|Original review author:||Norad Bush|
|Webcomic name:||Apple Geeks|
|Author:||Ananth Panagariya and Mohammed Haque|
|Genre||Manga geek culture (or Anime for the sake of the system)|
|Defining Flaw||In spite of its shiny artwork, the story is a hopeless daisy chain of stupid with no real plot, planning, or character development.|
I had casually stumbled on this comic in my Internet travels and thought I'd give it a chance when I saw the pretty artwork (gets me every time! Bastards!) At first, I thought the artwork was pretty and that the characters were kind of endearing, but when I dug beneath the surface I saw this thing for the hideous malformation it was.
Applegeeks is the story of two guys who are just so GAY for Apple computers, it's a miracle there are no comics of these guys having butt sex with their machines. In fact, a great deal of jokes are dedicated to crowing about how superior Apple products are to Microsoft products or other alternatives, but in the grand tradition of all Mac fan boys, it's offputting and pretentious and really works against their cause more than for it. Eventually, this comic tries to sprout a storyline in the middle of all its Apple superiority, but it's so poorly thought out and even more poorly executed that I almost kind of wished they'd stuck with their stupid ass one-dimensional "APPLE IS TH4 @w4s0m4" humor. Almost.
In short, Applegeeks does to Apple what this ad* does to Microsoft.
(*Author's note: if you can't see the video I'll save you time. It's a fat guy shooting paint out of his ass onto a canvas. No, I'm not kidding. It's fucking horrible.)
While this comic was never terribly great out the gate, it hadn't quite sunk to its true depths . Sure, you had the main characters Hawk and Jayce being creepy as fuck around women and preaching the gospel according to Steve, but at least the comic was gag-a-day at that point. It was simply a comic for pretentious mac-tards to email to their friends and squawk about how Microsoft's OS was inferior (hurr hurr hurr!).
But then something terrible happened. Inept joke writer Ananth Panagariya got it in his head that his pretentious asshole/creepy bastard parade needed to become a full-fledged story with character development and plot points and shit! 'Cause, I guess the Ramadan jokes didn't exactly catch on. (Who knew?) So what does our curry-flavored friend do?
He introduces a fucking girl robot to the story. Of course.
From a marketing standpoint, it's a stroke of genius. Eve does add a much needed personality and "face" to Applegeeks. Plus, she's SO TOTALLY HAWT AND FAPTASTIC and made of spare G4 parts, so the fan boys will shell out copious dollars for her posters and statuette dollies. However, from a writing perspective, this is the beginning of the end. With the introduction of Eve, Applegeeks goes from awkward Mac nerd party to an abject clusterfuck of stupid ideas that just get stupider as time goes on. Really. I mean it. It's fucking stupid.
Story and Plot
I went over the plot a bit in the downfall section, but of course I must elaborate. After all, I slogged through nearly 550 fucking strips of this stupid fucking comic. Why should I be the only one to suffer?
As I said before, the plot starts off as a series of situations outlining the self-insert and his personality void of a best friend and their awkward moments. They act creepy towards girls. They go to college. They encounter a series of wacky situations. And whenever filler needs to be thrown in, the artist takes the liberty of throwing in cheesecake or nonsensical images of these characters LOOKING SO FUCKING BADASS YO. Really. I mean it. The badass imagery is all over the place.
A little over 50 strips in, the Mac humor really sets in. Every other fucking joke is "Windows iz the stupid! Mac is the pwnage!" At first I was grateful to have something other than pathetic nerdery to look at here, but then the mac jokes get real old real fast. This is mainly because the joke is so one-dimensional. Okay, let's give the mac fan boys the benefit of the doubt. Let's say that the Mac OS is the superior computing platform to Windows. Seriously. Who gives a shit? Anyone with half a brain will realize very quickly that there's more to life than a goddamn software pissing contest. Anyone but Ananth Panagariya and Mohammed Haque.
Oh, but the real "fun" (and by fun I mean torture) starts with the introduction of Eve to the cast. After Eve, the super hawt robot chick fanboy fantasy, joins the cast, the story takes a really retarded turn: It turns into an action story drama piece. Complete with Marvel-style artwork. Yes, Eve goes berserk and it's up to Hawk, a character who's only known for being a goofball and not a fighter AT ALL up to this point, to stop her. Never mind that we have an actual female fighter in this cast. Oh no. Since computer genius Hawk built himself a suit that allows him to contend with the likes of his super-powered creation, it's up to him to go all Mary Sue-perhero on his creation to get her under control. It's fucking embarrassing.
After that, these are the plot points as follows:
- Eve gets kidnapped. We later find out that her kidnappers are Jayce's father, a defense contractor tycoon, and Frost, a worthless fucking character from earlier in the strip brought back for the sole purpose of being a stupid deus ex machina.
