The Webcomic Overlook #200: Least I Could Do

Well, it’s finally come to this.

If you’d asked me five years ago that I’d be approaching this milestone, I would’ve thought you crazy. My goals were simple when I started this site. I only wanted to review more webcomics than any other site ever has before. I think that mark has long passed. Then, after I’d reviewed my 100th review, I thought to myself, “Well, I have nothing more to prove. I think I’ll wrap up this site in, oh, six months.” Well, it’s been two and a half years since I crossed that milestone, and this site keeps on going.

I have reviewed everything from Jack to Rice Boy to Ctrl+Alt+Del to Lackadaisy. I have seen the stunning heights of Gunnerkrigg Court and the Stygian depths of Grim Tales From Down Below. I’ve seen the fall of Zuda Comics, the controversy over dick wolves, and Order of the Stick netting a bunch of money on Kickstarter. I’ve been interviewed by a Canadian magazine for an article on Kate Beaton, and I’ve presented an hour lesson for a class on webcomics.

And now … just now … I’ve reached the milestone that I thought I’d never achieve.

That’s right: today’s the day I review Least I Could Do, a rather notorious webcomic by Ryan Sohmer and Lar De Souza. It has published a comic strip every single day for almost 10 years now. That is a whole buttload of comics, people. And to a comic with such a deep archive… this is madness. THIS … IS …

…wait. Now’s not the time for a 300 parody. It’s 100 reviews too early, and… LICD has it covered. *sigh* Let’s just move along, shall we?

Readers of this site know that I try to be as thorough as possible when reading a webcomic archive. My original plan was to read the entirety of Least I Could Do from the beginning to end, experience the glory of every strip and every bawdy sex joke. Well, after reading the entire first year, I pretty much scrapped that plan. If LICD has taught me anything, there are, perhaps, only six sex jokes in the world, and to hear the same thing over and over again was seriously damaging my mental health.

Hence, like my 100th review on xkcd, I will freely admit that I did not read every strip. I read through the whole first year, then sampled two to three storylines for every year onward. I payed close attention to the storylines around the time Sohmer lets his characters age. If I missed a key storyline that redeems the entire webcomic, like if Rayne Summers is revealed to be a secret government project to impregnate women with Scott Baio clones, then feel free to correct me in the comments section, where things are always discussed with the utmost sincerity and civility.

Let’s not fool ourselves, people: the truth is that most of you have already formulated an opinion of LICD. Judging from all the people who have requested that this comic be reviewed, it’s also not a stretch to say that most readers of this site hold a negative opinion… which is understandable. I mean, who among us can take a look at Rayne Summers’ face and not think, “This is a face that needs to be punched, and punched often with increasing savagery”? Not I, my brethren. Not I.

And yet, LICD has its fans. LOTS of fans. And these aren’t people you’d expect would be fans — like, say, drunken fratboys and/or one-celled organisms. Many fans are, in fact, rather well-educated, somewhat nerdy, and decidedly multi-cell organisms.

For example, let’s take a look at the multipe awards LICD has won and/or has been nominated for:

  • Wizbang!’s Weblog Awards, Won for Best Comic Strip, 2006
  • WCCAs, Nominated for Ounstanding Comedic Comic, 2007
  • Schuster Awards, Won for Outstanding Canadian Webcomics Creator/Creative Team, 2008
  • Schuster Awards, Nominated for Outstanding Webcomic, 2009
  • Harvey Awards, Nominated for Best Cartoonist, 2009
  • Harvey Awards, Nominated for Best Online Comics Work, 2009
  • Havey Awards, Nominated for Humor in Comics, 2009

Sohmer was also accepted as an associate member of the National Cartoonist’s Society.

And then there are the fans, many of whom are far more level-headed in their defense than you may thing. This one, for example, was written by fellow reviewer Eric Burns-White of Websnark:

Least I Could Do … is good Guy humor. It’s cheerful. The women are all busty and beautiful, the guys all handsome (even the ‘short fat guy’ isn’t all that short or all that fat… and it goes without saying that none of the girls are fat). A darn good case could be made that the strip is sexist. I don’t think the strip pretends to be anything else, however. It’s guy humor, pure and simple.

Here’s another one from John Teehan, who, by all accounts, seems to be an affable chap:

It’s a pretty fun webcomic. I’ve heard some accuse the authors of engaging in wish-fulfillment fantasy, but I take it more as a feel-good sort of comic where fun things happen to a guy who knows how to have fun and happens to be insanely lucky enough to be able to act on it.

