Ansem Retort (Updated)

I learned about this webcomic from a page it has on TVTropes, which was almost certainly written by the author himself, since I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone else giving two shits about this comic.

From the looks of its lovely page, our target is one of those edgy comics that just use random violence as a veneer for humor. Just can’t wait!

And for extra fun, I’ve decided to use its great “Random Comic” function. Now, some may argue that it is unfair to judge his comic on a random sample; but if the author didn’t want people to read his comic in a random order, then said author shouldn’t have been dumb enough to make a “Random Comic” button.


He must have a huge, powdered foot to make that big white footprint, unless there’s some invisible, powdered foot monster in there with him. Better check this random yellow square. “What cursed omen is this? Oh, it’s just MS Paint vomit passed as a ‘joke’.” I would love to know why the guard would go through the whole trouble of crapping that up in MS Paint and printing it out for him; he could have just wrote the message down with a pen or something, or at least use the text function to make legible text. Jesus, how stupid is this guard?


Nice stick arms, honey. Nice of you to include the lead singer from Van Halen, even though he’s all the way in New York City.

Let’s just summon half-assed references to other works as a fill-in for authentic jokes. I have the power of… shitty random humor!


“Yo, yo, yo, what’s happenin’ in the hood, mothafucka?”

“I just wrote some shitty emo poetry.”

He got his driver’s license. Get it? He’s doing things that average people do. Ho, shit, Duke, you are really digging deep for that joke. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without another random reference to pop culture. Truly the Simpsons of sprite comics.


Panel One: make sure you lampshade (speaking of TVtropes…) every instant of triteness so you can magically turn it into a joke. Works every time. Well, except this time. By the way, who the hell would admit that they have a large ego like that? “I love you, but my proud personality makes it to where I am not comfortable admitting it.” This is not how you develop characterization, and I have a book to back me up on that case.

Panel Two: either that’s a stupid reference from some stupid source or it’s some stupid attempt at random humor. Either way, it’s stupid.

Panels Three and Four: okay, Duke has redeemed himself with this joke: actually competent satire.


Did he really plot this? Kill a corporate president to end a demon invasion? And then the joke is that the demons are partying and boozing. You can’t get more cliché than that joke. He might as well have characterized the demons as complete pussies. (Wouldn’t that be ironic? Seriously, though, it took hours to come up with that.)


Whoever you’re chasing may have stopped teleporting; but freaky-ass lion sure hasn’t, if the abrupt change in scenery between panels one and two are any evidence.

Let’s see: A. Impossible choice, since I’m getting a hint that nothing Duke can write would be witty. B. Offer shitty random jokes. C. Offer even more shitty random jokes. D. USE OBNOXIOUS ALL-CAPS!


Hasn’t everyone already made fun of this soap opera cliché? You know, it’s pretty stupefying when parodies of clichés become clichés themselves. All he added was a Junior reference.

I would actually forgive him, if not for the terrible punchline. (What’s with these people and having terrible punchlines? They’re the most important part of the joke, for god’s sake.) It’s just some guy saying something mean and then a pointless “fuck you”, as if we couldn’t already guess that she would not be happy with this. Cursing someone isn’t a punchline: it’s just a waste of readers’ time, and dilutes the true punchline, which is terrible in this case anyway.

Shit, this panel is even aesthetically shitty. Nice white, empty void they reside in, Duke. Would it have killed you to take a few minutes to Google a random video game background? It’s not like you hand-paint them. I would also recommend that whoever drew the woman never touch a mouse again, for fear that he may assault more eyes with his insidious work.


Wasn’t she the lady that died in Final Fantasy VII? (Don’t give me that “spoilers” shit; I haven’t played the game either. Well, unless you count playing up to the first boss at the age of eight.) You know, for “total lunatics” those people look pretty calm and normal for me. Aerith shouldn’t be so god damn snotty and be happy that she was magically brought to life. Shit, since this is supposed to be FOX, this show will probably be canceled in a year, anyway. And then her only hope is that their show becomes popular on Adult Swim and is uncanceled, only to degenerate into shitty pro-liberal propaganda.


