imaginiation making it seem that way. When you miss the point of a very popular and well known comic like that I have to wonder if you’re not missing the points of Naylor’s works as well.

          Second, for me it’s not so much about the argument of religion vs. atheism, but the fact that naylor has to make this an argument at 3 different times. There’s putting a little bit of yourself into your works, and then there’s turning your comic into a soapbox.

          • Okay everyone, better days is just a web comic, your all treating it as if its the bible. People will like it and people will hate it. If you like it then I’m glad you found some thing you liked, and if you hated it then thats fine too, but its here so get over it. You all sound like children as you argue. I personaly like the story and the art. He’s the writer, and as such he has unlimited creative posibilitys.So if you hate it so much, go write your own webcomic, and see how much critticisum you get about it. People will always hate some thing, but if we can’t accept this, then there is where the problem lies.

          • @Xander True, but the question to me is more why Naylor has to repeat his strawman arguements so much?

            I don’t really see that behavior in very many other people – but where I do see it, it is with people who’s worldview is so frail that they need to reinforce it themselves.

            Basically, I guess that Naylor thinks that if he doesn’t point these things out via his comic he might himself, on some subconcious level, start to doubt himself and his statements.

            @David, see the above. I love picking naylor’s work apart because trying to understand the man behind the comic’s mind is so fun. Heck, i have an academic interest in observing unique internet behavior: I doubt that naylor would be able to both soapbox AND isolate himself like this without the internet.

          • You know what? I think your the most sane person on here. You have a very logical point of view, unlike most of the people on there.

  19. Wow! I’m amazed by the volume of debate here. As I can see when it comes to the evaluation of Better Days or Naylor’s works in general everyone hits for either the Fan-club or the Hater-Club. Call me an indecisive wuss but in my opinion the truth lies in the golden mean. Naylor has undeniable merits such as bringing new variety to web comics by representing actions and thought that bring up moral issues. These existing phenomena usually remain untouched due to the aforementioned reason. But not here. Also, the whole story is in the coat of (nicely drawn) anthropomorphic animals of different species with the intention to represent different social groups. All of these features can be the breeding ground of appraisal and displeasure alike. But enough of the advocating part. It is obvious that Naylor uses the characters for radiating his beliefs. Even if it means that he has to give unlikely lines to a certain character. What is my point with this? I don’t think we should sing odes of Jay Naylor nor should we call him the worst webcomic writer ever but I don’t say you can’t because we live in a free world (sort of) and it’s your sacred right! I personally think it is very nice of him to put his webcomic work on the net free-of-charge so that you want to read it you can and if you do you can use whatever you want from it. I tried to be as open minded and as diplomatic as a 19 year old central-European young man from Hungary (next to Germany) can possibly be. P.S.:Please forgive me for the incidental misuse of English grammar. I’ve been learning english for only 4 years.

    • well, you’re right… although summary is always easy, i’m more curious to your opinions regarding the comic

      are the strawmen too thin? is the character development of fisk, from naive child to strong-willed man good?

      • Well, I simply stumbled upon this comic and I quite liked the way it was drawn so I started to read through it and the more I read the more I liked it. Sure it has awkward and unlikely monologues and dialogues dripping with Naylor’s unique way of thinking and wasted potential but God help me I liked it over all. About the character development of Fisk I don’t really have objections. Like all the other aspects of this story it represents Naylor’s artistic style. Yes, ARTISTIC because it has something personal to say no matter how odd or unacceptable it might seem or be for some people. I think the reason I liked the comic is the different -one might say abnormal- point of view and sequence of happenings. I got tired of brilliantly constructed intiguing stories of books and films. I like the imperfect unproffessional and inconsistent stlye of an interesting person. I did not find any part of the story boring (especially not the Opertion Iraqi Freedom part) because that’s all that happens to people even if they have a crazy life (except for the joining a secret agency and kill everyone then walk calmly away part).

  20. Man, you’re being too tough with the comic. Despite it surely has it’s flaws and it’s certainly not perfect, it is very interesting and realistic, just like kikoji said, the things that it expounds have happened in real life, they’re disgusting but have happened. I didn’t like the incest part either, I hated Naylor for that, neither it’s racism nor take on religion, but you’ve got to be mature and understand it’s JUST A COMIC. Yeah I know it is about the ideas established in it, but you also gotta be firm on your beliefs and RESPECT the other’s. You also mistook the Fisk-Kills-Longfellow part, because Fisk wasn’t going to sit there waiting for the police to arrive while his mom’s being rapped, you wouldn’t have either. Fisk was my favorite character at the start because his sarcastic personality and I ended disliking him for joining the army, and it left me like WTF when he became a secret agent (seriously, what the hell??), and the incest thing really bothered me to the point where I could not see Lucy nor Fisk the same way again, but I really enjoyed the comic overall, and I still like Fisk’s sarcastic behavior and the comic’s different point of view. Say what they say, it’s a great comic, but some of it’s subjects have to be taken with discretion and matureness.

