Part XV: "The Lounge"
(As seen at
Guess who's back, back again! Vader's back, tell a friend!
Setting aside the Eminem references, I am indeed back and ready
to subject myself to the wacky world of webcomics once again.
Today's subject matter is a first for Comic Release, as it's the
first webcomic I'm reviewing that I know absolutely nothing
about going in. Okay, I know two things: I know that it's called
The Lounge, and I know that it bills itself as "Cute, sexy, and
purriffic!" Obviously this must mean I'm in for nothing less
than a masterpiece of a comic. Let's take a look.
First off, I should mention that this comic has been going since 2002.
Furthermore, in the initial years following its creation, this
fucking thing pumped out comic strips at the rate of ONE PER
DAY. Even if you adjust for the months that have fewer updates,
there's at a conservative estimate around 18-20 strips per month
on average. If we use 20 as a ballpark number, this means The
Lounge is comprised of around 2,000 comics in total. That's
fucking insane. For comparison, Dominic Deegan, an equally
long-running shitpile, has around 3,000. The only difference?
THE LOUNGE HASN'T ENDED YET.
Needless to say, I'm not going to subject myself to the entirety
of the content in this comic's archives. Anyone claiming that an
evaluation of this or any other excruciatingly-long webcomic has
no merit unless the reviewer has read all of it can run through
a forest of dicks. That's like saying you can't give Final
Fantasy XIII a bad review because you only played fifteen hours
and therefore don't know if the rest sucks or not. Guess what?
IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER. A game that takes fifteen hours to
get good (not that FF XIII ever does this—to the contrary, it
gets worse) is still a shitty game. Similarly, a webcomic that
takes hundreds of pages to get good is a shitty webcomic.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's talk about the story
and see how far we get before things get too asinine to bother
In a nutshell, The Lounge is a "humor" webcomic featuring some
weeaboo bitch with a choker on her neck named Italy (what is
this, goddamn Hetalia?!). She runs "an anime, video games,
comic, [sic] and coffee shop" called The Lounge, which she
apparently inherited from her father. There's also this other
weeaboo with glasses named Max who works at the place and makes
his formal introduction by telling the audience that Italy
doesn't wear a bra. Only four strips into this thing and already
I'm eager for the ride to end. The attempts at comedy are even
worse than the art, and the art looks like it was drawn by a
twelve-year-old with Parkinson's disease.
With that incredibly complex and nuanced setup out of the way,
the comic is free to begin unloading its hilarious "jokes". More
and more characters keep popping up, but since they all are
clichés with a maximum of one defining trait, you won't care.
Italy is an archetypical "tsundere" character who erratically
switches between using Max as her whipping boy and making him
the recipient of the most awkward and forced sexual tension I've
ever seen. Max himself serves no obvious purpose except to act
as a human dumpster for Italy's excess bitchiness. Then there's
Italy's sex-obsessed friend, Italy's OTHER sex-obsessed friend
who is a lesbian, some girl who is so obsessed with dragons that
she never talks about anything else, and a whole bunch of other
characters nobody cares about (including, presumably, the person
who wrote them).
Oh yes, and of course we can't forget the token loli character
who is TOTALLY 19 but looks like she's 13 (possibly as young as
10 in some illustrations) and serves as the focus for moe~/loli-catgirl
fanservice while constantly saying "mew" for some reason.
Seriously, there is no way
this girl is anywhere near 19 years old (or 20, according to
her profile on the cast page). The fact that the author goes to
such lengths to state her age in multiple sections of the site
only drives home how desperate he is to sexualize an obviously
underage character without getting called a pedophile. Well
mission failed, fuckface. You are a pervert who gets aroused
looking at children.
Some of the fanservice in this comic is simply ridiculous. The
comic stops short of showing full nudity for the sake of
(barely) keeping its "safe for work" rating, but that's about
the only line it won't cross. We constantly get lesbian
shenanigans, teasing, T&A close-ups, and characters dressing in
hyper-fetish-y outfits for Halloween.
Speaking of the Halloween party, that little story arc takes a
hilariously dark turn at the end. You see, our main character
got so fucking drunk that she couldn't continue partying
anymore, so her lesbian friend brought her home. Because this
comic is written by someone who is mentally five years old,
there's a non-joke about Italy wishing she could join her friend
once she brings her to her bed.
Then they have sex.
Yeah, you read that right. Eight times in a row, according to
the comic. (Because having that many orgasms in a short amount
of time is funny, I guess.) And guess what? Nothing comes of it.
We get some more juvenile attempts at humor and then the entire
thing is just forgotten. The fact that a character was too
intoxicated to consent to intercourse is used as a throwaway
Ha, she got
raped! AIN'T THAT HILARIOUS?!
It's like you're watching some sappy harem anime, then the TV
suddenly switches to Rick Ross's verse from U.O.E.N.O. and then
back again. The most surreal part comes a few strips later
during a Christmas storyline. The lesbian rapist friend (named
Aya—and she not only has the same hair but also cosplays as Rei
at one point) gives Italy a present: Herself dressed in nothing
but a ribbon. When Italy is reluctant, said "friend" proceeds to
mope until Italy ACTUALLY FEELS GUILTY AND THEN HAS SEX WITH
HER. What the fuck.
On the topic of sex, after more than 150 pages, I finally found
a picture that actually looks like it had some amount of effort
put into it. Feast your eyes:
Will you look
at that EVERYTHING.
It might seem like I'm jumping around to zero in on the parts of
the comic that feature sex, but the characters' sexuality is the
primary focus of the story. Italy's lesbianism is, believe it or
not, the central plot device around which most of the major
events in The Lounge revolve. Her love of carpet munching even
gets its own origin story: Back in high school, she met this guy
who was basically the perfect Prince Charming type you'd see in
some knockoff Disney bullshit. When the two of them went to prom
together, Italy wanted to jump his bone; he didn't immediately
get hard, however, so she ran home crying and proceeded to
scissor the night away with her rapist girlfriend instead.
Italy was stated to be bisexual early in the comic but is later
retconned to be gay all the way. This little adjustment has the
effect of making her come off as a massive cunt for spending so
much time cock-teasing her male acquaintances, as it turns her
constant flirting into an apparent attempt to torture them for
her own amusement.
The softcore lesbian porn scenes and sophomoric sex jokes
continue for a while until the comic goes and gets SUPER CEREAL
when Italy's father disown her because she's gay (I was dead
serious when I said her sexual escapades are the trigger for
everything that happens in this story). Then some evil
incestuous twins from a rival family want to destroy her
business and there's attempted rape and crying and drama and
bullshit. I'd say it was terrible if the story had managed to
make me give any kind of a shit.
I thought I could end this section here, but apparently I still
need to write more. My dipshit editor is making me do this. I
don't even wanna continue this review, honestly. Anyway, at one
point we learn that Italy was actually an OMG LEZZBIYAN all
along. That's right, the author isn't a shitty writer who pulls
nonsense out of his ass when his newer comics contradict his
older ones, he planned this all along! You see, Italy's father
is really "old-fashioned" (which is sort of like a roundabout
way for college liberals to say someone is a bigot and should
choke on semen), so the poor girl felt FORCED to act as if she
liked boys her entire life! I wonder what would have happened if
she came out to him earlier. Given how cartoonishly evil he is,
he probably would have thrown his underage daughter in some sort
of camp full of drug-addicted hobos.
Regardless, Italy's secret lesbianism was apparently the reason
why her prom date couldn't get it up. Because it's a well-known
fact that straight men are repulsed by naked lesbian women. This
development is the most utterly ludicrous thing ever until you
figure out why it happens. All the nonsensical idiocy makes
sense once we realize what John Joseco (the man behind this
botched surgery of a comic) was aiming for.
Consider how Italy spent a ton of earlier strips playing with
the emotions of Mr. "Why am I suddenly in blackface" Weeaboo
along. Since she's been retconned to have been gay all along,
she of course needs to apologize to Josec- I MEAN MAX for
stringing him along and not delivering on the sex she indirectly
promised him with all that flirting. Josec- MAX of course tries
to act like the bigger man despite the fact that it's blatantly
obvious he wants to pee in the butt of all the girls who clearly
owe him sex- I MEAN ITALY.
Actually, once you think of Max as a self-insert of Joseco
(whether intentional or not), a lot of things in this comic
suddenly start to make sense. Take Italy's slutty tsundere
behavior in the earlier strips, for instance. It's perfectly
logical once you approach it from the angle that this is how
Joseco sees attractive—or at least supposedly attractive—women.
Clearly, the sluts are intentionally cock-teasing him with their
naughty bits and stringing the poor, innocent guy along. Not
only do they secretly want to ride his jock, they owe it to him
by virtue of the fact that they dared to look attractive in
front of him. And if a woman ever rejects him, well, then she
must obviously be homosexual, because how else could someone
resist the primal force of raw sex appeal that is him? Either
way, they'd better profusely apologize for daring to be
attractive and not putting out. When read this way, The Lounge
becomes marginally more interesting and significantly more
Awful. Terrible. Wretched. Earlier, I compared this thing to
Dominic Deegan, and it's fitting that I should do the same again
here, because art-wise, the two share a lot of similarities. For
instance, there's the horrible anime snout-faces that no human
being would ever have unless they were in a very specific kind
of car accident. Or the fact that all the girls have the giant
saucer eyes going on. Then there are all the other tired old
chestnuts from the bottom of the anime barrel: giant sweat
drops, forehead veins, and of course (everyone's favorite!)
plenty of nosebleeds. And the blushing. Holy hell, is there a
lot of blushing.
Much MUCH later in the comic's lifespan, Joseco finally learns
about a little thing called "shading". Unfortunately for him,
shitty drawings with shading are still shitty drawings. He did
improve more than Terracciano of Dominic Deegan "fame", but this
is not something to be praised—especially since he actually got
WORSE later. Even TV Tropes, which features a ridiculously
positive article about The Lounge, couldn't manage to spin
Joseco's blatant lack of fucks to give about his own work. To
quote the page: "[...] recently [the art] has been devolving
(mostly due to the artist working on other projects) now looking
worst then [sic] when it started." How much do you have to suck
when even that hugbox circlejerk of a website can't praise you?
this is about as good as it ever gets.
And yes, her
pubic hair is in the shape of Lorule's Triforce.
Strangely, despite having drawn more naked or near-naked female
bodies than there are real women in the world, Joseco only ever
learned how to draw one female body type. This means every
character he draws is essentially a different head placed on a
body labeled either Adult Female #1 or "Adult" Female #1. Except
for the lolis, differences in skin tone and novelty pubic hair
shapes are the only thing that prevent every one of his female
characters from being identical from the neck down. This
wouldn't be as much of an issue if it wasn't for the fact that
twenty-something women in little-to-no clothing against
featureless backgrounds comprise the lion's share of Joseco's
entire artistic portfolio. It makes the amount of smut he
produces totally baffling. The man could just as easily upload
the same image every 48 hours for the rest of his life and his
fans would never know the difference.
John Joseco is a gigantic weeaboo.
I know that must come as a shock after reading all about his
shitty anime harem lez-fest comic with a Japanese-American main
character, but it's true. The man avidly collects figurines of
female anime characters in skimpy clothing and is a massive fan
of Kill La Kill, Sailor Moon, My Little Pony, and everything
GAINAX has ever pinched out. If this doesn't convince you his
taste sucks, nothing ever will.
Besides intermittently updating The Lounge, Joseco also
currently works on a webcomic called The Hunters of Salamanstra.
The story is about some furry chick called White Wolf (who
fights with a katana, of course) and her boringly stereotypical
companions destroying black gates, whatever those are. Since I'm
not contractually obliged to review this one, I didn't read very
far into it. All I can tell you is that the art in this one is
better, probably because 90% of the panels are shots of the
furry girl's ass and tits. Joseco draws ass and tits like ghosts
are threatening to murder his family if he stops.
He also has a Tumblr account that he mainly uses to post more
drawings of ass and tits. Most of the pieces involve humanized
MLP characters. Just putting that out there.
There is another webcomic to which The Lounge can be compared:
Tim Buckley's Ctrl+Alt+Del. Both feature a stereotypical evil
guy who pines for the main character's girlfriend (or the main
character herself, in case of The Lounge) despite the fact that
he could easily get dozens of women who are far more attractive
and WON'T crush his balls for the sheer fun of it. Italy is
essentially Ethan and Lilah rolled into one character, with Max
playing the role of the straight (Ha!) man Lucas.