I don’t know what that pumpkin in the background is laughing about, since nothing about this comic is funny. Maybe it’s the fact that Duke cannot figure out the correct number of exclamation marks to use; maybe it’s because Duke thought having a character say curse words counted as a joke. I don’t know how else that last panel could possibly be construed as humorous. Shit, he could have at least used “possessed” instead of “haunted”; then we could have made sexual jokes off of it. Oh wait, he’s the not-gay Casper, as opposed to Casper, who was a huge fan of sodomy.


Rule #57 of the “Book of Lazy Comic Writing”: have characters spout random, childish drivel. I’m sure people who would dress in black coats like that would act that childi… actually, that’s probably how Duke dresses, now that I think about it. Are they getting ready for their witch covenant?


My favorite comics are the ones where there is no relevance between any of the panels, making one question if it is truly even sequential art or just a bunch of pictures put next to each other.


I agree with anime reject in his Matrix-wannabe long-coat: this conversation is useless, so don’t include it.

Wait, wait, wait… “Hobocaust”? As in a holocaust against hobos instead of Jews? Do I even need to comment on that?


Who dressed these people? We have another Dragon Ball Z reject in Matrix uniform, Trunks in clown pants, and the bastard child of Square hair and Disney clothes.


You’re a past participle! Oh, Jesus, a “Twilight fans are retards” joke. That must have taken years to come up with. I’m not even defending the fucking movie; I’m just saying as a joke it’s overused and not really funny, actually. I mean, what’s funny about a movie sucking? I mean just the idea that a movie sucks? That’s not funny in itself. And as a commentary, it sucks, too. He doesn’t even explain how the movie is terrible; he just simply says that it is. Shit, if he could do that for humor then I should be able to just type “Ansem Retort sucks” as every commentary. Wouldn’t that just be a knee-slapper the thirty times you read it?


Sometimes you just have to kneel in front of a green waterfall (that water must be pretty diseased) and just release all of your inner thoughts through big white boxes above you.

You know, Duke’s used the F-word in this comic, so why does he censor it here? Or is he literally saying “Get out of the percent sign, dollar sign, pound sign, at sign, circumflex accent, ampersand abyss!”?


Do you have any idea how to use the correct version of “your”/“you’re”, key boy? Maybe you kids wouldn’t have this problem, nor the background problem, if you didn’t take so much LSD.


His punchline was raping Disney characters. His punchline was raping Disney characters. What’s next? Anal rape for Simba? Would show him who a real predator is, that’s for sure.


Random political references: the apex of comedy. This is like Hitler buttfucking Stalin and jizzing luftwatts all over Britain… Oh, wait.


Scooby-Doo references with the worst-looking Velma, Daphne, and Fred sprites ever? I think Ansem Retort just went platinum!


Tell me, what real TV station would hire someone who looks like that as their producer? He doesn’t belong as an executive of FOX; he belongs on fucking Yu-Gi-Oh.

And what’s with people and these long coats? You’re not Neo, for god’s sake. Take your witch Halloween costume back to the store, quit your Matrix cosplaying, and get back to your job, sir… which is apparently harassing TV station producers.


Is she talking to her schizophrenic self or does she have an invisible phone, which just floats near her ear? Good thing Duke distracted us with two more Matrix-cosplaying anime rejects fighting over stupid shit and acting like pussy douche bags. I’m sure this comic had a lot of significance to the over-arching plot, too. Fucking doll collections.


Us two giants must meet together in Blurry Castle to plan.

Nobody’s joking, little girl cosplaying as Wilma Flintstone; someone might laugh if that happened, which Duke wouldn’t want.


I’m sure this is very interesting plot development to a story that is just riveting. I would love to know how flame-hair there’s love of murder is so strong that he can warp all of those other people right in front of him, and make the first one disappear, all so quickly.


See that in the background? That’s where this comic belongs. Right there in the over-blurred garbage. Seriously, why does everyone think they have to blur the shit out of backgrounds? So they won’t look at them? Kind of makes having a background in the first place pointless if they can’t even look at them for more than a couple seconds without eye damage.


Wow, this is just a clusterfuck of ass. “Allright!” We’ve got misspellings! Great. And then the villain remembers that he forgot to do something that average people do. Ho shit, that’s hilarious. And irrelevant to the story. I mean, why would anyone think that at that time?

