A little over a year ago, Faith Erin Hicks started daily updates of Friends With Boys, a coming-of-age comic that was ultimately intended for print but which Hicks had gotten permission to place online to garner up interest in the comic. It must have worked, because she’s been given permission by her publisher to do this again, this time with Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, a graphic novel she’s working on with author Prudence Shen.
While the comic’s archives currently are limited to the first 20 pages of the series (which is around half of what I consider “critical mass” for a viable comic), the comic is actually finished, much as FWB was. That said, any similarities between NPW and FWB are likely coincidental, seeing that Hicks didn’t write the comic. Yes, she does tend to favor coming-of-age stories and comics about characters in school, and there is a set of twins in NPW (though these twins seem more “stereotypical” identical twins compared to the twins in Hick’s FWB), but it seems unlikely there will be many parallels between the two comics.
The comic follows two friends, Charlie (who’s captain of the school basketball team and seems a fairly calm and decent chap) and Nate (the high-strung arrogant president of the robotics club) and the strains that their friendship suffers due to school politics: specifically, high school presidential elections which Nate ends up entering to try and salvage the funding for his club… funding that Charlie’s ex-girlfriend wants to appropriate for the cheerleader squad. Naturally Charlie gets dragged into things (though I’ll admit I learned of Charlie’s involvement by reading the plot summary as the comic’s archives aren’t that far along just yet) and undoubtedly his friendship with Nate ends up strained.
One of the things I enjoy about these characters is that the stereotypes are tossed aside. Nate may be a nerd, but he’s a bit of a jerk and misogynist. Charlie may be a “jock” but he’s laid back and seems rather likeable. Sadly at this point we’ve not been introduced to the cheerleaders (though the first notice we get of Charlie’s ex, Holly, is her breaking up with him through a text message) and as they’re in the role of antagonist it seems likely they won’t be too likeable… but given that other stereotypes have been thrown on their ears, I have hopes we might find things to like about Holly and her crew, even if they do want to appropriate funding from the robotics club!
And of course there’s the rest of the robotics club. Sure, the twins talk at the same time, but this helps differentiate them from Hicks’ previous comic. And much of the robotics club appears likeable and should help expand upon the story itself. Given there’s only 20 pages available at the moment, it’s nearly impossible to tell if the entire series will be worth reading (let alone buying when it comes out in print). Hicks artwork has improved since her work in Friends With Boys, and what I’ve seen to date shows that Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is on solid footing and is well worth reading.