Part XI: "Misfile"
(As seen at
Oh God, what have I gotten myself into this time. This one
isn't like Collar 6, where I can easily laugh at its stupidity.
It's not even like Bleedman's ultra-tasteless misadventures.
Writing reviews for those was at least fun, despite the
indescribable pain involved. But not this time... This comic
makes me cringe. I'm not kidding you, my stomach literally feels
like I have to puke every moment a page of this trash is on my
monitor. It'll be a miracle if I don't die of dehydration before
this is over.
Our subject today bears the title Misfile, the first work
of fiction to make me feel physically ill since The 120 Days of
Sodom (and at least that book was pretty good, disturbing
content notwithstanding). To make matters worse, Misfile is
fucking LONG. While I'm writing this, the comic consists of over
1,800 pages. That's almost twice as many as ALL OF THE LORD OF
THE RINGS NOVELS COMBINED. Ah well, no use in delaying the
inevitable. As much as I will hate myself for doing this, let's
go in-depth and explore what makes this webcomic such a fucking
piece of garbage.
So you may be asking yourself, "What is this shit all about?" Excellent
question. Misfile is a webcomic about gender-changing (as well
as other things, but this is the axis it revolves around) and
thus belongs to the same category of digital shitpits including
The Wotch and Abstract Gender. Like all gender-change webcomics
out there, this one involves an average man being turned into an
attractive woman. Gee, I wonder why that is...
Anyway, the setup for this thing is that Rumsiel, an angel with
the worst name ever, was intoxicated on booze and pot and thus
did a misfile (derp) in the celestial filing cabinet. I won't
even get into how retarded the concept of an angel who takes
drugs and sleeps with hookers is since there's an even bigger
piece of idiocy right behind it: in the world of Misfile, Heaven
is a bureaucracy. And according to the author, that means it has
a shitload of filing cabinets. You see, every living being has a
file. If you do not put each file in its proper place, you'll
fuck everything up. For example, the main character Ash was
accidentally filed in the "girl" cabinet, so he's a girl now.
And the other main character, Emily, lost two years of her life
and aged backwards because a couple pages fell out of her file.
So now Rumsiel, having been thrown out by his bosses for being a
slacker, lives on Earth with the other two and tries to do good
deeds so he can schmooze his way back into Heaven and correct
his mistake. Because if anybody finds outs about his little
mishap, his bosses will "correct" it by making the changes
permanent. Oh noes!
Let's step back dissect this premise a bit, shall we? First of
all, the idea of heavenly filing cabinets with reality-altering
powers is so fucking retarded, I can't believe it. If you put
someone's file into the wrong category (like "fish"), not only
will they change, but REALITY ITSELF WILL BE ALTERED TO FIT. The
three main characters are the only ones who remember how things
used to be—as far as reality and everybody living in it is
concerned, Ash has always been a girl. And before any fucking
tosser tries to pull the "it's just fiction" argument, you can't
ask me to suspend my disbelief so much that I could be
institutionalized. You want me to believe that God created a
system that is this stupid and dangerous and lets any random
idiot play around with the fundamental aspects of reality? I'm
supposed to worship a creator that stupid?! Where can I sign up
for the armies of Hell?!
Misfile in a
nutshell. Please note the extreme amount of thought that went
Ugh... 23 pages in and I already feel like I've just read all of
Sugar Bits and Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi back-to-back. But
anyway, now you know what this webcomic is about. And believe it
or not, we are only scratching the surface of what makes it so
abhorrent. The other reasons fall basically into three
categories: Bullshit sitcom-hijinks, bullshit melodrama, and
bullshit unintentional sexism. At least I hope it's
unintentional, because otherwise... Fucking hell.
The sitcom-y part is pretty much self-explanatory, because
gender-changing always leads to such "hilarious" antics as
trying to close your newly acquired bra and other retarded
clichés that going into too much detail would be wasting my time
and yours. As for the drama, again, this comic does nothing to
build upon the basics of unrequited love and teenage angst that
hack writers have been relying on since forever. All you need to
know is "will I ever get my penis back?" is pretty much the main
theme of this thing and the source of most of the
unintentionally hilarious drama.
