Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'd talk about the CAD animation, but Kristofer Straub, of Checkerboard Nightmare, says it all more more articulately than I could ever hope for:

"The animation is pretty good though, so kudos. But $30 per year, for a four-minute episode, twelve times yearly? That's like paying for cable for a full month, but it only works for 45 minutes and then never again. Is the sliver of Ctrl+Alt+Del's audience that will buy into that going to support the cost? I'm afraid that it will.

'But Kristofer, would you deny the man his success?' I can't. I really can't. But the thing that gets me is, Ctrl+Alt+Del is Penny Arcade's subject matter, with PVP's pacing, skinned and stuffed in a guileless, hamfisted humor vacuum. That last bit is sheer opinion, but I think the first two hold up under scrutiny.

I've used the following example in the past. Once, when the World Wide Web was new, there were a ton of people using America Online. Remember how AOL didn't even have a web browser? Well, their advertising at the time was strongly "you want the internet? AOL is the way!" AOL was presenting itself as the whole internet. And it was kinda working -- the other options at the time were these dodgy little local outfits. Most people probably didn't even know they existed.

But everyone I can think of does know Penny Arcade, does know PVP. Ctrl+Alt+Del has somehow found an audience -- an enormous audience -- that thinks CAD is the ultimate gaming comic. Perhaps the only gaming comic. That's an incredible position to be in.

I just have no idea how it happened. Ctrl+Alt+Del exists completely outside the webcomics continuum, in some other dimension where it impossibly works. And no one I know understands how CAD managed it. Because I mean... read it. Normally I wouldn't hurl this much invective, but we're not really talking about a webcomic here anymore. It's a corporation. Or at least wants to be one.

P.S. How classy is it that CAD, a gaming comic, links to its own children's charity, but the pan-webcomic relief effort Child's Play has never been mentioned there? Is there a conflict of interest? Is this a goddamn race?

P.P.S. "But Kristofer, aren't you just jealous of CAD's success?" Of course I am. That's my goal too, every webcartoonist's goal I think. I mean, I'm jealous of Bill Gates too, but I see how he worked to build that empire, so I respect him more than a guy who walked backwards into his fortune playing the goddamn slots."

The only thing I can add is I can't understand how a webcomic with such bland punchlines, ranging from threatened violence to actual violence, gets such great visit numbers.

Just look at some of his recent comics:

He just tries oh so hard to be funny.

Yeah, we've never seen this joke before.

Ha ha! Boobs. The female gamer joke certainly hasn't been played out. Oh no, not at all.

At the kind of popularity Buckley claims to have attained, CAD should have moved past these sort of jokes months ago, at the very least.


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