This is another slide from my "Ten Things I Hate About Webcomics" presentation I did for AnimeUSA 2011. The purpose was to poke fun at common webcomics tropes, cliches, and/or bad habits and to help new creators recognize them and then either avoid them or exploit them (because anything, even tropes, done well can still make for good entertainment). This one was part of the "referential humor in video game/geek comics" segment.
Now, humor is a very tricky subject because, yes, it is fairly subjective and I shake my head at people who think they can universally declare something as "unfunny" (beyond what our society has created as a baseline and even THAT has a lot of gray areas). However, there is some science to it. I do believe humor can be poorly executed and there is such a thing as cheap, easy, and lazy humor that takes little thought or effort from either the creator or their audience.
A lot of "geek comics" fall victim to what I like to call the "Family Guy" school of referential humor. The idea is simply making a reference or depicting that reference in random, unrelated out-of-character behavior is the entirety of the joke. It doesn't bother with clever observations or commentary on the subject nor does it bring anything new to the table beyond "Hey! It's -pop culture reference-!" and "Pfft! Farts are hilarious." Again, people can still find it funny, it's just a little too cheap and easy for my taste.
Though this is from the guy who writes and draws "It Sucks to be Weegie"
, so take that as you will.
Other slides from my webcomics presentation: