Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Review: Planet Karen..
A self described diary style comic, Planet Karen delves us into the mind of Karen Ellis and her life in pictures as a goth-garbed girl full of self doubt and a slacker mindset. From her own admission, parody gives way to truth and a webcomic as a form of self release. Good to know a comic can serve as a Dr. Phil and not just guilty pleasure entertainment. On with the review, aye?
This is one of the more stylized comics with a "less is more" mentality, at least from the pile that I've reviewed. It sort of reminds me of this local comic I came across maybe 10 years ago called "Bitter Girl". That is to say very sketchy, almost an afterthought art, at least for the first half. Karen stands apart from everyone else with giant anime eyes and all black dress, the uniform of choice for the down and out. The hand written text was a bonus for me as I'm a believer in pen and paper(and perhaps because I do all my own text as well in my comics). She eventually goes for a cleaner, neater presentation, but loses none of it's style and charm. All is well on the artistic side of things. The writing, on the other hand..
Being essentially an illustrated diary, things can go either of two ways. One, you can be incredibly insightful in letting someone into your innermost workings, or two, you can look like an egotistical douchebag with an idealized version of yourself. Karen fits somewhere in the middle. Some strips are downright poetic, such as this nugget of personality. Others, however, are nothing more than a day of lying on the couch watching tv. While there is more than enough to keep you interested, as the comic is smartly written in most cases, it can sometimes be a bore. Oh, the egotistical side of things. Karen isn't(and she's no douchbag!), but she does draw herself as this skinny, cool, anti-establishment alternative chick when she admits down the line that she's overweight(and maybe doesn't even dress like that?). But I get the feeling that the intention is not to keep you entertained, but more to just plain express herself, and Karen does that admirably. Not everyone would be this open, especially with a webcomic that knocks her friends. Ever fear reprisal, Karen?
This comic has the potential to make you feel good knowing that there are people out there who go through the same sorts of everyday blahs that you do, and think the same types of not-so-feel-good ways of dealing with it. Or you'll get bored fast. I don't know which side you'll fall on, but I say give it a shot and see what happens.
I give Planet Karen...