Reader? Is… is that really you?
How long have I been away? Well, that is quite a while. It’s been just about a year since I first started fiddling with this “online blog” thing. Gosh, a whole year (the months where I did nothing still count, right?).
I got into blogging as a way to occupy some time, to keep whatever creative juices I have flowing, and to get a feel for what the internet-dwelling people of the world think and achieve. I even found myself branching out a bit by starting a second blog (a second blog!). But in tending that blog I ended up neglecting this one the same way you neglect that one potted daisy that sits in the back corner where you just can’t be bothered to reach because you’re too busy standing over here watering the much more lively bougainvillea…
That was a bit of a labored metaphor, I admit.
The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve let this blog gather enough dust.
And I plan to remedy that right now.
You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely — until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders, and the cheerleaders retaliate by making Charlie their figure-head in the ugliest class election campaign the school as ever seen. At stake? Student group funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms — but not both.
Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not! Nothing can possibly go wrong.
Ed. Note; As I wrote this, I discovered that NCPGW has already been taken down, save for a sampler of the first 23 pages.
So… that went wrong, I guess.
Drawn by comic artist Faith Erin Hicks (Friends with Boys, Brain Camp) and adapted from a novel by Prudence Shen, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong revolves around the antics of a pair of unlikely high-school friends who find themselves embroiled in increasingly dramatic (and hilarious) shenanigans involving cheerleaders, robots, a student popularity contest turned ugly, a road-trip, and – if Nate gets his way- chainsaws.
I love this graphic novel’s art abut as much as I enjoy the writing… that is to say immensely. The lines, the curves, everything just fits. There is a great attention to detail that never gets in the way or clutters the page too much. Connoisseurs of certain manga and other oriental medium styles will recognize particular traits in the art mixed in with – in my mind, at least – more than a touch of Scott Pilgrim charm, but the style is never out of place or generic, giving the comic it’s own visual identity which suits its zany, over-the top writing rather perfectly. I particularly like the individual faces, with their endearing features that never get in the way of their fabulous expressions.
I found the writing is just as wonderful as the art. Despite a few very easy to miss typos, the writing never drops the proverbial ball. In fact, the typos are really just a nitpick, mentioned only because it’d feel weird not to point out something. They’re probably even fixed by now. The plot is relatively simple, but nuanced enough that it sets up for good drama, suspense, comedy, and all the myriad insanities of high-school. The pacing is just right, introducing characters naturally and providing enough breathing space between high points that the reader is neither bored nor burned out.
Charlie’s the captain of the basketball team and as such, he’s expected to act a certain way; date the head cheerleader, run for student body president, and avoid socializing with people like the members of the robotics club. Charlie, however, is far too “laid-back” to care about stuff like that. In fact, his best friend, who he’s known since they were kids, is Nate, his neighbor and the president of robotics club himself. Unfortunately for him, Charlie often finds himself being dragged into things by the more animated people around him, including his “girlfriend” Holly, the leader of a surprisingly intimidating cheer squad determined to get what she wants. Despite the ease with which he’s pushed around, Charlie’s calm exterior conceals a fair amount of family drama.
Unlike Charlie, Nate is a neurotic conniver who dreams of winning the National Robotics Competition. When Holly’s plans for new uniforms threatens that dream, Nate dashes to protect his clubs interests – and if his best friend ends up caught in the political crossfire, then that’s just how war is. Despite his more selfish and short-sighted instincts, Nate truly is good friends with Charlie and when he’s not busy scheming the cheerleaders’ political ruination, he does act like it. He just… gets carried away a bit.
Charming, detailed art and fantastic writing makes this one of my favorite short-form comics I have ever read online. The setting makes it believably commonplace, but the characters and their antics make it just hilariously crazy enough to be enthralling.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong was written by Prudence Shen and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks. This comic, including all images used here, belongs to them. The comic as a whole is no longer available for reading online, but I still recommend reading the first 23 pages and, if you like it, buying the print edition.