The Webcomic Overlook #188: Jack (the Drunk Duck one)

While checking my email during my break from reviewing webcomics, I recieved a profound feeling of deja vu. I got a request from an avid reader of this site to review a webcomic that, to put it politely, looked rather sketchy. It featured a world with humans and furries who would often mutilate each other. There were long scenes of characters having their skin and limbs peeled off and of gratuitous murder porn. The hero, if you could call him that, was often in contact with an anthropomorphic grim reaper character who lived in hell.

Yes, this reader asked me to review Jack.

But not THAT Jack.

This is the other Jack, written and illustrated by Norweigan webcomic creator Catya Alvheim. The comic is a little hard to find on Google, given the prominence of David Hopkins’ Jack, but if you type “drunk duck jack” in the search field it pops right up like a mischievous imp trying to educate you on the importance of springs. I felt a little guilty doing this, since Jack, and the art of Jack, specifically, strikes me as the sort of terrible comic that you’d make up in high school. So, yeah, I did my due diligence and, not for the first time, looked up the author’s age, hoping against all hopes that perhaps this was just a screwed up teen who didn’t know any better.

To my dismay… yes, this author is probably old enough to take it. Hopefully, if she comes across this review, she’ll take things in stride. (Heaven knows there are fairly cruel reviews of this Jack populating the internet.) It is also true that Jack was ,at some point, the product of some screwed up teen. But the author is no longer a teen, it’s still updating, and to my further dismay, it has apparently just celebrated its six year anniversary. That’s … that’s a whole lot of Jack.

(Incidentally, many links in this review are going to NSFW due to mutilation, nudity, cannibalism, excessive gore, and juggalos. Viewer discretion is advised.)


Let’s address the question that is probably on your lips at this very moment: is this webcomic as bad as the other, more famous Jack (which I reviewed here)? That’s a resounding “No.” For one, I was, in a very perverse way, more entertained reading this Jack. Now, I should note that Ms. Alvheim gets quite upset when asked if this Jack has anything to do with Hopkins’ Jack.

I’m a big fan of his comic,been reading it since 2002,but my comic is in no way related or even fucking LOOK like it.It’s named Jack simply because I like that name and it fits my character.They don’t even look alike,have the same powers,background or even do the same.

And really, can you blame her? Would you want to be compared to Hopkin’s Jack? I’m sure she’s pretty tired of it. Probably gets asked the same question at least five times a day. However, it’s not like the inquiries are unfounded. Jack and Jack DO look similar. If I showed you a few panels of this one, I guarantee that you’d probably take one or two minutes trying to figure out which Jack it belonged to. Honestly, if you knew that the other Jack existed, you could’ve saved yourself a lot of grief by releasing your webcomic under a different name. If I released a webcomic named Cathy about a furry who wears a hockey mask dealing with romance and weight gain issues, then it’s my own fault when I get all those “Ack! Is this webcomic about chocolate chocolate chocolate?” remarks.

And yet, for all the blood and severed limbs and pages and pages of crying (oh Lord is there so much crying), there’s something charmingly innocent about this Jack. Hopkins’ Jack hammers you over the head with how important it is (which was no more apparent than when he shoe-horned the World Trade Center into his comic). This Jack is more introspective an personal, like that dark poetry you thought was so deep and original in your adolescence.

Heck, I can imagine a younger El Santo putting something like this after a brief obsession with Live back in the 90’s. Who hasn’t? Hell, I once went to college dressed all in black wearing a chain necklace around my neck with a white flower and a butter knife on it. (“Good thing I grew out of that,” says the guy who posts videos of himself wearing a luchador mask.) I probably would’ve created the characters in the margins of my notebook, then scrawled a few pages while eating pizza rolls alone in my dorm room. Of course, if I ever came across that theoretical comic this day, I’d throw it in a steel barrel, douse it with propane, and burn any evidence that this comic ever existed.

That said, none of this means that this Jack is any good.

