Scott Kurtz once professed that webcomics about college life are a done to death medium. I’m between two minds on that. Firstly, yes, there are as many college webcomics as there are cigarette butts on the floor of Britney Spears’ SUV. In fact, the three most abundant things on the interwebs itself are porn, credit card scams and college webcomics. But also, there are some college webcomics that are written by people who can skew them with their own warped sense of humour to make it noticably funny. It’s rarely the genre’s fault if something isn’t hi-larious though, it’s the writers. But who reads college webcomics for clever, witty, Frasier-like guff anyway? I read them because for a simple laugh that usually involves a penis joke. And so do you. Don’t deny it.
‘Juvies’ by Jarred Cramer may not fall into the category of a “college webcomic”, but the style of humour is much the same. We’re given three main characters, each one more different that the last, but all as tight as a nun’s purse (I’ve cleaned up the joke for the kids, you see. It’s PG13 all the way.) Scott, based on Jarred himself (not that it’s in ANY WAY OBVIOUS) is the main character. He’s more down to earth, occasionally playing the straight-man to the others’ antics and he has provides us with bushels of funnies himself. Then we have his two friends, Roger (or Super-Beer-Disposal 37) the stereotypical drunk guy and T.J. (more muscles than the Muscles from Brussels, do you see dear?) the guy who lifts weights, pulls chicks and makes the other two look bad in that respect.
I like this comic. I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly outstanding in every respect, but it’s certainly above average for the style of comic that it is. The artwork is really great, particularly now. It starts off not as shakey like what most quivering new webcomics do, but it doesn’t look like it’s in comfort zone straight away. It soon finds it though, and boy does it look good.
In terms of humour, this is the Ronseal 5 year woodstain of webcomics. Does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s called “Juvies” for a reason, guy. These characters are immature and juvenile and liable to put their cocks in places they don’t belong if you turn your head away long enough. Yes. Juvies doesn’t pretend to be anything other than simple man-humour (queue Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor grunting). There are fart jokes, pee jokes and awful, awful puns. So why am I reading it? What the frick is the possible allure of such stupid, tired and generally bad jokes? I’ll tell you! Because that’s my job. AND! Because these jokey-schnacks, awful and cringe-worthy as they may be at times, are executed in such a bold way as if to say “I know it's a bad joke, but THAT’S THE POINT!”
And you know what? It works. Juvies somehow makes this work fantastically well. Almost in direct defiance of the laws of humour. You will laugh, that’s not a promise, that’s a fact.
My only major problems with this comic are that, for one, the story line veers wildly from one-offs to an arc of some description. If it was alternating between the two, that’d be cool, but this is happening during arcs and upsets the flow of the story. Secondly, the Fourth Wall is shattered at once stage, yes for comic benefit, but it’s a nasty habit to get into unless your comic is based on breaking The Wall. Fortunately, a habit isn’t made of it thus far, so all’s sound on that front.
Overall, this is a very good comic and deserves much attention. Yours, specifically. I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5 paw-things. Juvies is hosted on DrunkDuck (along with my mediocre-by-comparison Star Trax series) and updates usually about once a week.
Check it and tell ‘em Coyote Trax sent you.
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Peace and chicken grease,