With a Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly mini-comic
Writer: Gibson Twist
Artist: Rori! de Rien
Publisher: Live Nude Comics (self-published)
Price: $5 US
My savvy comics retailer put this mini-comic in my hands, suggesting it’s something I’d enjoy and find interesting. I’d been vaguely aware of Gibson Twist’s self-published comics, as my local comics shop carries his work, but I hadn’t delved into it. While I found the price I was quoted to be a little on the high side for such a thin book, I decided to give it a shot all the same. I’m always open to looking at something different, and I’m pleased I did in this case. With a Buzz… is a delightfully simple comic — so much so that one could argue it’s a little on the predictable side. But Twist’s message, despite its simplicity and obvious nature, is one that adults can overlook far too easily in life. I wish the activities depicted in this mini-comic were as commonplace as they’re suggested to be here, as there’s really not nearly enough silliness, innocence and self-satisfaction in the world as there should be.
A woman drives down a country road, a little bit lost and a whole lot out of her cellphone company’s service range. Something catches her eye on the seemingly unending landscape, and that sight is naked person. She soon finds herself face to face with a trio of naked adults, befuddled by their nudity, while they’re equally puzzled by her distress and volatile reaction. Life lessons ensue.
Rori de Rien (credited only as Rori! in the comic itself) boasts a simple but charming style reminds me a great deal of the work of Pedro Camello? Who’s Pedro Camello, you ask? Well, he’s an indie artist who collaborated with writer Damon Hurd on some independent mini-comics more than a decade ago on such titles as My Uncle Jeff and A Sort of Homecoming. Like Camello, Rori! boasts a simple, cartoony style that nevertheless captures a strong sense of realism and convincing human movement. Her characters’ bodies look real. They’re not perfect, but they’re beautiful nonetheless, reinforcing one of the central points of this short comic. Rori!’s work will also appeal to fans of the art of Chip (Sex Criminals, Prison Funnies) Zdarsky. I also note how the artist transforms the main character from someone angry into something beautiful. While her shape remains the same, the ugliness that her negative attitude imbues in her fades as she softens and opens her mind to the experience she just had.
I note with interest that Twist’s script doesn’t name a single one of the six characters that plays a role in this short story. The message in that choice is clear: these characters could be you or me or him or her. The concept here is a fairly simple one, perhaps stemming from the Flower Child movement of the 1960s. But there’s something even more innocent at play here than that, something purer. There’s no political or societal bent to Twist’s message. It’s about impulse and unrestrained joy for the sake of joy.
Twist’s story is a fantasy — not a sexual one, but more of a wish of how society could be, how life should be. His characters celebrate life, celebrate the human body, celebrate existence. There’s something wholly innocent about the frolicking at the heart of this story. The element that demonstrates it’s a fantasy is the presence of the police officers at the end of the book. Their reaction to the odd behavior central to the story is atypical (unlike the confused protagonist at the beginning of the comic) of men in their positions. But it’s endearing that all of the characters (one of them eventually) embrace positivity, freedom and fun in contravention of the conventions ingrained in us by society.
In preparation for this review, I did some quick research online and discovered this mini-comic is the product of crowd-funding campaign — a successful one, obviously, but also a modest one. Twist and de Rien aimed to raise just $500 to make this happen, and they brought in $568. I had also thought they were local indie comics creators, given the presence of their product in my little shop in New Brunswick, Canada, but the crowd-source page for the project indicates they’re from St. Louis. Their little book has achieved a long reach, and it’s easy to see why. It’s poignant and resonant comics storytelling. 8/10
For more information on Twist and de Rien’s comics, visit their website.
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