Tuesday, December 18, 2007

PVP is almost as good as Drabble.

I've been reading PVP for a few years now, but only recently did I realize how mediocre it is. I fell into a trap -- It's a web comic! It's popular! It must be great! Unfortunately my logic doesn't hold up: When it comes to traditional comic strips, popularity does not equal hilarity, so why should it be true for web comics?

The writing for PVP is disappointingly sub-par, especially when compared to other popular titles in the gaming comic-sphere. The straw that broke the camel's back came of December 13th of this year, when the punch-line of the strip was a cat hiding in a christmas tree parodying William Shatner's "Kahn!" moment from Star Trek 2:

You see, the cat is a megalomaniac that wants to take over the world. In this arc he has it in his head that if he takes down Santa, he can steal the secret of faster-than-light travel. He accosts Santa in a mall, but LO AND BEHOLD -- Santa is actually super-powerful! The cat/tree fights Kringus, only to defeat him and discover he wasn't the real Santa.


What makes this so weak is:

A. The cliche. The Internets have spawned a new interest in classic geekery, and the Kahn moment has been parodied many many times. This just makes the arc (the climax of the story-line even) feel old and tired. Preface this with the fairly hackneyed conceit of inserting "superhero" styling and dialogue into the story ("In case of emergency... KICK ASS!"), and the whole thing has less impact than Cathy on a Tuesday.

B. The art. While, admittedly, a cat inhabiting a tree for the purpose of battle is unusual, the tree is not drawn in a way that evokes the original movie moment at all. It took me a moment to logic out the intent, and I am wise in the ways of Trek.

Then there's the plot itself -- that a cat would be interested in stealing technology from Santa is not a bad way to start a story. But are we seriously to believe that once the decoy Santa has been tased into submission (I appreciate the lack of a "bro" reference, at least some restraint exists on the part of the author) that the cat would simply give up? An official Santa's Helper would make a great hostage, no? Or are we to believe that he has been killed by the cat?

Killing Santa doesn't seem to be PVP's style, yet the cat clearly seems like he ought to be capable of it. It's just not clear, adding to the weakness of the arc.

Want a stronger story? Kidnap the guy and have the real Claus show up, save his man, and strand the cat on a desert island with Steve Ballmer. Then you might have earned your Kahn.


Gary A said...

So.. rather than just not read it, you went and started a blog about i???

PVP == Mediocrity said...

Yes. Yes I did.

Anonymous said...

Your analysis' of Scott's work is quite in-depth and impressive... which is why I'm confused by your statement that its worse than CAD. Anyone with the most basic understanding of comics, humor, delivery, and visual writing can see the horrible problems that CAD has with its narrative and flow.

Anonymous said...

What makes you so sure this is supposed to be a "Khan" moment? I didn't even recognize it as such until now. Or to put it another way: Star Trek did not invent the "scream futilely at adversary" joke.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat disturbed by your critique of Scott Kurtz' work. Of all the things to decide to blog about, why a webcomic? It would seem that your time might be better spent in attempting social change on a grander scale, then simply trying to get your "15 minutes" of fame thanks to someone googling "PVP" and stumbling upon your obscure blog. I would not have known about this laughable attempt at brilliance if not for Scott's own blog. Thanks for the content, NOT!

Aaron said...

That was what made it so funny! Scott uses references to pop culture a lot. Yeah it isn't Sir Fracis Bacon, oops I mean Shakespeare. But it is funny. I hate Modays too.

Clint said...

I have to disagree with you on this one.

The PVP target audience of geeks is exactly what keeps the Khan reference from being trite.

A Batman or Wolverine or Brittney Spears or George W Bush reference -- those would have been cliche.

Cliches serve a valuable purpose, acting as a cultural beacon to draw members of the tribe together. The Khan reference not only adds a punch line but the connotative affirmation that if you think this is funny, then you're a member of the tribe. I don't see where that has to be a bad thing.

There are a number of PVP-centric cliches -- the panda attack, Skull farting, Cole always getting defeated by Max, etc. But this wasn't one them and I think it deserves a bit more leeway as such.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love someone who makes a blog about something he hates, spending all that time finding the things HE feels is a flaw and trying to make everyone else feel the way he does, rather then doing the thing smart people (Or at least people with double-digit IQ) and just leaving the thing alone.

cheesesoda said...

To make a quick correction, Scratch being in the tree makes him Kringus.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Bugs Bunny reference in the battle scene with the in case of emergency thing. I'd never heard of Kahn before reading your post, but I would think any Trek reference would appeal to PvP's readership regardless of whether it was good or not. That's what fan references are for.

Still, people staring as a Christmas tree rolled across town would have been a nice picture that got left out.

I want to know if Skull knows mall Santas aren't the real thing.

Anonymous said...

Like a previous anonymous, I am quite shocked that you think CAD is better than PVP. CAD's art and writing are both worse than PVP's. That said, I agree that PVP is very mediocre; I appreciate the linework, but rarely find it funny...too humdrum, too many internet cliches.

I'm not sure why a few commenters have an issue with this blog. It's not like the blogger is shitting on some 14 year old's MySpace serial. And the entries offer constructive criticism.

Blog Archive