Good Guy humor, eh? A feel-good sort of comic, eh? Well, I’m a guy, and a guy who likes to feel good, at that. I like typical guy things like pro-wrestling, football, outdoor grilling, go-karting, first-person shooters, and NBC’s hit drama series, Smash. Surely, I’m the target audience for this fine webcomic!

To review this comic, I went and downloaded the LICD app for the iPhone. I do not exaggerate when I say it’s probably the dirtiest thing I have ever done in my life. The intro screen looks like this:

And yes, I sprung for the 99 cent upgrade so I could view the archives. That’s 99 cents that could have gone to feeding the homeless. 99 cents that will instead likely go to adding breast jiggle detail to the LICD animated series. As I wrote this, by the way, I was sitting inside of a Starbucks, looking at cartoons occasionally containing naked women (and, to be fair, naked Rayne) on my high resolution iPhone 4S Retina Display while three young women are sitting at a table right next. Thank you, LICD, for making me feel like a complete perv.

These are the kinds of sacrifices I’m willing to make, people. My only consolation is that, by paying for this app, I proved Scott McCloud’s micropayment theory to be true. Suck on that, micropayment haters! SCOTT-MC-CLOUD! SCOTT-MC-CLOUD! SCOTT-MC-CLOUD!!!

So, for those of you who don’t know, LICD is about a sex man who sexes sexy women. Also he is apparently a big nerd who likes nerd things. His name is Rayne Summers. Now, if you listen closely, to the name and pick it apart, you might notice that the name sounds awfully familiar. It sounds a lot like … “Summer Rain,” the hit song recorded by Belinda Carlisle that hit #30 on the Billboard Hot 100. He is also something of an idiot savant, as he is the successful CEO of IDS Enterprises. Now, I wasn’t fortunate enough to encounter the strip where this happened, but apparently Rayne got the job in a 2005 plot when his friends falsified his resume.

Whatever.

I imagine that this comic wasn’t originally the Rayne Summer Show. In fact, I think that it was supposed to be an ensemble cast, and Rayne was the wacky comic relief guy. Early stories seemed to spread the plot around to the different characters. There’s — uh — the fat guy, the blond guy… er… another blond guy? … and the token female, Issa. I think I know Rayne ended up taking over the show: every other character is an absolute drag. They suck the life out of every scene that they’re in. Which is why most were eventually banished to the background, rolling their eyes, and sighing, “Oh, Rayne, you’re so wacky!”

The character I don’t get, by the way, is Issa. I mean, I know why she’s there: blatant fanservice. But why does she hang around Rayne at all? She’s got that virginal allure going on — well, relatively speaking, as she’s one of the few girls in the series who won’t jump into bed with Rayne. But that’s just it: that’s the only incentive for hanging around the guy. Other than living vicariously through him, which is why I think Rayne’s guy friends hang around. So… what’s Issa’s excuse for sticking around a pompous, leering windbag like Rayne? Because he’s rich? That’s pretty shallow. There’s some guff about her being a childhood friend, but, c’mon. Childhood friendship only gets you so far? They friends from The Social Network parted ways for far less.

In a way, it makes sense how Rayne pulls an Urkel and worms his way into becoming the star. Rayne is the resident sex pervert, and that means you have a built-in excuse to draw ladies who are either scantily clad or fully naked. What can I say: sex sells.

Second, since he’s supposed to be childish and a bit of a moron, he’s covered by the excuse that we’re not supposed to take him seriously. When not doing jokes on sex, LICD pokes fun at religion, namely Christianity. Rayne is the only characters who makes these jokes. Why? Because coming out of the mouth of any other character, it’s mean-spirited. But look! Rayne is saying it, and even though he’s a CEO, he’s a dumbhead! Gotta love him!

At the same time, it’s really, really annoying. Here’s the thing: Rayne cannot be allowed to ever progress from the standpoint of maturity… mainly because he’s a one-dimensional character. Being a sex pervert and a guy with politically incorrect opinions are about the only things that define him. Take that away and, well, you’re left with a comic that no one’s reading. This is why he’s, at best, a supporting character.

To my shock, there are attempts at fleshing Rayne out. There are plenty of LICD parodies floating around on the web where we get a glimpse into Rayne’s true self, revealing him to be an emotional wreck. What surprised me is that, reading LICD, there are a few rare times when those parodies almost come to fruition. Rayne is allowed to experience moments of sweetness, and there are indications that his heart was once broken. He experience some weird moments of ennui.

Ultimately, though, these incremental attempts at character development feel horribly inappropriate and out of place. This is the sort of comic, after all where Rayne coyly suggests branding a potential sex partner because he can’t remember her name. And also where there’s a prostitute loving referred to as “Suck for a Buck”. One side’s gotta give, and the raunchy jokes are the ones that bring in the readers.

I think that’s why a lot of the character progression falls to friend of Rayne, Noel. Noel carries the brunt of the plot development. He dates a woman named Kate. He moves in with her. He proposes and gets married. They have a child. They’re pretty much the most turgid storylines in LICD … and a big part of that is that Rayne Summers has to be shoe-horned into everything. Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer suggests, “Whenever Poochie’s not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking ‘Where’s Poochie’”? Well, Rayne is Poochie. It’s like Sohmer figured that if Rayne wasn’t on the screen, the regular readers would get bored and, I don’t know, watch The Golf Channel or something. He’s probably right, though: stripped of Rayne Summers, the strip becomes as boring and flat as NBC’s new hit drama, Smash.

(Yeah, yeah… that’s my second Smash reference in this article. This is a sordid reflection of my TV viewing habits when we’re between football seasons, people.)

LICD has been through three artists. What it was about the comic that apparently made multiple artists want to sign on, I don’t know. According to Bad Webcomics Wiki Mr. Adams left the strip for a very good reason: he actually respected women, and he saw where the strip was going. Good for him. Beyond that, Mr. Adams does succeed where the other two falter: his style makes Rayne look almost likable. In his strips, Rayne comes across as a goofy doofus.

Our second artist, Chad Porter, has an awkward start. His very second strip contains one of Rayne’s friends looking at a bunch of “sexy” women walking by and commenting, “I think the new artist is trying to get in good with you.” Only these women are bizarre rubber people. They’ve got no knees and squishy faces… which is a big problem when male gaze is a huge part of your comic. Seriously, ma’am, what’s wrong with your faaaaacccceeeee…..

The third and current artist is Lar De Souza. His original depiction of Rayne unfortunately looks a little like Scott Baio. Because when readers of LICD think of an audience identification character who sleeps with all the women, it’s Scott Baio. He is easily the most competent illustrator of the three. His character designs are attractive and unique. He breaks away from the static ground-level shot that plagues most webcomics. His style is the one that comes to mind whenever you mention Least I Could Do. There’s nothing wrong with his art alone.

However, he may be a little too good of an artist. After all, he’s managed to successfully illustrate Rayne Summers are the creepy, smarmy douche that he is.

Some of you are probably thinking that at least LICD has the balls to make a totally unlikable character the star. To which I say, “What are you talking about? Are you not reading this site? This site that reviews webcomics? You know, the medium that spawned the whole video game comic trend? The genre where every star is an arrogant, self-important little weasel?”

Characters who are unrepentant assholes, by the way, are not easy to write. Most writers at least have the decency to make that character charming. Eric Cartman from South Park, for example. He’s a vile little racist who, by all rights, the viewer should not root for. However, he’s often funny in how overblown his schemes get, and he gets hilariously flustered when things go wrong. Cartman has what Rayne lacks: a reason to root for him, despite his terrible morals.

All we get for Rayne, on the other hand, is his typical look set: heavy-lidded eyes and a shit-eating grin parodied in such works as Smug I Could Do. Actually, I’m not even sure Smug I Could Do qualifies as a parody, since it actually downplays the irritating smugness of an LICD strip. He’s less Eric Cartman and more like Soltan Gris from L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth dekalogy.

(Crap. No one’s going to get that reference. Shoulda stuck with Smash. So, does anyone else agree with me that Katherine McPhee can sing well, but she can’t play a convincing Broadway star? No?)

There are times when it becomes very difficult to separate Rayne Summers the character with Ryan Sohmer, the writer. There was a plotline about Rayne buying a struggling newspaper which ended up becoming a rather preachy rant about the obsolescence of newspapers. While I agree with a lot of Rayne’s/Ryan’s points, he comes off as such an arrogant bully that you’re embarrassed to be siding with him.

Then there’s the time where Rayne/Ryan decides to bag on other webcomic artists for not being on a daily update schedule. Oh, and ending this short arc with guys dressed at Stormtroopers aiming guns at webcomic creators? Classy. Because that … proves he’s right? Somehow?

Sigh.

This.

Comic.

Thus, Rayne has carte blanche to be a dick to everyone. The author is always going to give him an out: a strawman argument, an improbable plot convenience, etc. There’s one storyline where Rayne has an event staffed by homeless people. When his gets called out on it, he says it’s to teach the rich people a lesson.

“What do you know about poverty that makes you qualified to educate others?” his assistant asks angrily.

Cue the plot convenience. “I know about living off of seven dollars a week on groceries,” he says. What, seriously?

Then we’re hit with the strawman argument. For no reason I can discern than to show that Rayne is your moral superior, our assistant asks, “Why don’t yo do more to help?”

Rayne goes into super preachy mode: “Like taking care of an orphan who’s petrified of the foster care program, and making sure he has shelter, food, and goes to…” Screw this comic. Seriously, screw this comic. Anyway, it ends, as you may expect, with a sex joke.

The sex jokes, by the way, end up sounding like a broken record. LICD reads like a Mad Libs written by a sex obsessed ten year old who thinks he’s funny, but in actuality is not. Anytime there’s an attractive woman drawn, you know that — surprise! — there’s going to be an awkward sex joke at the end. For example, there’s this exchange from a strip charmingly entitled “Horton Hears a Ho”:

“I really hope you don’t have any kids.”
“Why? Are you offering? I’m flattered, though it’s a little quick. I don’t even know your breast size.”

Wow, that was … a natural reponse.

Then you have Rayne doing some poetry, where he rhymes “nookie with wookiee” and “witty with titties.” Eh. I’ve heard better. I guess this is the “good guy humor” I keep hearing about? Here’s the thing about LICD that probably more annoying than anything else: it is really not very funny.

Something I discovered when I reviewed The Gutters is that Ryan Sohmer is horrible at telling jokes. There’s an early storyline, for example, where Rayne’s friends trick him into thinking that looking like Goku from Dragonball Z will impress the parents of his Asian girlfriend. As an Asian, I’m not really offended by this storyline. What I am offended is by how horribly unfunny it is. Especially how Sohmer has to friggin’ overexplain the premise of his joke.

LICD seems to pride itself in being fresh and current, unlike those stale newspaper comic strips. So why do the jokes feel so old and hackneyed? Are we really going to do a Star Wars “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” gag? Seriously, anything that reminds me that Rayne/Ryan is a nerd makes me loathe anyone who takes glee that nerds have taken over the world (or pop culture, at least). Does simply referencing “Jem” a punchline? Why? Because he reminded us that Jem is a thing that happened?

And then there’s one of the most out-of-date jokes of all: he observes that Shakira’s song “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)” sounds a lot like Fozzy the Bear’s catchphrase. Pay attention to the date that strip was released. That’s right: LICD made the joke a full year after the song was prominently featured at the 2010 South Africa World Cup, when literally everyone had made the same exact goddamn joke already.

I seriously could go on and on, but the word counter says that I’ve gone over 3000+ words and that’s way too much to write about friggin’ LICD. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t touched on the major complaint most have made about LICD: its misogyny. That one’s a little tricky. Rayne is promiscuous, true, but at least it seems that women use him as much as he is using them. On the other hand, the women who do sleep with him are shown to be rather shallow, which puts the ball back into the critics’ court. It’s something that’s been discussed plenty of times on other sites, though, which is why I focused on the other faults. Namely, that this is a boring, unfunny comic with a completely unlikable lead.

So there you go. Y’all can stop writing me now. LICD is reviewed! And…

Wait, this is my 200th review? Ugh. Worst… 200th review… ever. I’ve gotta say, at least there’s no worse comic out there to review when I hit my next milestone.

What’s that you say?

Moon Over June is still out there?

NNNNnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

Rating: 1 star (out of 5)

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Posted on May 3, 2012, in 1 Star, comedy webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Big Review, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 56 Comments.

  1. It sounds like your mental health was deprecating while your writing it.

  2. “A darn good case could be made that the strip is sexist. I don’t think the strip pretends to be anything else, however. It’s guy humor, pure and simple.” Because “it’s for the guys” is a valid excuse for being sexist. The fact that anyone is even willing to defend this comic, much less unironically enjoy it, shows just what an uphill struggle feminism is.

    Also, of course, the delightful storyline about how all other webcomics are amateurish. It makes me ill, but it really shouldn’t, because Sohmer doesn’t seem to understand the notion of quality vs. quantity. Sure, maybe he’s never missed a single day, but how many of those updates have actually been worth reading? He mentions Bill Watterson, but even Calvin and Hobbes had its off days…it’s bound to happen when something is expected to update every day. (Not to mention that Calvin and Hobbes went on hiatus for several years… Sohmers fails at research.) I’ll take quality updates that come irregularly over daily drivel any day, and I think most people would agree with me. “The Meek” FTW!

    Anyway, thank you for fulfilling my wish. It was a good read.

    PS- Who would win in a fight? Rayne or Ethan from CAD? Discuss.

  3. schemingpuppet

    Ah yes, LICD. I remember picking it up in my first year of high school, which was about the same time I was reading VGCats, 8-Bit Theater, and Dominic Deegan. Looking back now, I can’t really see why I kept reading it. Wish fulfillment probably? You got that part about his friends living vicariously through him right, part of me believes that’s the draw the readership gets through Rayne as well. By my Senior year I dropped keeping up with webcomics to focus on sports and clubs, and when I picked them up again when I started college LICD wasn’t one of them. I was just reading it out of habit right until then I suppose. Since I had no attachment to its characters or setting, once I broke the cycle and lost familiarity with its story arcs I had no desire to return to it. Perhaps I had simply grown out of it, I can recall quite a few webcomics (VGCats and CAD among them) that I had dropped for those exact reasons.

    One of the things I never really liked about Rayne was how intolerably smug and preachy he could be. Despite the things he’s pulled, he never seemed to get his comeuppance for the them. When he wasn’t being portrayed as some broad minded man of the world and people started calling on his bullshit, he’d step on his little soap box and pull out a straw man argument. As for the Cartman comparison, I feel a better candidate would’ve been Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. They’re quite a bit alike in many ways. For one, they’re both wealthy, high up the corporate ladder, handsome, incredibly smug, sleep around a lot, and dabble in geek culture. However whereas Rayne is all but infallible in what he does, Barney is portrayed in a more sadistic light. He’s an unapologetic, womanizer, manipulative, narcissistic, cowardly, and totally immoral, yet behind the scenes he’s revealed to be a really fragile person and host to a plethora of personal baggage (chief of which are his daddy issues and fear of abandonment). The show goes a long way to explain why he’s the person that he is, and when he hatches his grandiose schemes and executes them perfectly you can’t help but root for him. Most importantly: he actually gets comeuppance for what does, and even learns from it occasionally.

    BTW is it weird that when I read “Ugh. Worst… 200th review… ever.”, I felt compelled to reread your review in Comic Book Guy’s voice?

  4. Hey congratulations on the milestone. I don’t normally leave comments but I thought this would be a good time to finally speak up. I hope you leep up the good work; I love your reviews (I just discovered these a few weeks ago and am still catching up on reading them all). Great stuff.

  5. Good review. Never did much care for LICD, since I don’t think I ever found it funny.

    But you’ve got plenty more bottom of the barrel stuff to tackle. Moon over June certainly exists, and you’ve got the 10 years of Dominic Deegan if you want to stare at shitty writing/art.

  6. I salute you for your courage, man. LICD is terrible. And, God help me, it has got exponentially worse as years go by. Nice art,but… ugh.

  7. from sohmer twitter
    sohmer ‏ @sohmer

    Next week, I start pursuing Marvel and DC writers for a new project. Should be interesting,

    oh my……

  8. I’ve been wondering what your 200th review would be, and I’m glad it’s this one, a noteworthy comic for sure. I wrote off Least I Could Do a long time ago, deciding that it wasn’t my kind of humor, but I also didn’t really harbor any ill will toward it either. That changed after reading this review, where I found that it really DID earn the reputation it has. Then I read that part where he made fun of virtually every other webcomic author out there and it sealed the deal. I hate LICD. Seriously, how does somebody do that? He’s part of the webcomics community, so that’s like pooping on your neighbor’s lawn… the neighbor who helped you move in six months ago.

    But if Rayne really is an extension of Sohmer himself, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t have the sense of mind to care whose lawn he pooped on. To him, the poop is funny enough for it to not matter.

    • I dont think he is in unfriendly terms with his fellow webcartoonists,
      after all he made CAD and PvP web cartoons, LICD host girls with slingshoots , hijinksensue, goblins, something positive etc,
      also during conventions his stand is in front of other webcomics stands

  9. nonsensicles

    I’ll be honest, I never bothered to pay LICD much mind. I first heard about it from a WoW friend who was a big fan when Looking For Group was starting and everyone was talking about that. I did glance at it briefly, but was completely apathetic about what I saw. I did keep with LFG for a few chapters, until the Cerebus Syndrome became painfully obvious.

    After that, I let myself forget about Sohmer for the most part. Here and there I’d come across antipathy for him, and I’d shrug because I wasn’t reading anything he was doing anyway. I did notice that the most hatred seemed to be for LICD, though Gutters isn’t far off.

    Then I read this review. My personal disgust for the comic started when I finally found out the main character’s name. It went downhill from there.

    Also, there’s something about the way Lar De Souza draws faces that feels really off to me. It seems to be okay in LFG where most of the characters aren’t human, but in this…. I dunno. And I know, it’s cartoony, but it still feels really wrong on some level I can’t put my finger on. Something about the way the noses sit in relation to everything else or… I really don’t know. It looks awful to me, anyway.

