Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Deviant Core Member Jesse J. BarbozaMale/United States Group :icontooncentral: ToonCentral
Recent Activity
Deviant for 9 Years
4 Week Core Membership
Statistics 1,685 Deviations 12,347 Comments 879,814 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Random Favourites

  • Mood: Defeated
  • Listening to: R.E.M., "Radio Song"
  • Reading: Disney Adventures - March 1997
  • Watching: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
So what I've gathered is, nobody likes Joel anymore. This is kind of a problem, since he's supposed to be the main character.

People's main issues are that Joel is dismissive of other people's interests, is inconsiderate of his family's opinions, has some smart-ass comment to say about everything, acts without thinking, swears too much, and has no real problems that are worth complaining about - he's not in a bad enough position to be as bitter and sarcastic as I've made him, and he comes off as just a whiny petulant jerk. I'm not going to lie: this is a genuine surprise to me. I thought I'd well and truly established that Joel's creative ambitions are unappreciated at home and at school, and that he uses sarcastic humor as a coping mechanism for being emotionally beaten down all the time. People's reaction to that basically amounted to "Yeah, we get that, but he's still an asshole."

I think maybe the problem is me. I'm just not a talented enough writer to get my ideas across clearly. What I really need is contribution from other creative minds, people who can take my ideas and help me build them up into something that an audience will want to read. Anybody who has any suggestions for how to make Joel more likeable and sympathetic and maintain the theme of rebellion against oppressive forces, I am sincerely open to hearing them.


Jesse J. Barboza
United States
Current Residence: Earth
Favourite genre of music: Classic rock
Favourite cartoon character: Bugs Bunny
Personal Quote: "If everyone was normal, the world would be a really boring place to live."

What do you find funny about Nineteen-Ninety-Something? 

80 deviants said A combination of the two
42 deviants said The character interactions
23 deviants said The riffs on '90s culture
14 deviants said Nineteen-Ninety-Something isn't funny



Add a Comment:
Userguy Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015
So I saw your post on tumblr asking how to make Joel more likeable. I used to have a tumblr account but I lost it so I'll just post my input here.

If Joel was someone I knew in real life, I'm sure I would not like him at all. It has nothing whatsoever to do with his passions but more the way he expresses them. He's arrogant, snarky, and snobbish. He looks down on his father, calling him a "drone" (or something like that) working a "shitty" job, when the man provides for him and Joel, who couldn't even handle working at McDonalds, is more than happy to mooch off the money William earns from his "shitty" job. Pretty hard to like a character with an attitude like that. Also, to repeat a frequent criticism you've been getting, he curses way too much and it's off-putting. I know they curse a lot in shows like "South Park" but that works for that sort of cartoon. It's amusing to see ten year olds with cutesy, simplistic character designs say all these nasty words. Not so much for your strip, where the designs are more realistic and the setting is far more grounded in reality. If I wanted to see a bunch of angry teenagers cursing at each other, I'd just go to the mall or something.

Compare Joel to a character like Bart Simpson, who is similar in some ways. It's been implied since the very beginning of the series that Bart acts the way he does simply to get attention and that he actually lacks self esteem and feels lost in the shadow of his straight A student sister. This helps keep Bart likeable. We know he isn't misbehaving just because he can. We've never really seen that sort of vulnerable side to Joel. He bitches and moans about how misunderstood he is but it really isn't coming across that way in the strip. The Duquesnes are assholes to everybody, not just him, and his parents simply just come across as two somewhat clueless but ultimately well-meaning people rather than a pair of oppressors trying to kill their adolescent son's dreams.

In conclusion, I would tone down his smugness and have him swear less. He can still be snarky but have him only act so towards people who truly earn it.  Tone down his anger too, since it's just making him seem whiny and angsty. Unless it's done in an exaggerated, amusing way, angry characters are not very enjoyable. And, finally, show a softer side to him. I've read your early strips back when it was still called F16 and Joel seemed more shy and less confident back then. A character like that is far more relatable than an arrogant, whiny snob who looks down on people for not sharing his interests.

Of course, it's your strip. You call the shots and you can do whatever you want with it and whatever you think is right. This is merely what I think would make your protagonist a more likeable, deeper character.
ToonEGuy Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know we don't talk much anymore, but whenever you find the time to go through your notes, I did send you an update about the things that have been going on in my life recently.
Why do you draw people underwater?
VoltronZ1 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2015  Student Writer
Hey there.

How's that underwater Baymax commission coming along? Just wondering.
jbwarner86 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2015
Time to work on commissions has been slim lately; most of my day is taken up by my day job and Nineteen-Ninety-Something, and usually after all that I'm too burned out to draw any more. But I keep plugging away when I can, and yours is next in line, so I do apologize for the wait, but it'll be ready soon :)
PJToon75 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Your artwork is inspired, whimsical, and fun. I enjoyed looking at it, especially your BarbozaToon characters. You have talent and it shows. Please keep up the good work. P.S. I have a crush on Maxine Mink. She's hot.
Userguy Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015
Was naming your characters "Joel" Maxwell and Steve "Nelson" intended as MST3K references?
jbwarner86 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015
That, and setting the series in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the same Minneapolis suburb where they taped the show :)
OhYeahCartoonsFan Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2015
TheJayster49 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sorry if I made you feel worse...
Add a Comment: