Time again for me to point you towards another gem in the webcomics world. This time, we’re talking about a comic book shop, a video store, a hardware chick, and… a werewolf. Because, why the heck not? Welcome to Chris Flick’s “Capes & Babes”!
They say you should write about what you know. Well, much like myself.. that’s how Chris started out- the staple “alternative” college student comic strip in your college’s newspaper. I did it too, it’s a great way to dip your toes in. But eventually you move on. Me, I decided to write about aliens in dogsuits. Chris decided to shift the focus from a group of college buddies to a strip mall setting, where he spent his high school years working in a video store…. and close by: a comic book store called “Capes and Babes”. I love these types of autobiographical webcomics. It’s just like in film: it’s ALWAYS more intriguing when you know it (kinda/sorta) really happened! Okay, minus the werewolf, but I am only assuming, here.
The characters Chris developed are the owners or employees of the various stores within this based-on-reality strip mall. Marc’s the manager of “capes & babes”, Jodi (the romantic possibility) is the owner of the hardware store, Roy the werewolf works at the video store, and so on. You can just imagine the little community that grows within a strip mall… every owner knows the other owners, employees complaining to each other about their jobs, the romantic opportunities between that clerk, and the pretty girl 2 doors down… plenty of options for a cartoonist to play with!
The interesting twist to Capes and Babes is that it combines the autobiographic element, but under the guise of these strip-mall employees. Events that are going on in Chris’ life will find their way into the strip… it’s just that it happens to one of his characters instead. Pop culture and current events are tackled (see Avatar reference below), which is always fun and relatable. It’s obvious Chris does not take himself to seriously; his goofy outlook on life and himself in general usually results in some amusing “Scrubs-esque” surreal slapstick . (also, see below). And I know at least 99.9% of us webcomics readers loves us some Scrubs. And werewolves.
As always, I try to nit-pick a little, as the best artists learn to both critique and take criticism well. The most obvious suggestion would be to try out some (more) color, as I am just very curious to see how C&B works in color. But, I know how much extra time is required to accomplish that, while updating 3 times a week, whew. So, I should talk, heh. Secondly, at times I think the strips get a little wordy and overwhelming to read. Again, I should talk (I know I get wordy as well), but I think it takes some seriously refined skills to simplify a comic’s dialog without losing its integrity.. something both Chris and I could work on. Although there’s always exceptions, I think the key to a good humor-based comic strip is succinctness.
I had the pleasure of actually meeting Chris at the Baltimore Comic Con, and I’m very excited to share his work with you. He’s an ambitious cartoonist and devoted dad, who has often brought his daughter with him to comic cons over the years. “Capes & Babes” deserves a moment of your time to check out, you will not be disappointed. After all, there’s a werewolf involved.
Did I overdo the werewolf theme?