Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pleasant Distraction: Frog & Owl

Frog & Owl is a webcomic collection by the talented Molly Lawless. Lawless is best known for her baseball history strips that combine a nice, tight line with a wry take on baseball's less glamourous moments. Her upcoming book, Hit By Pitch, will go into detail about one of the sport's darkest hours. While not drawing men in ill-fitting uniforms holding bats, she lets off steam with her webcomic, which is entirely continuity-free. The titular characters are essentially a joke-delivery system: sometimes they're lovers, sometimes they work together, sometimes they're strangers and sometimes they're enemies. The strip is an excuse for Lawless to draw some funny-looking animals doing silly things while dropping bon mots.

Lawless works strictly in pencil, and the simplicity of her characters allows her to add all sorts of detail around them. There's one strip where Owl is wrapped up in a quilt that has a delicate checkerboard pattern. There's another strip where Lawless comments on the simplicity of her figures by drawing naturalistic versions of her characters who note that "something is amiss". Most of the strips don't rely on visuals to tell the joke; Lawless simply makes each strip nice to look at as a matter of course. In many respects, Frog & Owl is a throwback strip, something that might have appeared in the newspaper forty years ago in terms of its size and aesthetic qualities. Of course, by throwing out any sense of continuity, Lawless simply makes it about the gag every time, slapping a different story on these two blank slate characters in every strip. As far as the quality of the gags themselves, Lawless has a pretty good hit to miss ratio, with most of them being pleasant chuckles rather than laugh-out-loud guffaws. Frog and Owl is the epitome of pleasant if forgettable, though if no particular strip was especially memorable, I still wanted to read more of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment