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I just can't get invested in this story anymore 
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Post I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Hi. I've found this webcomic some time ago and decided to take a look at it because some people said the story was good and stuff. Okay. I've read through the bulk of pages (gotta praise the Rick for not only updating this often but also for evolving the artstyle) and I must say that this comic has given me several let downs.

The stories had AWSOME premises and build ups, but the pay offs are kinda....bad. You see, I'm not even talking about a plot direction, after all this is Rick's story and he can do whatever he wants with it. The issue I have is more of a structural one. You see, Rick likes jokes. That has been a staple of the comic since day one. There is absolutelly NOTHING wrong mixing drama with jokes. Countless stories pulled it off just fine. The problem lies, however, when you start a "serious" story and solve it with a joke.

I know this is going a bit off topic, but bear with me. One other example I can give is the anime Legendz (spoiler alert for those who want to watch it, okay?). They had this massive war, where many people were dying and being brainwashed into fighting and how did the author solve it? By last minute introduction of a bunch of characters that crack jokes every two seconds who also time rewinded the plot and threw a huge cooking pan on the top of a charcater who was being controlled by another person and that impact not only returned him to normal but also removed all his clothing.

It's this kind of cop out I cannot stand. This newest arc destroyed ANY remaining enjoyment I had for this series. Yes, you can tell jokes but if your jokes solve the problem that means that the problem was irrelevant and pointless and you were just playing the audience.

Rick, you're not interested in telling a story, you're interested in telling jokes and you just needed some context to have a character to go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zXDo4dL7SU off screen. That's okay. Again, your comic. But please don't try to give your "plot" more importance than just a build up for a punchline if you have no intention whastoever to properly adress any "serious" element you bring up and wave it with a time skip or joke.

You want to have one gag every week, okay. But remove the story element of your comic. You have these incredibly story concepts, but you simply cannot develop them properly. You're kinda bad at storytelling. Because you need more than just a neat concept to have an audience.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:01 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
I’d like to have a mild argument with you if you’d be quite alright with that Zidane. While Housepets has always been a more jokey series, he has had his hand at a lot of stories with more of a serious lean towards them, and while not my cup of tea, I know a lot of people enjoy one of his more serious comics, A&H club, and if he gets to it more, I want to see more of what he has in mind for the comic, Traces of the past. In my mind, Rick’s problem isn’t as simple as him not being able to separate jokes from serious plotlines and Vice-Versa. Personally, I think Rick is starting to hit a wall with Housepets, but isn’t sure how to stop it as, well it’s his most popular work. The consistent schedule is honestly, oddly the biggest problem for Housepets, Rick never takes a break from it aside from arguably the guest comics, and those are short breaks, he’s probably experiencing some level of fatigue, something I think he himself might not want to admit from what I’ve seen of his comments of recent past. If he could be convinced, I think it be for the best if he took an extended break, at least from Housepets if he still wants to work on the other stuff. I don’t know, maybe I’m just making assumptions about the guy, but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who doesn’t understand how to write consistent themes in his work, even now. Not trying to change your opinion, just making sure multiple points of view are brought up if you’re gonna make this big a statement

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:20 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Gameb18oy Wrote:
I’d like to have a mild argument with you if you’d be quite alright with that Zidane. While Housepets has always been a more jokey series, he has had his hand at a lot of stories with more of a serious lean towards them, and while not my cup of tea, I know a lot of people enjoy one of his more serious comics, A&H club, and if he gets to it more, I want to see more of what he has in mind for the comic, Traces of the past. In my mind, Rick’s problem isn’t as simple as him not being able to separate jokes from serious plotlines and Vice-Versa. Personally, I think Rick is starting to hit a wall with Housepets, but isn’t sure how to stop it as, well it’s his most popular work. The consistent schedule is honestly, oddly the biggest problem for Housepets, Rick never takes a break from it aside from arguably the guest comics, and those are short breaks, he’s probably experiencing some level of fatigue, something I think he himself might not want to admit from what I’ve seen of his comments of recent past. If he could be convinced, I think it be for the best if he took an extended break, at least from Housepets if he still wants to work on the other stuff. I don’t know, maybe I’m just making assumptions about the guy, but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who doesn’t understand how to write consistent themes in his work, even now. Not trying to change your opinion, just making sure multiple points of view are brought up if you’re gonna make this big a statement

I've decided to check this other comic of his and, a few pages in, I can see that the tone and that the story structure is a bit different. So Rick can make different stories tones, but just won't for Housepets.

