Hello everyone, and welcome back. A new year, new possibilities; it’s all just a little too much to contemplate, really. If you’re looking to start the year off in a good mood, might I suggest a bit of tea? Not chamomile, though; I’m still avoiding that one. No, I was thinking something a little more like iced tea, or Snapple Tea –
Oh, I know!
How about some Happle Tea?
Warning! This comic contains expletives… like, RIGHT off the bat.
This is a bit of a milestone post for the blog for two reasons; 1) It’s my first review for 2013 and 2) it’s actually the first non-story-based comic I’ve ever reviewed. This, of course, makes this review a little bit different from the rest. For one thing, there’s no linear plot, so we won’t be discussing that. There’s also barely any sort of characterization, so let’s just chuck that one out the window, too.
Anyways, the premise is that a young(ish) boy named Lil K just randomly hangs out with all manner of metaphysical beings. Recurring characters include Lil K’s silent housemate/guardian Sasquatch, his friend Allev, and even God (yes, BIG “g”), who often appears in the form of a floating, be-haloed cat. As Scott Maynard, the comic’s creator, describes it, “Happle Tea is a factual account of his dealings with supernatural beings, gods, and his monster friends related in the strip by his comic doppelganger, Lil K”. Needless to say, this comic does not take prisoners in regards to religion and belief systems. Everything is a potential target for the comic, but while it may satirize a particular topic, very rarely is there any real hostility. Even so, a comic as crude, irreverent, and Non Sequiter-esque as this is clearly not for everyone.
Personally, I like the humor, which has managed to elicit a hearty chuckle from me on occasion. And as those who’ve read my Gunnerkrig Court review would know (I keep linking to that one, hmm), I eat up anything related to mythology, legends, and folklore. Naturally, I ate up this comic as well. It tasted of two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions all on a sesame seed bun… with a side of fried cynicism. As with all comedic media, the comic is a a bit of a mouth-piece for what the creator considers funny or relevant, but that’s perfectly OK. Comedy is like that by nature. I challenge you to find some form of comedic media that pleases everyone screened across a broad range of demographics. Humor is just too relative. As it is, I like the comic. It makes me laugh, makes me feel good on occasion, and succeeds in getting me to think about topics I might not have normally, all of which denotes good entertainment, in my opinion. I will be honest and say that a good percentage of the jokes depends on knowledge of mythology, but even without it, they’re still fairly understandable enough to enjoy.
Lil K is an interesting character, if we can call him that. While more of a caricature of the creator, Lil K does actually go through a little bit of a character change over time, no doubt reflecting his real life counterpart’s changing views and attitudes. Initially more of a lovable oddball, he quickly develops what can only be described as psychopathic mania, which, when executed properly, is downright hilarious. On the other hand, Lil K does occasionally display concern and optimism for the human condition… which doesn’t last very long before he’s back to his lovable antics.
Likewise, Happle Tea goes through several changes in art style. Starting off with a black and white, heavily inked anime-esque look, it gradually develops its style over time, often in sudden shifts in image, until it ends up with the colorful, softened, ironically cute style it has now.
While it may not be for everyone, I do think those who enjoy Happle Tea will enjoy it thoroughly. With a wry humor, manic characters, and a deep-rooted love of cryptozoology, this comic has a little something for
everyone most people. All in all, not a bad way to start a new year.
Happle Tea was created by Scott Maynard. This comic, including all images used here, belongs to him. The comic is currently scheduled to update every Tuesday and Friday.