Powerup Comics is a Two Gamers on a Couch webcomic detailing the awesome adventures of the uber PS3 / 360 gamers, Shadow and Chug.Wait, no.Powerup Comics is the half-baked product of two man-child PS3 / 360 fanboys. The protagonists are a pair of Marty Stuself-inserts who talk big about their gaming prowess, but spend most of the comic getting into inane adventures that are only tangentially (at best) connected to video games. And this excuse for a plot often gets tossed to the side so the authors can soapbox their uninformed opinions on whatever topics happens to have grabbed their interest that week. The artwork consists of, at most, two poses for every character (which are then abusively copied and pasted), and the punchlines are either nonexistent, or consist of Shadow shooting whoever he happens to disagree with.Wait, no, that’s not it either.Powerup Comics is an elaborate prank in webcomic form. Chad aka “Shadow” and Jason “Chug” Krydenski, the alleged author and artist, are just as fictional as the webcomic they created. In reality, the comic was conceived by Eli Parker, and created with plenty of input from other members of the Truth & Beauty Bombs forum (at the time, the home of the Dinosaur Comics fandom). The entire point was to create a So Unfunny It's FunnyStealth Parody of Two Gamers on a Couch webcomics in general, and of Ctrl+Alt+Del in particular—thus, all the aforementioned flaws were completely deliberate on the creators’ parts. Whether or not they succeeded too well in making a bad webcomic is left for the reader to determine.A secondary goal of Powerup’s creators was to trollDrunk Duck: reasoning that the only thing more infuriating than bad art was inexplicably popular bad art, T&BB members created accounts on Drunk Duck solely to pose as Powerup fans. Their ensuing arguments with Duck users who weren’t in on the joke brought Powerup enough page views to propel it to a spot on Drunk Duck’s automatically-generated Top Ten list.A few years after Powerup’s inception, participation from Truth & Beauty Bombs dried up, so Parker continued the comic solo. He also worked Chad and Jason (the authors, not the Marty Stus) into his main comic series, Unwinder's Tall Comics, as minor recurring characters.Eventually, Jason left for college, forcing Chad to bring Powerup Comics to an end, though he insisted that it was just a temporary hiatus until a new artist could be found. Over a year later, Chad found his artist—Amy Sauce, another Tall Comics character—and relaunched the comic with almost none of the old characters, and a painfully hip art style that clashes just a little bit with the writing. Currently, this incarnation of Powerup lingers in Schedule Slip limbo.
This webcomic provides examples of:
Aborted Arc: Early in the comic's run, one of the T&BB crowd's many plans for the comic's ending involved Shadow (the author) slowly going insane, while the comic itself became increasingly Mind Screwy to match its author's deterioration. There's a single strip (in which Shadow wakes up in the middle of a field and has no idea how he got there) that was intended to foreshadow this story arc; it was never followed up on.
Ambiguously Brown - Darkwinkle. Not for lack of information, but because Chad himself can’t keep the information straight: Darkwinkle varies from black to Mexican from strip to strip.
Here, Chug debuts a new style after having taken some art classes. It's more detailed, yet uglier than before. It only lasts about five pages before Chug quietly switches back to the old style.
When Chug-the-artist departs for college, the final page he draws is basically a huge middle finger directed at Shadow. The art features actual shading, backgrounds, new poses and facial expressions, and a distinct lack of copy-pasting—demonstrating that Chug could have drawn better all along, but chose not to. To drive the point home, the art fades back to the usual, crappy style as soon as Chug-the-character leaves the page.
Amy Sauce's new art style is wildly different (and a huge step up) from Chug's style.
Black Comedy Rape - Subverted. Shadow getting raped by Harriet is treated deathly seriously and played for drama, completely at odds with the Unfortunate Implications and Dude, Not Funny! that the comic usually utilises. Then double subverted, as the storyline ends with God telling Shadow that he should just be happy he got more sex, and Shadow fully embracing it.
Cerebus Syndrome - Spoofed in a series that is about Shadow being raped in his sleep for years. It's Played for Drama up until the end, and the only punchline is the fact that Shadow sometimes still grins while crying. The real joke, of course, is that we aren't attached to Shadow, even as the "writer" thinks that we are.
Character Development: Development in-comic is rather lackluster, but the events of the comic are very revealing about the "real" Chad's psyche—for instance, the way his relationship with his father is portrayed in the comic says a lot about his real father. His commentaries in The Rant also provide insight, showing Chad developing interest in politics (and Completely Missing the Point), political correctness (and Completely Missing the Point), and so on. His cameos in Unwinder's Tall Comics support this interpretation, showing him as an oppressive bully who controls Jason, but is too stupid even to realise this is what he's doing. Since Shadow is the comic's real joke, from a meta perspective, this trope is the only reason the comic exists.
Cosmic Deadline - With the real-life Chug's departure (and thus, the end of the comic) looming, every conceivable plot line gets wrapped up, the answers are revealed to mysteries that the audience didn't even know were mysteries, and half of the supporting characters reveal themselves to be long-lost relatives of Shadow.
Crazy Cat Lady - Shadow (the author) apparently thinks all feminists are like this:.
Alix: I joined a feminist gamer forum. Shadow: That explains the cats. Alix: They came with the membership.
Easy Amnesia - Starting here, Jack Thompson gets a sofa dropped on his head, and wakes up with no memory. One sentence from Shadow and Chug convinces Jack to become a clone of them. George W Bush attempts to pull the same stunt on Shadow, but Shadow is "too cool to be brainwashed".
Flipping the Bird - Shadow’s hair, as drawn by Amy Sauce: his bangs are in five distinct spikes, four of them tightly curled, and the middle spike pointing straight up.
Girl on Girl Is Hot - Chug's mom is a lesbian; Shadow is incapable of talking about her without mentioning how hot he thinks it is.
GIS Syndrome - Parodied in one comic which had a giant iStockphoto watermark left in the background.
He Who Fights Monsters - Shadow runs for President because he's not happy with either of the big-ticket candidates. He starts lying about his position in order to get more votes; Dorkwinkle, of all people, points out that, by doing so, Shadow has become just as "lame" as the politicians he's running against.
Ho Yay - Frequently invoked intentionally to underline Shadow's neediness, especially in Powerup Adventure, when Shadow and Chug had an argument and Shadow had to draw the strips himself. I'm glad we're friends, Chuggeth.
Loose Canon - Following one cameo in Unwinder's Tall Comics, Parker points out in The Rant that the Tall Comics canon regarding the “real” Shadow and Chug isn’t 100% official Powerup Comics canon. Parker specifies that he doesn’t want his concept of the “real” Shadow and Chug to invalidate anyone else's theories about the “real” Shadow and Chug.
Protagonist-Centered Morality - Shadow and Chug have both killed people just because they don't agree with them. And when Shadow kills himself, He goes to Gamer heaven.
Schedule Slip: The Amy-drawn comics are so bad about this that Shadow lampshades it in The Rant. This comic was allegedly written back when The Avengers was in theaters—and it took so long to get finished that the dialogue was changed to refer to the home video release.
Spoof Aesop: Here, apropos of nothing, Chug hopes that everyone's learned something.
Dorkwinkle: I learned how to do Pikachu's super combo! Chug: Christ. Nintendo executive: I learn no get so freaking high. Hard to get down. Alix: I learned that white plastic contains thirteen different hallucinogenic compounds. Shadow: I didn't learn crap. What is this, school?
Stepford Smiler - Characters often smile at inappropriate times; usually more due to lazy copy-and-paste artwork than anything else.
Stealth Parody - Of Two Gamers on a Couch webcomics in general, and of Ctrl+Alt+Del in particular. While Powerup never directly mentions CAD, it copies all the features that Truth & Beauty Bombs members considered CAD’s biggest flaws (Only Six Faces, the gamer religion, the one "dramatic" story, claiming to be a gaming webcomic while focusing on story arcs that have nothing to do with gaming, etc.).