But now I think that his issue is another: the fear of a tone change.

Again, I might be wrong on this, but I think that the reason why the story of Housepets is such a mess is because Rick is scared of pushing away the fans of "lol random animals making jokes" by focusing more on the story and ditching the gag of the day. I mean, we've had several pages of nothing but gags in the middle of the "Important arcs", dragging the whole thing for more time than it should have. It gives off the impression that the story cannot focus on charcater development for a few pages without a character throwing a metaphorical pie at a anohter to "lighten the mood".

Focusing purely on the story without the mandatory gag per page for a single arc would not remove the comedy tag of the comic.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:21 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
This is a smaller response as I think you’re just forgetting some stuff, it’s hard to argue that a lot of Arcs involving King are pretty consistent. If Rick sets them up as being serious, the arc stays pretty serious, heck I think there are people who complain about that stuff because they felt Rick was drifting from the silly roots of the comic

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:42 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Gameb18oy Wrote:
This is a smaller response as I think you’re just forgetting some stuff, it’s hard to argue that a lot of Arcs involving King are pretty consistent. If Rick sets them up as being serious, the arc stays pretty serious, heck I think there are people who complain about that stuff because they felt Rick was drifting from the silly roots of the comic

But King is not the only one who had a "serious" story elements. In fact, it can be argued that all his arc are now silly since he has a family and it's mostly centered around his cubs' mistchief.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:58 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Something that I think is missing from this discussion is that Housepets! is the creative outlet for Rick that's more for doing whatever he thinks will be fun or interesting. That's the reason he doesn't need a break from the comic, and it's the reason I can safely say that he's not burning out on it either. I'm sorry that gag a day comics are not your bag, but that was Rick's decision from the beginning with this comic. He just hasn't let that stop him from exploring deeper topics as well.
You may enjoy his other works more than Housepets! as they tend to be more narrative focused and less slice of life.
At the end of the day Housepets! has always been and will always be about funny animals.

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:15 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Carl Barks treated the Disney ducks the same way Rick treats his crew - a serious story salted with a couple of gags, a pratfall or two, an irony here, a sardonic moralization there, and a "lesson learned" at the end ... A lesson that might be uplifting but just as likely rueful, cynical, or dismissive. Some stories were more humorous in tone and tale, resting on a simple plot line. Others, especially the Scrooge sagas, followed more adventurous and dramatic lines, often with foreign locales, exotic villains, and elements of magic or danger. Even then, jokes and humor remained.

No storyteller hits 'em all out of the park. I'm not going going to voice my concerns about Rick's latest arc because that's gotten a !little excessive lately and, perhaps, some of the narrative lapses will be resolved in future stories. Perhaps some readers found the humor out of place, given the menacing undertone conveyed by Gale's murderous fury. Still, growing up a "funny animal fan" back in the fifties, those same elements wove through the Disney, Warner Brothers, Tom and Jerry, Fox and the Crow comics - the " Dell Pledge to Parents" not withstanding.

Like Obbi said, you might find some of his other series more to your taste. Or, wait a week, zidane, and see what Rick does next.
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Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:03 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
NHWestoN Wrote:
Carl Barks treated the Disney ducks the same way Rick treats his crew - a serious story salted with a couple of gags, a pratfall or two, an irony here, a sardonic moralization there, and a "lesson learned" at the end ... A lesson that might be uplifting but just as likely rueful, cynical, or dismissive. Some stories were more humorous in tone and tale, resting on a simple plot line.


Excuse me, but no. Housepets is jokes first and foremost and plot is secondary. I don't mind jokes mixed with plot. What I mind is when you solve the plot with a joke.

However, it's as Obbi said, Housepets simply isn't for me. Rick's other comic is actually far more engaging and interesting than this one.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:30 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
What makes you think the ending of this last arc was a joke? It didn’t really seem like one to me - more like the way a misunderstanding like this usually ends in reality. Sure, it was funny, but that doesn’t make it a goof for a goofs sake.

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:54 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
biddyfox Wrote:
What makes you think the ending of this last arc was a joke? It didn’t really seem like one to me - more like the way a misunderstanding like this usually ends in reality. Sure, it was funny, but that doesn’t make it a goof for a goofs sake.

Gale: "You've hurt me badly, Miles. You've betrayed my trust!"
Miles: "LOL CIVILIZATION!"
*LOL TIMESKIP*


Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:02 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Apparently you and me have different interpretations of how that went down. I think you’re being really unfair and harsh personally - “you’re kinda bad at storytelling”? “You need more than a neat concept to have an audience”? You’re stating things that are pretty objective like facts. If he needs more than a neat concept to have an audience then apparently he does have more than that seeing as this comic has won 10 awards in a row and has a constantly active forum and unofficial discord.
I don’t mean to be mean or anything but it might be kind of presumptuous to not only diss a comic but directly tell the author his priorities are skewed because you personally don’t like how it handles its plot lines. I think Rick can do what he wants with his comic that he makes.

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:17 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
zidane Wrote:
biddyfox Wrote:
What makes you think the ending of this last arc was a joke? It didn’t really seem like one to me - more like the way a misunderstanding like this usually ends in reality. Sure, it was funny, but that doesn’t make it a goof for a goofs sake.

Gale: "You've hurt me badly, Miles. You've betrayed my trust!"
Miles: "LOL CIVILIZATION!"
*LOL TIMESKIP*

that betrayed feeling didn't go away, she's still upset as seen in the latest strip, she just learned new information that made her see that killing them wasn't her best option. and she didn't just learn it cause they told her and it solved all their problems, it was in a heartfelt goodbye from Miles where he happened to mention it and it shocked her out of her emotionally charged rage.
presumably, after she found that out they explained the situation in more detail, she let them go in exchange for a place in civilization, they went back and finished camping then went about their lives for 6 months. maybe there could have one more strip where they showed back up at the campsite with her instead of the immediate timeskip, but it wasn't necessary when we could assume what happened.

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:28 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
RandomGeekNamedBrent Wrote:
zidane Wrote:
biddyfox Wrote:
What makes you think the ending of this last arc was a joke? It didn’t really seem like one to me - more like the way a misunderstanding like this usually ends in reality. Sure, it was funny, but that doesn’t make it a goof for a goofs sake.

Gale: "You've hurt me badly, Miles. You've betrayed my trust!"
Miles: "LOL CIVILIZATION!"
*LOL TIMESKIP*

that betrayed feeling didn't go away, she's still upset as seen in the latest strip, she just learned new information that made her see that killing them wasn't her best option. and she didn't just learn it cause they told her and it solved all their problems, it was in a heartfelt goodbye from Miles where he happened to mention it and it shocked her out of her emotionally charged rage.
presumably, after she found that out they explained the situation in more detail, she let them go in exchange for a place in civilization, they went back and finished camping then went about their lives for 6 months. maybe there could have one more strip where they showed back up at the campsite with her instead of the immediate timeskip, but it wasn't necessary when we could assume what happened.


The joke was mostly from Gale's reaction from Miles mentioning civilization. Instead of having the two discuss their issues and have Gale simply naturally allow to give Miles another chance, the time was jumped from Gale trying to hurt Miles to having Gale in an office screaming at someone in the office. Why have natural character development when you can just assume it happened offscreen.

biddyfox Wrote:
Apparently you and me have different interpretations of how that went down. I think you’re being really unfair and harsh personally - “you’re kinda bad at storytelling”? “You need more than a neat concept to have an audience”? You’re stating things that are pretty objective like facts. If he needs more than a neat concept to have an audience then apparently he does have more than that seeing as this comic has won 10 awards in a row and has a constantly active forum and unofficial discord.
I don’t mean to be mean or anything but it might be kind of presumptuous to not only diss a comic but directly tell the author his priorities are skewed because you personally don’t like how it handles its plot lines. I think Rick can do what he wants with his comic that he makes.


I can clearly see that Rick does have an audience. People like stories with non-stop gags. This wasn't even the only issue I had with the story of this comic. It was simply the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Examples are:

1)Bino still being considered a leader even after all the stuff he pulled off with no good reason.
2)Some characters apparently have no input when they are present at an important moment, they say and do nothing to not stretch things out even though their characterization so far would demand them to.
3)the jokes just irritate me. Not a single one made me so much as chuckle. They even are shoved in the middle of important story arcs, making the whole thing stop to a griding halt.
4)Some plotlines still had more to tell (like the latest arc where Res was present), but they are either ignored altogether or just assumed it happened offscreen.