Next there’s random bullshit; something I guess every terrible sprite comic cannot go without, even though I dearly wish they did. Finally we have someone calling for random violence as the punchline. I’ve noticed that sociopathy seems like a popular character trait for humor sprite comics. I’m… I’m not exactly sure why. But I’m sure you’ll laugh will me in merriment as we watch our next protagonist shove a knife into his friend’s bleeding stomach.


Fat jokes: the golden material. They’re heroes doing some stupid bullshit and now they’re standing around pissing off some guy who could easily fuck them over later in the story? Why not make a Spider-Man comic where Spider-Man stops on his way to saving Mary Jane from whatever villain he hates to make fun of a gay pride march? Because Spider-Man has better fucking things to do, that’s why. Then again, these are Matrix-cosplaying anime wannabes who are harassing a TV station, so maybe they don’t have better things to do.


Popular franchise protagonist who’s dumber than dog shit and gets into wacky hijinks? I smell Bob and George‘s dirty influence seeping its way into this.

And who the hell paints their walls like that? What, did the owner have three colors in mind and he just couldn’t pick between them, so he found a way to use all three?


I don’t remember Darth Maul being Square-Enix or Disney property, and this is smelling dangerously like a hackneyed Star Wars reference. Okay, at least the motherfucker didn’t have “Luke, I am your father”… Well, I guess it’s too soon to judge that.

That ice temple must be a pretty popular hang-out spot for these people.


“Who let the midgets from Final Fantasy into my blurry cake shop?” Hey, Duke: if you’re going to blur the background, this should only include the background, particularly the type that is far away. It should not include that table—or whatever that blurry mess is supposed to be—which is, by the way, closer than the other characters.


Nobody going to comment on how Goldilocks’s knife can also apparently make someone a flat silhouette after stabbing someone? That seems pretty significant. And strange.

-J.J.W. Mezun

(Revised: June 16, 2011)

(Originally Published: August 6, 2010)


About J. J. W. Mezun

J. J. W. Mezun wants you punks off his lawn.
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20 Responses to Ansem Retort (Updated)

  1. Tsunoba says:

    For the record, I mean to be civil here.

    1. *I* give a crap about the comic. I think it’s funny. Hell, I’m halfway certain I’ve edited the TV Tropes page a few times.

    2. While this has never been said by Duke, I’d like to think that it would be common sense that the random button is not for people who are new to the comic. It’s for fans who have read all the comics. You get bored, and you hit the random button, and you get a quick punchline. You already know what’s going on (due to having read the comic), and it’s therefore funny.

    3. Where’s the misogyny joke in 513? I’m not being sarcastic here, I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.

    I’d probably have more comments, but I stopped reading partway through.

  2. Spark says:

    Ha ha, been a while since I saw a nice little flame bait.
    Really? Grammar nazi? Complaining about the sprites? Saying a character died in a game and shouldn’t be alive? Hell you got comments where you don’t even complain about anything, nice generator there.

  3. Deadman says:

    thou art mad.

  4. Rubedo says:

    Regarding your review of 513, you’re quite out of touch.

    1)”Make a witty retort” is a common stand-in for making quips
    2)Men and women can be virgin sacrifices for OBVIOUS reasons.
    3)Using apostrophes when writing “the 1980s” is actually frowned upon grammatically.
    4)Really? You’re faulting him for using all-caps for comedy?

    And, no, I didn’t read far enough to get to your review of this strip. I couldn’t stomach your unfair random review long enough and I skipped there after reading the comments.

    • JJW Mezun says:

      1. I knew what making a witty retort meant; I simply doubted Duke could do it well.

      2. Oops. Don’t most Final Fantasy male characters look like girls, anyway?

      3. Wow, I can’t believe I was stupid enough to think “80s” required an apostrophe. Yeah, you’re right: it actually

      shouldn’t have one.

      4. Okay, now I stand by this comment: using all caps is not a valid way of depicting excitement (that’s what an

      exclamation mark is for). My problem with the joke was that, well, it was simple obnoxiousness, without any humor.