    • Oh i know, i know – both comics are for the most part supposed to be slice of life… and to be honest, i wasn’t put off by the incest that much. I found it to be a very interesting plot twist. If anything, then i’m annoyed by the fact that it seems to have had no reprecussions at all: ask any shrink, they’ll tell you that incest usually has serious lasting consequenses…

      i too dislike the fisk character – but thats par for the course for naylors overall style. if you look it up, you’ll find that naylor is a “objectivist”, making him portray strong male characters (such as fisk) as indestructible and flawless supermen. nothing they do can be wrong. so… join a quasi-terrorist assasin company? nothing wrong with that. blow up a drugden/brothel? no consequences. Its what he does, but i too feel that it completely invalidates the comic as a slice of life one. there is just too much “look at how awesome this guy is” plus of course all the preaching and strawmen, to make things or people naylor doesn’t like look bad, which naylor IMO doesn’t do a very convincing job of.

      so ya, discretion and matureness – sure. i know not to take it too seriously, sad fact is just that naylor seems to take it VERY seriously. (try to tell him your opinion of his comic and give him some helpful pointers… see him fly into a rage)

      • true, the incest left absolutely NO psychological traces, despite the fact that Lucy’s “obsession” with Fisk lasted until college… and Fisk’s unbelievable life as -like you said- a flawless, strong, wise superman… yeah, the comic’s filled with too much fantasy. Naylor’s surely a very dreamer guy. And the moment he explodes against someone with a different point of view from his, then he’ll not deserve any respect to his.

        • indeed, and thats why naylor has garnered such a dedicated hatedom that picks apart anything and everything he does in order to analyse his motives behind it.

          • Whew, poor sad, unloved guy. But I guess everything happens for a reason, doesn’t it? He must’ve given the masses plenty of reasons to hate him.

          • oh you have no idea. try to talk to him. on FA, or anywhere else. try to give him helpful advice. Naylor has the idea that anything he does is perfect, and beyond repute. like a muslim terrorist he will denounce anyone who does anything that conflicts with his views (such as even imply that his work isn’t superb) as stupid and not worthy of his time. for example, he recently addressed accusations that when drawing young girls being fucked by horse-men, the girls looked… too young. sure, they were being depicted as school girls, but that didn’t mean they were underage, that was just his “art style”. anyone who said otherwise were just too stupid to see that…

  21. Idon'tgiveacrapaboutyou

    WOW.
    All of you bitches….leave Jay alone for fucks sake…oh wait a minute I find that nearly impossible for you jackasses to accomplish such a simple task.

    Simply because all of you haters have more more more AND MORE to say about his art and you simply and shut up about it because you people find a few other goof balls just like you to keep this conversation or debate going.

    You call yourselves adults?
    Well FUCKING grow up, all you do is complain about something you fucking hate…has he done ANYTHING wrong?

    You call yourselves mature?
    Well I find that really hard to believe when all I see is a bunch of wing nut hypocrites complaining about his “porn”
    First off- WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH YOU? IF YOU DON’T WANT IT..THEN DON’T BOTHER LOOKING AT IT OR EVEN NOTICE IT.
    There are hundreds of people out there who never even touchs his porn. Why? Because they’re SMART, unlike some of you nutjobs here trying to make a “big point”
    Second off- you might be thinking “Why the fuck would you say we’re hyprocrits? We just don’t like his dirty porn for fucks sake..”
    OH YEA??? Well I bet you that some of you dirty fucks had you’re share off torrents and came all you want. AND HERE YOU ARE TELLING OTHERS THAT YOU DISLIKE THE FACT THAT HE HAS WEIRD SHIT?
    Why don’t you all just go hang yourselves, you shitbags.

    And you think your making a point here?
    Always talking about incest and his porn and all that garbage that you either don’t understand or don’t like.. Well let me tell you something pal…I don’t like some of his things too, I also don’t like the way he puts somethings and all the small or big mistakes.

    BUT DO YOU FUCKERS SEE ME TALKING SHIT ABOUT HIM?
    ALL ABOUT POLITICIAL SHIT, PORN, AND ALL THE OTHER JUNK?
    not really…in fact not at all.

    As I see I may have left most (or all) of you people frustrated at me *or just simply taking this whole thing as a joke* I have no sympathy for any of you ass faces what so ever. Simply because all of you deserve a little piece of my mind.

    Now you may say all you want, hate words, jokes about me, etc…I don’t care…in fact, I don’t give a shit.
    Because I won’t be here to this horrible form.

    • lol trolls trolling trolls much?

      looks like someone glanced at this page, went “TL:DR” and thought our arguments didn’t make sense. I feel sorry for this person, as he or she obviously lives a very simple life, in that he or she must not understand very much beyond simple things like “food” and “sleep”.

      now go away, for the adults are trying to have meaningful discussions here.

    • First of all, you could’ve said all that without so much cussing. Second, have you noticed that this page is SPECIFICALLY MADE TO CRITICIZE, and this space is SPECIFICALLY MADE TO OPINE? Don’t go criticizing other’s opinions about it, everyone has his/her own point of view and you have no right to insult him/her because of what he/she thinks. The only hypocrite is you, you call us “immature” while the only one who is acting like a child is you, complaining about what we think, and you say “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it” while you came here, saw it and instead of leaving us be, like a “mature adult” would’ve done, you puked all that crap up there. Really, get yourself something better to do…

    • I agree with what was said here, although it could have used less profanity, naylor is just a writer/artist, which gives him complete creativity over his stories. Would you like to be critisized on view for things? I know I wouldn’t but it happens anyways. Why cant we agree to disagree?

