Ruby Nation

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Ruby Nation: The Webcomic

Friday, June 11, 2010

Asperchu: Putting the Comic back in Webcomic

( WARNING: Links are Not Safe For Work )

Asperchu, written and illustrated by Alec Benson Leary, is my current favorite webcomic. It is a parody of a very specific source; the webcomic Sonichu, by Christian Weston Chandler. Hence, you'll have to bone up on your knowledge of Chris-Chan before you can appreciate it. Fortunately, the man's life is documented here in all its pathetic glory.

A cursory look at Chris-Chan shows that he's an unlimited source of fuel for parody. He is quite possibly the most laughable excuse for a human being ever documented. He became internet-famous for his childishly-drawn comic about a mixture between Sonic the Hedgehog and Pikachu the Pokemon. His comic is set in the town of CWCville, where Chris inserts himself as the mayor. He regularly uses the comic to fight villains based on those in his real life, ranging from the trolls who make fun of him on the internet to the mall cops who take issue with his loitering. He's a fundamentalist Christian who regularly draws cartoon animals having sex, a vicious homophobe who takes every chance he can get to declare that he is in fact heterosexual, a creepy stalker who has drawn erotic fan art of ( former ) female friends, and a 28-year-old man still living with his parents off of welfare. He's apparently autistic, but he routinely bashes people with Asperger's for taking attention away from him, takes a strong pro-cure stance, and basically uses his disorder as an excuse not to do anything with his life. Thanks to the internet, however, he's an idiot for the global village.

Leary uses all this material in full force. Asperchu himself is a mixture between Sonichu and Chris himself, with the portly physique, childish shirts, and gaudy medallion. He lives in CWCville, but Leary's portrayal of the town makes it out to be a North Korea-type ego-opolis, with the real Chris-Chan replaced by a psychopathic man-child impostor. The trolls that Chris-Chan rails against in real life are a heroic underground resistance, fighting against a corrupt dictator who forces women into prostitution under the guise of " Dating Education ". Even Chris' own creations appear as rebels against him, with Sonichu in particular going on a hysterical revenge spree against his " father ". In the meantime, Asperchu is more of a foolish figurehead than a heroic protagonist, idly playing video games ( with an near-infinite supply of handheld consoles that he just pulls out of thin air ) while all this is going on. He has some importance to the larger plot, but while his destiny is calling him, he's too lazy to pick up the phone.

The art is extremely simplistic on purpose ( as a spoof of Chris' terrible Crayola comics ), but the subject matter is as dark as possible. This story, after all, is based on the imagination of a 28-year-old man with the maturity of an 8-year-old and the libidio of a 14-year-old. The strip seems to be based simply on trying to piss Chris off, and of all the people to troll the man-child, Leary has done it the best by far. Everything in this comic is a reference to just how pathetic Chris is, ranging from the protagonist drawing upon Chris' own sloth, to the overtly homo-erotic interactions between Sonichu and Asperchu, to the use of Chris' arch-enemies as heroic figures. It's extremely dark and creepy, but if you have the stomach, hilarious.


  1. Well, that's certainly the weirdest thing I've read about on this blog!

    I have conflicted feelings about making fun of down-and-out people, though --- satire is supposed to be the weapon of the powerless against the powerful, not the weapon of the powerless against each other, or (worst!) against the most pathetic among us.

    It's true that people like him --- autistic people who hate being autistic and agitate for a cure --- feed into a hugely disablist, eliminationist culture, but they don't create that culture, and their influence on it is so tiny you need an electron microscope to see it.

    I know Clay Adams feels differently about this --- he thinks you can use mockery to spur a self-hating autistic person into going out and doing something with their life --- but I've always been skeptical of that approach. I think if you make fun of someone for being pathetic and a loser, you just grind them down even smaller. And I don't think being unemployed or unable to live on one's own are personal failings, even though our society treats them as such. (And our society does *so much* to give poor, homeless and unemployed people a leg up in the world! Not!)

    Boy, that sure opened a can of worms.

  2. (Addendum to my comment about satire being best used by those with less power against those with more: it occurs to me that an autistic person who's also non-white, female and/or LGBT could justly lampoon this guy for his racism, sexism and homophobia. And it sounds like Leary --- even if he is a dude --- is doing this to some extent. I just worry that there might be too much "Haha look at the pathetic unemployed loser" mixed in with the "Haha this guy has some f**ked-up ideas about women/gays/POC/other PWD".)