    • I’ll tell you what it is for me… Their faces are almost always drawn at the three-quarters angle. You almost never see a face in side-view or straight on. It confuses me, because when you get down to it, De Souza is a good artist and I’ve seen him draw heads in those other views, but for some reason he chooses not to 95% of the time.

      One other thing is that their faces have a severe case of “side mouth”, and I’ve never really been a fan of that. In the case of this comic it results in all of the characters having really similar facial expressions.

  10. Well, I’ve played the Devil’s advocate before, so here goes…

    I think the hatred for LICD is overblown, especially when I consider I never would have heard of it if it weren’t for people going out of their way to dislike it. Simply put, there are many, many more webcomics out there that are plain worse. I believe Dominic Deegan was already mentioned in the comments above, but it’s as good an example as any. It seems that, a lot of the time, people actively look for things to hate about it.

    Take the strips about other webcomic creators, for instance. I’ve had it presented before as one of the strongest argument in favour of LICD’s awfulness en Sohmer being subhuman. But as we’ve seen in this review there’s no shortage of comments on LICD/Sohmer from the webcomic community. He’s free game. So now I’m supposed to hate him because he does something that he himself is continually the victim of? No matter what you think of the rest of the comic, that’s pretty hypocritical. If a more popular comic now makes a gag strip about improperly proportioned women and the douchebags that love them, will it instantly end up on people’s shitlist?

    More to the point, though: I think this self-feeding hatred damages the “community”, loathe as I am to use the word in relation to anything internet-based (though that may be because I’ve recently encountered the completely straight-faced use of “Team Fortress 2 slash fiction community”). No cause is served by the perpetual discussion of the crimes of Sohmer, which only seems to exist because it’s a common experience. I knew all along El Santo hates this comic. He’s mentioned it before, and it’s pretty much par for the course. Certainly, there’s entertainment value in reviews of bad comics, but that’s when we’re introduced to a level of awfulness we never realized existed. The opposite of a hidden gem, if you will. I’ve seen every argument in this review scattered about the internet for the past odd few years. The comic itself holds little of redemptive value, and neither is it sought out. Sexism, flat jokes, inflated ego. It’s nothing new.

    And really, that’s why I’m reading these reviews. I’m looking for new, entertaining content. Whether that’s the review itself or the comic that’s being reviewed is up for grabs. But this review is a dragging, broken record that I’ve been hearing skipping on and off for the past few years. The attitude of the “community” towards the comic is as much of a drag as the comic itself, and that’s nothing to be proud of.

    Also, if you choose to respond to this with such claims as that I must love Sohmer and should rent an appartment in Aspen with him or any such nonsense, I shall consider the argument void. This comment is more about people’s attitudes than it is about the comic itself. I haven’t actually read it, besides the links I followed in this review.

    • I don’t mind the dissenting opinion at all, Piet! That’s a big reason why I included those opposing opinions right at the beginning of the review. They’re people who like LICD, and they’re fairly reasonable people.

    • What can we say; the more popular it is, the more fun it is to hate!

  11. The Spotted Girl

    You charged headfirst into the Sohmerverse and came back out alive. Kudos.

    Fantastic review. I think what really gets on my nerves the most about LICD is how shallow and soulless it is… It basically reads like it was put together by a marketing group who said, “We need to capture the 20-30 male demographic. Geek references and hot women it is then!” Now Sohmer has admitted in interviews that he is very much a businessman and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just obnoxious that someone who obviously has no genuine love for the craft or medium of comics has won so many accolades.

    And of course the whole “I update SEVEN DAYS A WEEK!” nonsense. Uh, no. You churn out tepid scripts which probably takes half an hour while Lar DeSouza busts his ass to polish those turds.

    And about Smug I Could Do, there used to be some animated shorts parodying Blind Ferret but they were lost when Drunk Duck changed their website. Does anyone know if they’re archived anywhere?

    • Reepicheep-chan

      “And of course the whole “I update SEVEN DAYS A WEEK!” nonsense. Uh, no. You churn out tepid scripts which probably takes half an hour while Lar DeSouza busts his ass to polish those turds.”

      Oh God, Inorite? I just want to be all, like “You know, David Willis churns out between 8-10 comics a week and he DRAWS them too.” Shit, Dominic Deegan updates 7 times a week and those are written and drawn by the same person as well. Bad Machinery and Questionable Content are 5 days a week and same deal. Writing 7 scripts for 4 panel comix = not impressive. Man, Ryan North writes a whole 6 panels and he is actually funny.