I was willing to ignore number 3, but, again, when the need to tell a jke gets in the way of a story, it really annoys me. So, simply, this comic simply isn't for me.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:20 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
You make two arguments that we've seen before: that things are not being shown on-panel to your satisfaction, and that the jokes do not weave into the story to your satisfaction. Neither of these are new. Rick is constantly juggling many factors to balance this comic in terms of how much detail is enough vs how long the arc is, and ending each strip such that there is a small amount of closure for the day-by-day followers while still keeping the story interesting for binge readers or later jumpers-on, etc.

But above all that: you made an account solely for the purpose of coming into a group of fans of Rick's comic to tell Rick that you don't like his comic. And not even very kindly at that. Then when people told you that their subjective response to the comic was radically different from yours, you continued to argue that you don't like the comic for your own subjective reasons.

Why continue? Why come here at all? There's very little constructive here, and Rick has already determined what his goals for this comic are and has remained consistent with them for 10 years, so you're not going to get him to change them to fit your subjective view. If you really have nothing further to add, there is no reason for you to stay here. Go do something better with your time for your sake and ours.

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:42 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Obbl Wrote:
You make two arguments that we've seen before: that things are not being shown on-panel to your satisfaction, and that the jokes do not weave into the story to your satisfaction. Neither of these are new. Rick is constantly juggling many factors to balance this comic in terms of how much detail is enough vs how long the arc is, and ending each strip such that there is a small amount of closure for the day-by-day followers while still keeping the story interesting for binge readers or later jumpers-on, etc.

But above all that: you made an account solely for the purpose of coming into a group of fans of Rick's comic to tell Rick that you don't like his comic. And not even very kindly at that. Then when people told you that their subjective response to the comic was radically different from yours, you continued to argue that you don't like the comic for your own subjective reasons.

Why continue? Why come here at all? There's very little constructive here, and Rick has already determined what his goals for this comic are and has remained consistent with them for 10 years, so you're not going to get him to change them to fit your subjective view. If you really have nothing further to add, there is no reason for you to stay here. Go do something better with your time for your sake and ours.


The only reason why I created an account to post here to post this thread was because I did think that this comic had a great potential. Had I thought this story to be 100% mediocre I would have simply ignored it. Also, my criticism here isn't exactly invalid. Rick most likely isn't gonna change the comic because of one disatisfied reader. I was aware of it even before I posted this.
Then why post it? because, I offered an actual cronstructive criticism: you can keep jokes in a story just fine, but the moment you shove a joke to solve a serious issue or to tone down the seriousness of the situation is the same as saying "don't get invested in the story I'm making. this is just for laughs". He most likely won't take it, but he should still be told that.
Rick's art style and his dedication are amazing and the A&H club story is quite interesting. I'm just sad Housepets isn't as good as it could have been. Then, again, I'm alone in this opinion, it seems.
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Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:08 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
No-one says - nor has anyone any right to say - don't criticise but, for it to be useful, criticism has to be productive and helpful. Continual negative bashing serves no positive purpose. You say that you saw potential but you don't say what that potential IS or how to act on that. Instead you just state what you believe to be wrong with it and why you don't like it. That's fine.

Some people may agree. That's their right. Others don't. That's their right too. And that's the fact you don't seem to want to agree to. And that's not right. It leads to arguments no-one needs or wants. You have said your piece. Others have reacted. Time to let it lie.

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:45 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Welsh Halfwit Wrote:
No-one says - nor has anyone any right to say - don't criticise but, for it to be useful, criticism has to be productive and helpful. Continual negative bashing serves no positive purpose. You say that you saw potential but you don't say what that potential IS or how to act on that. Instead you just state what you believe to be wrong with it and why you don't like it. That's fine.

Some people may agree. That's their right. Others don't. That's their right too. And that's the fact you don't seem to want to agree to. And that's not right. It leads to arguments no-one needs or wants. You have said your piece. Others have reacted. Time to let it lie.


Would you like me to re-read the entire comic and point out every out of place joke and show where more character development should have been added instead of spending 3 pannels to build a punchline in the more plot oriented arcs?
I thought that it would be clear to what I'm talking about, that's why I spoke broadly.

