Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eight Bit Darkling

Greetings, mortals! Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Gaius Satiricus, and I will be a periodic contributor to this fine blogging establishment to help out my good friend and fellow genius Sonty Mick. There are so many bad webcomics out there that one man simply cannot be expected to make fun of them all, so I have offered my services to stem the tide of college freshmen and snarky coffee shop 'baristas', lest they overwhelm us all and our society crumbles into the dust like ancient Rome which came before us.

Today I will be surveying the work of one Eight Bit Darkling, a man of limited means and 7th grade artistic abilities. While Mr. Darkling's works are currently few, but to paraphrase Mother Teresa, if that drop were not in the ocean, the ocean would be one drop less. In the ocean of crap before us, this drop is putrid indeed, and one can hardly be blamed for seeking to stem the tributary at its source.

Mr. Darkling's work is primarily sprite comics, a genre pioneered by such luminaries as Neglected Mario Characters and Bob and George. Its chief advantage as a format is that it allows a man with literally no artistic skills to mask this lack of talent by appropriating video game graphics ten to fifteen years out of date. The inauguration of this style of webcomic lowered the bar for access to the medium by removing the "must sort-of be able to draw" requirement, giving the internet one more swollen hive of scum and villainy.

Exhibit one of Mr. Darkling's work is a classic example of the genre entitled "Megacomic". Note the innovative use of sprites from the little-known Mega Man series, which might be described as the village bicycle of sprite comics. Consider the judicious use of capitalization. The choice of 8-bit simplicity over 16-bit sophistication seems to beg for an explanation; a commentary on globalization perhaps? Or is it merely the artistic equivalent of a six-pack and a La-Z-Boy, ham fists roaming to scratch hairy crevices before passing out in the hot, hot sun.

In the interest of providing constructive criticism, I have compiled a few suggestions for the misguided young Mr. Darkling that he may not get from his companions in middle school:

1. Take out Mega Man characters.
2. Although "HUH-WHA" is one way to do a double-take in print form, they are strange bedfellows in a hyphenated construction.
3. Take advantage of spell check. The words "#$%&" and "#$%&ing" cannot be found in any non-Chinese dictionary.

Exhibit two of Mr. Darkling's work is a snippet from a webcomic by the name of Deevolution. This work represents a new level for the author. While Megacomic was 8-bit, this comic is 16. Double the bits, double the quality? Unfortunately as we shall see, a mere increase in bittage is no cure for what nature left out. The charcters seem to speak for the author's subconscious mind. "Do you even KNOW what you're doing?!" one cries, as if to the heavens. His god, it seems, has foresaken him. Another asks "...heh?" Perhaps ironically. I know that's what I was thinking at this moment in the strip. Perhaps Mr. Darkling should consider adding a laugh track to give the viewer some sort of auditory cue as to which sections are considered funny. Visually, there is no indication.

If Megacomic was the caterpillar, squirming and writhing in search of a leaf under which to hide its shame, then surely this is represents the cocoon stage, its hardened shell signifying one step forward yet perhaps also several steps back. What shall emerge?

As Exhibit 3 makes clear, only the most specialest kind of butterfly. Entitled "Digimon Left Behind", this webcomic signifies a departure from the safe, well-traveled harbor that is Mega Man sprite comics onto the international waters that are Digimon Fanfics. A dangerous move indeed, Mr. Darkling. Digimon has shown itself over the years to possess the supernatural vigor of a zombie, limbs twitching as it lurches forward, devouring the brains of American youth. Its stench rises up before heaven.

The selection I have provided you with shows the characteristic elements of Mr. Darkling's style; his fond use of trite dialogue and his gentle caress of the caps lock key. I wonder sometimes about his love of exclamation points (apparently Mr. Darkling 'can't eat just one'). The sexual symbolism is, I believe, obvious. It is subtle touches like these that underscore the homoeroticism that oozes from Digimon's every pore. What red-blooded American boy hasn't looked longingly at the likes of Wargreymon's muscled flanks or Patamon's soft body? Surely Mr. Darkling is no exception.

Our final glance at Mr. Darkling's work is Exhibit 4, a concept sketch for a Digimon Left Behind character. While I admire the author's efforts at actual drawing, this work may be the most unconscionable of all. Pay particular attention to the gothic influences and the stylishly-placed hair clip. Tres metrosexual! The red-colored eyes hint subtly at drug influences in this particular work. The character seems to be crying out for help. While I sympathize with his plight, I can render little assistance.

This last work is the most ominous of all perhaps because it marks a slippery slope for Mr. Darkling. Digimon may seem harmless, but I caution that it often serves as the gateway to other, more dangerous memes. It may not be long until you are the one in the cat suit, Mr. Darkling. It is my unhappy duty to stand today like a prophet of old, standing outside the city gates crying to the people to turn from their wickedness. Turn back, Mr. Darkling! Turn back for your own sake. Turn back, for all of our sakes.


EightBitDarkling said...

Why, I thank you for the criticism. I know that I am not the best or the funniest, and I know that my sprite comics are lacking and dull (a part of the reason why I've stopped updating until I can get better at it), but you didn't even mention my hand-drawn comic. Although it DOES look something like talking gumball machines with hair, it's at least a decent try at my own characters, and I am re-vamping the artistic stlye into a more complex, anime-ish form of chibi drawings. But, again, I thank you.

-Eight Bit Darkling

Anonymous said...

the only thing sadder than this review is that the dudes at 8 bit darkling read this review which isn't even by sonty mick. I guess sonty mick is too busy being subtle and ironic to review a REAL comic.