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Stylistic Suck / Webcomics

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  • At the start of the second volume Order of the Stick, No Cure For The Paladin Blues the plot to date is summarized by Elan, using finger-puppets.
  • A Punch an' Pie subplot includes three pages out of a So Bad, It's Good novel by one of the characters. It's written to be received as So Bad, It's Good by the readers in the real world. The general public (or at least the critics) in the webcomic world actually think it's a good novel. Justin (the author) and Angela think it's crap.
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  • When the author of Brawl in the Family decides to take the day off and lets Dedede draw a comic, it has has loads and loads of this.
  • The authors of Erfworld created a site for Parson's "Hamstard" webcomic. Suffice it to say that "Nobody reads my webcomic" is one of his laments about his real-world life prior to his summoning.
  • The works of Tycho's archnemesis L.H. Franzibald in Penny Arcade, whose undeserved success is a great source of jealousy for Tycho. Gabe, of course, is immediately hooked.
    "I am Grimm Shado," said Grimm Shado, his triple wand claws extending. "And I am here to take it to the limit."
    • And Franzibald himself is an offshoot of the "Elemenstor Saga," an "epic" fantasy series about wizards and talking furniture supposedly written by the Tycho character. In an inspired bit of meta-metafiction, Gabe and Tycho created a wiki where readers can create their own continuity for the fictional works.
  • Sluggy Freelance: My name is Gunman Stan McKurt, and I shoot Evil In The Face
  • The theatre and TV shows the characters put on in Something*Positive (such as Nailed!, a musical version of the Crucifixion), all appear to be terrible, especially Aubrey's TV series My Neighbor Cthulhu which was so bad the State of Massachusetts served her with a restraining order keeping her away from TV production equipment.
    • Also Davan and Jason's Cat Girl comic strip Neko Neko Holy-Chan, which Davan holds in such contempt the idea of meeting the people who like it fills him with horror.
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  • Shortpacked!!'s Amber has written at least two blatant Mary Sue stories. Her superheroine, Amazing Girl, was impervious to criticism and had no father issues. Her online romantic novel, in addition to being a hilarious Twilight parody, is an extended metaphor for her ideal romantic life. invoked
  • The various stage performances seen in Girl Genius are as overblown and corny as possible, featuring all sorts of hackneyed mad science and adventure cliches, grandiose romances, and even more grandiose dialogue. An opera called The Storm King is a particularly "impressive" example.
  • Most of the main characters in Achewood keep blogs, and the some of the more dysfunctional characters have atrocious blogs. And the dangerously psychotic Nice Pete has made two forays into the world of novel-writing, both of which manage to be talentless and extremely creepy at the same itme.
    • "When I want your opinion I will cut out your brain and eat it and crap your opinion back into your skull"
  • Peanut of Housepets! writes his own comic featuring Spot (the Superdog), drawn in a crayon-and-lined-paper style, and written in an exaggeratedly amateurish style, with a Boring Invincible Hero, who is also an Author Avatar and delves into the realms of bad Fan Fic at times.
    Spot loves orfans and then we shoot him!
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  • The B-Movie Comic is full of Special Effects Failures, bad writing, Throw It In! moments, and Plot Holes galore. Of course, that's the whole point, and where half the humour comes from (the rest comes from the really good writing about the bad writing, complete with Behind the Scenes "DVD specials" showing "how" the special effects were created. Usually by doing horrible things to Butt-Monkey Lee, who plays Snuka.
  • The page image is from Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, Homestuck's most prominent Show Within a Show, ostensibly written by Dave Strider for ironic purposes. It started life individually from Homestuck, originating as a playful mockery of a mediocre Two Gamers on a Couch comic posted on the Penny Arcade forums (which never continued past a few unfinished strip concepts) and was later integrated into Homestuck as a Show Within a Show. Its primary technique is being a Cut-and-Paste Comic, regularly reusing basic assets from earlier works for most of the panels; the comics are constantly saved as lowest-quality JPEGs, making every subsequent copypaste even more degraded, and it regularly leaves in entire chunks of text, background, other characters, or even bits of Adobe Photoshop windows when copying and pasting. Add liberal doses of Rouge Angles of Satin, Totally Radical, Word-Salad Humor, and Fan Disservice, and you have perhaps the defining example of Stylistic Suck in webcomics.
    • The hilarious part is that it takes actual effort to make it as crappy as it is on Photoshop, because MS Paint can't actually be that low-quality in and of itself and merely using the lowest JPEG setting on Photoshop isn't enough. Andrew Hussie has described his techniques for reaching that level of graphical shittacularity as being fairly intensive and detailed.
      what do you do to the SBaHJ pages to make them look so unbelievably shitty?

      There is a lot to it. I don't have any trade secrets at all, but if I did, it would probably be the process I apply to those images.

      One major tactic: save as jpg, reduce quality to zero, but DON'T SAVE IT YET. Instead, screen capture the preview. Then paste that into the same document, and repeat this process for a while, until you have grown the desired amount of "loss scum".

      But this just keeps making the image foggier, which isn't good enough by itself. After that, I usually apply other effects, like strategic sharpenings and other misc. filters. I also use a lot of masking through color range selections, and perform meticulous alterations at the pixel-cluster level.
  • In Homestuck itself:
    • One of Rose's journals contains Complacency of the Learned, a 'creative writing exercise' full of excessive Purple Prose, ridiculous names, turgid Inner Monologue narration, Mixed Metaphors and plenty of Info Dump abuse. It could also qualify as a parody of H. P. Lovecraft.
    • Mindfang's journal is written in an awkward, fanfic-like style. Unusually for a fanfic parody, it spoofs "good" fanfic - literate, creative, but badly-worded and paced and with lots of jarring sexual content.
    • Later on, we get Roxy's in-progress novel, Wizardy Herbert, which has an interesting idea at its core but the writing quality is inversely proportional to the author's blood alcohol level. It's also a Metafiction about a Harry Potter-like story that is "even worse" story-wise than the novel around it. The characters trapped in fiction land keep whining how bad it is.
    • Hussie also uses a form of Art Shift dubbed "Scribble Mode" to illustrate particularly stupid things. Lampshaded here.
      Karkat cannot be conveyed with a more detailed portrait yet. He is too angry, and is forced to look like shit.
    • Caliborn is the epitome of this. While HOMOSUCK, his dramatic retelling of the story, is miles better than his original drawings (Which were little more than scribbled lines), when combined with his immature misogynistic writing style, you get something that turns the trope up to eleven... thousand. Lampshaded by the acronym for Dave's planet in the second act, LOSHIT, then somehow magnified when he branches into manga and claymation Vines.
    • Alpha-universe Dave Strider achieved a physics-defying In-Universe version when he found a way to manufacture physical objects that have jpeg artifacts. They're so cheap and shoddy that they cost less than nothing to make, so he made himself rich by mass-producing them.
  • There's also Sherlok Holms, a comic that's pretty much "Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff WITH CREEPYPASTA INSTEAD OF VIDEO GAMES!". It's slowly gaining popularity among the video game creepypasta fanbase.
  • Unwinder's Tall Comics features several in-universe comics, books and movies, some (most?) of which do indeed suck.
  • Irregular Webcomic! uses a fictional version of William Shakespeare, where "Will" is a modern-day office worker instead of the historical figure known in Real Life. Instead of writing epic poetry and plays, he focuses his time on writing Harry Potter fanfiction, which is portrayed as being low-quality writing chock full of wish fulfillment of Will's fantasies. The very idea of Shakespeare writing fan fiction would likely fit this trope, even if Will's writing didn't suck.
  • These Webcomics Are Bad is...well, just sort of is.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Marigold's fanfiction... could use some work. Jeph had a lot of fun writing that.
    • Also, Jimbo's romance novels.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has a bonus comic called City Face. Its black-and-white art isn't bad per se, but it's certainly much simpler than the highly detailed and painstakingly colored art that Gunnerkrigg normally features. The dialog has a unique flavor (i.e. highly awkward and stilted, but apropos for the characters in question), and the overall effect is... interesting. The comments in the Shout Box below each strip are part of the joke—written by the author and patterned as a mockery of internet flame wars. Strangely, despite the odd style and superfluous plot, the City Face storyline (and its sequel City Face 2) are are stated to be canon by the author.
  • Super Mega lives and breathes this trope, in bright yellow.
    Puppy on top of other animal: "Where did this unicorn's horn go?! Is the magic gone forever???"
  • BIONICLES ADVENTURS COMIXS was literally conceived as "Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff on BIONICLE", though in execution its approach is fairly different. It actually takes two people to make it as shitty as it is. Then there's the "author"'s Twitter account...
  • "The Degenerate", Corbin's webcomic in +EV.
  • Power Up Comics is meant to be a jab at those who create really sloppy webcomics by cutting and pasting a bunch of canned drawings into simplistic backgrounds and fill it with punchline-less jokes or lazy writing.
  • PvP's Marcy used her webcomic i hate your face as part of her application portfolio for art college. The two strips shown were rather dire.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot and Susan's review show has a scene where Sarah throws a couch at Elliot. In universe, the characters wanted the couch graphic to look obviously fake, so that no one would take it too seriously. Out of universe, this meant that the author did such things as deliberately failing at perspective, re-using the same couch graphic, and making it change size between panels.
  • Triangle and Robert. I repeat, Triangle and Robert. A comic which already thrives on artificial stylistic suck by its own. Or the cartoonist can't draw. And then enter the meta-comic "Dot and Another Dot"...
  • Nebula: At one point Jupiter has a daydream about what things would be like if he were in charge, after he finally succeeded in killing Sun. Since this is Jupiter's daydream, it's of course shown with scribble art and filled with really clumsy out-of-character dialog from the other characters who appear in it.
  • Dolan comics use this as their bread and butter.
  • Similarly, rage comics don't exactly have a beautiful artistic style, but they provide a framework where artistic rank amateurs with a sense of humor can compete with people with artistic talent on equal ground. So the suck is not so much stylistic as it is functional. Sadly, most post-2010 rage comics tend to use less original art and instead copy used facial expressions and play on common high school humor.
  • Swageon and Glacigeon features bad spelling in comic sans, characters who don't show emotion (until later that is), and is generally not recommended to not be taken seriously. Cerebus Syndrome is in effect however.
  • Polandball comics, as a rule, are supposed to look like they were drawn with an unsteady hand using a touchpad or computer mouse on Microsoft paint or something similar. The characters are simple balls with a country's flag and two pupil-less eyes (the more complex flags will still be drawn by a touchpad or mouse). Using tools to make perfect circles or copying and pasting a hard-to-draw emblem or symbol from a flag (besides for the purpose of getting the right colors for it) is heavily frowned upon. Still, artists who have more advanced art programs do sometimes manage to make lush illustrations while still following all the rules.
  • The webcomic adaptation of Christian Humber Reloaded does this near the end of the part about Vash's training. Since the original offhandedly has Vash mention that "While I was training I learned how to use a sword," seemingly as a non-sequitur, the webcomic artist adds a small panel of a poorly drawn Vash using a sword, saying that the panel was "an afterthought," like the sentence that inspired it.
  • The Planet of Hats recap of "Plato's Stepchildren" is drawn in crayon as comment on the episode's writing.


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