Funny Creek is a five-part comic series written by Rafael Scavone (Hit-Girl, Hidden Society) and Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire, A Study in Emerald). It tells the story of Lilly, a young girl living in the 1980s, who loves, and is transported to, the Saturday morning cartoon “The Funny Creek Show.” This show is a rip-roaring western starring Sheriff Clumsy, the brave and loyal clown sheriff who protects Funny Creek Town and the neighboring towns from the dastardly Cold Joe and his gang, the scourges of the west, and other baddies.
This first issue is titled “Welcome to the Show!”, which makes perfect sense, as it is all about setup and character introductions. The comic wastes no time in placing the reader in the action. The first thing we see is Lilly, sprinting away from her mother in a dark rainstorm, screaming, “it’s not my fault! It’s not my fault!”
Immediately, the reader should have questions. “why is she running? What isn’t her fault?” We don’t have much time to think about that, because she runs into a pole and, in a Wizard of Oz-style transition, wakes up in the world of “The Funny Creek Show” and bursts into action to evade a gunfight happening as she comes to. During her escape, she meets Betsy, a saloon girl in Funny Creek Town with whom Lilly hitches a ride. Once in town, we meet the famous Sheriff Clumsy, who, after finding out she encountered the villainous Cold Joe, offers her the job of Sheriff Deputy, setting us up for a comedic, buddy-cop adventure.
The art style is truly special and something to behold, Eduardo Medeiros (Mondo Urbano, Gotham Academy) and (Transformers, Sonic) did a fantastic job at making expressive, dynamic character designs. Lilly is all wide eyes and broad smiles — her glee at being in her favorite show is literally written all over her face. The colors are saturated and bold, the lines swift and slightly sketchy, they look like actual animation cels for an upcoming episode of a cartoon, complete with the thick outlines on the characters.
Clumsy’s design particularly stands out, though; while the rest of the characters look like they would be in a cartoon set in the 1980s-1990s, Clumsy looks like he stepped out of a time machine from the 1930s, like he escaped from a Fleischer Studios animation table and weaseled his way to a more modern one. His movements are exaggerated, with big strides and grand hand gestures; this makes sense since he is a clown, and clowns are all about big movements (and scaring me…), which makes the fact that he is a Sheriff, a no-nonsense job, so humorous. Still scary, though. It will be interesting to see if the series incorporates other 1930s looking characters in the later issues.
This issue is rather “plot light.” Like I said above, this first issue is all about character introductions, so we meet Lilly and see her love for the show, get to the world and meet the important citizens of Funny Creek Town, and that’s about it. This isn’t a bad thing, as we get a lot of info about Lilly as a character; she’s outgoing and confident throughout most of this issue, but we know she can also be fearful and anxious, as we saw in the opening panels. It is unclear how old she is, but, judging by her character design, my guess is elementary or middle school age.
In fact, there is very little we know about Lilly’s life before transporting to Funny Creek Town — we don’t know why she was running away from her mother, what her social life is like, or anything yet. I suppose we don’t have to know those things now. We are just starting out, after all, and we have four more issues to (hopefully) get these and other questions answered.
All in all, I enjoyed the first issue of Funny Creek, and look forward to the later issues to see how the story unfolds.