The likes of Live and Evanescence and My Chemical Romance are not hardcore enough for Ms. Alvheim. After reading the first 50 pages or so, I had it all set in my mind to write down “this is a webcomic as written when Juggalos” thinking I was all clever. And then this and this show up. Sometimes I hate it when I’m right. So it’s time to plow into this thing with The Great Milenko playing on my iPad and rocking a 2 Liter of Faygo Redpop.

The reason I can’t really hate Jack is that it is unintentionally hilarious. It’s supposed to be deep and gothic, but fails utterly at this. Our opening scene is of our hero (?) tied up against a post and suffering the blows while preaching against violence. Which is kind of odd, given that later he’s going to brutally murder and eat — yes, eat — his tormentor … who, by the way, looks less of a bigoted grandpa and more like a hip blues musician. His only friend is a sympathetic young girl who — surprise! — is dressed up in Hot Topic fashions circa 1997.

Jack always wears a hockey mask that he has — no joke — screwed onto his face. His real face is unseen. We’re told, though, that it’s lacerated with burn scars from when his childhood home went up his flames.

So, outside the cannibal thing, Jack is really former WWE heavyweight champion Kane.

So why does Jack look like Jason from the Friday the 13th movies? I imagine that the mask is supposed to be frightening or ominous. Perhaps it is meant to recall a skeletal visage. However, it’s hard to take Jack seriously when he looks like a muppet half the time. The design’s been streamlined in later comics. Jack now has a mohawk, and the mask is more gaunt and features a more prominent nose .. but man does he still look goofy.

For some reason, but Jack also lives in world populated by both humans and furries.

Why?

There’s little in the first story arc (other than an anthropomorphic grim reaper type creature) to indicate that this is the case. Humans are portrayed, by an large, to be bigoted assholes. Whenever they see Jack and his bizarre appearance, they instinctively want to do harm to him. This could be a nice moral about how it isn’t right to judge a person by their looks … but, as we’ll soon find out, most of these bigots were actually right about Jack.

I have a feeling “prejudice is justified” was not one of the main take-aways the reader was supposed to arrive at.

So, is there any reason that this is a furry comic? Other then, after the first story arc, Ms. Alvheim gook hooked on the genre? Because the furry aspect of the comic is the one that feels the most out place. Here’s some dialogue, in fact, that comes off as strikingly awkward.

“Someone helped me. A blond and brown fur dog named Ronnie.” I’m almost certain that Jack’s description would be “a brunette and pink skinned human named Jack.”

“The puppies. The dead puppies! If it was humans, it would be dead babies.” Clearly, this is a universe where there are dog cops, but when you talk about puppies you have to remind people that we’re not talking about the cuddle little things in pet calendars.

That last scene, by the way, is part of a plot where a fellow prisoner recounts the harrowing tale of how a mad scientist forced two furries to make puppies (if you are human, it would be babies) for him to use in his experiments. Are we really supposed to be taking Jack’s trials and tribulations seriously when he also lives in a world filled with mad science?

Jack commits all of the most sordid cliches when it comes to writing amateur fiction. ALL OF THEM. It even includes one of the most reliable stand-bys for writers trying to convey a sense of, “People, things just got serious.”

Yes, there is a rape scene.

Jack goes to the bar, and refuses the proposition of a hooker. Well, that turns to be a wrong move, because the lady is part of a duo who happen to be rapists who also happen to be serial killers. Jack is kidnapped, stripped naked, and in a scene that’s way too goofy to be taken seriously, is raped. Ms. Alvheim depicts the killers as so casually sadistic that it’s no longer frightening and almost crosses the line into parody. They casually discuss how they’re going to rape Jack and and chop him up with a chainsaw later (!) like they’re talking about what movie they’re going to watch tonight.

Oh, these two!

It’s bizarre to the point of being surreal. I’m probably going to go to hell for this, but the rape scene is such a botched attempt at being horrifying that I actually laughed. It’s so weird that I almost missed the piece de resistance: on the very next page, we get a saucy pin-up photo of a scantily clad Jack in a racy pose where he’s being forcibly turned into a furry. I… guess that’s supposed to be edgy juxtapositioning or something?

