I usually leave comics blogging to my colleague Heidi MacDonald, but I was super (no pun intended) excited to find this on my desk today:
Like any good blogger, I have a daily Google alert set up to let me know when someone mentions my blog. Imagine my surprise to get a link to DeviantArt one day, where I found that some fellow named Huw Evans had drawn a map of a place called Genreville. I dropped him a friendly note, one Genrevillain to another, and he replied saying he was working on a comic with the same title. Two year later, after I confess I’d quite forgotten about the whole thing, I got another email from him saying, “The comic is done! Can I send you a copy?”
Huw’s introduction describes his three-issue Genreville series as a “parodic love letter to the old comic books, pulp magazines, and ‘B’ movies” and it certainly lives up to that billing. Every cliché you can imagine is here, and stereotypes abound. For example, at the end of the issue, our heroes—cleft-chinned PI Jack Crandall; his client, Alice Straw, a 50-foot-tall woman reduced to human size by a mad scientist’s shrink ray; and the mad scientist’s hunchbacked assistant, Gior—go in search of a witch doctor named Kadunga, donning pith helmets and grabbing machetes to hack their way through the Jungle Park neighborhood of Genreville (just east of Horror Heights and south of Varmint Gulch). Their guide is Skeena, the white, blonde, leopard-print-bikini-wearing “duchess of the forest”, whose “why you city people come to jungle?” patois suggests that discomfiting racial caricatures may be around the corner. I can only hope Kadunga is as story-aware as Gior, who grumbles about “sidekick discrimination” when Jack and Alice tell him to watch their luggage while they go off to dance with teen delinquents at a beatnik biker bikini bonfire beach bash.
In general, I think the comic finds a good balance between homage and parody. I’ll be curious to see whether Huw can maintain that balance as Jack, Alice, and Gior explore Genreville’s furthest reaches in issues 2 and 3. (No schedule for those yet; Huw calls himself “the World’s Slowest Cartoonist” and says the first issue took four years to complete.) In the meantime, you can take a look at issue 1 here.