The Webcomic Overlook #180: GG Guys
It may be my old-fogey-ness talking here, but the things kids find hilarious these days seem to be about being super-annoying. Take that Fred character. The guy talks like a squeaky helium balloon, which is pure comedy gold for the kids but is like nails on chalkboard for anyone over twelve.
Or that Problem Solverz show on the Cartoon Network. Granted, I have no evidence that anyone actually watches it, but, again, it seems to traffic with the same premise that “funny” and “headache inducing visuals” are the same thing. When I was younger, I had the vague sense that my parents were rolling their eyes at a lot of stuff that I found funny. Now that I’m on the other side, I suddenly know why, and it makes me feel old as hell.
It makes me want to buy a rocking chair, put a shotgun on my lap, and warn young whippersnappers to stay off my property. Partly because of the symbolism … but mostly because rocking chairs are hella sweet.
Which brings me to Psyguy and Supadave’s video game webcomic, GG Guys. At first glance, it seems to be something aimed at the Fred crowd. Will all the eye-rolling cause my eyes to come unscrewed from their sockets, thus preventing me from reviewing webcomics ever again?
Let’s find out.
I’m not quite sure what the “GG” stands for. Go-Go Guys? Guys-Guys Guys? Eh. The “stars” of GG Guys are the writers — Dave and Psy — and a bunch of random female characters that are rarely more than sexy eye-candy. Well, the Shannon character is more of a manic pixie dreamgirl character, but that just means she’s eye-candy for anime fans. It actually doesn’t matter if they’re Gabe and Tycho or Ethan and Lucas or those two guys from Fanboys. The presence of these two is completely superfluous.
The comic is, in fact, rather rather self-conscious about itself. Check it out, the female characters are only there for fanservice, but we know we’re being sexist! The writers are totally slaves to Joystiq’s weekly video game comic thingy! And that it’s all penis and boob jokes!
I mean, I was going to talk about how GG Guys is like the misbegotten child of Reddit Rage Comics and VG Cats, but it turns out that Psyguy and Supadave already did that joke. Awfully kind of them to take care of the actual criticism for me. Still, I sorta feel a little robbed. Nam qui criticae artis indiget sequential cum ipsa sua arte sequential Criticus? (“For who needs webcomic critiques when the webcomic is itself its own critic?” in Google Latin.)
GG Guys is made up of head-scratching gag strips with loud, hyperactive visuals. Take an early strip for example. It involves characters from Atomic Bomberman. They’re zooming around the corridors until they finally come in contact with each other. OK. So far, it’s a standard video game parody. Then the violins comes out, one of the guy’s goes, “Gentlemen, it’s been an honor serving with you….” And we cut to Rose and Jack floating outside getting jolted by the explosion hitting the already sinking ship on the horizon.
Wait, what? Titanic parody from out of nowhere? What?
This is more or less the template all GG Guys strips follow. There’s a gag about Super Paper Mario ends with the villain kicking down a mountain of Play-Doh for some reason. There’s one where Ryu faces off against M. Bison, and it concludes with him acting emo on his Facebook. Or a joke about the story-based Sonic titles that end with a disturbing image of Donald Trump.
And, perhaps my favorite, a Star Trek: The Next Generation parody that leads to Borg Mario. I can’t help it. I have a weakness for Star Trek gags, and I can totally hear Jonathan Frakes’ voice in my head at the end.
As I mentioned before, everything is done in that brash, hyper-exaggerated aesthetic that all the little children love. Admittedly, it can get really insufferable, to the point where I just want to say, “OK, cut down on the Red Bull, guys.” The characters go all all bug-eyed and there’s lots and lots of yelling. This comic doesn’t have sound, and yet I still wanted to stuff dinner rolls in my ears from time to time.
GG Guys containing all the elements that should, by all rights, make me hate GG Guys with the passion of a thousand burning suns… but if I was being honest, I actually sorta like it. Psyguy and Supadave make no secret that they were inspired, among other things, by VG Cats (which I did not care for at all). While it would be tempting to compare the two, I think it’s easier to just say that GG Guys is better than VG Cats in every way.
While the gags may be random to a fault, Psyguy and Supadave do an excellent job setting up multiple jokes in one sitting. There’s a strip about Mario and Sonic facing off, and it turns out the challenge involves Mario doing ballet. Ha, ha, random humor, right? The payoff, though, is seeing Sonic: he’s moved by the performance, he’s got big teary eyes, and the words “Beautiful” come out of his mouth. That part was totally unexpected. The last panel is gleefully unpredictable, and many times they never fail to get a big laugh out of me.
While Supadave’s art can be headache-inducing, there are times when he reins it in enough to get a nice chuckle. His renditions of a giggling Tetsuya Nomura and a drooling Tommy Pickles totally save the otherwise tame strips they’re in. Who can see Nomura’s amused little eyes or Tommy’s zonked expression and not smile a little?
Not every joke is a home run. They did, in fact, do a Toy Story joke that has been done by literally everyone by now. Still, even the bad strips brim with this ridiculous crazy energy to them that you have to respect.
Besides, GG Guys accomplished something that I haven’t seen before: they managed to make a couple of poignant and icredibly-stupid-but-still-funny jokes about Words With Friends, the iPhone app that’s also my current addiction. Hell, I’m playing it even as I’m typing out this review. And if GG Guys can make a joke that us old geezers can relate to, then them young whippersnappers is alright by me.
Hey, maybe I’ll even learn to enjoy Fred, provided I can stuff enough dinner rolls in my ears.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)