Now that the strawman situation has been set-up, Jack’s vengeance is justified (technically). He breaks free of his bonds, and then he straight up brutally chainsaw murders the couple. He goes to jail, where he has to serve out his … five year sentence?!?!?! For chainsaw murder? It says that he pleads self-defense, and that probably keeps you out of the electric chair… but five years for hacking people up with a chainsaw? I’m not sure the self-defense argument could even stick. The story established that someone freed him, and he probably could have escaped scott-free a scene before. In fact, he tells that to the police himself!

Methinks the justice system is totally geared against humans and toward furries here. I bet if the serial killers were dogs (if you are human, it would be people), I’m guessing Jack would at least get twenty years. It’s probably why people instinctively want to beat the crap out of this hockey-masked loser every time they see him. They just know he’s the patsy of the furry-dominated hegemony.

Jack works in close quarters with The Violator an alligator named Chains, who seems hellbent into be turning him into Spawn Spawn. So what duties does being Chains’ personal errand boy entail? Its seems one of Jack’s first duties is to kill a Satanist furry that he’d just met in prison. God, the revolving door that prison must have. I guess that by forcing Jack to murder, he becomes more and more Chains’ servant. You start off with blues man grandpas, graduate to Satanist furries, and for your post-doc perhaps the souls of innocents.

Later, Jack kills two rednecks who were looking for any excuse to lynch anyone. One, judging from his hat, seems to hail from Scotland (certainly that can’t be a Confederate flag, because, man, would that ever be a sign that Ms. Alvheim gets all her plots from 1970’s exploitation movies). But, oh snap, looks like they messed with the wrong undead guy in a hockey mask! Jack mutilates the bodies, poses them in obscene positions, and just gives in to his whole martyr complex.

At the risk of incurring Ms. Alvheim’s wrath for making the unpardonable sin of talking about that other Jack, I’d venture to say that David Hopkins’ Jack is a far more likable guy than Alvheim’s Jack. In fact, I really had nothing against big green bunny Jack. Here’s a clip of what I said in my review of Hopkins’ Jack:

I think the Jack character himself isn’t that bad…. Imagine this theoretical scenario: a murderous and particularly hirsute and lupine serial killer who ripped off his crotchfruits has a gun shoved up my ass, and he demands an answer as to which character I’d rather spend all of eternity with: Jack from Jack or Fisk from Better Days. For me, it’s Jack every time. Hopkins actually succeeded in making him an interesting character, with a backstory worth exploring. He is, at last, not an infallible John Galt. Jack deserves better than the comic he was doomed to appear in.

On the other hand, Hockey Mask Jack is a totally unlikable crybaby. The writer tries her damnedest to game the story so that Jack is supposed to look like a hero when the killings start. It never, ever works. Jack comes off as the sort of lying, self-victimizing sad sack who changes the details of the story just to justify his actions. I mean, just look at that first story. All that talk about the wrongness of cold blooded murder (which actually stays the hand of his tormentor), only to be a total hypocrite and kill the guy anyway. And then we’re treated with a fantasy straight out of the serial killer’s handbook: the granddaughter of the deceased is so happy about Jack’s murdering ways that she sits on his lap and give him a big hug. Awwww.

Cripes, every time something terrible happened to Hockey Mask Jack that caused him to cry those big bitter tears, I was tempted to say, “Good. You deserved it, you big baby.”

Good Lord, in a battle between bunny Jack and hockey mask Jack, I’d be rooting for bunny Jack all the way. And, man, that’s the sort of admission that no webcomic should ever force me to say.

I have to say, though, that Jack is a fascinating view into how a juggalo’s mind works. The belief that everyone in the world is out to rape, torture, or chainsaw you to death, and the only way to save yourself is to become a bigger monster.

I look forward to future installments, though, when Jack contemplates the miracles of magnets.