      TBF, he writes for more than one comic and does all the business-side stuff, but that really does not make me want to punch him in the face any less.

  12. Woo, 200! \,,/

    Though I have to say I’m a little disappointed that you chose such a hated comic to review for 200. I was hoping for something that would really represent the medium well and stand as a great example of what could be done with webcomics. Though I guess you did just review Secret Knots, which is pretty avant garde.

    Alas, here’s to 200 more!

    • Awwww… but it’s the Award Winning LICD!

      • Maybe it would be more interesting to talk about why people like it so much? I tried thinking about it but it always ends with me wanting to cry in a corner.

        • As someone who still reads it, even though I can’t dispute a single thing the review, I’m gonna take a stab at it (now that this is safely far enough back in time that I never have to worry about people I respect actually reading it):

          1: The few, all-too-rare moments of self-awareness, where it becomes obvious that Rayne is his own worst enemy, by design. This usually manifests on one of the occasions when he realizes it’s his own damned fault that another of the ‘good ones’ slipped away (Issa, at this point, was only the first; at least two others have failed to fall for Rayne’s “charms”).

          2: The pure fantasy segments. Rayne getting cracked on the skull and imagining himself as Aaragorn or Batman? I can have fun with that, and enjoy it for what it is. Also, some elements of his ‘real’ life, like the Audibot, that play out the same way. They’re gleeful and fun and straight-up “I’m gonna enjoy life”, and I don’t feel bad for liking them.

          3: His niece. Those strips that feature him interacting with her are genuinely heartwarming, and reveal one of the few areas of the character’s life where he’s NOT a self-absorbed shitbox. (Just ignore the Disney/You Got Served sequence. Seriously, after it was over, I read it again from the beginning, and I still had no fucking clue what Sohmers was smoking, but I was positive it needs to be eradicated from the Earth.)

          4: The Sunday strips. My gods, the Sunday strips. If he’d shut down LICD entirely, doing nothing else BUT the Sunday strips, I think he’d be one of my fave webcomic artists right now. Young Rayne reminds me of both Calvin and old-school Dennis the Menace, without even doing obvious homages. The tone is usually just right, and there’s an honest joy there that is often absent from the daily strips.

  13. Extremely well written review. Focused on the good points of why LICD is awful. besides the sexist stuff. The first LICD I ever saw was the one that was written like a children’s book but about lesbians. Its just awful schlock.

    I saw him at C2E2 this year and was shocked that he had a huge line to see him. My brain has a hard time wrapping itself around the idea that people read this and enjoy it. And I doubly hate it because of him constantly comparing himself to Bill Watterson.

    Anyway, enough of my ranting. Good review. Keep them coming.

  14. Thanks for this, Santo–as usual it’s a good read (all the more satisfying when it’s about a not-so-good read).

    For what it’s worth–I knew Sohmer several years ago, and he was a friendly guy who took his work very seriously. (The disconnect between the amount of effort he put into his strips, and the resulting product, was alarming.) He was also exactly what you’d expect from a real-life Rayne Summers. (Lar DeSouza is about the nicest person you could ever want to meet.)

    Fun fact: every other cast member is based off a real person, and their name is JUST as creative as “Rayne Summers.”

    • Oh, and I meant to ask, El Santo–did you happen to read the Christmas Carol storyline (2006 I think?) in your trawl through the archives? That’s where I gave up. The scent of self-congratulatory bullshit wafting off the screen grew too strong for me.

      • To me, the storyline where Rayne gives a TED conference and starts ranting aimlessly exposes LICD best: You Are Not Clever, You Are Not Deep, You Have No Idea of Anything at All.

        But also the latest storylines featuring a lesbian. She does not hate him, folks!

        • This one, I did read. And yes, it is annoying. How the … how is it all the women in Rayne’s company don’t just up and quit already? I imagine it would be like working for Dave Sim.

          • I have no idea why all the women, especially his so called best friend Issa, or his boss, put up with his bullshit. I’m especially aggravated by his poor assistant.

      • Sadly, no. I did not read that. Though, to be honest, it sounds like that sort of attitude really pervades LICD, as even in my cherry-picking of storylines I managed to pretty much consistently run into the same thing.

        • It’s something special. It answers the timeless question, “What if the REAL problem with Ebeneezer Scrooge is EVERYONE ELSE?”

  15. You’re Asian?

  16. I’d read a webcomic that has spotty updates and a damn great story over a webcomic that updates daily that makes you lose brain cells any day.

    Congrats on the 200th review, man!

  17. I actually challenged Sohmer to a fight for creating this abomination. Offered to pay air fare and even put up prize money.
    He declined, then lied about donating the same amount of money I offered him to a women’s shelter.
    I hate that man.

    • dungeonmaster11

      While it is undoubtedly wrong of him to lie about that, I can’t help but feel less than inclined to take the side of someone who is irrational enough to let their hatred of a webcomic make them put down money just to get a chance to beat up its creator either. Granted, if said webcomic was Billy the Heretic, I’d be a little more sympathetic, but still.

  18. dungeonmaster11

    Congrats on the 200th review, El Santo! And while I actually do harbor some fondness for LICD, I agree that it can get very aggravating, and I can understand entirely why some people don’t care for it at all. I just wish they wouldn’t direct their hatred towards Ryan Sohmer and Lars deSouza personally, and I’m glad you staid as professional as usual and didn’t do that in this review, as much as you detest the comic itself. But hey, what can ya do? Again, congrats, and I look forward to your future reviews, whether I agree with them or not! :)

  19. Niiiiiiice! So glad you finally reviewed this! Congrats on your 200th review!

  20. Years ago I’d have friends or coworkers continue to suggest I check this strip out. I’d read a few days worth and wonder why my friends were being so cruel to me. Seriously, your review sums up my initial reaction to this strip. It’s just not funny. It’s tepid at best.

    Actually, I’d compare it to one of the most stale newspaper strips out there. LICD is like Marmaduke. It’s main character is a big, slobbering male who does the same exact thing, over and over, in every strip. It may have been funny waaaaay back in it’s beginning, but this dead horse has been over beaten. (You know, take out the bawdy gags and this strip would fit in quite nicely with all the other, old, outdated strips still clinging to life in the newspapers) And I agree with you most of all about the out dated gags.

    Congrats also on your 200th review! Maybe some day you’ll review mine (though I don’t think Daily Journal Drogs fit in the Web Comic category)

  21. Huh, I never knew you were Asian, Santo. That’s another thing we have in common, after pro-wrestling, football, outdoor grilling, go-karting, first-person shooters, and NBC’s hit drama series, Smash. :P

  22. Kevin Martinez

    FWIW, I think the LICD Beginnings strips (the Sunday strips) are better than the main strips. Not only is Rayne’s behavior less hateful as a little kid than as a fully-grown adult, but he gets the occasional opportunity to be fallable (i.e. this comic: http://leasticoulddo.com/comic/20090308).

    • Kevin Martinez

      Oh, and thanks for articulating what makes the main strip so hard to take. It’s like in the Seth MacFarlane shows where the creator shield the character closes to his beliefs from ever being wrong.

  23. Japhet Ratchet

    So, Achewood also criticized other webcomics at http://achewood.com/index.php?date=01172005 – So what do you think about this compared to LICD’s critique

    • In my opinion? Less infuriating. It comes down to the expressions, really. Like I mentioned, the way Rayne is drawn at all times is completely unlikable. He could come out in support of, say, pizza, and you’d be against pizza just because he’s for it. Ray, on the other hand, is always drawn absolutely goofy (he’s a cat who wears a thong, a medallion and sunglasses), so anything he says is defused pretty easily.

      The other thing is that LICD was making a complete blanket statement, that webcomics who update less than 7 days a week is automatically inferior to his own. Achewood was more pointed … and, frankly, isn’t doing things that much differently than what I do pretty much all the time when I review webcomics on this site.

  24. I just find it silly that you need to pay anything to view the archives.

  25. You’re Asian? Funny, for some reason I always pictured you as Hispanic.

    • That’s pretty understandable, what with my Hispanic-sounding name in both real life and online. :) Just so you know, I picked the “El Santo” name mainly because I’m a wrestling fan, and also because he was referenced in Mystery Science Theater on several occasions.

  26. I couldn’t hate this webcomic more.

    Nice review, and congrats on hitting 200

  27. I agree with you 100%. I read through a handful of the comics and knew where it was headed tomorrow, the week after that and then five years later. It’s a webcomic that should not have the fan following it does. I despise the character of Rayne.

  28. Seems like you’re reading way too much into it. The commenter was right, it’s wish fulfillment and m̶i̶s̶o̶g̶y̶n̶y̶ guy humour, not much more. This is like writing 3000 words over a bad but beloved sci fi. Sometimes movies that are laughably bad are fun to watch. Sometimes webcomics are repetitive, but still funny; I don’t think the author takes himself too seriously over this, and neither should we.

  1. Pingback: Four Ways Webcomics for Adults are Akin to Kiddie Cartoons | The Terror of Tiny Toon

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