Webcomics Weekly – do we really need to explain what it does?
This week… Nigel Auchterlounie’s Farts – a simple and simply brilliant webcomic tale told on his Twitter of two old ladies who run a cafe. Yep, that’s it. Nothing more. But that doesn’t make it any less funny.
Now, Nigel Auchterlounie has been making rather brilliant comics for years now. Many young and old readers will know him for writing a load of very funny stuff for The Beano, some of you will remember him from a very, very not for children tale of a sex-obsessed idiot with a heart in Spleenal and that same sex-obsessed idiot in a world of superpowers in Weak As I Am. (You can see more at the old Blank Slate Books website.)
Anyway, this isn’t about old Nigel Auchterlounie work, nor is it about his very funny The Beano stuff, this is about the strange and silly webcomics, Farts.
It’s a 93-part Twitter sitcom all about two old ladies who run a little cafe, Sophie and Marge…
All you need to know is that Sophie’s terrible with names, has a long history of TV extra work, including a brief affair with Ian McShane (but she’s sworn to secrecy), and that she reckons she’s still got ‘it’.
Marge, meanwhile, has just let her grandson, Jed, move into her place after he fell out with his mom, her daughter. and she’s just discovered the world of dating apps – “Tinder but for old people”.
But it turns out that Marge fancies making a change, now that she’s lost the love of her life, her hubby Ben (left her? she left him? died? we’ll no doubt find out in time) – she’s decided to explore her sexuality just a little bit.
Or, as Sophie puts it…
Yep, that’s Sophie… fast to open her mouth and often leaving her brain lagging behind.
And in that, we the funny stuff as well…
And that’s what Farts is all about. One cafe, two old women, a few customers coming in, and lots of chat. Lots of funny chat. Just good old fashioned sitcom stuff – and that’s just perfect as well, after all, sitcoms are great when they’re done this well.
And that’s because Auchterlounie is a great comedic storyteller, with a superb understanding and control of comedy timing, a very rare thing in comics and something we should be championing… just like we do here at Comicon.
One final thing – most of the gags here might be delivered in dialogue, but Auchterlounie also happens to be a bit of a master at physical gags as well…
See, all in the timing – the pratfall is a classic touch, but it’s the way Auchterlounie gets Marge to deliver the after the fact punchline that really makes the gag work.
And, like the best comedians, if it works once…
Yep, Ian McShane.