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UnCONventional


URL: www.unconventional-comic.com
Creator/s: Trae Dorn
Run: 12/09-current
Schedule: Tu/Th
Section: 2013-2014

Website: It's pretty underwhelming in terms of content. The Characters page is pointless because the characters are so bland, the Conventions page still has dates for last year's conventions, the Buy Stuff! page is merch, and the forums averaged only about 1.5 reader posts per month last year. The convention-themed background's a cool idea, but it's mostly covered up, particularly since the site has six sections devoted to ads.

My favorite part of the site's that the creator made Twitter accounts for two of the main characters. However, between the two accounts, there's only been one tweet in the last nine months. It's a great idea that got ruined by lousy execution.

Also, it isn't related to the webcomic, but I'd like to mention that the creator's a self-described "Witch" who gained some notoriety after writing a series of articles exposing witchcraft-based scams. Some bizarre stuff happened after the first articles were posted, and I think the posts are a pretty good read if you want to learn more about the situation. (Part 1 of the series is here.)

Writing: Conventions seem like a great subject to make comics about, as they're attended by all sorts of artists, cosplayers, eccentrics, nerds, and oddballs. Plus, comic conventions are getting increasingly popular, meaning that webcomic readers are likely to have attended a convention at sometime or another. However, the creator of UnCONventional completely ignores everything that makes conventions appealing or interesting, instead presenting the subject in the most banal way possible.

The comic has colorful, simplistic illustrations and a loose plot, which suggests to new readers that it's a humorous gag comic. In reality, there aren't any jokes, as the whole thing is just the cast being mildly irritated. In addition, there's strip after strip of the characters in boring meetings that they seem to dislike being in, with only a small portion of the strips actually involving conventions or convention attendees. It seems like the creator's less interested in entertaining readers than he is in venting about the bad experiences he's had organizing No Brand Con. However, while it's understandable that running an event can be stressful and unpleasant, the characters should express some positive feelings about their jobs as well, or else they're just being masochistic. It feels like the characters are permanently stuck in their jobs because the webcomic wouldn't be able to continue if they quit.

None of the characters have any personality, aside from Awesome Roy, a minor character who, obviously, is a narcissist. I thought they were supposed to be generic, replaceable stick people, like in Cyanide & Happiness and xkcd, but then, in April, the comic suddenly turns into a full-on drama, as two of the characters have a bitter breakup. There's really no buildup or context to this event happening, and I wasn't aware that the characters were in a relationship until it was mentioned only one strip before the arguing started. If the creator wants to have drama in the comic, then he needs to set it up properly by having likable characters that readers care about.

For the comic to be more appealing, it's going to need to focus more on things readers would be interested in, like cosplaying. The strips making fun of Homestuck cosplayers, for example, are easily the best in the section. I only saw a few strips about cosplaying; in comparison, 21 strips were used showing the process of electing a new convention director. Some of the most notable parts of conventions, like artist alleys and vendors, aren't covered at all. The comic needs to show a lot less behind-the-scenes planning, and a lot more of the cast interacting with and observing convention attendees. And even if some readers want to learn about what it's like to organize a convention, the comic doesn't offer them anything because all the characters do is announce that they're irritated.

Art: The extreme minimalism and obnoxious copy-pasting make this comic even worse. Not only are the characters only ever shown standing or sitting in place, but their facial expressions and mouths rarely change, which is something even a lazy webcartoonist would usually not be guilty of. And not only do the characters look static and overly simplistic, but all of the backgrounds are either pulled from Google Image Search, or they're very basic and are copy-pasted endlessly. It should be common sense that digital illustrations don't go well with photographed or computer-generated backgrounds, but the creator constantly does it anyways.

The creator does another webcomic, The Chronicles of Crosarth, that has more realistic figures, is more detailed, and has more complex angles and poses. Comparing the two webcomics, Crosarth looks like the creator's putting some effort into it, while UnCONventional looks like the creator's completely disinterested. The schedule between these two projects is four updates a week, and I'm skeptical that the creator has the energy, skill, and time to produce quality content at such a prolific rate.

Overall: UnCONventional conveys a sense of apathy in every facet. The gags are tepid, the characters are underdeveloped, and the artwork's simple and repetitive. And unlike some other bad webcomics I've reviewed, it doesn't even have that "neurotic creator" vibe going on to make it a little interesting. It's just boring. Boring, boring, boring. I feel confident saying that this is the most boring comic I've ever read, and I feel bored even trying to write about it. This webcomic is just a bunch of soulless, uninspired nothingness.

1.5/5

9 comments :

  1. "UnCONventional - A Comic About Conventions (And The Poor Fools Who Run Them)"

    I'm having trouble understanding why you thought the comic was about anything other than running the con. As a convention staff member myself, the comic is hilarious, and highly accurate to what happens. Which is the /point/ of the comic.

    Also, Tara and Max? You can't read a year's worth of comics, and expect to have the entirety of a 4-year relationship. It's a pet peeve of mine when the relationship has to be pointed out all the time, because the characters BECOME the relationship, not characters who happen to be in a relationship.

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    1. The problem isn't the concept, it's how the concept's executed.

      My comments had nothing to do with the depth of the characters' relationship. What I'm writing about is effective storytelling. In proper storytelling, dramatic tension starts off low, gradually builds up, finally reaches a climax, and then lowers. This comic goes straight from wacky humor to dramatic climax to back to wacky humor, and it's a major blunder.

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  2. I read this site mostly for your reviews (Liberty Cabbage). I really appreciate your insights and recommendations. But reviews like this one are not interesting. Overwhelmingly negative reviews might still be insightful, but if a comic is boring in every aspect, it isn't very interesting to discuss. I'd love to see you bring to our attention comics that are worthy of attention, in some way, either positive or negative.

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    Replies
    1. I view it as a challenge to take a boring subject and make it interesting. If my review's boring, then it means I fucked up.

      Let me know if you have any particular webcomics in mind that you'd like to see reviewed.

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    2. I also visit this site mainly to read your reviews. If you're taking suggestions, I'd love to see what you have to say about gregor-comics.com

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    3. Well, I'd suggest Opplopolis (www.opplopolis.com) and Judecca (judecca.co.uk)

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    4. Also - Insufferable (thrillbent.com/comics/insufferable)

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    5. So you guys take requests? Please review Darken then. (http://darkencomic.com/)

      Delete
    6. I rather like the negative reviews, maybe even a bit more than the positive ones. As someone who makes comics themselves, it's nice to have examples of what not to do.

      Delete