Sunday, November 28, 2004

20th Leg: Buttercup Festival

Let's start with something off topic: I declare Toad-In-The-Hole the best example of British cuisine ever! Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding come close as second best, but Toad-in-The-Hole has the funnier sounding name. ;)

And no, we're not eating frogs or anything like that.




Comic: Buttercup Festival
By: Elliott G. Garbauskas

Genre and Setting: Quirky, Surreal, Commentary

Art Style: B/W inks, Minimalistic, Simplified. Occasional forays into different media.

Is About:

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. We have the main character, which appears to be a little grim-reaper fella. And he uh... does things. And comments on them.

Website: http://www.buttercupfestival.com
Frequency: Mondays
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation:
The website is nice and cleanly minimalistic.

The art on the comic displayed on the first page seems intriguing though. To be honest I don't 'get' what "Remember Nick" means, but I presume it's an internal reference I'll get later.

Navigation is a bit confusing. There's a "previous" button, but no "start from the beginning" button. Looking through the archives, there's a listing of each strip from several volumes, but oddly enough, none for volume one.

I guess I'll start from volume two then.


The Concept:

Erm... I'm not sure what exactly the concept is, except that Buttercup Festival apparently strives to bring new levels of subtlety into comic punchlines. Similar to Cat and Girl, there's some social commentary, and the occasional satire.


The Art:

Deceptively simplistic, but the kind of simplicity that only skilled artists are capable of producing. Everything is minimalised, yet it works wonderfully. There's never backgrounds unless they're required, but when you do see them, they are stunningly detailed.

Can't say that the artist is lazy, though. In most cases like this most people would have cut-and-pasted. But Elliott doesn't, and draws each frame by hand.

Occasionally, Elliott dabbles in alternative media, ranging from watercolour, what looks like crayons, milky-pens on coloured paper and even post-it notes and lined pads. Sometimes you get awesome compositions like this. Sometimes... well, you don't.

I'm particularly awed by the artist's skill in doing landscapes though. Amazing. I suspect the artist comes from a fine art background.


The Writing:

The humour for buttercup is like doing cryptic crosswords. For each comic, you have to decipher the punchline.

The general structure of a Buttercup Festival comic runs thus:

First panel: Main character comments on something.
Second panel: Supporting character comments back.
Third Panel: Something seemingly unrelated but apparently has a hidden connection to make the punchline


Sometimes it's easy to make the connection, like this one. But more often, I find myself going "huh?" and sometimes less politely: "W T F?"

All though sometimes, the ones I do get make me feel convinced there's something worthwhile I'm missing in the ones I didn't get.

And some are just brilliant. I particularly like the alternative punchlines. Especially when all of them are funny.


Problems:
I'll be honest and admit that I probably understood 25% of the jokes in the entire archive.

Most of them I suspect I could figure out if I thought more about it. And then there are some that I simple cannot understand at all...

I understand that subtle humour is an art and toning down would probably ruin it, but if you're planning to give this comic a read, be prepared to be frustrated at not being able to figure out what comic after comic is supposed to say.


Overall:
Definitely interesting and unique in delivery. Exasperating at times. Brilliant at others.

Try this one if you have patience and feel like something bizarrely different.

Don't try it if you need to have your punchlines delivered on a silver platter. Or if you REALLY like hamsters, gerbils and cute fluffy animals and have absolutely NO sense of humour regarding the mistreatment of them.


The Next Leg:

I was planning to just pick the middle link in the list of links in the links page, but as it turned out, it was Scary-Go-Round, which I've already done.

So let's take the one below that.

Elsie Hooper. Hmm...

1 comment:

  1. Incidentally, I just found out that Comixpedia already reviewed Buttercup Festival. Whoops.

    http://www.comixpedia.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1511&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

    ReplyDelete