I'm kind of cheating again here, because I've already picked one Comic Strip in a Best Category. But that was over two years ago, and also was only a one-panel comic, and also was long before I started Lame/Cool month, and it was long before I discovered "Buttersafe."
There are, as I've found out, a zillion webcomics out there. The Internet, so kind to aspiring writers like me, is also kind to aspiring cartoonists and has thrown open the door to those whose sense of humor is, simply put, awesome, but whose sense of humor, at the same time, is the kind of thing people would not expect to see in their morning papers. There is, I estimate, zero chance that "Buttersafe" will ever appear in a newspaper, and not just because its strips are unusually formatted and long, but also because its strips feature Skeleton Harvesters:
I stumbled onto Buttersafe, and immediately was drawn to it the way I'm drawn to other lame things -- and I immediately noted it as lame, because it's drawn weird and has a flat, strange sense of humor and features characters like "Saddest Turtle" and "Arbitrary Potato."
But, as with all the Lame/Cool things this month, Buttersafe makes that pirouette around The Coolness Continuum by simultaneously not caring how lame it is -- a hallmark of things that are cool -- and by at the same time being incredibly creative and cool by never ceasing to surprise you. I can't think of a single "Buttersafe" strip that ended the way I thought they would.
The strips, in fact, don't begin or continue or end the way you think they will; they take these random left turns continuously, yanking you around until you're somewhat dazed and lost and then, suddenly, it all blooms into perspective and is funny... but funny in a weird and haunting way that sticks with you and makes you email it to your wife, who will read one of them and then wonder why she married you and then probably not read any more of the comic strips you email her, even though she'll tell you she did.
Here's an example that encapsulates "Buttersafe"'s lame/coolness: in one comic strip, the artist manages to turn an offering of watermelon into a parody of an action movie with a catch phrase and everything, and then manages to parody that by having it all -- well, I won't spoil it for you. Just click here to read it, then come back.
See what I mean? The art is not great, but it works. The humor is strange and meandering, but it works, too. The comic has no continuity, except that characters sometimes come back and the characters all seem to think that we recognize them, and that works, too.
I do have one complaint about "Buttersafe," though, and that is that "Buttersafe" has now given me entirely new nightmares. I have a secret, lingering, ongoing fear of spiders. The primary fear is that while I sleep, a spider will be walking along the ceiling and will be right above my mouth and will drop into my mouth while I sleep. But the spider-fear encompasses many other fears, from secretly worrying that I'll have a beehive hairdo and they'll move into it to wondering if every spider I meet is a Brown Recluse Spider which is waiting to kill me by making my skin rot off to even more exotic fears.
I'm not a wuss about it or anything -- I kill spiders. I hunt them down with a ferocity you can't imagine, something I have to do because if I see a spider and it gets away, I won't sleep that night. But I still don't like them. Just thinking about them makes my skin crawl.
So you can imagine how I felt when I saw this:
And now I have to worry about that, too.
Despite that, I'll give the nomination for Best Comic Strip That's So Lame It's Cool To Buttersafe, and here's why: Buttersafe has a character named "Arbitrary Potato." I wish to God I had thought up the concept of "Arbitrary Potato" because if I had, I'd be a millionaire. And if you don't understand why, then you'll never get it.
There are also: Nonfiction books about lame/cool topics., Or things like music that was brought back by the two greatest forces for social change in the world, Or things like movies your kids make you watch but which turn out to be pretty good because of the songs in them
And including things like TV shows you wouldn't guess are so cool, guys who should be on TV more, superheroes who can't be gotten rid of, food that defies Newton's laws, this guy, places you can take the whole family and they'll actually have fun, and my ideal pet.
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