LATE Comic Critique Saturday: The Quick and Dirty Life of Fritz Fargo

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.

First Impression:

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.

Art:

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.

Story:

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.

Characters:

Fritz

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

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.

Eric

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

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.

Nemmi

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.

Pearl

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.

Conclusion:

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.

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15 Responses to LATE Comic Critique Saturday: The Quick and Dirty Life of Fritz Fargo

  1. wan deringaddict says:

    I wasn’t really going to comment because I respect people’s choices to like things, but I really find it kind of sad that the person drawing Fritz has the nerve to deride Teahouse as though their comic is “better”?

    Fritz is pretty much your standard American gay Mary Sue- he gets to use his sexuality as a weapon that unnerves everyone he meets, swoons big masculine men into liking him, somehow gets away without people simply dismissing/insulting him with gay stereotypes and inexplicably doesn’t get reviled by everyone he meets. Even when Pearl is told he’s a sexually harassing, coke-snorting imbecile she still takes Fritz’s side? Tells Lars to just laugh it off?

    The mentality at play here is that Fritz is a woman. Pure and simple, this is literally the story of a woman joining a band because she’s slept with at least one of the members, no one likes her/her attitude (including the member she sleeps with) and then the things she does are harmless and wacky and the big tough men need to be able to ‘handle it.’ The band has trouble, but surprise all of its troubles seem to revolve around or stem from the woman at the center of them. Were Fritz not gay (and by extension not “the woman”), he wouldn’t be in the band as he’d lose both his main offensive ability and Pearl’s single, flimsy counterargument that kicking him out on account of being gay is homophobic.

    Worse, imo, is that at least Teahouse has different stereotypes (however unwarrented my defense of it might be). Granted it’s for the purpose of peoples’ fetishes, but it’s a start. Every gay male couple they’ve shown in Fritz has a “Straight” Masculine Seme who’s friendly and outgoing and a Thin Bitchy Queen who sneers down his nose at everyone. The main “couple” has that stereotype, side gay characters that show up for one comic have that stereotype. Teahouse I don’t mind, because it’s clearly trite and clearly bad, but at least makes some sort of attempt at normality, however poor and hamfisted that might be. This offends because it’s just so subversive.

    • wanderingaddict says:

      I do want to clarify that I don’t think that because Fritz is gay that makes him “the woman” or that “the woman” is a role in a story that actually represents women appropriately or realistically. Fritz is “the woman” because he encompasses and acts out everything the role does, and I realize he’s meant to be bisexual and hell he might be a hardcore top in the author’s mind for all I know. this is a visual medium however, and there is a very real, extremely prevalent stereotype in both American society, gay literature, and gay comics that the tiny “pretty” guy with wild hair is the effeminate bottom. Fritz does nothing to dispel that notion, and in fact acts bitchy, catty, jealous, and irrational, all the things typically associated with the role of “the woman.” He even gets to freely act as the femme fatale seducer- every guy he’s made a pass at in the comic has been blushed, been interested, or completely unnerved (rather than revolted, disgusted, or horrified). It’s just so terribly reminiscent of the trope that I don’t really see how there’s a difference.

      I’m sorry if I’ve offended or insulted, I really am. I don’t mean to spoil your like of the comic or imply that you SHOULDN’T like it or anything. It… it just bothered me a little, I guess. I’ll admit I am sensitive though, perhaps overly so. Again, I really don’t mean to offend or deride or anything. It was interesting to read your thoughts and acquaint myself with a new comic.

      • Al says:

        Dude, calm down. It’s just a webcomic.

        • wanderingaddict says:

          I… I am calm? I can’t imagine what you read in my post that would make it seem like I was mad with rage, unless it’s simply the length of it in which case I don’t know how you can read anything on this blog without picturing the writer furiously shouting.

      • Don’t ever apologize for sharing an opinion on my blog. I very much welcome discussion and banter, even if it’s a negative view on something I personally enjoy.

        I have to say your view of Fritz as “a woman” is a take I had not considered and an interesting one.

        To me I never really saw Fritz as effeminate. Maybe it is because I’ve been so saturated with ridiculous farces of femininity in some yaoi stories, that I don’t really see Fritz as being on the girly side. I more viewed Fritz as a more “junkie” kind of stereotype rather then the “woman” of the band and that the problems he causes in the band are because of his addiction rather then some looney chick messes up everything with her emotions and libido. I mean, despite Eddie’s stature and macho chin you could say he was the “girly” one out of the two with his submissive “not wanting to offend” personality. Yet I understand where you’re coming from and it is problematic.

        I think it would be a problem if Fritz was put on some pedestal and the only reason people don’t like him is because he’s “gay/the woman.” Throughout the story he’s derided as a possessive, moody asshole who is slowly ruining the lives of those around him. The story doesn’t really show Fritz as some good guy who’s just been lead astray by drugs. That he’s an asshole who also takes drugs. Maybe later in the story we find out more about him and he becomes a more sympathetic character but I can’t imagine the author is just going to EXCUSE AWAY all of Fritz’s negative actions. In fact I see more that Fritz is going to have some serious consequences for what he’s done, in fact the current chapter may be leading in that direction.

        Yet he hasn’t really had consequences for his actions much yet, while others seem to take the hits for him which is understandably annoying.

