Ctrl Alt Del
A gaming webcomic that is often mocked.
Ctrl+Alt+Del is a gaming webcomic of dubious quality. It was created by Tim Buckley, a man infamous for being a jerk to his fans (who tend to be incredibly uppity, even by internet standards) and showing his Buck Timley to an underage fan, if you know what we mean. But this article's not about him.
The comic stars Ethan, a manchild whose immaturity is made fun of by the author and other characters, despite being an obvious stand-in for Buckley. He runs a game store called GameHaven and is the self-proclaimed leader of the Church of Gaming. He also runs a winter holiday called "Winter-een-mas," which celebrates gaming. He is married to Lilah, a professional girl gamer. She used to be pregnant with his child but had a miscarriage after three months. More on that later.
Ethan lives with his best friend Lucas, the "mature" character who acts as a foil for Ethan's more ridiculous ideas. Early in the comic, Ethan built Zeke, a robot Xbox 360. Several minor characters make appearances throughout the comic, including Ethan's ex-boss and a female robot companion for Zeke. Some comics just depict characters from video games instead of Tim's original characters.
The comic itself
The characters of Ctrl+Alt+Del tend to display the same facial expression, no matter what they are doing. The expression is often portrayed by critics as B^U. Needless to say, Tim Buckley's name is made fun of as "Tim B^Uckley." Another common criticism is that Buckley uses so much text in his comics that the characters and background scenery are blocked out, and the setup for a punchline is often tortuously long.
In response to the wordiness, the Internet developed the "CAD rule," in which one removes panels 2 and 3, and then removes all the dialogue in panel 4. The result should then become funnier than the actual comic, similar to Garfield Minus Garfield.
Something Awful member EvelynPoor scoured the first 1700 CAD comics to collect statistics on some of the more common tropes used by Buckley. Some of her findings are reproduced below.
EyebrowA records any instance of the raised eyebrow expression in a comic (Zeke and any other masked character that makes the same sort of face counts). 1416/1637 comics had at least one instance of a raised eyebrow used which comes out to 86.43%.
EyebrowB records any instance of the raised eyebrow expression in the LAST PANEL of a comic (ie. the smug look is the punchline). 950/1637 had a raised eyebrow expression, which comes out to 58.03%. In the context of only the comics that have the raised eyebrow expressions to begin with, there's a 67.14% chance a raised eyebrow will be found in the last panel.
Words - yet again, a favorite of [crappy] webcomic artists. We know how Buckley looooooves to pile on the words. To his credit, the comics were not actually very wordy to start. It wasn't until 20021205 that it went full blast words words words words words. 1492/1637 comics could use a word reduction edit. 91.14%.
Funny comes in last but not least. It's more of a personal thing, since not everyone is going to find the same comics funny. So how did that do? You'll be surprised! I actually found 6/1637 comics funny or amusing enough to mark. It's still only 0.36%, but being Buckley, that must count for something.-- EvelynPoor, CAD Mock Thread
An interactive graph plotting these variables and more can be found here, courtesy of SA user Captain Capacitor.
A miscarriage is definitely not a joke, and I have no intention of making light of it. And it can be a tough and emotional thing for couples to go through, speaking from personal experience. And I know that it's often much harder on the woman than on the man. However, I also know that it doesn't necessarily turn you into a sad, depressed sack of tears for the rest of your life. People can move past it, and heal.
Some many years ago, long before I started the comic, I was in a relationship and we suffered a miscarriage. Now, this relationship was toxic to begin with and doomed to fail regardless, so that the miscarriage was the straw that broke the camel's back came as no surprise. It was a pregnancy neither of us wanted in the first place, so the event didn't effect me nearly as much as it would, say, a couple who was trying for a child.
-- Tim Buckley, in the newpost accompanying "Loss"
The comic originally started as a gaming comic similar to Penny Arcade where the characters would play video games and comment on them, but later focused more strongly on character development when Ethan and Lilah start to settle down. Lilah became pregnant, and comics focused on them looking at baby stuff. However, she miscarried. Oops. This miscarriage comic offended some (because it was supposed to be a comedy webcomic about video games) and amused others (because what the hell?). Something Awful and 4chan hopped on it and made tons, tons, and tons of parodies and "fan art" based on it.
In response to the criticism of this highly awkward insertion of drama into what was supposed to be a light-hearted comedic webcomic about gaming, Buckley claimed that Ctrl+Alt+Del was not "about gaming" but "about gamers."
Akin to the "CAD Rule" described above, it is said that every CAD strip becomes funnier if it's last panel is replaced with the now infamous 4th panel of "Loss."
Ryan Summer, head of Blind Ferret Entertainment, had this to say about the whole thing:
In about March of 2011, added a new female character to his webcomic. This image here shows that he took a little bit more than inspiration from a picture. When accused, he said:
—Tim on the character;
On 15th April 2011, Tim released a comic which was considered racist. The comic involved the robot Zeke disguised as a black man, and Lucas making an offensive stereotypical remark. As the comic was widely argued about around the web, Buckley soon after took it down, but not before writing at length in his newpost about the joke not being racist, because a few black people appearently wrote him emails of support, and not-so-subtly accusing his critics of being the REAL racists. And despite removing the comic in question from the official archives, he linked to it from the same newpost.
He then re-released the comic with a change to the punchline making it slightly less racist, but still unfunny. However he took it down once more and re-released it with just a minor word change... and then edited it a fourth time, finally removing all references to race.
In the wake of the drama, Buckley disabled anyone from registering on the forums.
The comic started in late 2002 as a gaming webcomic featuring two male characters making commentary on, well, video games.
The comic is still updating, with new comics being made fun of by various websites daily.
- The comic started on October 23, 2002.
- The first gag included that it was yet another two gamer guys comic, but with a third character: a watermelon. The watermelon doesn't show up again.
Card Crusher parody.
Penny Arcade parody.
Another Penny Arcade parody.
From the animation: Ethan's mad at Zeke for playing EverQuest II.
Another, with Guitar Hero.
First and last panels with the late Tabula Rasa.
NVM, STAY IN
The result of drooling while eating
A prize from Tim Buckley!?
360 Kid with Lilah.