Rating: 1 star (out of 5)

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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 December 9, 2011, in 1 Star, adult webcomic, furry webcomic, gothic, horror webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Big Review, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth.

  2. Dang it El Santo, I don’t know how you do it. How do you stare into the abyss for so long and so deep, and still manage to come out unscathed?
    The abyss of bad furry webcomics, I mean.

  3. At least all the crying keeps the mask clean.

    I do wonder what moved you to read this, El Santo. As someone who has also been frequently bored, and has read his fair share of bad webcomics, I can say there is no shortage of them. And many of them exist in the same niche as Drunk Duck Jack: Vaguely manga-style, emo vanity projects. You could probably trawl Drunk Duck’s member list for a year, and still find a new one every day. And there are ones out there that are, at least, more interesting than Jack.

    • Variety, mainly. I like to check out lesser known and not-exactly good projects from time to time to paint a bigger picture of the entire genre of webcomics. I think it helps to widen the perception that all webcomic are Octopus Pie or Penny Arcade or Zahra’s Paradise. It’s true that there are a lot of webcomics like this Jack, but no one really talks about them at all.

      Also, an anonymous stranger on the internet asked me to review it, and that is perhaps one of the most powerful forces known to man.

      • As good a reason as any, I suppose.

        Personally, I’d rather have had it that you took a look at something else. Because in the end, there’s not much to say about comics like these. One can tell what’s going on by glancing at a single page. I much prefer reviews that point me towards some hidden gem. Or maybe not even that, but at least something that has potential. Or something you might not like, but someone else would.

        Also, I’d wager this anonymous internet individual was only angling for a scathing review, rather than an honest interest in your opinion on the comic.

        • I think you’ll like the next two then, Piet. Both are sort of hidden gems: the next has been gaining some traction lately, I noticed, the other is one I’ve been following for quite a few years but has remained unknown because — well — it’s sorta fanfiction.

  4. Catya here, the creator of this comic.

    Before you arm yourself with helmet and a shield, I’m not gonna flame your ass, but I’m also not surprised that the score got so low.

    The old arcs up until Deadly Hobby (which is mainly just a filler, because I wanted to do something with the satanic rat, but ended up killing him), didn’t have a script. I made Jack in 2005 and I was a “screwed up teen”,16 or 17 I think, and I’ve actually never had and direction for Jack that was set in stone, like “His life is suppose to go this way,that’s the plot”, I’ve often wondered where to go with his life and just made gore-filled arcs.

    Up until now,it’s just been meaningless gore with a slight change of his personality and I do have a lot of re-drawing to do if I ever wanna publish it (self-publish that is), the old arcs just don’t look good to me, I’ve never been truly satisfied with my style.

    Why do i hate it when people compare it to Dave’s Jack? I don’t get people asking it EVERY day, but I’ve gotten people who said “Aw,I thought it was the OTHER Jack” and that just annoys me.

    That being said,I’m not surprised, I can do better now.

    PS: Did someone request you to review my comic?

    -Cathrine Alvheim

  5. And its mean to talk about someones webcomic in a destruvtive way. WHY SHALL EVRYBODY DO IT A FEW PERSONS. Both Bård Lillieøien and Catya has been victims of bad qritique!

    • Because some people have too much spare time on their hands, and too little to fill it with, so they release all their rage on Laughable blogs.

      I’m not offended, but rather surprised that someone would take the time out of their “busy” days to review my non-scripted comic (the first arcs didn’t have a script, but based on ideas.)

      • So someone has to be rage-filled and have no life to review webcomics?

        Honestly anyone who makes such a statement either has little to no knowledge of reveiwing, since it’s not usually done on a whim or due to boredom. The second one is that said person seem to be somewhat hurt by the review, but refuses to admit it and goes down the good old straw-man road. Feels like the latter since you claim not to give a damn, but also say it’s mean-spirited.

        Having looked through you comic, I’d say this is pretty accurate. Jack is shown crying a bit too much early on and becomes completely unlikable later. He comes across as Jason Voorhees, with way too much mouth and an ill fitting hokey mask. Sure he’s edgy and dark, but lacks any real substance.

