I've seen the "Random Comic" button on Smack Jeeves a few times, but I never had any interest in actually clicking on it. What's the point of such a chaotic method when I can look for quality webcomics by other factors, such as their number of fans or the artwork in their banner, right? Well, I'm a curious person, and I can't help but wonder what pleasures and horrors lie beyond that black, six-sided die.
This unprecedented journey I'm about to undertake could have unsettling results, and I advise the weak-minded and faint of heart to stop reading here. For the brave souls who are left, we venture forth, deeper, deeper, into the black abyss...
Roll #1: Desu. Fans: 0. There's only one comic, which was posted in August 2008. It looks like some kind of blue thing smiling and in love. Who does our blue protagonist have such affection for? Sadly, I suspect it's a question I'll never have an answer for.
Roll #2: Scribblings of Life. Fans: 1. In May 2010, the creator tried to convey the joy he or she felt upon capturing Mew in the game Pokémon Ranger. Despite the creator's obvious enthusiasm for the game, the bland, colorless artwork and lack of context leaves me feeling apathetic towards her crowning accomplishment. The most interesting thing about the comic's probably the creator-avatar's bizarre hair style.
Roll #3: Saints' Calling: Fallen Stars. Fans: 26. The creator actually stuck with this one from June 2011 to December 2011, which makes it a more serious project than the previous two comics. It turns out this is supposed to be some sort of prequel for the creator's main webcomic. The art's not too bad, although it's pretty bland. I'm guessing the boy and girl are twins; otherwise, it's kinda weird that their faces look identical and they're the exact same height. Also, "Thank God" doesn't seem like a natural response to "Spring's coming."
Roll #4: Naughty Cartman. Fans: 12. Despite drawing the characters as stickmen, the creator averaged less than a page a month before she stopped updating in December 2011. It's supposed to some sort of South Park fan comic, but the last page has a female named Karen in love with a figure in a purple cloak. "Now, Karen, you are in safe!" is some unusually bad English.
Roll #5: Kirby's Ultra Star Saga. Fans: 0. The creator copy-pasted pictures of different characters from the Kirby games in order to celebrate Kirby's 20th birthday, and then he never updated the comic again.
Roll #6: Corkenburker. Fans: 1. The creator came back from a three-year hiatus to post two final strips, including this one. I guess it's supposed to be making fun of goths, although I'm having a hard time detecting any sort of actual joke here. It's on lined paper and done with stick figures, so I guess it's supposed to be a doodle comic, but the artwork doesn't have that sense of energy that I'd expect a doodle comic to have.
Roll #7: Hank: The Army Guy. Fans: 0. Apparently, Hank's crazy, so he gets kicked out of the army, concluding a webcomic that started and ended on the same day. The comic's 2,000 pixels wide, which makes it very difficult to read. You have to scroll right, then back left, then down, then right again, then down again. For some reason, Hank doesn't have eyes. Props to the creator, though, for actually attempting to convey some sense of realistic lighting.
Roll #8: Lords of War. Fans: 0. The creator posted two separate covers and then abandoned the comic before she ever posted an actual page. The creator's decent at drawing people, although I don't like the rough way she uses colored pencils. Here are the creator's parting words: "I hope you enjoy it as much as I do praising it lmao."
Roll #9: True Love Destiny. Fans: 63. After a three-year hiatus, the creator finished Chapter 1, posted a cover for Chapter 2, and then never updated the comic again. It's a boy-love comic, so it seems to have gotten an unusual amount of attention while it was running, getting comments such as, "love the pic SO SEXY!!!" However, the comic has some sketchy, mediocre manga art that fails to catch my interest. The creator's parting words: "WOW. HEY. One of my comics survives to Chapter Two o.o." Sadly, the creator made a fan art section for her site, but she never got to put anything in it.
Roll #10: Temporary insanity. Fans: 6. "As a apology for such a lack of comics, I present a image of the author being attacked by angry, oversised, pigeons. New comics soon." The creator used photographs of pigeons instead of actually drawing them. Needless to say, new comics didn't come soon, or ever.
Roll #11: Stupid Smash Brothers. Fans: 13. It's a completely unremarkable sprite comic the creator abandoned after 21 strips. New life would be breathed into the comic, though, when, two years later, a 15-year-old fan left the following comment: "lol poor link."
Roll #12: My Brother's Paranoia. Fans: 39. This 33-page story actually has a beginning and an ending, although the creator explains that she'd already made the whole thing before starting the site and was just using Smack Jeeves as a "back-up." The art's also actually kinda competent. Is it possible that something good may end up coming out of this journey into webcomics?
Roll #13: Third Offers vs. Life. Fans: 0. This creator managed to keep updating for a whole month before calling it quits, which, hey, is better than some of the comics I've run into today. The artwork's awful, though, and the creator still complains that it "took far too long" to draw.
Roll #14: Forgotten. Fans: 0. Woah, another South Park fan comic? This one's apparently supposed to be a boy-love version, which seems kinda creepy considering the South Park boys are, what, 8 years old? Anyways, the creator posted a poorly drawn cover and then never updated again, so, moving on...
Roll #15: Coffee n' Cigarettes. Fans: 1. The creator only posted one strip, which is mostly copy-paste. The joke isn't funny, although I guess the cutesy manga style's alright. We never find out what the "coffee" in the title refers to, although I'm assuming the female protagonist drinks a lot of it, or something.
Roll #16: Hero of the Kingdom. Fans: 3. The creators posted six pages in one day, and then posted this final page seven months later. It looks like it was intended to involve a whale at some point, but the comic never got to that part of the story. The style looks kind of cute, although it isn't particularly well drawn. My favorite part's that the creators were nice enough to leave the following message: "Also, seriously, whoever you are reading this right now, we LOVE you." Awww.
Roll #17: Through My Eyes. Fans: 0. The creators only posted one cover, which was meant for a chapter titled "Shitty Day." One of them wrote a description of himself, saying, "I'm angry and wish death upon others." Okay...
Roll #18: Eilina. Fans: 10. The creator describes it as "The Little Mermaid, but with lesbians." Wait, doesn't Darling, It's Betta Down Where It's Wetta already cover that niche? Anyways, she posted two covers and didn't update again.
Roll #19: Manga Shorts. Fans: 0. Wait, is this comic... still active? It totally is! Although, it looks awful, the pages are tiny, and the creator's posted only seven pages in 10 months.
And now, for the last one...
Roll #20: Vocaloid Star. Fans: 4. What a perfect way to conclude my adventure. This has three pages of plagiarized artwork posted by a 12-year-old girl who's an "otaku desu~."
It was a truly harrowing experience, but I finally made it through this journey of pain and suffering, and, fortunately, my sanity seems to still be mostly intact. I can say with certainty that anyone daring enough to click on the ominous black die will never be quite the same person afterwards.