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Shipping Off

Just a heads up, today’s comic is NSFW. I won’t link to any overly risqué strips but they might have NSFW dialogue. Which is a shame because all the best examples of some of my points would be very borderline.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the comic Ménage a 3. On the one hand, it’s a good comic with some solid writing and a good art style. On the other hand, the excessive female nudity really drags down both of those qualities in some places. Personally, fan service has never added or lessened my enjoyment of a comic, to me it’s just something that’s there. However, when a comic heavily relies on it as a crutch, rather than focussing on proper storytelling, then I have no interest at all as there’s nothing keeping me there.

Having said that, Ma3 does have interesting and charming characters as well as story lines that take a shift I don’t normally expect. The most recent one being the main character, Gary, leaving the comic without notice and ending up in Paris, to join the cast of the spin off comic, Sandra on the Rocks. It’s eventually explained in flashbacks how he got there, but it’s an arc that came out of nowhere and yet, in the comic’s universe, makes absolutely perfect sense.

It is also a very wise choice as by this point, there wasn’t really much Gary could do any more in Ma3 that had not already been done. He is a nerdy virgin, socially inept, dateless and stuck in a job he hates. After 800 pages, the joke could not continue without it being cringe-worthy. You can only torture a guy for so long and by the end of the Yuki relationship, there were fans calling for it to end. To them, he had suffered enough and deserved some happiness for being one of the only morally decent people in this comic. And I did agree with them. The main reason Gary suffered was because he was better than everyone around him and his so-called friends were willing to take advantage of that at every possible moment. While there were some who tried to make amends for their mistakes, only one person ever stood up for him.

Ma31

One thing I will give Giselle and Dave credit for, they saw the issue and did something actually pretty risky when you think about it, considering it hasn’t always panned out in the past. They pulled the protagonist out of the comic and made him a supporting cast member in a spin off. Now Ma3 has an ensemble cast and they have all been developed enough to show their stories. However, while they are entertaining, they’re not exactly protagonist material because aside from Kiley (And Yuki, though that’s questionable at best) all of the characters who weren’t self-centred are now in spin offs.

While socially inept, Gary was clearly a good man who cared about how others felt. He doesn’t take advantage of people, even when the opportunity arrives. He doesn’t use his lovers and actually treats them like equals. Some may say it’s because he’s spineless, but there are times where he’ll try to make others happy without any profit for himself. The other characters who share those qualities can be counted on one hand.

Ma33

That is why I hope there are no plans for him to return. His story is done in Ma3. The jokes have been told; he progressed as far as he could go as a character and still fit in as the butt monkey. However at Sandra on the Rocks, there are new opportunities with him finally achieving his dreams and finding out they’re not all they’re cracked up to be, or they may possibly continue the current trend of unintentionally knocking down a few overblown egos, so that it’s someone who actually deserves to be punished.

And most importantly, he can finally be with someone who actually respects him. I don’t mean just romantically, they could just be friends throughout the entire run and I’d be fine. But Sandra and Gary have a dynamic that most couples in media don’t, which The Nostalgia Chick pointed out in her Addams Family review. These two actually respect each other. It’s easy to have a couple constantly at odds, or the show treats one as better than the other. But so far, they’re on the same level and see each other as such. It’s worked in the past. Hawkeye and Trapper/BJ respected each other on MASH and only occasionally conflicted, with the joke being how they conflicted with others. It was the same with Absolutely Fabulous and the characters Edina and Patsy. Of course in both of my examples, the characters mentioned weren’t exactly pure, but it’s been shown the formula can still work in this case.

Ma32

I may eventually drop Ma3 unless the remaining characters can find redemption, but I do have high hopes for SotR as it could bring something we rarely see in comics, and will hopefully give a break to a character that sorely needs it.

A shame they never got back to me about my spin off pitch about Yuki, though that’s probably because the framing device involved Kiley visiting her in prison.

That’s all from me and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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Posted on December 23, 2013, in webcomics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the comic Ménage a 3. On the one hand, it’s a good comic with some solid writing and a good art style. On the other hand, the excessive female nudity really drags down both of those qualities in some places.

    I dunno, complaining about excessive female nudity in Menage a 3 feels a bit to me like walking into a Baskin Robbins and complaining about the excessive ice cream there. =p

    I mean, Menage a 3 is pretty clear and up-front about exactly what type of comic it is – it’s a classic sex farce, along the lines of, say, Three’s Company or the American Pie series. Expecting any sort of meaningful character development or growth from the comic is most likely just going to end in disappointment and frustration.

  2. Now if only they could develop a personal style, instead of just aping Archie comics…

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