Thursday, January 03, 2008

Webcomics - good bye K&K

This... has been sitting in the bottom of the pile for about a month or so now. Back in December I finally removed the webcomic Kevin and Kell from my list of webcomics. When I say removed, I don't mean just moving it to another off-side folder, I mean I don't have a link to it at all. I realize that this probably registers as a non-significant event for most people. For me, it is sort of significant, as anyone who has seen my list of webcomics can attest. I don't ever delete a webcomic from the list. I'll generally just move it off into a holding folder.

The reason why I decided to go ahead and run this is because of an off-shot comment made on General Protection Fault. The comment made the statement that the author wondered how Kevin and Kell's writer kept the webcomic fresh for so many years, only it hasn't.

The older K&K comics were kept fresh by clever and witty jokes about the Internet, forums, and technology. As the comic progressed and moved from gag-a-day style to the drama style, the storylines moved right along. The characters grew, as did the cast. Yet, incoming characters such as Ralph were given depth as they participated in long-running stories where they might only be the background characters. When they finally got their turn in the spotlight, the readers already had a firm grasp on the character's personality and where the character was going.

For example, the Great Bird Conspiracy story arc was a long running background event, and when it came into focus the basic concepts of the conspiracy were already outlined. The Great Bird Conspiracy was also used as a well written deus ex machina to introduce readers to what the future Coney would be like, as well as to manage placing Corrie and her clone into the world.

At one point,
K&K was one of the best written free webcomics. Then, well, something changed. The author's liberal beliefs were often restrained in the story background. However, as the titular character Kevin was into his own business, the stories were often balanced by the capitalistic conservatism of a small business owner.

Then, as best as I can describe it, the epic feeling of the story was being lost. Characters were being introduced left and right and the character list rapidly grew within only a few perceived months with very few of the characters getting proper development time and exposure. I still remember talking to somebody about
K&K and commenting that a major anniversary of K&K was coming up, and the author was working to get everything in place for the next huge story arc. Only, the arc never came.

In my view the comic continued to get worse by playing to several popular misconceptions. One of these I refer to as the Kinsey-Misconception. A lot of people have heard of the Kinsey Reports, which were books published on sexual behavior. What a lot of people don't know is that the reports were manufactured. Yes, they used deliberately falsified data in order to drive perceptions about sexual behavior. One of the disastrous results of the Kinsey Reports was the falsified data that promoted mass amounts of homosexuals. The Kinsey Reports, and other documentations and reports made based around it's data came to the false conclusion that on average, 1 out of 10 peoples was homosexual.

In a grave failure of journalistic ethics, media organizations like ABC, NBC, CBS, Reuters, and the Associated Press chose to accept Kinsey's materials as fact, rather than the fiction they were. The Kinsey Reports became the ammunition for vocal activists, who continued to promote the fraudulent data. Keep in mind, that's fact that the data was fraudulent, not opinion.

The Kinsey-Misconception is the term I use when I refer to any media that changes its story, or works the story to coincide with the fraudulent data of the Kinsey Reports. That pretty much includes most of the television shows run by ABC, NBC, and CBS that feature at least one homosexual character, often in a positive light. The hoped for result is to appeal to the market that the Kinsey-Reports were manufactured to create.

Essentially,
K&K fell into the Kinsey-Misconception and introduced an explicitly homosexual character for the purposes of playing the averages. No real story based reason, no real development, just poof and there's a homosexual because there is one everywhere.

Okay, this is a webcomic, and isn't exactly high-literature. The liberal slant on the comic continued with several deliberate liberal misconceptions, and even known hoaxes, the basis for the comic-fact, with jokes being layered on top. Case in point was the string of comics during December in which the titular character Kevin was lost outside. Reading through, one of the jokes explicitly relies on the hoax that is global warming. It also wasn't the first time the hoax had been used as a basis for the comic-world.

As December wore on I tried to remember what I liked most about
K&K. What had I read in the past that made it appealing? Well, it was a successful furry comic, but come on, so is Garfield and the orange cat has had far better writing over the past year.

Well, it used to be clever with funny jokes. Okay, I couldn't come up with the last time that I had actually laughed at a
K&K comic. However, there are other comics in the same genre that I can remember instances that had me howling, as the story arc starting here: http://www.rhjunior.com/NT/00067.html and ending here : http://www.rhjunior.com/NT/00070.html. More recently, as in the past month, there was this gem in a different comic from the same author: http://www.rhjunior.com/TH/00086.html, which was preceded by this one: http://www.rhjunior.com/TH/00082.html, which relied on this arc: http://www.rhjunior.com/TH/00031.html - http://www.rhjunior.com/TH/00035.html. In fact, all of R.H. Junior's stuff has consistently moved back and forth from drama to raw comedy, and it's not always furry. Take the new comic he just started in the older Hard Onions Slot :http://www.rhjunior.com/HO/ and started here: http://www.rhjunior.com/HO/00011.html.

RH isn't the only furry artist that has managed this, take Albert Temple's Gene Catlow webcomic. Take this comic for example : http://www.genecatlow.com/d/20001229.html.

So, with K&K it had been a while since there had been a joke or a comic that had stood out. It had been a while since i had actually cared about any of the characters. There was no emotional attachment, no charisma, no sense of feeling attached to the comic and it's denizens. In my view the last time I had actually wanted to know what happened in the next comic was sometime back in 2004.

In essence,
K&K had become more like a syndicated newspaper strip, built to absorb in daily or weekly one shot arcs. I'm not going to say there are plotholes in K&K, but I'd be hard-pressed to say there is a plot. As far as I can see, there hasn't been anything that is an over-reaching arc for years, which is fine in newspaper comics. It's fine for gag-a-day comics. For a comic that pretends to be story based? Well, it's not so good.

I think that was the final straw beyond anything else.
K&K just wasn't funny, it wasn't going anywhere, and the developments that were expected... never happened. I also don't have a firm answer on how K&K could improve to become readable again. The authors liberal bias and use of hoaxes and fraudulent materials to build the story do not generate a positive trajectory for where the comic could go now... So, I join with many other webcomic readers who have moved away from K&K. It might be one of the oldest webcomics, but it certainly no longer one of the best...

It's like a Nissan Sunny. A car that was so average, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson described at a worse than drizzle. Try to talk about features? What features. Sure, there were uglier cars and cars that drove worse, but lets face it. If you drive a Lada, you will never forget the experience. If you see a Fiat Multipla, you will forever remember that front face. If you have seen a Peel P50, you will forever recall that shape. The same with the G-Wiz, it's ugly, but you can't hardly forget it.
If you drive a Nissan Sunny, what experience? What looks? What could you remember? I remember the name, but that's it.

K&K has become so much the same. It has no character, it has no life... it is... worse... than drizzle.


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