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Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
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  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!

Scrimmy Bingus and the Crungy Spingus



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BZPower Comics Culture

Posted by Dina Saruyama , Sep 23 2014 · 482 views

Let's start this off simply: I have been a member of the BZPower comics community since December of 2007, or almost seven years now. I've been involved in this community for longer than Dark709 at this point (as he started making comics in 2004, and left the site in '09-'10). As such, I'd like to think I've learned a lot about the interesting sort of culture that has formed there for practically a decade now.

If I had to describe it, and if I weren't prone to theatrics at the time, I'd describe it as "stagnant". (If I were prone to theatrics, it would be "diseased".)

BZPower comics have been at a complete standstill as far as innovation in comics goes. Well, not a complete standstill, but more on that later. Humorous comics are bound to all be bound by a single thread: a studio-based comic with an author avatar main character. I don't know who started the trend, but I know who popularized it the most, and that's Dark709. He was so singularly influential in the late 2000s comic making scene that, if I had to hazard a guess, 95% of comics were studio comics, and 80% used Chimoru Omega. And nobody ever expanded upon the idea, or took in a new direction. It was always played out the same. The author avatar was either cool-headed or completely crazy if the situation demanded it, some character had a stupid food obsession, some villain wanted to take over the comics (though as time dragged on that became less common), etc. In terms of story, I'd say we haven't seen much innovation since, say, 2008.

There were exceptions, of course. The apocryphal "the Group" made several original comics, including the legendary Generic Quest. Of course, the comics forum was already pretty set in its ways by the time comics like that started forming, and what that meant was, instead of promoting diversity the forum, a new sect of derivative comics cropped up: the photorealistic, heavily detailed kind, and the rigorous MAS adventures. The former I'll touch up on in a bit, but the latter was interesting, because what usually happened was they flopped terribly. I don't even remember if Generic Quest itself ended, but its generic brand products usually fizzled out after a couple author cycles at most. Nobody had the motivation, the organization, or the conviction to pull it off, but nobody learned, either. They just kept popping up until the forum itself started to lose momentum following the downtime.

Both the points I've said I'd touch upon are, in fact, the same point: photorealism/attention to detail. "The Group" and other comic makers like Nuparurocks, whose skills in image editing programs were far above those of most other people, started a veritable arms race for high-quality graphics in comics. I had forgotten about this bit of culture until recently, when I checked out a comic series at random, and found that they had gone as far as to put reflections on hardwood floors, shadows beneath the characters, and even kept the sheath of a katana on-screen after it had been discarded. All of this, and yet one thing was still missing: humor. In all the years of battling for graphic supremacy, no one had changed the formula for actually coming up with jokes. Your average BZPower comic still spouts "jokes" that have been used since I started making comics, if it has what could be called a joke to begin with. Often humor is derived from poorly-conveyed slapstick or Tim Buckley-esque blocks of text to lead up to some inane joke. Rarely have I seen people improve so much, yet so little at the same time.

Remember, a part of this is that I was in this. For the longest time, I made studio comics where my mediocre author avatar lorded over a cast of cardboard cutouts as I injected my terrible sense of humor into it. The only reason I don't anymore was that I broke free. I did something the Comics forum desperately needed, and innovated with my still-slightly-derivative series, BIONICLES ADVENTURS COMIXS.

The backlash was terrible, and continues to be. People still say I don't take the business seriously because I tried a comic the forum had never seen before, the ironically terrible. Any time I enter a site-wide contest, I'm met with harsh, passive-aggressive comments, suggesting I shouldn't have bothered, or that my entry is a joke (ironic, for the comics section). It was rough at first, true; the early comics are my most regrettable. But if I had quit and gone back to studio comics, I would have been all the worse off. Instead, I forged ahead, and some friends joined with me in making comics unlike anything this forum had seen before.*

BAC isn't a pinnacle of perfection, and I don't want this to come across as blowing my own saxophone. In fact, when people make new comics that try to fit the same niche, it's disappointing to me. I don't want to start a niche of comics, and BAC is really the sort of thing you can only pull off once. I want everyone to question why you make studio comics, why you use the sprites you use, or even use sprites at all, and what is truly the meaning of making visual entertainment. I managed to break away from making the same, dull comics for the rest of my BZP career, and I encourage anyone with the strength and inspiration to try something new to do so.

(This whole rant aside, I can think of a couple other comic series that have innovated recently, and I'd be remiss in omitting them. Rahkshi Lalonde's A Grim Development appears to be trying to break into the horror genre, and I am interested in seeing where that story goes. Kakaru's Studio Comic, despite its name, is finally breathing some new life into the genre, with a unique art style and sense of humor.)

*Okay, this isn't technically true. I can think of at least one other series before BAC that tried to break into the ironically awful gig, but it was pretty much straight-up sbahj jokes transplanted in a Bionicle setting, whereas BAC has started finding its own identity

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Apologies if this seems incoherent. This isn't so much an orgnaized essay as much as it is a stream of consciousness thing, an outpouring of my thoughts on different things about the forum, from an inside perspective. I hope this is an interesting look at a small part of the strange subculture of BZP comics.


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oh hey the polls are up

Posted by Dina Saruyama , Sep 22 2014 · 170 views

you know what that means

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(of course you're free to vote for whatever entry you want. i just recommend BAC because i'm egotistical.)


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Continuation Vs. Reboot

Posted by Dina Saruyama , Sep 21 2014 · 277 views

Okay, imagine this: imagine if, in order to understand any new Transformers series, you had to watch the entirety of the G1 cartoon.

Now, imagine if, instead of running for three years, it ran for ten.

Now imagine if it wasn't actually a cartoon, but a story splattered across books, comics, online serials, winning BZP stories, and random answers from the author lost to time.

Now imagine if it didn't gain a massive following, but more of a niche audience, when it first aired, thus making access to most of those resources spotty.

Imagine what would happen to every new Transformers series if that were the case.

Spoiler alert-- it would flop like a bad diver from a 100 foot drop on a pool. And it would hurt about as badly.

That is the most compelling evidence that Bionicle 2015 will be a reboot-- to do otherwise would be an awful, terrible, horrible business decision.


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Bring Back Hero Factory Club

Posted by Dina Saruyama , Sep 19 2014 · 441 views

So, as of today, Bionicle's return in 2015 is confirmed. Which means LEGO is banning the Hero Factory toyline, even though it's story didn't even get to finish. That's why I want all the fans of Hero Factory to come together and barrage LEGO with complaints. Demand LEGO finish Hero Factory! Bring back my favorite toyline! Force LEGO to repeal the ban on Hero Factory! Who's with me?


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New User Name

Posted by Dina Saruyama , Sep 14 2014 · 123 views

figured it had been a while since my last change, and I recently played FE:A, so why not? Besides, it complements my name on another site.

The only downside is my username no longer matches my custom member title, but I should be eligible for a new one because of my MOCs on the circuit anyway so it shouldn't trouble me for too long.






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Testimonials

Honestly, you can make this sound like some kind of crusade for justice all you want (I'm going to hope that some of how you worded it is just meant as hyperbole to make a point, though?), but it just comes across to me as being anti-fun and anti-imagination.

 

There's a time and a place for joke entries to place high in a contest (actually no there really isn't but w/e), but the first site-wide BZP contest is certainly not one of those times.

 

The first entry offended my eyes.

 

Well, this was probably in the bottom 3 comics I've read in my life. Didn't make much sense, and some things were hard to read because of the coloring and font style.

 
 

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