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Eric: One suspects Girl's parents spend their lives watching television and drinking themselves to sleep. If they were attentive, after all, they wouldn't have bought that robot in the first place.


(From Girl/Robot! Click on the thumbnail for crushing! Which is different from Crushing Disappointment, which comes most days on this strip! But in a good way!)

There are a number of adorable comic strips out there. A nontrivial percentage of these adorable strips take as their subject matter young children -- particularly girls. And of course, there is a sense of whimsy and wonder that comes with such strips. Children see the world with magic-tinged eyes, stuffed animals can talk to them and everyone and everything is a glorious and cheerful thing.

This drives certain people batshit insane.

Really. You have any number of comic strips out there that take the tools of adorable sense of wonder comic strips and bury them in a morass of hideousness. Though they often are hysterically funny when they do it, after about the thirty-second of those, I find them a bit tiresome.

Petie Shumate must have found them tiresome too, because he went for something different. He went for a strip that truly is adorable, with a sense of wonder, that carries with it pure, traumatic subversion. As Shumate himself put it in the first strip's note:

You come here every Monday/Wednesday/Friday, you see more unintentional emotional upheaval.

And that's about right. This is a strip about a nice little girl who has a robot who wants to do what is right and good, but he doesn't quite get it and the results vary from the disappointing to the horrific. In today's strip, Girl has been eaten by a plant. (It's not the first time she's died, and it won't be the last.) Recently, a game of catch with a puppy went somewhat wrong, resulting in the puppy's death and multiple broken bones on Girl's part. The boy Girl has a crush on had to flee into a sewer to avoid the clutches of the demanding Robot.

And yet, no matter how terrible... how horrific that last panel is -- and how much you've seen the pain coming -- that last panel remains adorable.

This is an exceptionally clean and bright strip. Shumate has done a couple of other strips in the past, but this is the one that's really caught his stride. It is an elementally simple strip. There is a girl. There is a robot. Unintentionally, the latter does terrible things to the former. That's all.

There's only seventeen strips in the archive. Catch up now -- avoid the rush!

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 9, 2006 11:35 AM


Comment from: Petie [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 12:12 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Eric! Once again, you hit what I was trying to do more or less dead-on. I'm a sucker for the best-laid-plans-going-astray style of comedy.

As for her parents, that'll come up eventually. :)

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 2:56 PM

The flip side is when they star boys, which invariably have some variety of animal as a companion which serves as a blissfully stupid comic foil as the boy does the sort of charming boy things that everyone thinks of when positively reminiscing on their own childhood.

Worth noting that Calvin & Hobbes worked so well because that, too, subverted the genre. It starred an absolute brat where the animal foil was actually smarter. I almost think it should be a rule that if you're going with the young boy/animal companion route, you should endeavor to do it at least half as well as Watterson.

Sorry; I've just been saving that one for a while.

For this comic... am I the only one more disturbed by the sound effect used than the act itself?

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 3:22 PM

That poor kid. I'm a bit disturbed by how funny I found her torment.

Comment from: Darth Paradox [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 5:07 PM

That, 32, and the fact that in addition to being mischievous scamps, Calvin and Hobbes spent a lot of time philosophizing, discussing the problems of the world and the like.

I never really thought of Calvin & Hobbes as subverting a genre, but then, I grew up with it.

Comment from: Ford Dent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 5:32 PM

Wow. This is a delightful comic.

And of course Calvin and Hobbes was subversive--it was a genuinely funny syndicated strip after all.

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 8:13 PM

I lost count of the number of times that the final panel led me to say "Oh, dear GOD" upon reading it somewhere around five or six.

Comment from: The Kea [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 10:52 PM

I really like what I've sen of this one so far. This is the same guy who did Pork Wrench right? So Pork Wrench is done for?

That's a bit of a shame if so...

Comment from: Petie [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 10:55 PM

The Kea,
Yep, Pork Wrench is pretty much done. I know I'll get the urge to do a few of them later, and I'll post them when I do. But I just ran out of steam for it. Thank you, though!

Comment from: Matt Buchwald [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 10, 2006 9:29 PM

This is definitely a much much better work than Pork Wrench. I was often amused my a Pork Wrench or three, but this one was spun with golden thread.

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