The Dread Domain!
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December 21st, 2008

The Dread Domain!

This comic’s inspired by a moment in a Dungeons and Dragons game I was playing some years back where my friend Mark was playing a ridiculous garden gnome. When confronted with a knight in imposing black metal armour, clanking towards us with steely resolve and hefty bastard sword, he decided not to run away. Not to cast a fireball at him. He decided to make an illusion of this knight’s helmet falling off. It really took the wind out of the guy’s sails and we enjoyed a good laugh at his expense before smacking him down with our d20s.

Sometimes when I’m not enjoying a comic or movie that I thought looked promising, I try to flip the switch in my brain to take it as a campy joke instead of a serious attempt at storytelling and I enjoy it much more. Like that terrible, terrible movie Wanted. The characters were paper thin, despicable and trying to be too cool for school. But when I assumed the movie was sarcastic it was hilarious. The protagonist running into a room full of looms yelling out the bad guy’s name as he chases after him “SLOAN!!!!” made me laugh so hard. What is this? A Jean Claude Trans Am movie? It’s like how they figured out marketing Anaconda or Showgirls as comedies would make them more money.

6 Awesomes Comments!

  1. Jai

    Sorry, but I can’t help but be curious about this strip – are they laughing because his voice is really not-terrifying (I guess you could say “nerdy”)-sounding, or is it because they know him already and realize how not-his-style all of that was? I think the former was my first impression, but I know so many nerds that the “nerd voice” thing didn’t occur until I thought about it. Why are you making me think? Just devote half of the strip to blunt, written exposition. Which is my segue into talking about dumb movies.

    You’re so right – laughing at boring and bad movies is the only way to enjoy them properly. Those guys from MST3K were geniuses, and it’s second nature to be cracking whispered jokes back and forth when I find myself attending such a film. Even when I can’t think of something clever to say, I can’t help but giggle hysterically to myself when I see something like Wanted’s “bullet that unwinds from a bullet that came along a virtually horizontal trajectory from a location two miles away that literally isn’t visible from the destination” badassery. Which is to say it was “badass” like “terrible bad” and “they’re making asses of themselves”. I guess the Overseer Loom really took the cake, though. It probably made really scratchy underwear all day long. Or was it the terrorist rats? What a fool-proof plan that was!

  2. aeonsama

    I think they are laughing just because thy have yet to see an actual strait and cut D&D “Bad guy” so they took him as a joke.

    Not as quick to jump on as your others, but I did enjoy this one. XD

  3. admin

    They’re laughing for whyever it makes it funny to you.

    I was thinking they were laughing because if someone looks that bad ass, they might be overcompensating for not being very bad ass at all. Like when you see someone wearing clothes that belong to a particular subculture, it’s often the ones who are newest and more uncomfortable in that scene who wear the most typical and outlandish clothes. If you went to a rave and saw a guy in a Cat in the Hat hat, candy necklace, furry phat pants, giant packpack full of candy and whistle, it’s more likely to be their third or fourth party, not their regular Saturday night. Or that they’ve never given up those affectations because they feel uncomfortable out in the real world.

    If this guy was truly intimidating he could do it with a glance. Maybe I’m reacting to the extreme I’ve seen bad ass fantasy characters drawn. Things that looked cool when I was 14 now look like a cariacture of bad ass. It’s almost a mathematical formula: dark armour X number of spikes X number of skulls (+pauldrons and ragged edge cape) = how much of a bad guy this guy is.

    In general I think laughter is a good response to something like bullying, bossiness, insults etc. If you won’t take people seriously they tend to get more frustrated and not know how to follow that up.

  4. Jai

    Hm! Very good points. I’m just not used to thinking that most fantasy villains don’t have any more of a reason to decorate themselves in skulls and spikes than any other kind of villain does (Or to hang out in a seriously disgusting dungeon). Videogames haven’t helped me out here, either.

  5. hyrral

    Shouldn’t the Snowman be crying snowflakes?

  6. Steve

    My take on it was that whether or not they suspected the act, they thought it was ridiculous how over the top he is. A villain that comically exaggerated shouldn’t be taken seriously even if they are the real thing because the far more dangerous ones are too busy being effective to posture.