Yesterday I waxed elegant on a depiction of intelligent savvy antagonists in a well-written webcomic. Sadly, today I find myself looking for a hard object to smack my head against at the depiction of a minor annoyance in a separate webcomic… well, let’s just say that in a matter of a couple of panels the character (Matty) came off as a hick and a moron. OTENBA Files, a science fiction comic so soft it could be used as a pillow that has strong yuri overtones, has sadly been disappointing me after my initial review.
Part of the reason for my declining enjoyment lies with recent comics that focus on resident loner and fox-human hybrid Tamka. While anthropomorphic characters aren’t exactly my cup of tea, I rather liked seeing the surly character who just wants to be left alone cope with walking in on her roommate in an intimate (and undressed) situation with Kris, and coping with the stray thoughts (which, as she’s telepathic, she keeps picking up on) of various people who want to get in her pants. Her recent revelation that she thinks she’s “not into guys” (coming on the heels of a short flashback story where she was seen lusting after a very male teacher at her school) was a bit of a wall-banger, as there were strong overtones that she was saying she is gay. (Note – it seems I was wrong on the gender of this character. My apologies on this mistake, please note the addendum at the bottom of the article.)
Mind you, I don’t dislike gay or lesbian characters (and the fact I’m still reading the comic should be a clue to that fact). It’s just that the comic is chock full of them, and the general asexuality of Tamka (up until the flashback story) was a welcome addition to the cast (not to mention that there are remarkably few asexual characters depicted in webcomics). Given that cartoonist KTom has been cagey concerning Tamka’s preferences, I had strong hopes that Tamka and Kris would end up becoming friends rather than lovers (which would have been a delightful twist on a yuri-centric comic).
The recent drunken antics by Kris are another reason for my declining enjoyment of OF; while it was interesting to see that Kris seems to have a drinking problem (that she’s aware of but refuses to deal with), having her start to molest the person who got her drunk and that character enjoying it while trying to tell her to stop… I’ll admit I cringed when I encountered this scene. No means no. If you’re drunk and you try something, you’re liable. That Kris got a pass on this is unconscionable.
This is especially true with the recent interactions between Matty and Tamka, in which the young man joined the ranks of a multitude of characters making unwanted advances on the poor woman, and her turning him down cold. Now, I had no problem with this. Nor did I have a problem with him chasing after her and continuing to act the ass; there are guys out there who do things like that. No. My problem is what happens after Kris smacks him into the wall (and for that matter Tamara’s reaction to Kris’s franticness, which she never managed to even try to explain), a smack down that honestly he didn’t deserve as he was just being a pest, and wasn’t, oh say, putting his hand down a girl’s pants when she’s telling him to stop.
But after Tamka left with Kris I went from mildly disappointed to wondering why I was reading when two antagonists (one of whom I don’t recall seeing before) approach Matty and offer him magic that will ensure he get Tamka to fall for him (or somesuch idiocy). His reaction (which can pretty much be summed up as “my pop told me not to talk to people dressed as weirdly as you two”) left me wishing I had something stronger than Scotch available (and that it wasn’t too early in the morning for a shot). To turn around from that initial hick moment and then take up the offer from people he knows nothing about as a “win/win” for him? Without even asking what price there would be for this bit of magic?
Bravo. Way to go KTom, you just managed to make our minor irritation out to be the front-runner for moronic hick of the year. If he’d just accepted this Faustian bargain without the comment on their garb, I’d have rolled my eyes and just accepted it. Adding in an extra dose of hickness (and this ain’t the first time KTom has depicted minor characters as hicks who lack any sense or brains) was an extra kick to the shins to the insult given to the male gender.
What’s worse is the potential lost to the scene. We could have had Matty blackmailed into helping these antagonists, with threats against Matty’s employers or family. Or even just had him take a logical look at what was happening, admit it’s a terrible idea, and give a fatalistic sigh of “what choice do I have?” before agreeing. It would have been better than taking a two-dimensional tertiary character and shoehorning him into a one-dimensional role. I just hope that this is a short-term glitch as OTENBA Files has an interesting premise, and has shown promise.
Addendum note: it appears that I was mistaken on the gender of a tertiary character mentioned in the second paragraph. My apologies on that; knowing that Tamka was lusting after a female teacher does reduce my need to find a wall for my head (at least for this scene – I still find the use of hard surfaces for my head when I make errors like this to be useful). I’ll stand by the rest of my arguments, however.