Friday, June 5, 2009

Newbie Rant 3: The *snicker* Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon

Hello I'm the, heheh, WebcomiCritic, I do it because, well... Somebody has to!

Look at this banner;

What do you see? It's simple, small, gets no point across, and displays an overconfident dude and two surprised looking dudettes. What would you people expect? Especially with a title like:

The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon?

Well I honestly don't know. Anderson could've called this comic The Flashy Days of Awesome McCoolname or The Awesome Life of Awesome McCoolname and would've had a similar effect. The effect being little. I mean it just makes you have to click the danged thing just to friggin' find out.


Pre-Comic/First Five Pages Impression

Judging from the banner I thought this Jack Cannon kid was some rich kid who had a high opinion of himself and his skills and the two girls were supposed to bring him back to earth; mentally I mean. And with the adjective "Fancy" in there you'd have to expect something sophisticated, some high grade stuff like a James Bond-esque comic or my aforementioned Rich Kid idea. And When I read the first few pages and found out the kid was home schooled I thought "PERFECT! The zany adventures of a rich kid who was home-schooled and learning about real life! This oughta be as funny as-"


My expectations have been blown and you'll soon find out why.

July 10th, 2008 (Quite Young), Jamie Anderson came out with this piece of madness. Mind you it’s not Dresden Codak madness, but it’ll have you going “What the fraggle was that?” the whole way. And this comic is new!

Anderson (Sorry about the lack of an honorific, but Jamie is a very gender-neutral name) introduces an ordinary kid named Jack cannon going to high school for the first time since he’s been home schooled his whole life. Like many kids, he has first day jitters.

Well, someone’s overreacting. What the comic should be covering is the hilarious ways someone could get confused in the world (And considering the way his father acts, something tells me this Jack kid was not only sheltered, but grew up with strange parents.). And for a while, that’s how it seemed. And then, he meets normal girl number 1.Oh, her name’s angel. After all the zaniness goes on after that, I forgot all about that. Anyhow, considering how Jack overreacts, her reaction is expected. And Jack’s humiliation is also expected. This is amusing so far. You can practically cut the awkwardness with a knife because this kid is so sheltered.

Then he goes to the office and sees a bit of insanity between teacher and student. I envisioned the leather jacket kid as a radical non-conformist conspiracy freak who would try to befriend Jack, further alienating him. No….

That does not happen. This comic knows how to shatter expectations.

Skipping the actual classes, we move on to recess. This proves that this is not about a home-schooled kid adjusting to ordinary life and ordinary school. Otherwise we’d get excellent laughs out of this kid trying to adjust to ordinary classes, and then getting made fun of for having “Cannon” for a last name. You know, how Real Life works. Instead we skip to recess (YES! Because we have RECESS in HIGH SCHOOL! If this was one of those University High schools where all the grades are compounded in one building, I’d understand. Unless of course, it’s Anderson’s way of saying it’s a really long lunch like in real High School, then Anderson is forgiven.).

Where was I? AH yes, “recess” Where Captain Awkward Harkness, I mean Captain Jack Harkness, I mean Captain Jack the Awkward meets normal girl number 2. Her name is Cindy, further emphasizing her normalness. And of course Jack is so socially naïve, you can cut the awkwardness with a spoon. And in all honesty it’s all downhill form there. The “radical non-conformist” is actually Angel’s clingy and obsessive childhood friend who, like a lot of characters in fiction (Mostly antagonists, Tsunderes, and rivals), does not bother to hear anybody out. To be fair, Cindy caused the resulting conflicts.

Anyhoo, this leather-jacket-toting pimple kid is Craig. When I first saw him, I assumed he was either my initial thoughts or a bully. Apparently the camera isn’t the only thing that adds ten pounds, because that leather jacket makes him look bulkier than he really is. Or maybe the artists drew his shoulders broader than they should. Who knows. He’s supposedly a…



Wait- What? A hacker? This story just threw me in for another loop. Anderson has the skills to create expectations and CRUSH them within seconds of each other! Okay, so He’s not a radical non-conformist and he’s not a bully in the traditional sense. He’s a computer geek? Okay, I can understand if the “hacker” thing sounds scary. I’ve seen enough fiction to know that hackers can be pretty dangerous guys depending on their skill and what they’re doing. If this Craig guy is blackmailing everybody in the school because he’s just that good, I’d be fine with that. Awesome, Jack Cannon is about righting social wrongs!

Well, Jack doesn’t believe this hacker thing, and this makes sense. Thank you Anderson for doing something straight.

Of course things get worse. I swear, Cindy and Angel are all about ruining lives now! However, I’ve been seeing some pretty realistic reactions form most of these characters, so I’m not complaining. The logic in their stupid stupid schemes makes sense. And the next page shows things only get worse-er! Good grief, It seems everybody is digging Jack into a deeper hole, including Jack, and he doesn’t even know it!

After all of that, the Principal PRAISES him and my reaction is the same as Jacks. I thought he was supposed to be adjusting to normal society! Oh nevermind, I’m sure it’ll make sens eventually- Whut? What? Keyboard What? What? Keyboard? Keyboard, Keyboard, What? HOW IS THAT RELEVENT- oh…

He hacks reality… Okay… Now the teachers and students in fear of this guy suddenly makes a lot more sense, but doesn’t his hacking remind you of anything?

High tech-alchemy.

“Using our own energy is outdated, man! We use technology for our alchemy!”

I’m seeing a lot of equivalent exchange in this hacking, Craig only using what’s there. So technically, this hacking isn’t entirely god-mod. Nothing is explained of course, but apparently it’s an input=output kind of thing you have to code it or something.

Anyhoo, Jack takes a beating, and unrealistically survives and even more unrealistically escapes the assaults and fights back. This kid’s athleticism is suspiciously good. And no; Home School is not a plausible explanation for being acrobatic.

And this is just the first chapter. The next chapter’s title describes Jack and his life perfectly:


This! Lord almighty, this explains Everything! No wonder the kid was athletic, no wonder he’s a good fighter, his mother’s frikkin’ NUTS! His mother thinks she’s a ninja, and since she has a husband; Jack’s dad obviously must be somewhat abnormal! This explains the insanity that happens later. You see, after Craig goes on a revenge fest, He kills Jack.

Don’t believe me? How dead would you be if you got beat up by trees and rocks and then got BURIED ALIVE! TELL ME THAT RIGHT NOW! YOU’D BE PRETTY DEAD, RIGHT!??

Well that’s not dead enough for Awesome McCoolname-er Jack Cannon! While Craig was getting overly ambitious in too short of a time frame, Rule of Cool says Jack Cannon PUNCHED HIS WAY OUT! It was supposed to be awesome, but it makes no sense. Realistically, his knuckles are covered in blood and this moment is pretty bad@$$, but that is not the point. He’s Acrobatic, not Muscular. Survey says, he couldn’t punch his way out.

After showing off how much he likes punching, Jack takes Craig’s Power gloves and destroys them. He shouldn’t have done that, Nintendo doesn’t make them anymore. They’re collector’s items!

Soon the Principal shows that the trope Authority Equals @$$kicking is true to its existence and shows a bit of sexism that may prove that Anderson is a Mister.

One family moment that proves Jack’s mother is not at all sane, We get into crazy government conspiracies, another Awesome McCoolname, and crazy hacker conspiracies, Jack’s father defies common sense and goes with the death threat. Then violence and insanity ensue like nothing I have ever seen before. For example:

I had no idea school buildings had pink drool! Mine always had a blue-ish sort of spittle! But seriously, hacking or not, you can’t make building drool. And more alchemists-er “hackers” try to kill Jack, because it’s never occurred to ANYBODY that murder is against the law. Jack’s father proves abnormal violence is genetic. Bad hackings puns that I will admit I laughed to. A severe lack of blood and brain hacking (Because NOTHING is too god-mod for JACK CANNON!)…

Welp, Looks like Mr. Anderson killed Jack Cannon again. Let’s see how cheap death is in this series….. Hmm, one Mother Ex Machina later, and we see that Jack can resist a mind hack. Okay, He’s proving to have unbelievable amounts of god-mod. If Mr. Anderson keeps this up, I’ll have to start a Marty-Stu checklist for Jack.

More insane government stuff later, I’m seeing potential “Jack is the Chosen one” for the story. And that’s about it for the plot. My over-arching statement is that the Story knows how to crush expectations just like THAT, and Mr. Anderson hasn’t quite decided what this story is about. There’s too much unexplained stuff that will probably be explained later judging by how things are going. And also, Mr. Anderson, who taught you how to pace a story? This plot is moving so fast I’m getting motion sickness. There is such a useful thing as padding! I know that because we’re free to do our own stories because we're independent and therefore executive meddling doesn’t have us remove useful stuff and add useless stuff, but come on, slow down!

The Artwork is Adequete. It’s a flaming ball of adequacy. The style is anime-esque. My specialty… Mr. Anderson is obviously a slave to getting things done on time and yet spending time on color. Why? Well think about it. He completely forgoes basic anatomy. It’s pretty obvious he constructs bodies from clothes rather than body parts. I should know, that’s how I used to do it. It’s decent, but it gets too obvious sometimes. I’ve seen arms that are too short and limbs that aren’t bending right. Despite that, he’s not terrible. He clearly loves face faults and exaggerations and that’s fine. It adds character.

Unfortunately, he can only draw teenagers well. Adults? Yeah, no dice. Making the same mistakes that I did: Making them taller. Sure he adds lines around the mouth to add age, and the occasional mustache, but that really doesn’t help all that much. The most adult face he’s done was this one. And all he was doing was exaggerating anger. A sad state of affairs. You have Potential Mr. Anderson, I know you do. You just need to try harder. Observe people’s faces, and look up basic anatomy. I believe you can improve as an artist.

The characters are fairly… Adequete. They’re plain, ordinary, and react appropriately. They’re almost done perfectly. Except, it’s hard to pin dynamic and round personalities in our main cast, but there hasn’t been much time for that. However, I have gotten the flat version:

Jack is a naïve guy who’s an average everydude. He’s a nice person with a violent streak.

Angel is a Normal girl who seems nice, but just plain normal.

Cindy is the obvious tomboy and a mild deadpan snarker. You’d the way she’d dress she’d be an Action Girl, but remember; Mr. Anderson is the master of expectation crushing.

The idea overall is pretty fascinating. Unfortunately Mr. Anderson didn’t quite know how to get the hacker idea across, so wasting the potential of a perfectly good “naïve home-schooled Kid going into the real world” plot for something more fantastic. I’ll just see how it goes. Besides flat characters, a story that moves too fast, and ideas going all over the place, this is good enough to read and even more interesting to wait for.

However... I must say. Among all this madness… There was not a fancy thing this webcomic account for. You LIED TO US MR. ANDERSON! That’s the last time I ever trust a title. “Fancy Adventures” indeed.

“Oh, what, the underground thing? I just punched my way out”—Jack Cannon

-Read or Die you Uneducated Buffoons

The WebcomiCritic