Fridays and Tuesdays are normally when I would use this space to write about Penny Arcade’s Strip Search webcomic reality show. I missed last Friday’s episode because I was working on Book Kicker things. And quite frankly, I didn’t miss it. Today is elimination day and I just can’t bring myself to look up the episode.
I generally dislike reality programming. I’m not fond of most of the competition shows. I can’t stand the singing competitions. Project Runway and Top Chef used to be exceptions to my disdain, but even those two have become so ludicrous that they’re laughable shadows of their former selves. RuPaul’s Drag Race is the only reality competition show that I actively enjoy because it’s so wonderfully over-the-top and fierce that I can’t help but love it to pieces. So it’s not like I came into the whole Strip Search thing with a positive attitude to begin with.
The Ultimate Comic Competition In My Head
I don’t know why I expected Strip Search to be any different than any of the other competitions that I despise so. Nothing that Mike, Jerry, or Robert ever said would have lead me to conclude it was going to be different. I guess I just wanted it to be better than the shit I hate because it was a show about an industry that I actually give a shit about. I was expecting that we’d get a comics competition, that each challenge would force the Strippers to step outside of their boxes and push their comicking creativity to its full potential. I was imagining things like a political cartoon challenge, a twelve hour comic, stick figure comics, clip art comics to test their joke writing, composition challenges, chiaroscuro, strip format, long form story format, hand lettering, comicking on black paper, mini comic challenge, traditional brush inking. The show that was forming in my head sounded fucking EPIC. But it was never meant to be.
Instead, we got exactly what I should have expected.
It’s completely unfair for me to have expected anything different. They never promised anything more than a reality styled competition. And that’s exactly what Strip Search is. To expect more is unfair. I probably would have dropped the episode reviews sooner were it not for people telling me they enjoyed my reviews of the thing. But I fear at this point, I’d be repeating the same shit that I’ve been saying for however long this mess has been going on. Where are the comics? What does this have to do with comics? Why aren’t they showing them doing comics? WHY DO I KEEP WATCHING THIS SHIT?
Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Hicks
With all that in mind, I’m still curious about the winner. Will the winner of the competition go on to be a webcomics super star or will they fall off the radar, never to be heard from again? Will they rise above the rest of us to become one of the names that we all associate with our field? Does the show get them closer to comicking for a living? Already, we’ve seen a lot of activity from the Strippers. A lot of them are updating like crazy or launching their own crowdfunding projects or launching new ventures. I think in that sense, it’s been a net positive for webcomics in general.
So unless there’s a huge uproar about me stopping the reviews, I’m going to become a more casual observer of the Strip Search phenomenon and quietly judge everything I hate about the format in a corner somewhere so as not to bore you with my repetitive rantings.