The sexism, however, I will have to explain a bit. For one, the
main character is incredibly sexist, but there are also plenty
of little touches in the comic itself that will force you to
battle your own gag reflex. For instance, Ash does a lot of
racing in his car—and I mean A LOT of racing. And when he's
tuning it, he modifies it at one point early on so that it will
fit his smaller, womanly feet. Which doesn't make any sense. The
reality of the past and present has been altered,
remember? Why would his girl-self not have done that already?
Was she just an idiot up to the point where got a man's brain?
At another point, Ash is incapable of lifting a heavy part of
his car that he could always lift easily as a boy. Because, you
know, women are weaker than men. I wonder if the author is even
aware that he is not only indulging in a stupid cliché, but that
somebody who has been working on cars his/her entire life would
have built up enough muscle to lift that part, regardless of
gender. The guy is actually breaking the rules of his own
fictional universe just to indulge in a few dumb gender clichés
for easy laughs.
But enough about the sexism of the author; let's talk about the
sexism of the main character. And oh boy, is there a lot of it.
For example, when he and Emily are arguing, she hits him at one
point. He points out that he can now hit back because he's a
girl, and she said he can't, because that would mean admitting
he really is a girl now mentally. Oh God, my brain.
This is the
worst catfight ever.
First off, it's stupid to make a special exception to not hit
people that hit you first just because they have a vagina.
Either you hit nobody, or you hit everybody. Try using that
logic if they come at you with the intent of doing you actual
harm. Especially since the notion of "women are weaker than men"
is bullshit anyway. But I digress. The running theme here is
that Ash constantly tries to prove his masculinity by doing
"manly" things so he won't feel like he really is a girl. So
what are the things he does? Avoid talking about his feelings
(because only stupid girls do that), refuse to cry (ditto),
become a drooling idiot over naked women ('cause that' s what
defines men: their horniness) and of course participate in and
win dangerous races that might kill him. The only thing he
hasn't tried yet is smashing a beer can to his forehead, and
even that might have happened in the far later chapters that I
couldn't be made to read if you paid me.
essence of man.
Because Ash has a female body, he tries to act as much like a
negative stereotype of men as possible (think Duke Nukem meets
Jersey Shore without the awesomeness of the former) in order to
compensate and keep himself from developing a female personality
to match his new body. Well, Mr. Author, you shouldn't have had
him do that. Not only because it's insultingly stupid, but
because asking the question of what it means to be a man means
you have sloppily ventured into my territory—motherfuckin'
Philosophy—and I shall squish you like a bug for it.
Simply put, there are two ways you could look at this: Either
what makes you a man is your mind, or your body. If it's your
body, then case closed, Ash is a girl. Because unlike
sex-changes, which do not change your true gender in any
legitimate way (I know this will piss off people like JDR who
are in denial, but frankly I don't care), he has a real vagina
and a real female brain. But what if we're talking strictly
about the mental? Does doing "girly" things make you a girl
mentally? Well, no. For one, the notion that things like crying
or having empathy should be associated with one gender is sexist
and ridiculous. However, I will make another argument that will
take this a bit further: In his brilliant essay "What is it like
to be a bat?", the American philosopher Thomas Nagel made the
point that even if he were physically transformed into a bat, he
still wouldn't be able to have the same experiences an actual
bat has in order to argue for the subjectivity of experience and
against reductionism. Inspired by this, I would postulate the
following: Regardless of what physical form you occupy at the
time, you will always be yourself as long as your mind hasn't
been altered. Memories and our subjective experiences cobble
together our personality, yes, even our entire being. For
example, if I were suddenly occupying the body of a genderless
machine, I would still be a human and a man despite my lack of
genitalia or even a flesh-and-blood body simply by virtue of my
As a side note, this would also mean that if a person were to
lose all their memories forever, even though their brain and
body are the same, the original person would have ceased to
exist and be replaced by a "new" mind that is making a
completely fresh start. And that new person will be different
from the old one, I guarantee.
