Summary: #Wafflefry is a colorful and humorous webcomic that focuses on teenage friends with really unfortunate powers. Beginning with a brother and sister duo (Remy and Spencer, respectively), the “guild” quickly grows, adding friends and neighbors into the fold as the natures of their clumsy powers are unraveled, interpersonal relationships are explored, and a sinister threats arise. As it currently stands, #Wafflefry is in its fourth chapter, and just now hitting its stride. The heroes have been established, and the enemy has been revealed, making it a great time for new readers to jump in and catch up.
Story: Are you a fan of comedy shows like Community? Do you enjoy comics such as Deadpool? Have you ever thought about why?
What makes that sort of humor different? Typically, people refer to that style as “Meta-Humor.” To put it as simply as is possible, it’s making jokes about other jokes. Repeating humor, in-jokes, pop culture references, memes; these are the bread and butter of meta-humor. These also just so happen to be the bread and butter of #Wafflefry, and they’re employed to great effect. Remy’s obsession with superheroes and his desire to live out those fantasies vicariously using his (relatively) willing empowered friends allows all sorts of different tropes from the comic world to be played upon. In addition, some metaphorical references to online culture seem to be joining the fray. It’s light and enjoyable, and most importantly, it does what meta-humor does best: it generates a since of belonging.
Knowing the in-jokes, getting the reference; it makes the reader feel good! #Wafflefry immediately invests the reader in the characters by making the reader feel as though they’re one of them. Remy, Spencer, Evergreen, Merrick… They are all relatable, down to earth characters. They’re like you. You get their struggles. You get their jokes. It takes a delicate touch to make a character fun and trope-ish, but still three-dimensional, and Mandy does an excellent job of just that.
There are flaws to the series. The bonus content is really nice, and helps with the aforementioned inclusive atmosphere, but sometimes it begins to outweigh the webcomic itself. Tense moments are interrupted by fourth-wall breaking black-and-white strips, holiday specials, and guest comics. This causes the story, the core story, to lose some momentum. It takes away from the reader’s immersion. While this sort of structure is just fine in webcomics with no overall story arc, #Wafflefry has an enjoyable plot that deserves that spotlight.
Another area that the comic is somewhat lacking is action. While it is comedy, it’s also a comic about superheroes (or heroes, at very least), and the few action sequences have been short and cumbersome. In the future, seeing some more big fight scenes, if not full sequences, would be really nice.
Art: Mandy brings a cute and cartoony style to #Wafflefry. The way in which the characters are drawn is very unique and recognizable, and in a way, brought me back 90s block cartoons where each title had its own features and tricks as a sort of visual signature. With comedy comics, artists sometimes work themselves into a corner by using a style that is too simplified or stylized, and it makes it difficult to portray anything other than jokes. #Wafflefry doesn’t have that problem, striking a nice balance that allows for semi-realistic proportions and posing.
The characters are as easy to distinguish physically as they are in personality. And speaking of personality, the expressiveness in the comic does a perfect job of conveying those emotions. It’s really difficult not to enjoy the characters, is what I’m trying to say.
All of this said, there are places (like the action sequences I mentioned earlier) where it’s a bit hard to tell what’s going on. Typically, the panels flow well, but there are places that things begin to break down, and the angles or the lack of additional scenes cause the reader to lose details. This is a problem that also exists in the early pages of the comic when it comes to lettering. Tiny quips are occasionally stuck in odd places, and difficult to read if they’re noticed at all. The good news is that this is basically resolved as the chapters progress. Overall, neither the art nor the structure are a reinvention of the wheel, but they’re solid and rarely take away from the experience.
Conclusion: Overall? #Wafflefry might be a bit too cutesy and have a bit too much Taylor Swift for some readers, but it’s quite enjoyable and I wouldn’t have any problem recommending it to most anyone I know. As is already mentioned, it’s not doing anything terrible new, but it is doing those things terribly well. Also, I’m printing this out and putting it on my board at my day job:
In fact I’d like it on a mug.