Unknown Webcomic Cavalcade: Flipside
Submitted by Joey Manley on April 26, 2007 - 08:11
This is a review of Flipside by Brion Foulke.
When American comic book readers talk about "manga influence," they usually mean that the visual elements of a comic borrow a small handful of stylistic mannerisms common in Japanese comics (big eyes, speed lines, that kind of thing). Flipside is one of the few non-Japanese "manga influenced" comics I've seen that goes further than that, moving well past a surface similarity, to get at the deeply kinky sexuality, almost random action/adventure moments, and odd juxtapositions of genres and obsessions that can be found in much of the strangest of manga.
Flipside, for example, has got: superpowered, costumed, bisexual women; schoolboys sick with puppy love; medieval villages in the thrall of psychopathic rapist warriors -- and poker! Yes, poker! It's well-done and unusual, and I liked it, despite the fundamental creepiness of some of the sexuality. Maybe I'm fundamentally creepy, myself. I dunno. I felt the same way about Gunsmith Cats.
Note: glancing at my Alexa toolbar, it seems that Flipside isn't as "unknown" as all that. It's actually (according to Alexa, anyway), more popular than TalkAboutComics.com, or Comixpedia, etc. But I'd never heard of it until I stumbled onto it today. For the record, I found it by: a). looking at my Bloglines subscriptions, b). clicking into Templar, Arizona's feed, c). clicking over to see who else was subscribed to Templar, d). clicking into the other subscriptions of one of those people (because anybody who would subscribe to Templar's RSS feed has gotta have good taste -- right?). That nobody on any of the webcomics "news portals" or blogs I habitually read has ever mentioned Flipside (to my memory) is one more sign that the webcomics sites -- all of them, including this one -- need to get their heads out of their butts, and look around more at the wide, wide world of webcomics, instead of obsessing over the same six strips they've been talking about for years! So there! The webcomics community is always bigger than we think it is. Always. That's why I try to get out of my comfort zone from time to time, and why I write these Unknown Webcomic Calvalcade pieces. In other words, "unknown" just means, "unknown to me, until just now." It is not meant as a characterization of the work itself.