      • while I cannot speak for all his critics, then I personally primarily enjoy picking naylors work apart because I find the thought processes and reasonings that must have taken place in naylor’s head quite interesting: “What was he thinking when he drew this?, What is his reasoning for portraying charactesr like this?” that kind of stuff. Now, these reasonings we can then debate and point out are silly/that we disagree with them, point out how they may or many not have much root in reality, or be realistic.
        _
        being able to criticize anything, being able to look and think about something and ponder: “why?” – it is a great human quality.
        _
        I do not agree with naylor’s portrayed morals and ethics in his comic work – and i wish to understand his mindset and why he thinks what he soapboxes is ‘right’. If he was open to questions to his motives regarding the comic, then we wouldn’t have to guess, but he refuses to reply to anyone who doesn’t worship him.

    • Right. Everyone is immune to criticism they don’t like. George Lucas tried that and fucked up the new trilogy as a result. You’re either a funny troll or a complete moron.

  22. I’ve read Better Days and Original Life (as it’s updated) and haven’t thrown a bitch fit yet. He more or less opens his story-lines to every audience to keep as many readers as he can. In the end, if that last statement is correct, then he’s doing a pretty good job of it. I like him, I watch him on FA. His art actually helps me improve, he’s an amazing reference and some (NOT ALL) of his ideals appeal to me. No, I’m not one for incest, but tell me this? Can you really tell someone not to love someone? Can you really stop your heart from falling in love with who it so chooses? No. It’s like being gay or straight, it’s what it is. He just puts it out there. And some of is stories are meant to be parodies. They aren’t meant to be taking so seriously. And besides, if you have the time to be reading stories you hate, just to throw a bitch-fit about them later, you obviously have the time to write and/or illustrate stories of (what you believe) to be better quality. Hate sites and comments truly are just a waste of time and energy. End story.

    • I really dislike this idea of creative Stalinism so many people preach. If you’re not a producer, your opinion counts for nothing. That one. And, of course, if you were a producer and delivered your opinion, you’d be put aside as untalented and jealous. The simple fact remains: People know what they like to look at and what they like to read. And frankly, I don’t need to be a stellar artist to see that other people are shit as well.

      • You seem to mistake honest criticism with… something else. I find it funny that you would refer to creative dictatorship, when it is you who are saying that unless we like his work we should not speak. How can anyone improve if they are not made aware of their faults? Naylor aggresively denies having any faults, but we persist, are we really that wrong to do so? That he makes himself into a comedic goldmine in doing so is just a bonus. If he would get off his high horse we would most likely leave him alone. Remember: Freedom of speech is also being allowed to say things that aren’t popular. It would be a true stalistic dictatorship if we are not allowed to speak our minds like this.

        • Read my post again. What I mean with “creative Stalinism” is the oft-used argument of “well, I don’t see you making a webcomic, so obviously your opinion is invalid”. Repression of freedom of speech, hence Stalinism. I probably should have put stuff in my original post in quotes, but there you have it. Aside from that I haven’t much to say, because I agree with you.

          • i have been making a webcomic for over five years – plus i have some 300 other webcomics bookmarked… i know how good ones are made, and i know how bad ones look.

            i guess you just confused me with the term stalinism, its not something i hear much. more nazi-references or more common stuff like that. oh well. fair nuff

          • You don’t have to be a comic writer to criticize one. If everyone were, people would criticize it at his/her own standards. What you really need to be a criticizer, is experience, know about and have read many different comics (In this case) with different plots and points of view, and definitively a wide perspective.

    • EmiKO, art, movies, politics, etc are ALWAYS under criticism of an audience of various education, experience, etc. So what’s the point of creating something without taking heat for it? We, as an audience, have a right to portray strengths and weaknesses of a creation because how the hell else is a writer, artist, director, etc supposed to learn from their mistakes and make them better or go with what works? This is in general, of course, since a majority of “artists” aka, furry artists, ignore all criticism and take it as trolling, kinda like you.

  23. SenorAwesome

    I’m going to be honest, this comic doesn’t make me feel well, somewhat. I get the sensation of being unnerved but still satisfied by what I’ve seen. This comic depicts some topics that I wouldn’t have ever wanted to think about, normally. And the comic is laced with Jay Naylor’s ideals which, while I agree with some and disagree with others, most times interfere with the story (Although I tried not to notice). I’ve re-read this comic to try and pick out things I missed, analyzing dialogue and the like. I think that a comic about children of a single parent exploring the world socially and mentally is exciting in its own right. I remember my own innocence as something I wish I still had, and this comic shows something that isn’t quite that. The characters are somewhat developed, apart from the ideals of the author being put into them (especially Fisk). They come across as people that I would like to know personally but not spend time with. I know that I’m treading over ground that had already been tread over here, but I feel that I should show my own personal feelings, however generic compared to others. This comic was moving too fast in a way. I’d rather read a comic about the children growing up then about the adults living their lives. Children would make it more interesting when throwing in various topics that children will be involved in, the topics depicted in the comic were somewhat extreme and yet somewhat real. I felt as if the adult versions of Fisk and Lucy weren’t affected as much as they should by their childhood incidents. After the comic time-skipped to college I felt cheated out of more potential interesting dilemmas and story-arcs. The humor was enjoyable whenever found and it aided me in reading through all 25 chapters. So, all-in-all, this comic was a pleasure to read (saying that I would read it again despite the unpleasant feeling i get from going through the entire thing), but very poorly orchestrated in story and dialogue. With superb artwork (backgrounds would be nice, although I’m afraid to be distracted by them), risque topics (mild touches on racism, incest, abuse, and all the ones we criticize it for), invasive JayNay-ideals, and semi-likable characters, I don’t think that this comic deserves a 1/5. It also definitely doesn’t deserve a 5/5. I’d rate this comic as a 3, no one (except closed-minded morons) could deny that the comic had moments where you wanted to stop reading and moments where you did not want to stop, even if it’s out of curiosity (Pros and Cons), but I don’t think that the lowest or highest rating would ever apply for this. That’s my opinion, feel free to criticize me, this is the first time speaking my mind on the internet about anything this debatable, I’d love to see contradictions to my thoughts and learn from what I’m seeing.

    • i think you got it fairly spot on. although IMO i’d like to see more backgrounds :p

      and I like how you phrase that naylors ideals interfere with the story – you don’t say specifically how you feel they do that, although in my case its mostly in the unrealistic soab-box monologues the various characters occasionally go through, especially the child-characters.

      and ya, its got its moments and its got really bad moments – you can say it is a good comic to learn from: “this is how you do it, and this is how you do not do it”

      so ya

  24. I really liked Better Days.

  25. It was pretty good,I thought. The incest was a little weird but Fisk and Lucy actually came out as better people as a result of it. It’s not like Naylor glorified it or treated it as good – or bad. It just happened, like I suppose it occasionally does in real life, and the twins got over it and moved on, again like I imagine probably happens on occasion.

    The terrorist hyena did kind of come out of left field, though. Not sure that actually advanced the plot in any meaningful way.

    I didn’t see any overt racism in the comic. I imagine that in real life, there are terrorists, and I imagine that some of them are black. So I imagine that in a furry world, there are terrorists, and some of them are hyenas.

    Anyway. Speaking as a center-wing (?) individual with no particular love or hate of furrydom I enjoyed Better Days. It felt…I guess I could say real. It seemed like an actual life being lead through these two twins. It was a refreshing change of pace from my usual webcomics (Girl Genius, El Goonish Shive, and Megatokyo). I’d recommend it.

    • they came out as better people because of the incest? you’ll have to forgive my nitpicking, but woulnd’t a better description of the outcome be that there simply was never mentioned any kind of reprecusions of it – it was simply left hanging in the air. but hey, i wont hold that against you, i didn’t notice anything odd the first time i read the comic either, none of the political or racial ‘hints’ came to light untill i was made aware of them. i’ll agree that for a webcomic then Better days is different than most others, but to say if that difference is for the better or worse, now thats a lot more tricky

      • Rogue Shadows

        There were a few reprecussions. Okay, okay, there was no deep psychological examination of the ramifications of incest between a pair of twins that lead to years of therapy and psychosis. But, Lucy did spend most of her high school and collage trying to find a guy LIKE her brother. It affected Lucy and Fisk, but not negatively, which I’m gonna say is possible.

        What’s fundamentally important about the incest bit is that it didn’t break my suspension of disbelief. The lead-up to it was subtle, but present, unlike, say, terrorist hyena (I raised my eyebrow) or Agent Fisk, 007 (I stared at the page confused for a little bit).

        Better Days was *entertaining,* for the most part. That’s the most important thing any work of fiction can be.

  26. well i’m attempting to do a review of this series as well, although i’d admit it’s going along the lines of say what ‘nostalgia critic’ does with his reviews. It’s a video review, bashing on better days for all it’s little faults i can find, while giving credit where it’s do, like when naylor’s art improves (before it gets worse again) or actual funny moments in the comic (mostly from the early chapters). You said you had to drop the comic and you would come back to it every so often, hopefully i can review all 25 chapters and not loose my sanity doing so.

    I’m glad there’s reviews like this out there and the comments that get made to the reviews as that really helps me a lot with thinking about what i’m going to say and if there’s counter arguements i should consider first.

    As for what I think, i’m with the hatedom, my first paragraph probably made that clear. I use to like the comic, then, like others, I saw the comments about how jay’s own personal reviews are there, and well once that’s been planted into your mind, you can’t overlook that stuff anymore, all you can see is the glaring walls of text that might as well read ‘the world according to naylor’. It’s kinda fun to remember when i didn’t even have a biased against this comic and there were already things about it that i didn’t like or skipped over like the chess chapter, killing the principle after he’s already incapacitated and sure to go to jail, and fisk’s questionable career choices.

    • i wanna see this video review. link plox. and you’re right about the hatedom aspect: once you learn to see the flaws of naylors work, you cannot look away from them.

      heck, i remember the first times i read better days – it was back when he was still only half way through the earliest chapters. I liked the incest aspect back then: it made his comic edgy: “oh my, a slice-of-life comic where the ‘normal’ kids have a dark secret… now they’ll have to live with the social stigma and it’ll be cool and awesome!” but of course, we all know nothing came of that. oh the bliss of ignorance.

      its like my sister: she used to work in a coffee shop. she got proper barista training, now she can’t drink coffee anywhere because nobody makes coffee the right way apparently…

  27. Randum Pursun

    OK, I’m feeling a little lazy but I just wrote a post elsewhere that gives my sentiments on Naylor, here (cut n’ paste):

    I have read much of his work and found that the only gay characters I have seen thus far in his comics, the male fox twins, Zenon & Zephyr in Huckleberry Ann, chapter 3 are portrayed as having pedophilic intent along with many other crass stereotyping characteristics such as a penchant for visiting truck-stops. In addition, an act of homosexual sex in chapter 4 of his series, Fall of Little Red Riding Hood is described as “deviancy”. Many of the characters portrayed as being of African heritage are also written as more oversexed and of lesser moral character than the other characters in the comics. One must read his work, specifically the aforementioned series, for themselves to see it. A lot of subtle & not-so-subtle, demeaning jokes thrown in at the expense of non-white, non-heterosexual characters. If one is in need of his artwork and they do not support his obviously racist & homophobic political leanings they need only do a google image search with safesearch disabled to find most of these works for free posted on image boards & blogs in foreign countries. Please enjoy his work for free and do not support him or any other member of the species homosapiens asshaticus southernbigotus.

    • you know, i’ve repeatedly tried to quantify and identify naylor’s portrayals of idiotic or offensive portrayals, and the way you point this out is actually fairly spot on.

      indeed, non-white non-hetero anythings are, almost every single time, shown in a less than favorable light – at least when it to blacks, lesbians, gays, and people of political inclinations that do not match his own.

      sure, there are groups he pokes less fun at than others (i’ve yet to see him really make fun of jews for example) but in the end, he’ll rub almost anyone the wrong way.

  28. No, you numbnuts, there are no redeeming qualities to Better Days except the art, and that only qualifies to some moderate extent. This comic is abysmal, and if you enjoy it, you need to take a serious look at yourself and your values. If nothing else, the blatant racism in this series should have provided ample reason to stop reading. If your mental retort was “But black people DO act/sound/behave like that!” then maybe you should actually talk to one instead of basing your opinions off of TV shows and caricatures. This is not the 1930s any more and media like this should not be allowed to endure unopposed.

    • What the hell is it about Better Days that kills people’s braincells and makes them scream for cencorship of either the comic itself or negative reviews thereof?

  29. I thought it was a good comic and kinda made me wish I had a twin sister… I’d like to sleep with. Love fantasy works. Never mind you’re angry at what happens in a fictitious animal world… the animal world where incest happens frequently. Got a Dog? what’s the easiest way to make it pure bred?
    most of you are anti war liberals who would have loved this comic if fisk were a hippie. Oh yeah the only way to deal with rapists, terrorists, and people who sexually abuse their children, is um, death.

    • And you, kind sir, are just all kinds of creepy.

    • we’re just anti-war liberal hippies?

      right. what are you then? pro-incest ‘animal lover’ wonderboy who thinks taxes are evil and ayn rand is god? i’d consider being called an anti-war liberal hippy any day over that

      also, naylor’s comics, both Better days and his current one ‘Original Life’ are shit for other reasons too. at the end of Better Days Fisk, naylor’s self-insert persona, gets hired by a shady US corporation become a corporate assasin. …and yet he’s made to look like the good guy?

      or how about how naylor portrays an incestuous relationship without any kind of mental or social impact on Fisk or his sister? even when its discovered nobody seems to care.

      or the fact that naylor dedicated an entire chapter (the radio talk-show job chapter with fisk’s sister) to smearing two individuals naylor had met in an online chat (the two other girls that fisk’s sister competes against for the job, who in the comic are portrayed as giant lying assholes)

      but then again, naylor appeals to the kind of neo-con american who doesn’t wanna pay taxes (yet still probably likes things like municipal water/power supplies, firefighters and so on) and just wants to sit in a little castle with a gun pointing out

      • Actually, I am a moderate conservative that supports our troops, isn’t religious, believes in Capitalism, law, defense, and immigration legally (plus i have no problems with homosexuality, personal choice, etc). If Fisk were a hippie, this would be far worse than it is. My issue is that with all the conservative and religious undertone in this comic backed up with spontaneous sex between multiple partners and the overuse of objectivism, it makes this comic one big hypocrisy. Religion is over-spoken with birth control and sex in high school before marriage? Give me a BREAK (not saying sex before marriage is bad, mind you).

  30. Personally (and that means I’m just giving my opinion), I think this webcomic is actually pretty good, although not one for everyone to read.
    I agree with all you critics that Naylor maybe shouldn’t try to express his political opinion in the comic, but I think an adult, not-completely-closed-minded person could look past that, and see the quality of this comic.

    Yes, it’s true, it’s a furry comic (apparently that makes it bad auomaticly to some people), but you don’t need to be part of the furry fandom to enjoy it (I am not part of it, and really liked the comic), and yes, there are several morally ambiguos (not to say wrong) subjects, but personally, I think that only makes it more interesting (although it CAN be disturbing). If you people only want perfect, socially accepted, and righteous themes, be my guest, but I think that it being only a comic, not a lifeguide, should allow most people not to get too obsessed with it.

    I think the comic loses a certain something once Fisk goes to the army, and it could stand having less sex references, but I think it’s still good (and I agree with El Santo, that sentence about the penis was hilarious. But if you ca overlook the factors I said before themselves, and look more deeply into the actual story, I think you’ll find a very interesting, pretty funny, and fairly enjoyable

  31. I know that I tend to be a negative poster, but seriously, fuck Jay Naylor. I can’t believe people are actually defending him and the furries of all things. We live in a world where the President of the United State’s citizenship and religion is called into question purely on the basis of his race, and his fathers religion, and people honestly think furries are worth defending?

    Furries deserved to be mocked, no one’s born who has to draw cartoon animals that may or may not be fucking each other, that was their own dumbass idea, and everyone is entitled to the right to mock others for the other persons dumbass ideas.

    Jay Naylor doesn’t deserve to be defended. He’s a furry, a bigot, and a libertarian nationalist psychopath, all those are things that he chose to be and chose to fetishize.

