A Genuine Ultimatum, Part 2: Wicked Powered

Today continues my quest to ditch comics not worth reading – but since there are some other topics I want to also discuss, I’m going after an easy target: Wicked Powered.

Now, the reason this is an easy choice is because Wicked Powered sorta kinda somewhat came to an end just over two months ago. Or, more accurately… the main heroes of the show came up against the main villain, who hurled them into a time loop!

At first, I was excited. I mean – this was a genuinely exciting scene, and for a comic that was filled with highs and lows, it was definitely one of the former. So we suddenly have our cast get rocketed back to the beginning of the strip, and I’m thinking it is pretty awesome. I’m carefully paying attention, keeping my eye out for any minor discrepancies or other hints of the characters realizing they are caught in a loop…

…and I find nothing. In fact, I realize, they are just flat-out rerunning the strip from the beginning without any changes. That’s cold.

This is confirmed, shortly thereafter, by a news-post explaining just that. The comic is no longer profitable, so they aren’t able to keep it going. Thus, they’ve set-up this clever form of reruns. And it is clever – it lets them keep the comic rolling without actually bringing it to a close, but leaves them able to step back in and start things up at any time, should they desire to do so. Not a bad setup.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest things the comic had in its favor was its momentum. It started with something of a mystery and kept the action going from there – and suddenly everything has come to a stop. Sure, the scenes are still rolling – but nothing that will keep a reader’s attention. Instead, it just helps make the comic’s weaknesses more obvious, and lets the reader come to understand that there wasn’t really a grand plan to find out – that the plot was just being played by ear from the beginning.

Let’s be honest now – this comic was never a great masterpiece. Like most of Crosby’s work, it tends to cater to the lowest common denominator – pretty much every punchline is a boob joke, a gay joke, or toilet humor. And, sure, there are people who are looking for that, and find that stuff hilarious… but I also suspect there are a handful like me, who were reading the comic because we were drawn to the spark of the story inside. Sure, it was a story filled with parody and zaniness and that didn’t take itself all that seriously – but that was part of the charm. And as long as that story was rolling, it was an interesting read – but the story is over, and dropped in such a way that it will be hard to start back up.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that Crosby and Gieni are by any means obligated to keep providing me with free comic material. It was created to make money from a sponsor, and when the money dried up, the story got set aside. Fair enough.

But I think the real shame is that they launched into the reruns without warning the reader – they left the reader, at least initially, with a different expectation than they deserved. If they had announced when the time-loop commenced that this was the comics way of going on hiatus, I think that would have been fine. But instead, the reader was tricked into thinking it was part of the story, and became invested in what was going on – only to find out there was nothing going on, nothing at all.

What does that mean, when all is said and done? It means any chances of a genuine return just took a pretty hard blow to the head. Because now the reader isn’t going to be as easily able to get invested back in the comic – they’ve already done so and had their interest fizzle. And so if, sometime down the road, the comic looks worth resuming, and they start things back up again, all the better for them…

…but we’re not sticking around to see it.

4 responses

  1. I take issue with the statement that most of my work caters to the lowest common denominator. If you happen to only read the work of mine that does purposefully make the LCD somewhat of a target audience like SORE THUMBS and WICKEDPOWERED, that may seem to be the case. However, SUPEROSITY is roughly 80% of my creative output, and there is virtually no “boob jokes” or “gay jokes” and very little “toilet humor” in that strip.

    As well, it should be noted that I’m the co-writer on both WICKEDPOWERED and SORE THUMBS, not the sole writer. As an example, most of the dialogue in the panel posted with your article was written by Owen Gieni, not yours truly. (I think I contributed the Jim J. Bullock reference. That is my kind of humor, a reference to an obscure celebrity.)

    I do apologize (as I did in my note on the homepage) that you felt tricked by the time-loop, but that wasn’t our intention, in spite of the initial lack of explanation. Truthfully, we’ve got a million projects going, and I’m just really really lazy when it comes to editing HTML files.

    Based on the overall enthusiasm of our fan base, I do believe WICKEDPOWERED will return one day. I’m sorry you won’t be reading it.

  2. Chris – I’ll admit that I haven’t read all of Superosity, and was basing my statement on my experience with Sore Thumbs, Wickedpowered, etc. In my defense, the few times I did encounter Superosity I was confronted with some low-brow humor, and that was exactly what had turned me away – but I’m willing to accept those were the exception rather than the norm, and so my apologies for claiming that was the majority of what you produced.

    Same goes on the co-authorship – I had been under the impression you were the primary writer on the strip, and the Gieni was just producing the art. An assumption that was a disservice to both of you – so, again, apologies.

    I may have realized that your style of humor really isn’t for me, but I do wish you the best with your various projects and the eventual return of Wicked Powered.

  3. Mr. Myth,

    I am going to chime in also on behalf of Superosity not being lowest common denominator. I find it to be one of the smartest/cleverest comics being written today.

    I honestly find it hard to believe that you consider ‘control alt delete’ to be a ‘darn cool comic’ while finding any of the strips in the Superosity archive lowbrow, but my aim isn’t to get into a debate about the comparative merits of those comics.

    My actual point is (1) that you should read Superosity, because it is an amazing comic, and (2) while I don’t know whether your judgment about crosby’s writing was reasonable given your previous samples, I think that the judgment itself is incorrect, and would advise you to read Superosity to verify that for yourself.

  4. Lewis,

    As I mentioned, I’ll agree that Superosity falls outside the claims I made, and to have even implied judgement on something I haven’t read was a failing on my part.

    As for Crosby’s other strips vs Ctrl+Alt+Del… well, Buckley’s jokes may be badly delivered and/or nonexistent, while I would describe Sore Thumbs and Wicked Powered as well-delivered low-brow humor. Why does Ctrl+Alt+Del get a spot on the list when they don’t?

    I can’t really give a good answer, but given it is probably going to be part of this series as well, don’t expect it to stay on the list for long. 😉

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