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CADbortion (a.k.a “Ctrl+Alt+Del” miscarriage) refers to a series of parodies based on an overly dramatic cartoon strip from the popular webcomic Ctrl+Alt Del which became a widespread subject of mockery among the readers.
On October 23rd, 2002, Tim Buckley began publishing a webcomic series called “Ctrl+Alt+Del,” depicting the lives and adventures of two gamer roomates, Ethan and Lucas, as well as Ethan’s girlfriend Lilah and their robot Zeke built from an XBox console.
Despite its well-known status in the world of webcomics, the series began to acquire a significant hatedom due to widely perceived shortcomings like predictable tropes and his reliance on a single standard facial expression, as well as his controversial remarks and behaviors. Extremely negative pages for the comic were written on Encyclopedia Dramatica and the Bad Webcomics Wiki, while the TV Tropes page has been locked due to the large number of edit wars that took place over its contents.
The Miscarriage Strip
On July 2nd, 2008, Buckley posted a strip titled Loss, in which the female lead Lilah suffers a miscarriage. A significant change in tone from the usually comedic comic, the poorly-executed drama comic did not sit well with the anti-fans.
Many notable webcomic began parodying the comic and its final panel in paticular, including HijiNKS Ensue, Cynide and Happiness, Bigger then Cheeses, EEGRA hilarity comics, Fanboys, and Slackerz, along with other Internet persona such as Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of Zero Punctuation, and Shmorky from Something Awful’s Flash Tub.
On 4chan, /v/ board became overrun with parodies to such an extent that moderators began banning people who opened new “CAD” threads. Something Awful users were particularly unkind to the comic, creating mock threads(one of which is over 350 pages long.), two entire (now closed) wikis and an interactive graph of the comic. Someone even went to the extent of making a random CAD comic generator, subtly mocking that even disjointed, mismatched panels of the comic are still funnier than the originals.
El Santo(the webcomic overlook), The Bad Webcomic Wiki and others have also mentioned the infamous comic in negative reviews of the webcomic as well. On July 25th, 2009, YouTuber KennylovesArin uploaded a musical tribute based on the comic accompanied by friends Skraggy and Arin (popular animator known as “Egoraptor”), with lyrical references to the miscarriage strip.
The CAD Rules
The act of CAD bashing has since been made into two distinct templates that became known as “the CAD rules”:
Rule 1: Any CAD strip will automatically become funnier by replacing the fourth and final panel with the last panel of the miscarriage strip.
Rule 2: Any CAD strip will automatically become funnier by removing the second and third square (known as “buckleybox’s”), and all dialog from the fourth.
The Buckley Face
Before the revamping of the cartoon in early 2008, the cartoon’s aesthetics relied mostly on copying and pasting techniques, leading many character to appear nearly identical with a limited range of expressions. The emoticon B^U soon became associated with CAD characters as it resembled their facial expression when turned at a 90 degree angle. It quickly gained traction among the comic’s detractors and anti-fans, earning the creator of comics the nickname “Tim B^Uckley”.
WORDS WORDS WORDS
As mentioned in the CAD Rules above, one of the largest criticisms of Buckley’s comic was the density of dialogues and set-up for the punchline. In mocking the verbose nature of the webcomic, some anti-fans created parodies with all the original text replaced to “WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS.”
Aside from the comic itself, Tim Buckley’s often irrational behavior and lack of tolerance for criticism also contributed to the growth of CAD anti-fandom In the past, the artist has placed himself in the center of online drama such as lashing out at his fans, deleting entire discussion threads and defacing the Encyclopedia Dramatica article written about him. In addition to the bouts of dramas, he has also been entangled in numerous controversies unrelated to his online presence, including alleged accusations of pedophilia, racism and plagiarism.
In some of the user-generated artworks, the main character “Ethan” is often portrayed as Tim Buckley the cartoonist, allowing anti-fans to create parodies directly targeted at the artist, rather than his comics.
The Animated Series
“We produced Ctrl+Alt+Del season one. Never again. Lost HUGE amounts of money”
Ryan Sohmer of Blind Ferret Entertainment, the company who animated the series. (Despite this claim, they eventually did produce 2nd series)
At one point, Tim Buckley decided to follow the example of other webcomics such as PvP and Cyanide & Happiness by making his own animated series based on the comic, and with the help of Blind Ferret Entertainment he released Ctrl+Alt+Del: The animated series.
The end result received an overwhelmingly negative response, with similar complaints concerning the terrible dialouge, poor animation, bad voice acting and a price far too high for the end product ($30 for 12 3 minute episodes). An angry fan, upset with the poor quality of the product, bittorrented the series and spread it around. The negative reaction to the videos led to a number of parodies, including an entire annotated series.
CAD: The Annotated Series.