Friday, February 6, 2015

Not-So-Wild Review: Kiwis By Beat

My list over to the side there is every comic I read over the course of the month.  I recommend any and all of them to one extent or another.  I also use it in case I'm away from my computer as a way to check said comics.  And all of them have gotten a standard review, except one.  Kind of.  Let me tell you about:

Kiwis By Beat!

By "kind of" I mean that there is a review related to it, about Minus.  Even in my follow up though, I mentioned the full site, so it's kind of a review.  The reality is it isn't one comic, it's an anthology of comics, something that has become a growing trend.  Short Stories built itself on the idea, and several email requests I've received have all been some kind of anthology style site.  Kiwis By Beat is probably the first one I've done any official review on, and will likely become the standard for them.

Which also makes a normal, sectioned off Not-So-Wild Review a little more difficult than most.  In fact, much of it stems from one topic that hasn't shown up in any of the other reviews.  So much so there will only be two topics this round because, well, it all comes down to these.


There is something rather unique about the art.  Ryan Armand's style (that's the artist, BTW) is rather distinctive, though I always get this odd feeling I've seen something similar somewhere.  No idea where though.  While a few stories, Minus especially, are in color, the bulk are in black and white, and he takes advantage of the medium in a way few really do, often swapping between positive and negative space as necessary.

Each of the various comics is different too.  Modern Fried Snake is very flat while Monster Story has layers of shading to make it stand out.  The water color look of The Mildly Inconvenient Journey of Pelen Purul is very different from Minus.  Despite all of them sharing a basic, similar character design, each comic is different enough that it could actually be identified from the rest.  Perhaps that's why I keep thinking I've seen it before, because I'm remembering the other comics in the anthology.


If there is one thing that unites all these comics is there's a certain tone to it.  The way it reads, the way it looks, the stories it tells, the characters, all of them share the same tone.  Trying to simply describe it is, well, difficult, if not impossible, but I'll try.

In Modern Fried Snake there's a part of the story where the main character and her friend go to the city.  They see a movie, eat at a strange restaurant, possibly kill a man (never followed up on), and do some shopping.  Eventually they get handed a strange book, which was a book written against The Great Leader whose picture is like something out of Orwell.  For any other comic, this would be the jumping off point for a great adventure, discovering good and evil, etc, etc.  In this comic, they throw the book away and head home.

Nearly every story is like this.  The mundane of life is often on display, rarely is there any great battle or adventure, or if there is it's temporary or part of a bigger point.  Other stories take weird twists, like Vampire Story where most everyone becomes a vampire because they always live in mansions.  Seriously.  The Mildly Inconvenient Journey of Pelen Purul has the narrator desperately trying to convince the reader that Pelen will eventually journey home, when she seems happy where she is, and that's just a few.

And the characters follow suit as a result.  They're nothing amazing (even in Great), and they kind of go with the flow of the tale.  They're different from each other but the tone of their actions and words are almost always the same.  The majority just live rather ordinary lives, and the few who don't really aren't that extraordinary anyway.


It's hard to talk about something like a dozen comics at once, and dropping everything into "tone" might seem a bit lazy but there is a unified tone to the entire thing.  It's very easy to see it as each comic is read.  And I recommend reading them all.  They're quirky, different and fun, all the things I love to see in a comic, and there's a bunch of them here, just waiting to be read.  Minus may have brought me to the site, but everything else keeps me coming back.

Next time, um, we'll see.  I've run out of my buffer, but I still have ideas in the queue, so hopefully something.  No promises.  Until then kiddies.

No comments:

Post a Comment