The more interesting similarity between these two comics is that
they fail for exactly the same reason: Both are wretchedly
unfunny gag-a-day webcomics about video games and nerdy shit
that later make the switch to drama/slice-of-life stories and
fail miserably at them. While they both suck from their debut
strips onward, the introduction of drama makes everything a
billion times worse because the characters we're supposed to
relate to are either unlikable cockbags (Italy, Ethan, Aya) or
one-note caricatures (everyone else). One had lesbian rape and a
homophobic father; the other one had a miscarriage and genocidal
robots. At least the latter made for some pretty hilarious
comedy, even if it was completely unintentional.
The Lounge isn't over yet (according to Joseco, the comic will
wrap up in 2014) but one thing is clear: However it ends, it
will be terrible.
Alex's AFTER Thoughts
Reading The Lounge has dropped me in the middle of a churning
sea of fremdscham. I am straight-up ashamed for every
person who enjoys this shit. The idea that anyone could derive
pleasure from this brain-dissolving garbage and not die of
embarrassment boggles my mind. If someone claimed they'd seen me
crack a smile while looking at anything drawn by John Joseco,
I'd make up a phony alibi about being at a pharmacy buying
medication for Inverted Penis Syndrome.
The term "pandering" has appeared in a number of CR articles to
date, but its use has never been more appropriate than in
describing the appeal of The Lounge. This comic manipulates its
target audience like a cast of marionettes. Its style is generic
shoujo anime distilled and concentrated to industrial-strength
potency, then poured over depictions of every otaku-approved
cliché in the book. Cute animal mascots? Check! Plotlines lifted
from umpteen slice-of-life anime series? Big check! Dated pop
culture references thrown in solely to trigger 80s and 90s
childhood nostalgia? Mega Check! Tons of shameless fanservice?
Super Check II Turbo Ultra Match Plus R!
With Joseco's talent for exploiting the most pathetic fandoms on
the internet, it's no wonder he managed to secure a seat at the
table for bronies' favorite internet celebrities. Thanks to his
plentiful contributions to the fandom, we have an even crazier
Tara Strong and an extra 85,000 images of Princess Celestia
rubbing her horse ass all over everything. I shudder to think
how many poor ranchers have woken up to find the hind ends of
their mares shampooed in nerd jizz thanks to Joseco's
inexplicably popular "Molestia" character. If you think I'm
exaggerating, then you should know the whole situation got so
crazy that Hasbro was forced to step in and shut that shit down.
When a multi-billion dollar corporation sets aside the
time to tell you that your non-profit fan comic is too fucking
creepy to exist, you've officially inducted yourself into the
Loser Hall of Fame for eternity.
And yet, even after being involved in a scandal that would make
the most unfailingly tolerant parents on the planet want to
publicly disown him, Joseco remains a popular artist—and not
only within the notoriously shameless brony community. His stuff
is still ravenously devoured by his fans and continues to win
new admirers every time he waddles into a convention hall with a
pen and paper in hand. When you consider the guy has zero talent
as a writer and produces the artistic equivalent of a drunk
infant vomiting into a fish tank, it gets damn hard to deny that
his appeal as an artist lies not in the quality of his work, but
in what it depicts.
More than anything else in the whole wide world, John Joseco
fucking LOVES to draw
The Lounge is full of
his galleries are full of
The son of a bitch even draws
ponies as anime
lesbians. And if you're upset by those censor bars, eat
shit. I'm not here to advertise Joseco's softcore smut drawn in
the style of speedpainted Dr. Katz fanart.
What I am here to do is restate the truth that anyone with half
a brain figured out the second they so much as glanced at Max's
review: John Joseco owes 100% of his popularity to the fact that
his fanbase is comprised of frustrated nerds who diddle
themselves to his sketches of cookie-cutter anime girls feeling
each other up. If you think I'm wrong, please feel free to
send me an e-mail explaining the
artistic appeal of Joseco's work that my plebeian brain somehow
missed. If you present a convincing argument, I'll post a public
apology for besmirching the name that will someday be printed
underneath a drawing of two catgirls performing cunnilingus on
each other hanging in the Louvre. If you fail to convince me
that Joseco is anything but a pervy hack, I'll make fun of your
message and post the results on the site. That should sound like
a pretty fair deal given that you have nothing to lose. After
all, the price you pay for defending anything in The Lounge is
your ability to feel shame.
'Till next time!