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Crabcake Confidential: Brentalfloss

Penny Arcade Expo blew into town last Friday, causing a substantial uptick of enthusiasm at my office. A co-worker, who was once a professional gamer, scored some badges and is probably currently basking himself in fantastic awesomeness. My boss, who was once a pretty hardcore gamer but now is happy to play a few games now and then on the Wii with his wife, was fairly envious. He proposed that my co-worker do a lunchtime presentation so we can vicariously live through his experiences.

Heck, if I want to be brutally honest, so was I. Sadly, the cheapest badges on Craigslist at the time were $65, and I’d have a very hard time convincing my wife to drop that much money just to play video games all day.

It’s pretty humbling to realize that all this, the greatest video game expo in the world, started off with a webcomic about video games. It inadvertently launched thousands of dreams, where webcomic creators everywhere imagined an amazing world where their own webcomic about Mario being a delusional middle-aged man met similar glorious fortunes. I should point out, by the way, that I have nothing against video game webcomics. In fact, I enjoy a fair amount of them. There have been so many of them now, though, that it takes quite a bit of effort to stand out from the ground.

In honor of Penny Arcade Expo, I’m tackling video game webcomics all week. First up is Brentalfloss, by Brent Black, Dan Roth, and — as you may be able to tell from the sample panel posted below — Webcomic Overlook’s favorite webcomic creator, Andrew Dobson.

While I’ve complained about Mr. Dobson’s work in the past, his cartoony, somewhat anime-ish art style was always decent. So leave him alone on this one; he acquits himself quite well.

What I do have a problem with though is the humor, which is staler than stale. Seriously, if you gave me a dollar for all the webcomics who do a joke about how the sewers the Mario games would be gross and disgusting in real life, I’d probably have more money than the GDP of a small South Pacific nation. Or how about Link getting tricked into getting raped by an old woman? My, how edgy. And, when all else fails, do a joke about Peppy’s constant yammering or a dick joke.

One of things that makes Penny Arcade unique is how Gabe and Tycho rarely go for the obvious video game jokes. Even when they do, they structure they manage to be clever about laying out the gag. Brentalfloss, on the other hand, is all obvious video game jokes. On the plus side, I guess, Brentalfloss hasn’t made a gag yet about Ocarina of Time‘s Navi. Of course, the comic is only 15 strips long so far, and perhaps they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I will say, though, that their Youtube video of Starfox scored to “Space Oddity” was pretty darned cute. I guess what I’m trying to say is … stick to the puppets, guys.

Final Grade:

The Adventures of Bayou Billy

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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 August 28, 2011, in ? Stars, comedy webcomic, Crabcake Confidential, The Webcomic Overlook, video game webcomic, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. who gives a flying fuck what you think, go fucking kill yourself you asshole! fuck off on back to whatever rock you crawled out from under and suck the shit out of your ass as it is your mouth you infinite ass shit cock sucker

  2. also, fuck your wife, if you are such a pussy as to let her decide what you play then you suck at gaming because you are a pussy you sad ass fuck fuck you

    • Well, it was either go to PAX or save up money to replace the water heater, which is upwards of $2,000 when we’re talking direct vent. So, you know, budgets and stuff.

      • El Santo, I love you. Maybe he really did want to know about your budget, and just couldn’t figure out a polite way to ask?

      • Wow. Tankless? Have you heard of Noritz? They’re a japanese brand of tankless water heater and some of their models run like 85% efficient and are guarenteed for 15 years. Not a sales guy, just worked with them. Awesome units.

  3. Ehhhhh, I was never much a fan of his art either. It’s not technically bad or anything, but it’s just so GENERIC. It’s not like, say, Vattu, where the art is good and distinct, or like Achewood, where the art is bad but has some kind of charm to it.

    They may as well have named him Blandrew.

    • I think what it is, is that the style feels like a combination of what you get when you slam an off-the-shelf “How to Draw Comic Book Characters” and “How to Draw Manga” book together. It’s not really bad or anything, it just does nothing for me on a scale of interest.

  4. It’s only 15 strips in? I thought you usually waited until webcomics had been around 1 year before you reviewed them. Why the exception? Just curious.

    • To be honest, a lot of it was a matter of convenience. I’d planned on three other webcomics to review this week, but two of them have incredibly long archives (I haven even started on the second one yet). So I decided to pick a super-short one to hedge my bets a little. The webcomic portion of the site is a relatively minor one — the Youtube video, for example, shows 350K hits, while the Project Wonderful stats on the comic is less than that. So my typical hesitancy about condemning an entire body’s worth of flesh, blood, and tear wasn’t quite so strong. I also wanted to see if Mr. Dobson’s artwork came off better in a different context.

      But really, I just wanted an opening to talk shop about water heaters.

      • I think you are to harsh on the art dept, everyone starts badly in their first comic and only 15 pages is too early to critic , even Gabe from Penny arcade sucked
        when he started or just compare the first volume of any manga compared with the latest ones
        (rob liebfeld is an exception since he devolves)

        • Really? I didn’t think I was being harsh at all. I rather like his art. In fact, I kinda praised it for being decent.

          Also, despite this being a fairly new comic, Andrew Dobson has worked on at least two other comics previous to this that I’m aware of, so it’s not like he hasn’t had plenty of practice.

  5. The problem is the writing/humor which has the writer Roth defending himself on Tumblr. Well, first he started defending Blandrew as a person, but the “raped by a old person who ends up being Brent ” left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths and Roth has been trying to explain it the best he could.
    Rule of thumb, if you have to explain a joke, it isn’t funny. Plus the strips with the fictional-roommate who jacks off in the bathroom are pretty disturbing. I don’t think I’d be impressed with a guy who wrote his name on the wall with his own jizz.
    That’s Moon Over June material right there.

    • I think that’s actually Brent dressed up as an old man tricking Link into getting raped by an old woman who is also wearing red robes. Your point still stands, though, especially since over-explaining something is the first sign that the joke just plain didn’t work despite following all the familiar trappings for what passes as a joke these days. Or, to put it more succinctly, “Oops! I forgot to tell a joke!”

  6. Dobson’s style of writing in still visible in this work despite him just being the artist. That or it is just how he presents it.

  7. I was just playing Star Fox today, and I have to admit, I thought that video was pretty funny. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but the puppet show and musical number did help it a lot.

  8. Why is it rated “Crocodile Dundee”? What does Paul Hogan have to do with… oh… I see… Bayou Billy… I got that.

    “That’s not a video game webcomic; THIS is a video game webcomic!’

  1. Pingback: Lookit All These Webcomic Reviews | Strip News | ArtPatient

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