Also, continual bashing? This is the first time I'm postng here and from what I'm seeing people do nothing but praise Rick.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:55 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Trust me, we don’t. You should read just the comments for this arc, people were constantly bringing up how they don’t get why Gale is being so angry, feeling she was being completely unreasonable. And honestly, I’m more annoyed when I see you make blanket statements about us all. Some of us only want the jokes, that’s true, but it’s irritating when you pretend those are the only fans when a lot of us are more interested in theorizing where plot threads are gonna go, like the cursed coin on a more serious side, or on the possibly more light hearted, what’s the history between Rufus and Max considering that kiss.

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:44 am
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
Having set up this thread to make a broad critical point, Zidane, you might want to continue your observations (as most of us do) on a submission by submission basis with a little more focus. Yours is probably the most "total" critique I've seen of Housepets! as a comic work, but how much more useful it could be to develop it more deeply as an isolated thread seems barren to me. Perhaps commenting on a story as it unfolds, strip-by-strip, might give your concerns a bit more specific.

The fans here run a broad spectrum. On a strip-by-strip basis, the fandom actually does express a lot of criticism of a plot line or twist, a character's behavior, or trying to guess what will come next. A lot of what passes for criticism is perplexity over a particular subplot that has yet to emerge, as Game18oy noted. Rick does like to "seed" the strip with premonitions, such as Tarot telling Sabrina she's going to almost drown. You had to wait a couple of years for that one. I guess we all have a couple of undeveloped possibilities we're impatient to see and know Rick may not revive (I'd like to see a story with the no-longer-moronic Daisy who suddenly surfaced a couple years back). Sometimes folks get a little pickety-poo about a miniscule plot item or character behavior; some time folks get a little silly. Lately, it seems, some of us are getting a little pointed with each other, too … no individuals named, okay. But that's a Forum, eh?

Yours is a pretty broad criticism of Rick's whole story-telling style, and I'm not sure how he can respond to it without shifting much of his approach to the whole Housepets! world. To me, what you find as a deficiency is what gives the comic its unique charm.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:02 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
NHWestoN Wrote:
Having set up this thread to make a broad critical point, Zidane, you might want to continue your observations (as most of us do) on a submission by submission basis with a little more focus. Yours is probably the most "total" critique I've seen of Housepets! as a comic work, but how much more useful it could be to develop it more deeply as an isolated thread seems barren to me. Perhaps commenting on a story as it unfolds, strip-by-strip, might give your concerns a bit more specific.

The fans here run a broad spectrum. On a strip-by-strip basis, the fandom actually does express a lot of criticism of a plot line or twist, a character's behavior, or trying to guess what will come next. A lot of what passes for criticism is perplexity over a particular subplot that has yet to emerge, as Game18oy noted. Rick does like to "seed" the strip with premonitions, such as Tarot telling Sabrina she's going to almost drown. You had to wait a couple of years for that one. I guess we all have a couple of undeveloped possibilities we're impatient to see and know Rick may not revive (I'd like to see a story with the no-longer-moronic Daisy who suddenly surfaced a couple years back). Sometimes folks get a little pickety-poo about a miniscule plot item or character behavior; some time folks get a little silly. Lately, it seems, some of us are getting a little pointed with each other, too … no individuals named, okay. But that's a Forum, eh?

Yours is a pretty broad criticism of Rick's whole story-telling style, and I'm not sure how he can respond to it without shifting much of his approach to the whole Housepets! world. To me, what you find as a deficiency is what gives the comic its unique charm.


I've pretty much read the whole archive in about a week or so. So seeing the plot strucuture like this becomes easier than strip by strip over the course of weeks. It was a bit of a rollercoaster for me, the beggining was slow and boring, then it got a few highs (mostly during King's arcs before the marriage), but, most of time, the pay offs are lackluster. It was rare for me to see the end of an arc satisfied with what I've read. An example of an arc I can say it was very good was the one where Grape, peanut, tarot and Max played pretend in pride Lands. The reason why I've enjoyed this one so much was because I didn't expect anything other "fun imagination shenanigans" and that ending actually surprised me a little.

But when he tries to set up a arc with some serious conotations, it usually backfires when he starts doing filler and flat out ignore a few elements (like he did in the temple crashers arc).

Comedy is simply too strong in this story to make some plotlines actually work.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:52 pm
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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
I'm just gonna say it because nobody else will.


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Post Re: I just can't get invested in this story anymore
I think this thread's accomplished its goals. Thank you for your feedback!

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