      You know.

      Wait, you didn’t make it to my comment of this strip? Then how did you know what I said? That’s amazing.

  5. Echo says:

    Next time you want to review a comic, READ THE DAMN THING.

    Most of your “Comments” are waaay of the mark, if not just outright false. Fox new’s report on MASS EFFECT was more informed then this review.

  6. Reishigod says:

    I choose to remain civil in this comment.

    This isn’t an actual critique, is it? It’s just a huge flame. A critique would give advice to help the target improve; this boils down to “You suck, your comic sucks, you just use shitty humor, and I don’t like it.” “You just use shitty humor” is not a critique, it is just an insult aimed at the writer.

    Also, *you* may have not heard of anyone who likes this comic, but there are people who do. Me for example. I enjoy this comic, and find that it gives me a good laugh, if cheap.

    You found the humor random and stupid because you chose to see it out of context. The entire comic takes place in a reality show run by Fox, who decided to try spicing it up by making everyone fight demons. Hence, killing the head of Fox means the demons don’t get paid for what they were hired for and leave.

    Random humor on Larxene’s part comes from her severe insanity, a bit like Deadpool. Sora lost both his short-term and long-term memory, leaving him with almost no memories, and has severe brain damage. Axel is a completely homicidal sociopath, so he’s bound to hurt someone. Zexion is a corrupt quack of a doctor who doesn’t care for anyone and often uses illegal substances. Namine and Aerith can be called the few sane people left on the show. The universe is out to get Riku.

    Many of your comments would be invalid if you would just find out the context of the jokes being told. As for your comment on 513, what misogyny? Sacrificing Riku? Riku is the white-haired guy. There are no jokes based on anyone’s sex in that comic.

    While I probably have more to say, that will be all for now.

    • JJW Mezun says:

      Yeah, I guess a lot of people did apparently like this comic based on all of the complaints I got. I honestly

      didn’t think this comic was that popular, since I’d never heard of it before. I guess I haven’t been keeping up

      with sprite comics as well as I used to.

      I actually did know the basic premise. In fact, I made fun of it, I believe.

      Looking back at the article, I cannot see how most of these jokes could have had any context that would have saved

      them. The villain worrying about leaving the over on because he was baking an “evil cookie”? Be honest: does that

      really have a point to it, or was it just forced zaniness?

      This brings me to the next point: defending his use of random humor. I think I’ve said it many times throughout

      this blog: I hate random humor. I guess I just find it annoying. What’s funny about randomness? Even if you find a

      reason for the random humor, it still doesn’t change the fact that the random humor exists.

  7. Ecaroh says:


    Who dressed these people? We have another DBZ reject in Matrix uniform, Trunks in clown pants, and the bastard child of Square hair and Disney clothes.”

    This comment is one that proves your ignorance of what sprites that duke uses. Duke uses sprites, and backgrounds from the game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, for the GBA. Kingdom Hearts as a series, is a coalition game done by Square and Disney where for most, you play as Sora, a young boy tasked with protecting the worlds from darkness with the keyblade, traveling between disney worlds and protecting them from heartless in kingdom hearts, Nobodies and Heartless in Kingdom hearts 2, in Chain of Memories, just after 1, Sora is lured by organization XIII to Castle Oblivion *that ice temple as you called it*, made to fight Heartless and the Nobody org members stationed there. The organization wears the black cloaks they do because they protect them from the darkness they harness to travel between worlds. Had you read this comic properly like any sane person would have, rather than hitting the random button and missing all the jokes, important info and the like, you would have realized much of what you say was inane drivel. That political bit? Zexion is running for governer, the ‘raping disney characters’ not rape, Zexion is just that good. Darth maul’s presence is explained. This comic has ‘Refuge in Audacity’ as a listed trope for a big reason, all of those strips have their own purpose except for a few obvious filler strips, which no-one should take seriously. Also, that note at the start, written by larxene, who hasn’t slept in about 6 years from the looks of it, she has extreme ADD and insomnia and runs on crack and sugar, you expect good looing writing from that? Oh wait, you don’t know this cause you didn’t read the comic…

    • JJW Mezun says:

      I actually did know this. Although I’ll admit I didn’t mention Kingdom Hearts (I just noticed how little I

      summarized the comic in the introduction), I did specifically mention it having Final Fantasy and Disney

      characters. I was simply making fun of how stupid the characters looked. I obviously know Duke didn’t design them


  8. Thanatos says:

    This is a joke review right? I mean it has to be. Nobody could possibly miss the point of a webcomic this much. Clearly this is a pardoy of a review that makes fun of something popular. At least I hope so. Otherwise, I really and truly pity your inability to enjoy comedy.

  9. Emissary666 says:

    Your review, no matter how thoroughly researched it actually is, is shit. Most of your complaints about randomness come from taking the comics out of context. Making fun of the sprites should be put elsewhere, not randomly placed throughout your complaints. Finally, “if the author didn’t want people to read his comic in a random order, then said author shouldn’t have been dumb enough to make a ‘Random Comic’ button.” Words fail me on explaining just how stupid this is. The “random comic” button for the people who have read the entire thing, not for new comers to base their opinion of the comic on.

  10. .gravity. says:

    I’m afraid that I must agree with the other comments here; this is an unnecessarily abrasive flame review of a comic that you didn’t give a chance to prove its worth. Sure, it’s insane, spontaneous, and offensive: a large part of the overarching purpose is for it to be purpose*less*, and not meant to be taken seriously in any way at all. Your comments on the strips show your ignorance of all things Kingdom Hearts and some ignorance about sprite comics in general — if you realize that Duke did not create the sprites, why criticize his ‘choice of costume’ for them, why mock them for looking like ‘Matrix wannabes’? They are designed in the way that they are designed for good reason within the game, and Duke simply took what he could find for his sprites. Beside this, you show utter incomprehension of the identities of the Kingdom Hearts characters and even less comprehension of the unique (and admittedly and deliberately bizarre) characterizations that Duke bestows upon the characters.
    The Ansem Retort is a highly enjoyable, although purposefully strange and random (easily worthy of the epithet “crack”) sprite comic, and one that makes use of a whole fucking lot of good humor if you take the time and give it the chance to read through it. Relax your uppity sensibilities enough to enjoy the perverse humor that it offers, get over the offensiveness (which is itself mocking easily-offended people such as yourself), and read through the whole thing from the beginning. I promise that it’s an easy, quick, and hilarious read, if you just give it the chance.

    • J.J.W. Mezun says:

      Man, people really seem to be repelled by this review. Which is strange, because compared to most reviews I made this one actually isn’t that negative: half of the comments are me simply making fun of the goofiness of the comic than actual flaws of the author’s. Besides, I think I mentioned… one good joke he made.

      “if you realize that Duke did not create the sprites, why criticize his ‘choice of costume’ for them, why mock them for looking like ‘Matrix wannabes’?”

      Technically, it is Duke’s fault for choosing to use these sprites. Besides, whether it’s the author’s fault or not is really irrelevant when it comes to the reader’s perspective. I mean, someone could make the same argument that MST3K has no right to make fun of low-budget movies when they have terrible special effects. Then again, to be honest, I never really considered the character designs (at least graphically) to be actual flaws of the comic. Well, except for one really badly drawn sprite.

      “Beside this, you show utter incomprehension of the identities of the Kingdom Hearts characters and even less comprehension of the unique (and admittedly and deliberately bizarre) characterizations that Duke bestows upon the characters.”

      So this means that it’s Square Enix’s fault for these characters’ personalities and not Duke’s?

      Also, I did comprehend the “unique characterizations that Duke bestows upon the characters”; I just don’t like e’m.

      “The Ansem Retort is a highly enjoyable, although purposefully strange and random (easily worthy of the epithet “crack”) sprite comic, and one that makes use of a whole fucking lot of good humor if you take the time and give it the chance to read through it.”

      I’m afraid I must stand by my opinion that random humor can never, ever be humorous. For one, I don’t even know if you could consider random humor to actually be writing. The very basis of writing is someone coming up with specific ideas and writing them; randomness, on the other hand, shows no sign of any kind of thought in the author’s mind–it’s simply brain puke.