  3. Lindsay,

    I do agree that it's not nice to make fun of down-and-out people. And I do realize that it's too easy to go from making fun of people to making fun of groups. However, the reason I find Chris an acceptable target is because he doesn't act like he's pathetic. He is an incredibly egotistical person who believes that his crayola-art comics are professional quality, that he will be able to make money off of Sonichu ( despite it infringing on several copyrights ), that the people who insult him are just jealous of his talent, and basically that everything in his life is everyone else's fault. Autism didn't make him do any of the things he does; it didn't make him post a pornographic drawing of a female friend, stalk the game store owner that banned him from the grounds and call the man a dirty Jew, write comics about a " utopia " where homosexual thoughts are monitored and punished by psychic hedgehogs, or wear an " attraction sign " to school.

    I have to admit that the fact that Chris uses autism as his go-to excuse is what makes me not only accept the mockery of him, but relish it-- while I've worked hard to hone my skills in both life and art and do something beyond what society tells me I should be able to do, he refuses to do anything, even update his comic with any regularity.

    ( And as for him being unemployed... it's not that he can't get a job, but that he won't. He doesn't have any handicaps that would prevent him from doing so, and he's even capable of driving a car, but he won't do anything with his life except play video games and whine on the internet. Even his disability checks are spent disproportionately on games and toys, with food and clothing being fast food and thrift store material, respectively ).

  4. Looking at the Chris-Chan wiki, a part of me still can't quite believe it, and thinks that it's all some sort of elaborate media stunt or satire in and of itself.

    Particularly confusing was that "civil war" between Solid and Liquid Chris, the involvement of that Ian Brandon whats-his-name guy, and the fact that this Kacey girl actually got involved with one of them all strike me as simply being too surreal to be true. Either it was some elaborate media stunt, or a satire, or simply the work of some overactive trolls. Otherwise, it just boggles the mind.

    The only webcomic I myself read is Ruby's World, but from the way Neil describes it I don't think I'm missing anything.

  5. Jared,

    Liquid Chris is a troll playing an act. His fiance' Kacey is a troll. Her father is a troll. Ian Brandon Anderson is a name given to the real Chris by trolls, to label him as the imposter. The only person who isn't a troll is Chris, which makes it so funny-- especially since he's never decided to just get off the internet. He always comes back for more, despite people constantly telling him that he's just embarassing himself.

    And there are plenty of genuinely good webcomics out there, though like any online medium ( fanfic, flash animation, etc. ) you have to wade through a lot of shit to get to them. I'll try to review some of the good webcomics in the coming days.

  6. Here is at least one good webcomic, which is probably my current favourite (and keep in mind I change favourites - at least in this form - quite often. This has been a favourite for 3 months now):

    It is all about the cinema and popcorn, and has some strong characters.

    I have also greatly enjoyed many Larry's Cafe comics. I discovered them at the start of the year.

    Very hipster, and great fun.

    I have also seen some darker webcomics out there.

    About [what I understand to be] the functions of satire: (1) to educate, and (2) to reform - the audience and the target.

    Have to agree - in as far as I know - about the egocentricity over-riding everything else.

    Yes: CWC is a Internet/web phenomenon. I only heard about him second/third hand: which is to say, TVTropes, Encyclopaedia Dramatica, probably even FandomWank, and within the last 2 years. I have not seen the CWCWiki...(the one that he himself created and someone else paid for).

    The maturity level Nitz gives is generous.

    There was a really really big kerfuffle about the Sonichu article on TV Tropes which I only just saw today.

    Still making up my mind whether to look at Asperchu. And have a residual affection for Sonic and the orange fox from circa 1994. Pokemon entered rather less into my interests.

  7. I used to feel horrified about the trolling being done to Chris Chan until I learned more about the man. It couldn't be done to a more deserving pathetic, gutless, narcissistic waste of life. Asperchu is a hoot and all the laughs are intentional, unlike with Sonichu. As a guy with A.S., I have to say that it's a humorous look at some of our not so great aspects and mannerisms. Granted, most of the stuff is more or less what I was thinking between the ages of 6-12, and I never took it to such a level.