One Punch Reviews #52: Wulffmorgenthaler
Having read my share of Scandinavian comics, I’ve come to the conclusion that the folks up North are way more comfortable with nudity than my relatively South East Asian upbringing. That seems topsy turvy to me somehow. My heritage is from an equatorial nationality, and my ancestors lived on a waterfront fishing community. Shouldn’t people who live on a tropical island be the ones more comfortable with running around in the buff, not those pasty white people who hail from the land of ice and show?
Apparently not, as Denmark’s Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler’s webcomic Wulffmorgenthaler can attest. (All links here are assumed NSFW.) It received a one month run in the Politiken national newspaper, got adapted on Danish channel DR2, and became the subject of animated shorts broadcast on MTV Europe.
And yes, at least in the earlier strips, nudity is a matter of fact. People in the comic walk around with no clothes on, sometimes for reasons that escape me. One that really baffles me is a couple that’s naked while robbing banks. How does that help? Wouldn’t running around starkers leave DNA everywhere for police to collect? And how does being naked have to do with the punchline, which is “Women be shopping”?
It’s not just nudity, of course. Wulffmorgenthaler can also proved to be a little bloody at times. Other times, it’s just bizarre. So, wait, the punchline is that this woman wants to help, so they hook her boobs up to a milking machine? I’m not going to accuse Wulff and Morgenthaler of being misogynist — they come out on the side of the ladies often enough — but I’m not going to take anyone to task for taking it that way.
Wulffmorgenthaler also tends to employ the yellow caption boxes a lot, and I’m not sure if this is a purely cultural artifact of Denmark or not. Maybe it’s funnier in the original language, like it’s some awesome pun that doesn’t make sense at all. All I know is that it seems really unnecessary in English. Does a cabbie taking ET home really need the caption box? Or that we really needed to be told that the thing on the guy’s head is not supposed to be there? You’d think the visuals would be doing the lion’s share of communicating the humor-mongering. Explaining something that adds nothing from the joke that we can already see makes the caption box seem far too wordy.
That said, when the art is allowed to speak for itself, Wulffmorgenthaler does sometimes get a chuckle out of me. Everyone’s lumpy, pear-shaped, and unattractive. The facial expressions are often all you need to sell the joke. The aesthetic also works well with the nonsequiturs, which remind me of The Far Side more than anything else.
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).