With nothing too exciting happening in my normal strips – other than the usual awesome comics continuing to be awesome – today seemed a good occasion to take a look at a comic I was recently sent to review that managed to leave me confused, taken aback, and most importantly… fascinated.
That comic is A Fine Example.
This comic is not one that lends itself to easy description. There are characters, yes. There is a story, or at least a series of loosely connected events. There is humor, certainly, though it is less in the form of punchlines and more in the form of surreal absurdity.
I could try to describe it by saying that the main character is John Stiles, an incredibly wealthy pirate with two peg legs and a fake eyepatch, and that he is just as likely to be confronted by a difficulty in emotionally connecting to his son as to find himself fighting off hordes of zombies that have manifested on his front lawn.
I could say that, and it would convey that the strip involves strange characters and bizarre circumstances, but it really wouldn’t capture the true experience of it all.
And that is a good thing, in many ways – to be indescribable. To be that extraordinary.
A Fine Example is the sort of comic that is a fun read, if also one that requires a slight stretching of one’s mind to wrap your head around it. It works, largely, through the art – the style itself varies, with different characters being drawn in completely different fashions, creating what proves to be a rather brilliant internal dichotomy.
And, of course, the story itself wanders all over, from the rather silly, such as his pet… (mutant? robot? I’ve honestly got no idea what the thing is) – anyway, it might be about his pet being pulled over for speeding, causing an unfortunate run-in with the police… or the strip might show his son weaving a careful war of psychological sabotage against Stiles’ girlfriend. (The mother died on a space shuttle a year ago.)
It is unpredictable, and I’d use the term zany if that wouldn’t be a disservice to the dark humor underlying every strip.
It’s A Fine Example. Of what, I’m still not quite sure, but I’m certainly planning on sticking around until I find out.