    You don’t chose what race, sex, sexuality, or religion you’re born into, but you do chose what you believe in, what you fetishize, and weather or not you believe in the rights of others. People’s choices are open season, and if your not down with that, you’re part of the problem.

    “But that’s just your opinion, so why can’t I say you shoudn’t say that?”

    Because I’m not wrong to say it, by the mere fact that you say I don’t have a right to my own opinion about something, so it’s an idiotic paradox.

    “But what if all I’m saying is that you have a right to your opinion, but I disagree with your opinion on furries being a waste of societies resources?”

    Then you’re entitled to have your opinion, but by the same token, I’m just as entitled to have the opinion that your opinion is full of crap. Otherwise, it would just be another idiotic paradox.

    “I just like the art.”

    As an artist myself, I also like good art, but furry art is still a disgusting sexual fetish, so no matter how good the art is, I won’t appreciate it. Why would I find cartoon animals sexually fetishized to be less revolting just because it’s drawn nicely? Why would cartoon animals ever qualify as great art?

    “What about regular cartoon animals, don’t you like the Looney Toons?”

    The Looney Toons aren’t sexually fetishized.

    “But I don’t care about the sexual side of things, I just want to become the anthropomorphizing animal.”

    I don’t want to become an anthropomorphizing animal, and I find it repulsive. I find people who want to do any of those things repulsive.

    “I swear, none of this is related to sex.

    Even if that’s true, you’re still repulsive towards me for acting like you have entitlement over your obsessive fixation on cartoon animals. It’s your own choice, I disagree vehemently with that choice: and even if you disagree with me, that doesn’t take my right to disagree with you away.

    “So we’ll just agree to disagree?

    That never happens, furries always throw hissy fits over people mocking their ridiculous fetish, if furries weren’t so self righteous, this wouldn’t be an issue.

    “I liked Better Days story.”

    Better Days is sexually repulsive, incredibly bigoted, and preaches the tennents of several lifestyles that are ultimately destructive, and that I vehemenantly disagree with (libertarian-nationalism, white supremacy, atheist supremacy, incest, furrydom). I hate the story, and don’t see why anyone would like it.

    “Can I still like the story.”

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but I’m entitled to my opinion to still think you’re an idiot for it.

    • You know what? I never expected the worst post in a Jay Naylor thread to be a detractor of the comic.

      -Bloated sense of self-importance? Check.
      -Strawman arguments? Check.
      -Stating that one is unable to understand others, and claiming that is a good thing? Check.
      -Raging hypocrisy? Check.
      -Claiming religion is the unique snowflake of opinions and shouldn’t -ever- be the subject of criticism? Check.
      -Claiming that one is an artist (without proof, even), and thus more qualified? Check.

      But it’s this, especially, that gets me: “That never happens, furries always throw hissy fits over people mocking their ridiculous fetish, if furries weren’t so self righteous, this wouldn’t be an issue.”

      That post is both a hissy fit and a monument to the supposed correctness of your own opinion (in other words, self righteousness). You, sir, disgust me. Not because of your fetish, or your political ideas, but because of your frightening smallmindedness. Your complete disregard for the possibility of people thinking different things than you, their right to do so, and you going well out of your way to beat everyone over the head with it.

      Should you respond to this, you probably won’t try to disprove any of that, but simply claim I’m a furry/racist/cryptofascist/idiot, or possibly all of those.

      The hilarious thing is, Naylor is probably exactly like you, but with a different set of opinions. You’re raging at a funhouse mirror for mocking you.

      • C’mon admit it. You know the only thing worse than a furry is a furry hipster…

      • Look at e621, look at just about every furry comic out there, look at the fans and how they react to criticism. This isn’t some fucking lie or trolling, this is proven FACT. IT’S ALL SMUT. It’s a life of sexual gratification using anthromorphic creatures. It’s not special or any different from a guy into elves sexually, for example. He is not being small-minded, but you are from your lazy blind obliviousness to the reality of what the common furry fan is. And he is right, you can love it, but others won’t. Be grateful he acknowledges that at least otherwise I would agree he was being small-minded.

        • I don’t know how I ended up back here, and I feel like a sadsack for it, but I have to point out that you’re complaining about finding lots of porn on a porn site. What did you expect?

    • Americans.

  32. I’ve never read this webcomic, so I can’t review it or give my opinion on it. I really don’t intend to read it, either. I really can’t praise any of his character drawings, though. They’re not particularly ugly or anything, but they all look like every bland furry design I’ve seen on the internet: poofy female hair, big eyes, basic cookie-cutter designs for each species and its gender with only a few alterations here and there… it’d be hard for me to interested in the artwork after I’ve been reading something like Cheap Thrills, where all of the characters look different and unique. (http://skurvies.deviantart.com/art/Group-Pic-184387802)

    But there’s one thing I don’t understand: plenty of people are staying “SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LEAVE THIS WEBCOMIC ALONE HATERS IF YOU DON’T LIKE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT”.

    Why are they going on about this on a REVIEW website, of all places? It’s the reviewer’s job to point out the flaws and the positives, and if they don’t like it, it’s their opinion. In fact, by that logic, isn’t it hypocritical for them to be saying how much they hate the “hater”, since that makes them a hater by their own right and thus forced to remain silent on something they don’t like? Why call everyone who just dislikes the comic “hater”? It’s not like you’ve barbecued the guy’s kitten in steak sauce for disliking his comic, jeezus.

    • Whoops, I meant “It’s not like you’ve barbecued the guy’s kitten in steak sauce BY disliking his comic, jeezus.”

    • Furry fans have the most explicit and comical nerd rage out of all the geeks and losers of the world. This is their life, not just a hobby. That’s why they freak out when their lives (porn) are attacked

  33. I think you guys just think too deeply into things, lmfao.

  34. To be perfectly honest, I really like this webcomic. Yes, I did notice the stereotypes, I noticed everything that was touched upon in this review, however I didn’t really see it as “THIS IS HOW WE SHOULD BE!” so much as “This is how the world is. Yes its fucked up, but if you try, you will find your way through the bullshit.”

  35. An ultra-conservative that believes in sex before marriage. That should have said enough to realize this comic is complete and utter bullshit

  36. I know you (to all haters, including those in favour and those against Jay Naylor) have the right to express yourself, so does every human being, regardless of how crazy they dress for conventions, or their sexual orientation, nothing changes that fact. but everyone also has the right to be treated equally, so your opinions are fine, but please don’t go making stereotypes, saying “everyone that likes this is a loser, a freak and is disgusting furry fan” or “you are jealous of him, because blah blah blah…”.
    Someone stated earlier “people honestly think furries are worth defending?” and to answer the why? the commenter suggested there: because they are also persons, people, humans with equal rights, as i have said above.

    Better Days is a webcomic with it’s own story, characters and everything, so why do the self-called critics in the comments say this is complete and utter bullshit, epic blunder, however you want to call it. when you don’t state why, or base that in your opinion against furries, the comment is not useful and is just rage inducing to those who take them seriously. If you want to actually convince someone the comic’s a waste of time, then at least SAY your reasons, no matter how daft they are, don’t throw this kind of SPAM around without at least explaining.

    everyone keep saying that Jay Naylor is a man who can barely take criticism, but IMO it is that he can’t take THIS kind of criticism, the criticism that is based not solely on the comic’s content and quality, but also on the genre, category, etc. of the webcomic. I agree he is a man who is hard against the ones who go against him, or the ones that tell him what he should and shouldn’t do. But i think the reason to this is that people who criticize his work on blogs, websites, and related media, portrays his work as shit. don’t get me wrong, It is bad to do what he does. But the comic is not directed towards “professional” critics, he does not seek approval from bloggers or critics. (kind of like the Resident Evil movies, according to most reviews, it is a complete fail. but in the fandom, the movies are relatively good received.)

    Finally, if you want to analyze deeply into the comic, like another commenter said he likes to do (not directed to him), do it, but you should also think why do you want to do it. Is it just because I like psychology, or I want to learn more about him? or are your intentions more ill-oriented, and you want to find flaws in him?
    also, Jay does use his comics to express his world view, and all that philosophical stuff and you can see it as bad, good, strange, whatever you want, but his work is artistic, so artist express themselves in their work, and don’t say it’s bad to do it because it’s a comic, it’s still art.

  37. Honestly, call me what you will, I love Better Days. I must’ve read it ten times now. Sure, it has all the racism and stereotyping in the world, but I don’t care. You wanna know why? It’s fake. It’s a fucking DRAWING lol. Too much butthurt here, imo. And if he wants to express political views through his webcomic, isn’t that what a lot of regular artists do? Express their views and ideas? So what if it happens to different from your views? He is expressing himself through his talent.

  38. I feel that everyone is kinda going to deeply into the story and connecting back to naylor. I mean even though these are controversial issue where talking about I felt nothing Wrong it. As well as being a african american I didn’t find this overly barring stereotypical and I felt it was a overview some the basic issues that come into society daily I found the earlier chapters to be quite humorous and the fact that Fisk taking actions into his own hands was wrong? I mean in concept would you really sit there and wait for cops when you’d had the willing ability to do something? These are the general tough situations people are dealt with and yes as taboo and sensitive as they are we need to realize that to a degree this comics has fairly normal characters and people compared to our lives, and the fact that everyone is hung up on the totally wrong things. Shit like this is thrown at people daily and a not everyone is going to react the same, and if your really gonna get pissy about the political views get the fuck over it if you actually enjoyed the comic before that why get mad when a certain political ideal is set on some of the characters. I not gonna say you have to like it and all but at the same time, coming from a black teenage perspective I feel that people are focusing too much on the views and beliefs of the author and realize that growth of the main characters Fisk and Lucy as they deal with REAL LIFE ISSUES and try to become more sophism aged and mature people

    • The problem with that idea is that the REAL LIFE ISSUES, never feel like real life, because those issues are never responded to in a realistic or meaningful way. The characters never have any personality development as a result of it. It never feels like they are drawing on these so-called experiences to respond to things. They are just “events” and as soon as the arc is over, nothing comes of it. It comes from the characters not having their own voice, but simply being the hive mind puppets of Jay Naylor.
      Think about the arc where Fisk loses his virginity. There is a lot of yakking about underaged sex, there’s that ridiculous incident in which the girl’s child-rapist father is killed, but there is no real impact on any of the characters. Fisk’s conclusion from his having sex is immediately “Sex is weird, but I am OK with it.” announced with a completely flat expression. There is no build-up to how he developed this opinion, no impact from it, and this opinion is never challenged or questioned by any other character. It is purely Jay Naylor’s voice.
      The characters are talking heads who have situations presented to them, and the situation is concluded by the ghost of Jay Naylor possessing one of them to explains his opinions of the “topic of the week”. When the comic is nothing but opinions, opinions are the only thing you can judge.

      Also, Fisk is a character who is unbelievable, not because he is super secret agent soldier with impossible skills and connections, but because never in his whole life has he ever been wrong. He is the rightest(lul) and everyone against him is the baddest, evil guy. Even Ethan Hunt and James Bond lose sometimes, but not Fisk. Tell me that’s realistic.

  39. eh i like it i mean i think the characters are developed well enough i mean so what if their super right wing pro war liberal hating i mean i hate hate hate republican politicians but i dont hate the people who vote for them unless they’ve actually done something bad and in my mind the plot is well developed and i have to fisk and lucy even though its twincest are a great couple they just fit so well emotionally and their the only ones who i could see real real real love with and also so what if they are a bit racist here and there and the whole her dads name is Muhammad thing its an extremely common name i like how naylor did this comic and his other comic original life the sequel ish thing to this one and even if you hate the person you dont have to hate everything he does and vice versa a great quote about liberalists is “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

  40. raymond youmans

    I enjoyed the comic. I have seen more here that was closer to real life than I have seen in other comics. And what I saw didn’t go overboard with it either. Good art, decent story, glad Fisk caught up with the “mouse”.

  41. (English is not my first language)

    I don’t think Jay Naylor is a racist, pro-war, etc. etc. But I do know (after reading the whole first half of his comic, and parts of the second) he doesn’t know how to separate his personal fantasies from his characters, I believe that when you create a character it has his own, thoughts, behavior, personality and you must respect that, because your character is another person, a person who might not believe in the same things you do, or vice versa, there can a be a villain / antagonist who is similar to you but is the chaos in the protagonist’s story.

    I didn’t see that on Jay Naylor’s characters, I didn’t feel like people developing a story or trying to live their lives, it felt like they were his puppets doing what he wanted. Yes, I’m aware at the end a story we create is at the end something we wanted, but I felt his story too attached to his personal fantasies, or sometimes a story lazily done, like (in this review) when they have to kill the girl’s rapist dad, the cops just went and tell her like nothing, instead of taking her to the commissary to interrogate her and explain to her what happened, then she just say is good not even asking what happened. Things like that are not consistent with the story; it touches realistic, crude situations sometimes, and then Naylor solves it in a very vague way. Other thing I think is that his “good characters” are realistically made, like they are good people but they made mistakes sometimes, but his antagonists are always the worst of the worst, like Longfellow, I don’t think it was a necessity to make him that “bad”, along with other characters.

    In my personal opinion I didn’t like his comic, it started good and I got interested in it but slowly it started, not boring me but I just started disliking the story. I don’t hate it though, it has good art and good ideas, but I believe Naylor didn’t put them in paper as they should be.

    • You are quite correct in that naylor is using his comic characters more as puppets – than independent characters that actually live and have agency in their own world

      Heck, his online alias many places is Fisk – so his comics are without a doubt self-insert fantasies and soapbox for his own political views

  42. Half of the bad things pointed out both in this review, its comments and others around the web seem to only be bad because either one chapter has incest in it or because (much offence?) the commenter is being a stereotypical American… Seriously, you don’t have to take offence for every bloody minority out there… Now, I don’t agree with half of the shit in the comic but that’s what makes it so gosh darn interesting to read. Its a little different from the normal shit I see all the fucking time when browsing for a good story…

    … *sigh* if this is a seriously bad comic… Id like to know why… So far all anyone has is… Incest is bad, sex near kids is bad, (insert some political term only used in America here) is bad.

    … Sorry guys, I suppose I just like good work. And his work, is good and deserves more than a single star and the hate from a bunch of conservative kids who are offended by half the shit on the internet.

    • Actually, we’re not the conservatives here (that’s Jay Naylor), incest is disgusting, and sex near kids is is most definitely bad! What the hell are you, a child molester? .

  43. Tried to give this webcomic a try… couldn’t make it past the murder of the principal, though. I know the guy was an attempted rapist, but surely being brained silly and put in the hospital was enough punishment. The dead dad’s old army buddies murdering him in the hospital seemed like severe overkill (ha). I’m glad I quit reading it all those years ago before getting to the later chapters

    • Well that’s the thing. Naylor, the guy who made Better Days and its now sequel Original Life, has throughout his comics, blogs and whatnot shown that he doesn’t give much for authorities. He’s a neo-con Objectivist, the kind of hard-right type who would love to see every american build a wall around his property and then lord over it like a king – defending himself and his family with his arsenal of guns. In his comic this translates to things like the hospital killing, because never mind police investigations. Later Fisk, the boy that nailed the principal with the bat, gets hired by a private company as an assassin “to kill the people that the government is too afraid/weak/ineffective to kill” – basically he becomes a professional assassin… and is supposed to look like the hero. Hell, at one point Fisk shoots up a crack house to liberate a cousin turned adict/hooker with guns and grenades… and there’s no followup to it, no police, no charges, no investigation. Again, this is all because that’s the kind of fantasy world that the cartoonist wants to live in: where a man can shoot another man freely, if he dislikes him enough, just because…

  44. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  45. For starters, I am a conservative as well as furry art enthusiast. Better days is a web comic filled with social satire and real life issues. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Period. I enjoyed it.

  1. Pingback: The Webcomic Overlook #96: Jack « The Webcomic Overlook

  2. Pingback: The Webcomic Overlook #174: Original Life | The Webcomic Overlook

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