- Hawk, Jayce, and martial-artist-who-almost-never-fights-for-story-purposes Gina take off to Japan to retrieve Eve. A giant battle ensues which results in Hawk beating up Frost, Gina beating up Jayce's inconsequential cousin, and Eve exploding everything.
- Three stupid interludes ensue. First, following Gina and her adventures talking to characters we don't know or care about. Second, following Alice babysitting some an evil little girl not unlike Stewie Griffin. Third following Hawk and Eve living the weeaboo life in Japan.
- Hawk and Eve finally return to America. Hawk then goes on an awkward date with some other girl who barely shows up in the story thereafter.
- Alice has to babysit the little Stewie Griffin girl again. They then swap souls. Little girl now in Alice's body tries to kill Hawk. It's fucking stupid.
- Hawk makes the decision to send Eve to school to learn shit. She's all fucking Moe through the whole thing. It's fucking stupid.
- Gina resolves to apply herself to her studies and stop sucking at life.
- Hawk makes friends with an old Macintosh with the voice of Morgan Freeman. It's fucking stupid.
- Hawk and Eve take up fighting crime. No, I'm not kidding.
- Gina gets a visit from an old Indian friend. Nobody cares.
- More crime fighting shit, this time with Eve going solo.
- Evil little girl spends the weekend at the geeks' residence where she assists the old Macintosh with becoming an evil robot who tries to kill everybody. Eve then destroys the robot's outer shell, leaving the old Mac in his former state. It's fucking stupid.
And that's pretty much it. I trolled over 500 strips and this is all I came up with. As you can see, the plot is one retarded concept after another. While each plotline has its own respective beginning, middle, and end, when it's all strung together, we see exactly how poorly thought out it all really is.
I can see why the change in direction. Writing gag-a-day strips can get rather monotonous after a while, but the answer is not to turn one's gag-a-day strip into a big, overblown production meant to stroke your Mary Sue's ego. A better writer would have simply started over, possibly with a new cast, to implement the story ideas. It's entirely possible to write a proper action dramedy, but Panagariya and Haque would rather just cash in on their stupid robot girl repeatedly than actually plan a story and not pull plotline after plotline out of their asses.
The artwork is the only reason anyone should like this comic, especially if you really love cheesecake. I mean really, really love cheesecake. Really, really, really love cheesecake. But it wasn't always this nice to look at. The artwork has gone through a number of drawing styles through the years ranging from stupid animu to shiny animu to not quite animu to everyone has white circles for eyes to I'm pretty sure this is a ripoff of Scott Pilgrim somehow. It's jarring to see this comic go through so many changes, like Haque was trying to find his "style" in the midst of creating this strip. He'd hardly be the first artist to develop his craft over the course of a webcomic, but that doesn't mean I like to see it in a webcomic. Of course, the alternative is to stagnate a la Mookie Terracciano, so I guess constant style changes is the lesser of the two evils.
If there was a major shortcoming to Haque's art, I'd say that it took him too long to grow up. Seriously. Until the last 20 or so strips, all the fucking characters in this strip (freaky Marvel arc notwithstanding) looked like they were ten years old, which is rather frightening and creepy when you consider that they're in their mid-20's. Additionally, everything was rendered in super shiny animu vision for a long time, which is stupid when you consider that the world is not that fucking shiny. That's just a silly coloring trick even many seasoned colorists use to distract from the fact that they don't know a fucking thing about lighting. Sorry Haque, you didn't fool me.
Now the art style has changed over pretty dramatically from animu to…whatever the hell this is. It comes off as a colorful, more refined hybrid of Scott Pilgrim and Precious Moments, and while I can't say it's bad, it's still a freaky hybrid of Scott Pilgrim and Precious Moments.
Oh, yeah, and he's fucking lazy with backgrounds. Stop that, Haque. Draw the fucking backgrounds out like a big boy. You know you can do it.
If the Story and Plot section was any indication, the writing here is fucking horrible. Beyond the complete lack of plot planning, the characterizations are either paper thin or Mary Sues.
The comic originally started with Hawk and Jayce. Hawk was the requisite wacky comic strip guy while Jayce was more the straight man. Then Alice joined the cast. And then Gina. And then some pink-haired girl who left shortly thereafter. Frost shows up somewhere in the middle of all that. And then of course Eve.
Anybody in the story who's not named Hawk or Eve has all the personality to fill a thimble. Sure, Jayce plays the straight man to Hawk's zany motherfucker, but other than being into Macs and not being on the best terms with his father, we don't know much about Jayce's personality. He just follows Hawk around on his zany exploits, shaking his head all the way, but that's about all he does. Oh, and he grouses sternly whenever his father's around. That's pretty much it. He eventually gets a real girlfriend in the form of Alice, but neither of them magically develop any personalities as the result of their growing personal relationship. You'd figure the two of them would eventually move out of the house so they can be alone to explore their relationship or at least have lots of wild crazy sex without fucking Hawk doing something stupid to disturb them, but that never happens since I'm about 80% sure Panagriya and Haque are virgins who haven't the slightest clue how these things work*.
*I was going to excuse their virginity on the basis that it may be cultural, but since Panagriya and Haque are not above writing their characters as breast-grabbing cretins, all bets are off.
Speaking of the virginity of Haque and Panagariya, that extends to most experiences with women outside superficial business transactions. Really, none of the female characters in this strip have any personality, and why should they? They were initially introduced for sheer cheesecake purposes. Really. That's all they're good for. That and for acting shocked at Hawk's stupid antics or otherwise keeping the comic from being a total sausage fest. I suppose it's good to introduce female characters to diversify your cast, but if you haven't the slightest fucking clue how to write a solid character of any gender what's the point? None of the girls here have personalities fleshed out behind "she's a fighter" (Gina) or "she's the normal one" (Alice) or "she's in a band and a vegetarian" (Josie).
Yes, everybody has the personality of oatmeal, everybody but Hawk and Eve. Hawk is a Mary Sue self-insert of artist Mohammed Haque. Initially, he starts off with the main purveyor of the Mac superiority humor. He's awkward around women and an all-around geek, but there's always this vein of machismo the artist has with rendering his little Hawky-Sue. The constant mac-badgering is not funny, his zaniness is utterly forced, and for some reason, we're supposed to buy that Hawk is, in fact, some kind of bad ass superhero, right down to the retarded costume. Except no, I don't buy it. Nobody's afraid of a doughy mac nerd. The only Apple nerd anyone has ever had cause to fear is Steve Jobs himself and that's because he's a fucking psycho who will eat your face. (Link NSFW)
But Haque and Panagriya insist that their boy is the bestest best evar and that he's so very smart in spite of being a complete social leper. So much so he was able to build his own robot girlfriend with emotions and feelings (mind you, the best computer scientists in the world are still tackling language, let alone emotions and personality). Hawk takes an initially immature, but otherwise "innocent" approach to Eve, but Beneath the layers of Hawk's wide-eyed childishness is a display of some disturbing machismo.
Eve is a very innocent, very "moe" girl who is very new to the world and acts like a child instead of, well, a machine. Hawk has to be the one to protect her and teach her the ways of the world. Emotionally, she's his delicate little flower to keep, and while he allows her to go off to school to learn subjects and socialization behaviors, she's still his little fantasy dollie. Isn't that all fucking convenient? This just puts the final nail in the coffin for me that Haque/Hawk is a macho posturing little shit. I'm not against the idea of building a robot woman to tear shit up, but when she ends up acting like a little girl who needs Hawk for every last little thing INSTEAD OF THE MACHINE THAT SHE IS, it just goes to show what insecure dicks the writers are (yes, Haque, I'm blaming you for this too even though you're only listed as an artist). Why should we make an all-powerful robot woman when we can gimp her and make her our dependent little girl! Because itty bitty widdle girls can't be alone in the world! Not even the badass, nuclear robot ones. We men must make ourselves feel important. Yes, we must.
Jesus. Or Mohammad. Somebody fucking save me.
The Hawk character is a sad specimen of Mary Sueing and not worthy of anyone's time. As for Eve, she's just the net personification of these sorry nerds' anime fantasy woman. Puke.
And seriously, if the fucking robot has more personality than any other character in the story, the writers are doing something VERY wrong.
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Trolling Applegeeks' archives shows an entire parade of bad webcomickers with whom the creators have formed friendships. In this case, this list reads like an all-star basketball team of shitty webcomickers:
- Fred Gallagher of Megatokyo
- Tim Buckley of Ctrl+Alt+Del
- Scott Ramsoomair of VG Cats
- MOOKIE FUCKING TERRACIANO of DOMINIC DEEGAN: ORACLE FOR HIRE
Yeah. They're pals with Mookie. This shows that they either have horrible taste in webcomics (which explains the quality of their material) or that they're just little webcomicky social climbers. Either way, this is not good news. The only other thing I know conclusively about these two boneheads is that they've never seen a woman bare naked without paying first. That's all I know. I'd research more, but cut me some fucking slack, guys. I've just trolled a 500 strip archive of this shit.
I don't know how the fuck this absolute watermelon of a turd got missed by any of the other authors on this wiki, but boy this comic is an exercise in epic fail. Really, it's got all the checkmarks for a lousy webcomic: terrible Mary-Sue self insert with inexplicable powers he doesn't deserve, faptastic girls with no real personality, shiny animu artwork that makes everyone look like they're an Amber alert waiting to happen, and terrible, terrible writing. Applegeeks is truly a shit on the canvas that is the internet, except unlike that terrible Microsoft ad, this one doesn't cost you a mere two minutes of your life. It costs far, far more.
- Another Review of Applegeeks - *Shock!* It's actually just has hard on this thing as I am!