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‘Buttersafe’ Webcomic Mixes Awkward With Awesome

Some kinds of comedy works with sparkling lines, precisely timed with flawless delivery. The laughter is a direct result of how unexpected the lines are, and how well the whole bit comes together. Other kinds of comedy, especially more modern comedy, is more about awkwardness. It sets up expectations based on the audience’s experience and then falls flat. The timing has to be different, but just as perfect as the first kind of comedy, because the audience has to enjoy themselves instead of wince.

Lots of great TV shows take advantage of this kind of humor. “Seinfeld” was a precursor, but “The Office,” and “Arrested Development,” really pushed it to the forefront. “Buttersafe,” a webcomic by Raynato Castro and Alex Culang, follows suit in much the same way.

“Buttersafe” has a few characters that pop up a few times, but no real regulars. There’s the Punch Monster, who sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t live up to its name. There’s the duo of Saddest Turtle and Jolly Octopus, who together star in dementedly depressing “Sesame Street”-like sketches. Every now and again the comic will move into a narrative about an epic struggle with the Skeleton Harvester as well, but its still not a webcomic that relies on a firm cast.

It’s clear that Castro and Culang have a handle on their craft. The art is generally simple, but consistently good, and it always gets the point across without trying too hard.

The comic is very much about individual taste. It makes readers laugh by being odd and anti-climactic, and generally doesn’t have a punchline or comic sting panel. This means that occasionally there is a strip that doesn’t really work. Still, that can be said for most serialized humor strips with a consistent schedule. It’s not perfect, but it’s the price fans are willing to pay for good-natured experimentation.

If you like a specific kind of modern humor, “Buttersafe” is a real find. Creative, well drawn, and original, it’s an RSS-worthy addition that will keep you on your toes.

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