Stickler and Hat-trick, in association with Comixpedia present…
Stickler and Hat-trick at the Keyboard
Today we’ll review: ORNERYBOY, created by Michael Lalonde
(Tonight’s show is sponsored 240 oz. cans of BOO-YA brand Caffeine juice. Straight from the Caffino plant right to your home).
STICKER: Hi, and welcome to yet another edition of “Stickler and Hat-Trick At the Keyboard!”
HAT-TRICK: Hold on a sec…
S: What’s wrong?
HT: Just had to get my notes.
S: You actually made notes for this review?
S: I’m impressed.
S: This month we’re looking at Orneryboy by Michael Lalonde.
HT: A relative newbie in the world of comics, with only 49 strips as of this review.
S: It also posts weekly, on Mondays. Which is too bad, because this strip works so well on all levels, it’s a shame that readers can only get a weekly fix.
HT: I hate Mondays.
S: You and Garfield.
HT: I hate Garfield.
S: But I thought – OH, I get it! Very clever reference to Orneryboy
HT: Because he hates everything! That’s one of my notes.
S: Right. This simple yet rewarding strip follows the twisted life of Orneryboy: a gloomy, complaining, short-tempered young man. He is a cross between Roman Dirge’s Lenore and the Punisher.
HT: A young and moody Frank Castle!
S: Exactly. Fans of Dirge and Jhonen Vasquez will no doubt warm up to the cartoon angst of Orneryboy and his experiences. But many readers will be able to relate to the primal thoughts that he expresses about the most basic things. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to yell at your neighbor to piss off (Dec. 30th, 2002), or say, “bite me” to the happy milkman (Sept. 16th, 2002)? While the concept of complaining about everything is nothing new in comics, the way that Lalonde depicts his characters with such a psychotic innocence makes it work amazingly well.
HT: Ornery has the mentality of a spoiled kid, who really wants something, and when it’s not all he hopes, he hates it. Like video games (July 29th, 2002) or spaghetti (Aug. 26th, 2002).
S: Well put.
HT: Thanks. That was in my notes.
S: The only other character to mention is Orneryboy’s implied girlfriend, Dirtygirl, who is a great comedic foil. She is the amimal-loving, chipper vegetarian counterpart to the grumbling Orneryboy.
HT: She’s got this crazy affection for taking care of things (Nov. 11th, 2002), and it’s so true. I know girls like that.
S: While having a weekly update schedule would suggest that no storyline of any kind might be possible, Lalonde manages to pull a few plot threads off. One that is particularly amusing is when Orneryboy and Dirtygirl get drunk for New Years eve (Jan. 6th, 2003), which later causes Ornery’s liver to talk with him (Jan 20th, 2003), and leads to Ornery’s regret (Jan. 27th, 2003). While each strip stands on its own just fine, it’s also nice to see some strips merge together for the sake of continuity.
HT: Have we mentioned the art yet? Because I took notes on that as well.
S: No, we haven’t. Go right ahead.
HT: Ahem (reads), “The vivid color palette combined with quirky character design makes the art unique and fun to look at. The entire strip is created in Flash, which no doubt helps in making the characters and backgrounds consistent and sharply rendered. The lack of hand drawn-art doesn’t hurt the strip at all, as the stiff and sometimes repetitive figures only aid in promoting the oddity of the overall humor.”
S: Not bad. I also want to mention how great the site design is. Very professional-looking, and the graphics compliment the comic nicely. Readers can easily email strips to friends, as well as join the “Moody Bastards Club,” which is mostly a weekly email reminder that strips have been posted.
HT: One thing readers cannot do, however, is link directly to a certain comic, or even bookmark a specific page on the site. This is due to the Flash design of the site, which might confuse a few people who aren’t used to the progressive format.
S: Don’t try to be right click -saving those strips. It won’t work on this one!
HT: Aside from that one little thing, this strip is a prime example of an indie webcomic that has everything going right. The only thing that people might not like is the weekly schedule, but the high quality of the art makes it worth your sweet time.
S: So we’re both agreed that we hate Orneryboy.
HT: Completely. Hate it.
S: Okay then. Until next month, keep reading those indie webcomics!
Stickler and Hat Trick are staff reviewers for the Comixpedia.