For some while now I’ve been reviewing comics by artist Emily Brady and her authorial partner in crime, Ally Nuttall on their shared Footloose website, often going on at length about the latest twists with their primary comic, while occasionally commenting on their prequel strip Magical Transvestite Cherry. But there’s actually a third comic that’s posted on the main website that Brady draws for her friend Stu. I’ll admit I’ve treated Desigaspring like an unwanted stepchild partly because it’s not set in Nuttall and Brady’s faerie setting, and partly because Nuttall isn’t the author. This is a shame, because while it might not expand upon Nuttall and Brady’s metafictional world, it is still a rather enjoyable contemporary fantasy that doesn’t even bother trying to take itself seriously.
Before I go into detail about Desigaspring, I should warn you that it’s one of those comics. You know the type. They’re the ones that the cartoonist thought it would be a fun idea to insert all of his or her friends into the comic and tell some wild tale about their fictional adventures. As such, we have our classical author insert, artist insert, and even apathetic friend insert (along with some people whom I’m not quite sure are friends or not, as I’m not in Brady and Nuttall’s inner social circle, Facebook not withstanding). Fortunately, Stu doesn’t bother trying to take himself seriously, and literally the first thing that happens is that his fictional self is smacked upside the head by a brick, at which point another of Brady and Nuttall’s associates rummages through his wallet.
I did mention it was one of those comics, didn’t I?
Unfortunately for Tim (the comic’s token cynic and straight man), Stu was still breathing and what with his fingerprints all over Stu’s wallet, he found himself obligated to call for assistance. Enter Emily, who rides to the rescue with her car (with the top torn off) being drawn by a horse that is only missing a cutie mark to be from MLP (the original series – Em isn’t into the remake). It seems this reality has decided (15 minutes ago) that cars don’t exist. Either that or her car decided to break down, but seeing that she’s quite accurate with the thrown shoe, Tim wasn’t about to argue the point.
And from there things get even sillier. Stu needs some mystical water to keep from dying horribly (despite the fact he’s perfectly fine once patched up) and next thing you know Tim’s being dragged along in some madcap quest, Em’s got elf ears (which initially are fake but may have grown on her), and Ally makes her appearance with a gopher sidekick while working in Britain’s Forestry Service (otherwise known as being a Druid). As for Tim? I almost get the vibe that he is the protagonist of the series, despite the fact Stu should fit that bill. I’m not sure why; perhaps it’s how he’s the only one who notices how weird the world have become (and keeps trying to drag it back into what he feels reality should be).
I mentioned it was one of those comics, right?
So in short, Desigaspring is a contemporary fantasy comic with the author and cartoonist playing the part of main characters which manages to avoid the Mary Sue label by sheer fact that the author doesn’t mind depicting himself as inept and doesn’t even try to take itself seriously. What’s more, the comic’s funny (though that humor tends to be self-deprecating at times), and I found myself laughing out loud several times during the archive crawl. Add in Brady’s usual skill in artistry, and the result is a comic that I was surprised to enjoy as much as I did, and recommend to anyone wanting a light whimsical read to fill out their reading schedule.