This (belated) week we get a review of the energetic, cartoony, but not meant for kids comic, The Quick and Dirty life of Fritz Fargo.
I found this comic through my internet hate actually. The author posted a great rant about Teahouse, and from there I checked out their comic. I have to confess I fell in love with the art style at first sight.
The art style is so energetic, so expressive, so much fun to look at! One of the things I really enjoy about comics, is when the artist works outside the panels a lot, and treats the WHOLE PAGE like a work of art and not just the the stuff inside the panels. Fowlie does this tons! With big exaggerated speech, and sound effects, and action and lots of stuff. I find it so much funnier to read a story where the, “POW” bursts from the panel in giant bold letters instead of just a little scribbled pow next to the line of action. It really feels like a COMIC rather then some art in boxes. The character designs are pretty dang good with a lot of variation between characters. Fritz in particular was very well done, he’s got the kind of “iconic” look comics need. What I mean by that is that he’s easily identifiable and would make good for advertising. The big hair, the missing tooth it gives a lot of personality. There is no way in hell you’ll mix up characters in Fritz and that’s exceptionally impressive because two are brothers that look very much alike (I’m not sure if they’re twins or not).
The artist does need to work on some technical skills here and there such as some anatomy and backgrounds. Like the backgrounds aren’t bad they got a good amount of detail and do a fine job of conveying what kind of place you’re in. Like the details in Eric’s room really tell you about him as a character and the kind of mood he’s in. However the TECHNICAL stuff could use some work. I feel as if odds and ends need to be polished out.
Also to get REAL nit-picky the toony and hyper style the artist uses is great for the silly parts of the story, but is slightly out of place when things get a tad more on the serious side.
The title, quick and dirty sums up it pretty well. It’s fast paced yet without it being confusing. It’s spazzy and goofy yet there’s a bit of grit, a dark side to the story as well. It follows Friz Fargo and the people around him and the developing band they’re trying to create. The story is just a FUN read, it’s hilarious and full to the brim of “HOLD ON TO YOUR ASS” energy. It’s got a diverse cast of characters that are, for the most part, very enjoyable. I’ll go into more detail later. The story is pretty straight forward with a bit of foreshadowing here and there on the earlier events that have impacted Fritz. It’s also a story where you don’t really have ANY idea where it’s going. Something is going to happen to Friz but WHAT? Will he get together with Eddie? Will he end up dead in the gutter? Will he try to turn things around? Which keeps you coming back.
I will say if you don’t like the character Fritz you might have a hard time choking down the story since a lot of it is banter from him to other characters. Fritz is the type of character some people are SURE to hate unfortunately. Maybe some folks would also find it irritating cause it feels like the nice-guy characters get shit on a lot, but the mean characters get away with a lot? I don’t find it that bad in that department though.
Fritz is the kind of character I see that’s set up for you to begrudgingly like, and love to hate. He’s an unashamed junkie, an obnoxious flirt that borders on sexual harassment, and an utterly irresponsible spaz. One moment he’s bouncing off the walls making gay quips and smiling ear to ear, and the next moment he’s being downright nasty and avoidant to people trying to help him. He’s the type that depending on the scene you want to hug him or strangle him.
For me, there is something so infectious about Fritz energy that I can’t help but love him. I have a notorious weakness for obnoxious flirtatious characters and bisexual guys which doesn’t help the matter. (If you’ve seen my characters YOU KNOW.)
Eddie is just a sweetheart down to his core, and a great foil to Fritz. He’s kind of emotionally clumsy. I think Eddie is struggling with his own sexuality/feeling for Fritz/general bullshittery. That’s something easily identifiable in my opinion. The downside of this is that he’s a doormat and Fritz does seem to take advantage of him on a regular basis. He’s constantly making excuses for Fritz’ behavior but doesn’t have the heart to kick him on the streets. It is implied that Eddie has known Fritz for awhile so there’s more to this relationship then we’re seeing. Personally, I have a feeling that before Fritz got wrapped up in drugs he was a MUCH better person and Eddie is desperately hoping that the pre-drug Fritz will come back. Which I doubt will happen.
Everybody is an asshole to you, aren’t they Eric? He’s an cynical, misanthropic guy and unlike Eddie will not sit down and take Fritz’s shitty behavior. Despite having a perpetual scowl he seems like a good person at his core. For instance when Pearl’s little girl comes over and grabs at his chocolate milk he immediately goes NO but then he thinks for a second and goes, “I’ll go get you your own cup.”
Lars may be my favorite character. He’s a big dorky nice guy and is good off-set to his cranky brother. Lars tries his best to help out everyone around him, and to do the right thing and unfortunately gets dumped on at times. I can’t picture anybody not feeling bad when Lars gets out on stage and tries to go on without them only to get a bottle to the head. I consider myself a geek, and know lots of other geeks so I typically enjoy geeky characters and Lars is aDORKable.
Cold fish, hot tempered Nemmi! She dated Eddie in the story briefly, and does her best to connect with Eddie but Eddie doggedly avoids that kind of connection and it’s implied because he may not find girls attractive. So you feel for Nemmi in the situation. Does she respond like a weeping pile of goo to Eddie’s pathetic break-up attempt? Nah man she’s angry as hell, like she should be. She puts herself together though and is fine until Eddie confronts her and while she tries to stay strong she breaks down. A lot of times with side female characters in stories that have gay dudes in them, they feel like toss-away characters, but Nemmi doesn’t feel like that and it’s good to see.
Mean powerhouse bitch, who will not stand for nobodies’ shit ain’t no how! Though she misinterprets people frequently, perhaps intentionally, she seems to only bring violence into the equation if its necessary and if its somebody who deserves it.
As a preface, I just ENJOY a lot of characters because I just have a THING for certain types of characters. Like I find obnoxious “equal opportunist” flirts hilarious, I think dorky characters are adorable, and I get the swoons for powerhouse bitches who kick ass. So it feels as if its kind of a story that just neatly follows a lot of the, “Shit I like.” So I’d imagine not everybody would enjoy these kinds of characters or the story because it is character heavy. Yet in general I find it well-written and a fun read.