        You may have the comic arcs shown here a few years back, but they are still in a public space. You don’t want people to read them and review them, take them down or live with it. It doesn’t matter with you planned any of this out because you posted them on the interent, where everyone can see them. They count towards the webcomic as much as the recent stuff.

        Sorry about the rant, but I hold a great deal against those who post stuff online and either snub or complain about reviews. They can be used to improve and if you view your comic as something worth working on, you might want to take what they say onbroad.

        • I’m fine with it now and don’t really care. And I’m aware that Jack hasn’t made much progress while living in the swamp,I’ve often wondered where to go with him since he has nothing set in stone.

          God knows I haven’t always been good at taking criticism, but I’m getting used to it.

          • If I came across as harsh I am sorry there.

            Maybe think about the others around Jack and flesh them out, an important supporting cast who can be as mad as he is or play sane-man to this insanity?

    • Huuuuuuurrrp durp BAWWWWWW

  6. Why is it that I enjoy your 1 Star or 2 Star reviews, where you take every chance to dissect and jab the comic and it’s author, more than your reviews on innovative and well done comics? Sadistic be what I be.

  7. Gladstone Gander

    Why was this review written? The purpose of a critical analysis/review is to advice people about whether or not a certain work/product is worth their money (or, in the case of webcomics; time, I suppose). I hardly think that applies to an obscure comic by some teenage girl that probably sees more readers now than ever simply for being the object of review here – hell, you state in your review that it was hard to find. I certainly don’t need to be told by a “critic” that I don’t need to read this comic. The review may be competently written and well thought-out, but it’s not really helpful to the reader, which ideally should be its single reason for existing.

    A “review” like THIS one serves only one function – to provide your readers with the opportunity to have a derisive laugh at someone else’s expense. It is a mean-spirited form of entertainment, the internet equivalent of school yard bullying and nothing more.

    But yeah, I chuckled.

    • Some people are just assholes for the sake of being an Asshole. And it’s not well-written either, it compares too much.

      • Wait, are you talking about yourself or the review?

        • I was referring to Gladstones comment “A “review” like THIS one serves only one function – to provide your readers with the opportunity to have a derisive laugh at someone else’s expense. It is a mean-spirited form of entertainment, the internet equivalent of school yard bullying and nothing more.”

          • Wow, you’ve kinda gone from saying you were okay with the review, to lashing out. People are allowed to criticize, just as you are allowed to upload comics.

  8. They look so much a like that I thought you were being ironic or something.

  9. Haha, this is truly a great review. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of miss Alvheim’s works earlier this year, and I agree with every bit of critisism. You should take a look on her other works as well, some are even worse thank Jack, at least more unintentionally funny.

    • And you can’t act and behave like an adult man. I’m sure there’s plenty of Self-improving books on it you can buy. Learn it or give up.

      • And before anyone lash out on me,I know this guy.

        • I think people are more likely to lash out at you for the hypocrisy of starting out saying you were going to rise above the criticism here only to turn the thread into a defensive crusade against those mean bully critics, than they are about you responsing to someone you dislike personally.

      • I can see you deal with critisism in a very mature way yourself. Maybe that’s why your comics haven’t improved at all in 5 years. Because when someone critizises your work, they are just immature trolls, such as myself.

        By the way, the likeness to that other Jack IS uncanny at times. If you are inspired by it, and I can see you are, why didn’t you just choose another name? Like, Bob? I think people wouldn’t compare the comics as much then.

  10. Last comment, because I believe an apology is in order.

    http://www.furaffinity.net/view/7074569/ <–It's in the description.

  11. Cool it everyone. I think we’ve all had our say now about the title and content and such. While I don’t necessarily disagree on all points — I do echo some sentiments in my own review — I do draw the line at personal attacks, and this is coming close to that point. I won’t ban anyone; I just trust everyone here to be a little more civil.

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