Monday, February 25, 2019

Minis: 100 Life Hacks & Life Hacks 2

These aren't really comics for the most part. Rather, they're crudely-drawn illustrations with lots of jokes regarding the subject: humorous "life-hacks." I've noted in the past that illustration and cartooning are two related but different disciplines, particularly when I'm looking at a crudely-drawn comic that is nonetheless rock-solid in terms of design, character interaction, transitions, etc. In this case, the cartoonist (who just goes by "Ben") barely seems interested in cartooning. Many of the illustrations hardly have anything to do with the jokes. The jokes are typeset, with some pages just featuring a couple of dozen gags with one illustration.

Life Hacks 2 is better in that Ben at least shows more dedication to actually illustrating his jokes. There's a "paid advertising section" with gags like "Shaq Daniels" as the label on a bottle of bourbon. Ben's sense of humor ranges from the absurd to low-hanging fruit like scatological humor, with the former being funnier than the latter in terms of structure and thought. Ben did a kickstarter for this project and so crammed each issue with as much extra material as possible, though the effect was to prolong a comic that didn't have much substance to begin with. There's a guest gag panel by Meghan Turbitt, an artist who uses a similarly crude style. In her case, her commitment to the drawing has always been primary, and it shows in her gag here about an extra long straw. It also looks like Ben is drawing a basic computer program and coloring it the same way. The result is not just something crude but also something lifeless on the page. Ben is unquestionably funny, but these comics speak to his need to rethink his approach and even if he wants to make comics.

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