Thursday, September 25, 2008

Review: Marooned (6 Pints)

by Tom Dell'Aringa

Stop me if you've heard this one, before...

A webcomic walks into a bar, and the bartender asks it what it wants. It says it wants a Comedic Sci-Fi. The bartender asks it how to make a Comedic Sci-Fi, and it answers:

"I don't know, all I have is an interesting storyline."

Not a funny joke, I admit. The jokes on Marooned are sometimes funnier, sometimes not. To be fair, some of them are actually very funny, but far too many of them are the same, lame elbow-slappers you see all the time in webcomics. Take 'Dome Sweet Dome'.

No, really. Please.

And this frustrates me, because Tom writes some great dialogue and excellent plot twists. It's like he planned a gag-a-day comedy and a compelling story showed up, instead. Tom even seems self-conscious about his excellent writing skills when it comes to character and story. His latest update as of this review apologizes - apologizes! - for being long and unfunny but deeply involving. What a heartless bastard! Making me care when I could be laughing at the latest retread of a half-century old Sunday Funny gag! It's not like lame gags can just be found in webcomics everywhere! What was he thinking?!

Seriously. The comic works best when he lets the jokes evolve out of the situation in the form of witty dialogue or brutal honesty, rather than planning a joke and writing around it. He's funny when ASIMOV is taking the piss out of the Captain, and he's funny when the aliens make unintentionally funny comments. It works. But the rest of the time, he's just trying too hard to mug for the camera, so to speak, and it's a shame, because he seems to think if he isn't funny every single strip, he's losing people. No, Tom, your going to lose people with predictable jokes we've all heard before. Every gag under the sun has been done, before. Let them go and play with the fascinating toolbox you've created but seem afraid to use.

This webcomic impresses the hell out of me, sometimes, and I say that as someone who generally loathes a vast majority of strip-based comedies. It has a heart and a soul, and it's actually funny when it's not trying too hard. Relax, Tom. You're good - damn good. Listen to the pragon of Sci-Fi, Yoda, and simply trust in the force. Suck, you will not if hamming it up, you don't.


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