        For clarification sake the author talked about how they WANTED to like Teahouse but could not get past how the relationships all seem abusive, and yet are not portrayed as such. You could say, “well Fritz’s relationship with everybody seems abusive” however the author pulls no punches about how Fritz walks all over everyone and that Eddie in particular needs to man up about what Fritz has become.

        So while I understand your point of view I don’t agree with it. It is a valid opinion however and I’m glad you shared it with my blog.

        • wanderingaddict says:

          oh no problem, I wouldn’t ever try to change someone’s view on something they liked. I was just interested in discussing it and I am glad for the clarification about the rant. and, just to reiterate, I am still appreciative of your critiques, regardless of content! I enjoy reading your opinions on things.

    • fowlie says:

      Thank you for such an interesting couple of comments! I really like to see the different ways Fritz can be read by people, and this is a really interesting take.

      Though, this comment reads like you are trying to stretch Fritz so you can compare it to Teahouse. I mostly think this because you open your first comment with:

      “I really find it kind of sad that the person drawing Fritz has the nerve to deride Teahouse as though their comic is “better”?”

      Please don’t put words in my mouth, just to crush this now, here is a link to the original rant Fap’s was talking about

      I can appreciate wanting to call someone out for being a hypocrite in their own comic when hating on another, but here’s the thing, I never said Fritz was better than Teahouse, in any capacity. Fritz can’t be better than Teahosue because comparing those webcomics is like comparing apples and oranges. Both are round fruit that grow on treas, both Fritz and Teahouse are webcomics that have LGBTQ characters. That’s all.

      I’m sorry you don’t like my comic, but please don’t let it be because you assumed I think my comic is better than another one. That’s silly.

      PS:
      Thank you for pointing out the problematic coupling in fritz (even if I don’t think Fritz is effeminate, he’s more flamboyant) that is just a personal kink worming its way into my work, Large/Small relationships, and not just for gay people. I just think its really cute to have characters who are so visually different to be a couple. uguu~~

      • wanderingaddict says:

        I saw you replied earlier, but I couldn’t get time to post a response, sorry.

        yeah, I was mistaken from Faps’s comment, sorry. I feel that a lot of people have taken to using Teahouse as a punching bag and sometimes declare it anathema while doing the exact same things in their own stories or art. my initial assumption was that this was another such case and my focus was on the portrayel of the… erm, glbt “norms” for the world rather than anything else (how are couples presented, what are the unspoken stereotypes, etc). I was wrong about that, so I do apologize. your point about the relationships being abusive is not something I’d argue or condemn anything with Fritz about. I really wasn’t trying to stretch it to compare, but rather just set their faults side by side and point out that they have similar flaws in some way. and, just because I’m nitpicky, yeah, they’re totally different (like apples and oranges) and their points are definitely not at all the same (one for porn versus the other actually having a real story and what looks to be character development and shit holy wow). they are still both fruits, however, and they are both webcomics and both require certain preferences and tastes. Teahouse is a dumb comic I’ll totally admit, but I could ignore the abuse and inane plot if it weren’t for the fact that it falls along the same Yaoi guidelines for Emotionally Unstable Uke and Strong Masculine Seme. that trope gets under my skin like nothing else and I tried to stress my irrational sensitivity to it in my clarifying post. I don’t know if you support or agree with or like that trope and I’m not saying you do; when I read Fritz, that trope is what I saw and it’s something I have no patience for.

        to sum up, I- wrongly- assumed that your Teahouse rant was encompassing something denying that trope (given the nature of the riffs here and my actual total unawareness of the real Teahouse lore), and so that’s what got to me. I don’t mean to mindlessly criticize your work or spoil your enjoyment of it or imply it’s not worth anything, too, btw. it just had one aspect that really bugs me, but I know that everybody is different and appreciates different things. my posts are not a condemnation of your comic, just what hit me personally.

        • fowlie says:

          You see, the thing is, I feel like you didn’t even READ Fritz, you just skimmed it looking for reasons to get offended because you had a wild hair up your ass about a vague mention of a Teahouse rant. Assuming that I thought Fritz was better, so you wanted to bring me down a peg. I don’t appreciate that, and I don’t know anyone who would. I mean, this is a good example of “never assume, it only makes an ass our of u and me.”

          Besides, if you HAD READ Fritz, you’d know how laughable describing Eddie as a “Strong Masculine Seme” is.

  2. Powflip says:

    I think a Teahouse fan has gotten annoyed.

    But my two cents, I’ve known a couple of real people who’re nearly Fritz – maybe even more Fritz than Fritz. I’m not shocked or offended.

    I can’t say I’ve ever known anybody who was anything like any of the main characters in Teahouse though.

    • Nah, to the best of my knowledge they’re not a teahouse fan. I mean it’d be more likely to see them on a riff page then a barely related comic critique.

      I also agree Powflip. I’ve known people similar to the characters in Fritz but I have yet to meet anybody who resembles a character in Teahouse.

    • wanderingaddict says:

      whether I am a teahouse fan or not is entirely beside the point. dismissing everything I say as “hurr well you’re just [one of them]” is actually exactly the same thing that those teahouse fans you have so much disdain for do.

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