      Relax your uppity sensibilities enough to enjoy the perverse humor that it offers, get over the offensiveness (which is itself mocking easily-offended people such as yourself), and read through the whole thing from the beginning.

      I find it strange that people accuse me of being hypersensitive. My argument was that his jokes were dumb, not offensive. I also fail to see how, for example, jokes about rape are supposed to be making fun of “easily-offended” people. While I agree that a lot of people get offended over silly things, rape probably isn’t one of them: in fact, I would think that the general public’s disgust with rape is one of the best ways to keep as many people from committing rape as possible. See, the whole purpose of making fun of easily-offended people is when they are offended by things that shouldn’t be offensive. For example, some satires make fun of people who are offended by cursing because cursing has no detrimental effects on society, whereas rape obviously does have a bad effect on society.

      To summarize: the problem isn’t that he made black comedy; the problem is that he doesn’t know how to make good black comedy, or even what the whole purpose of black comedy is. Based on what I’ve read and seen he had mainly just looked for things that offend many people for cheap laughs without any regard as to why people are offended by these things and whether or not they should be.

      Also, I find it ironic that people think I’m uptight about this comic when, in fact, I wrote this article more from the perspective of just screwing around. I think people expect these articles to be a little more scholarly than I meant them to be. I mean, a lot of the arguments are along the lines of “Just relax and enjoy it, man!” Can’t I use this same excuse for my articles?

      • .gravity. says:

        You have a good point in that the reader should just relax and enjoy your review; you’re correct in that it is similar in enjoyability to the Ansem Retort — it’s unnecessarily offensive, unwarrantedly random, and the only humor it has is black or spontaneous. However, you should keep in mind that this ‘article’ is a blatant flame, and flames get offended responses.
        The thing is, though, that the Ansem Retort’s *audience* is people who look for randomness, cheap laughs, and offensive humor. Either that or fans of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, whom he amuses with extreme and ridiculous flanderization of the characters they know and love — looking at them in a new light. You certainly do not have Square Enix to blame for the characters; that’s all Duke’s creation, and you do have the right to dislike it.
        My main criticism of this review is the petty abrasiveness of the commentary. You did not give it a fair chance in reading it through the “random comic” button — as an above comment says, the “random comic” button is for the people who have read the entire thing and want a random punchline whose premise they can remember. My main complaint, though, is your sporadic insults of the comics — when you can find nothing relevant to comment on or constructively criticize, you fall back on troll-worthy insults which have nothing to do with Duke’s comic (once again I cite the criticism of the sprites’ costumes — what other sprites would you have him use? That is the only costume that the members of Organization XIII wear within the game, and the use of a different set of characters would make the comic even more OOC and strange — and, since you refuted that comment, your criticism of Aerith’s personality — obviously, the entire canon has been overlooked entirely, if you didn’t get that from the use of all of the other characters).
        Once more, I recognize your right to your opinion; I only suggest that you give the random humor a chance. Many books, movies, or other masterpieces are completely random, and yet are still very enjoyable. And perhaps ‘brain puke’ can be diverting, too.
        A last comment — I chose my words badly in saying ‘easily-offended.’ Do not misconstrue me; I truly recognize the horror and tragedy of many things which Duke makes light of, and I’m positive that he does too. It’s just that sometimes, you have to get over it. Step away from the awfulness of it, and relax a bit. In the ‘Dead Baby Humor’ context of the strip, it can actually be funny.
        My point is: You have every right to dislike this comic, as it *is* and advertises itself to be offensive, strange, and very out-there. I simply take your means of conveying your dislike to be inappropriate and juvenile, with your scattered insults and misdirected flaming.

  11. Ghostwriter says:

    Usually, I’d like to be civil in my reviews…but are you fucking serious?

  12. Lithp says:

    You know, I think the lesson of both Ansem Retort & this review is that “I wrote something intentionally bad” is a cop-out that can’t sustain itself. If you don’t put some effort into the jokes, eventually they stop being funny, & just become nonsensical gibberish.

  13. inception says:

    …I just feel the need to say that there is a link to this on the Ansem Retort TV tropes page under ‘Completely Missing the Point’. That just about sums up my view of this.

  14. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on
    your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog
    like this one today.

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