But enough of me going on about controversial armchair
philosopher stuff; it's about time I started wrapping up this
analysis of Misfile's plot. Yes, I'm already nearing the end of
this section. I read about 200 pages and couldn't stand it
anymore. And before you accuse me of writing a sloppy review by
not bothering with the entire 1,800+ pages of this monstrosity,
then I would like to point out that even if by some miracle all
of the following pages turned out to be a fantastic read
(spoiler alert: I skimmed through the rest and they aren't), if
you write 200 pages of pure grade-A horseshit and then expect
people to slog through it in order to get to something decent,
you have quite simply fucked up as a writer. Besides, nothing
can save this retarded premise. But before we move on, here are
two more examples of the author being... frankly, I don't know
what to call him:
Austin Powers was funny when he made this joke doesn't mean you
Yeah, that just happened. Ash's father has an obsession with the
"lovely vaginas" (seriously) of young girls. Great. What the
hell is it with webmanga authors sexualizing underage girls?
This makes, what, five Comic Release articles involving authors
who have alluded to or shown preteens' genitals? What the fuck?
Then there's the part that almost made me stop writing this
review altogether. After page 126, there's
a shittily-colored drawing of
Emily weeping in front of Ash's grave. Below the image, a
caption reads: "Brandon Teena was killed by two men on December
31st, 1993. He was killed for trying to correct the life he
found himself in. That could have been Ash."
For those who don't know, Brandon Teena was a transgender who
was raped and murdered at the age of twenty-one. The story was
pretty big news at the time—they even made
a movie about it.
Now, what I'm having a hard time figuring out is why the author
thought it would be appropriate to post a tribute piece to a
hate crime against a transgender in connection with a webcomic
that derives 98% of its humor from exploiting offensive gender
stereotypes. Also, why should I care that "it could have been
Ash"? What, are you telling me the victim could have been some
webcomic character because it's supposed to be a sobering
thought meant to remind everyone how terrible murder is? How
exactly is the hypothetical death of a fictional character
supposed to be more disturbing to your audience than the
actual death of a real human being? I can't even think
how to explain how wrong and stupid that is. How dare you make
that comparison. How fucking dare you.
It's Animu garbage, basically. Strangely, over the course of the
comic, character designs go from having almost no noses to
having freakishly large noses. The kind you might see in
anti-Semitic propaganda. And even more baffling, this is the
most noticeable change. This comic has been running continually
for over seven years, and there is virtually no improvement in
the art to speak of! In fact, the entire art style reminds me
eerily of Dominic Deegan, except a little less shitty. Which is
like saying that somebody isn't a bad person because they're not
Hitler. I mean, look at this:
has been hard at work here.
The image on the left is a headshot of Ash from a page published
in 2004, and the one on the right is a drawing of the same
character from a page published in 2011. That's the culmination
of seven years of effort, folks. Honestly, I think the newer art
actually looks a little worse...
The entire comic looks like the kind of scribblings that are
supposed to be a rough draft for layout planning and not the
finished art. It all looks like half-assed pencil sketches drawn
by somebody who suffers from involuntary muscle spasms. Also,
there are yet again tons of super-deformed anime side gags,
because those totally worked when every harem anime ever did
them. Speaking of dumb SD gags, the look of the comic reminds me
quite a bit of the art in 9th Elsewhere. And that's something
you want to avoid at all costs.
I wish I could go into more detail about why this art sucks, but
there's really very little to say about it because it's all so
bland and sloppy. It can't even manage to be bad in any kind of
The creator of this story about cosmic clerical errors goes by
the name of Chris Hazelton. If you read Misfile for any amount
of time (a course of action I would not recommend) you will
notice he has an incredible car fetish. It's okay to write about
what you like, but don't make it one of the main points of the
story without making it interesting. He even has a separate
character sheet for all the cars in the story that will provide
you with all details you couldn't possibly give a shit about.
Yet again, I know little of him and the most that is there to
speak for him is his work.
THIS IS WHAT
BEING A MAN IS ALL ABOUT DAMN IT.
Which sucks for him, because judging by the shit he writes, he's
an untalented, sexist prick with some seriously warped ideas
regarding how relationships work.
Oh, and by the way, the car that Ash drives? Why, Chris just
happens to have the exact same car and loves it. What an
unbelievable coincidence. I wonder what else he has in common
I hate Misfile. I hate everything in it. I hate every character.
I hate every panel of every single page. I hate every stupid,
clichéd, unfunny joke. I hate the Animu bullshit. I hate the
premise, and I hate the way it insults my intelligence. I hate
it because it is an insult to men and women everywhere. And last
but not least, I hate myself for having laid eyes upon this
nonsensical, pointless, offensive exercise in horribly inept
That is all.
Alex's AFTER Thoughts
Plodding through the archives of Misfile gave me flashbacks to
my first time reading Ranma 1/2, and not just because Chris
Hazelton and Rumiko Takahashi are both bafflingly overrated
hacks who have developed sprawling fanbases solely because
people love drawing their characters having sex with everyone
and everything. Most of you have probably already spotted the
obvious connection, but I'm of course referring to the fact that
the series' protagonists are both closeted homosexuals. Think
about it, both Ash and Ranma are supposedly straight teenage
boys who are "cursed" by being transformed into ridiculously hot
female versions of themselves. Now, anyone who has ever been a
straight teenage boy or known a straight teenage boy or seen a
depiction of a straight teenage boy in popular culture will tell
you that being able to see a naked woman every time you look in
the mirror is every adolescent male's ultimate fantasy.
Maybe being turned into a female permanently would be a bit
irritating, but the chance to spend a short period of time with
your very own D cup breasts to play with is something the
average guy would give their left arm to experience. Not Ash and
Ranma, though. Nope, those two are placed in a hormonally-fueled
dream situation and instead of masturbating until they die from
starvation, all they do is bitch about how much being a girl
sucks because it inhibits their "manliness" and prevents them
from enjoying their favorite hobbies; Ash can't drive as well (lol
women drivers am i rite guise) and Ranma is distracted from
continuing his martial arts training. Rather than enjoying their
new bodies by crashing their classmates' slumber parties to lez
out with other high school girls all night, all they can think
about is getting their dicks back so they can win in pointless
rivalries with other guys they have as part of these bizarrely
obsessive relationships that reek of homoerotic undertones. Yep,
those two are queerer than a three dollar bill tucked neatly
into the vest pocket of a man French kissing another man. Not
that there's anything wrong with that, but damn, watching gay
kids try to overcompensate by acting all macho is hilarious.
While Max did a pretty thorough job of going over what makes the
artwork in this comic a potential hazard to the eyes of anyone
looking at it, there's another aspect to the pages of Misfile
that makes viewing them such a harrowing endeavor. I may not
know a whole lot about character design or anatomy, but I do
know a couple things about the technical aspects of preserving
image quality—which is apparently at least two things more than
Hazelton knows about that subject. First of all, people who save
black and white images as JPEG files are inhuman monsters who
deserve a painful and lingering death. Maybe it's an acceptable
mistake if you're some little old lady who just got your first
computer a week ago and you're fumbling around in Photo Go
trying to figure out how to e-mail pictures of your cats to your
grandchildren, but Chris Hazelton is (supposedly) a professional
webcomic artist! How the hell does someone who's made a career
out of uploading images onto the web for seven years not
know the proper procedure for saving an image in a way that
doesn't turn it into a blurry mess of scanner debris and
compression artifacting!? How do you even compress the files
that much with today's image editing software? Is he using MS
Paint for this shit? That would explain the crappy pixilated
watermark with no transparency he has on ever page. Hey Chris,
ever heard of a PNG master!?
Perhaps ragging on a webcomic author's choice of filetypes casts
the impression that I've finally run out of legitimate things to
complain about. Actually, though, what really bothers me about
this kind of technical incompetence is the way it draws
attention to how far away individuals like Hazelton are from the
standards of professional comic artists. Comic Release wouldn't
be worth hosting on this site if it was just about making fun of
some unknown schmucks on the internet drawing crap for their own
amusement. The key element that ties all of our targets together
is the fact that they're webcomics with sizable and dedicated
fanbases, many of which (Hazelton's little fanboy harem
included) support the creators financially. These craptastic
comics aren't just hobbies for the losers who draw them, they're
how those losers make enough money to avoid ever getting a real
job. And given the dismal production values of something like
Misfile, it seems absurd to me that anyone should be rewarded
for such an amateurish effort with the kind of paycheck normally
reserved for the professionals.
'Till next time!