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BIO

Michiel Budel lives and works in Amsterdam (Holland). He wishes to become a director of horror movies. Sadly, since he has no cameras and no education in this field, he enjoys writing and drawing his own comics.

IN THE EMPORIUM

Michiel’s comics can be found in the Secret Acres Emporium here.

IN PRAISE OF SLECHTE MEISJES

Greatest Comic of All Time | Wayward Girls (Slechte Meisjes) #1

Wayward Girls follows the adventures and mishaps of a group of nameless pubescent girls who seem to be part of a combination school/scout troop with heavy fascistic leanings (swastikas are a common sight). The one- and two-page strips collected in the print edition maintain a special focus on uncomfortably) the girls’ sexual lives and (just bizarrely) geopolitics. An epic double-pager focuses on one girl’s decision to join the US Army after receiving a recruitment letter — “she thinks they are heroes”, a disembodied face tells us through her mail slot — and her subsequent torrid romance with an Afghani girl whose family is all but certainly smuggling heroin into America “via the ports of Newark”. The final panel shows both girls locked in a passionate nude embrace, with a word balloon whose source isn’t quite clear proclaiming that “love has no cultural boundaries!”

Wayward Girls, then, is a child-molesty comic with Nazi overtones, and it’s also the proof that even something that sounds that uncalled for can feel absolutely essential if it’s done skillfully enough. This comic is both side-splittingly hilarious and fascinatingly strange, the kind of thing you want to re-read immediately once you finish just to see if you can figure it out once you’ve wiped away the tears of laughter. There’s very little narrative cohesion to be found here, though recurring plotlines touch whimsically (to say nothing of erotically) on heavy topics like the war in the Mideast and the Grecian debt crisis. The real joy of reading these comics is in the push forward, the anticipation of seeing what Budel will come up with next…

This is drawing to change people’s ideas of what exactly “beautiful comic book art” looks like, and it’s also the perfect match for the surreal, logic-light world of the stories it brings to life. It’s rare indeed to see a comic both this far removed from anything else and this aesthetically unified, but here it is: something that manages mastery with almost no visible influences. There isn’t a whole lot else like Wayward Girls, and there certainly isn’t much else this good out there at the moment.

- Matt Seneca, CBR

Slechte Meisjes, one of the weirdest and off-its-kind comics ever to come from the Netherlands, is currently getting an English run as Wayward Girls. A second twenty four page comic is currently available from Secret Acres, arguably the best publisher of artistic comics around for the moment.

Wayward Girls is the brainchild of Dutch art teacher and cartoonist Michiel Budel, who has no previous experience in creating comics. His narrative and artistic style are just beyond compare. The stories all feature a range of unknown young teenage girls who discover life in all its facets, but always with a serious twist, as if a strong lens has been put over the world as we know it.

The girls are easily interchangeable as they experience sex, death and everything in between, and the artwork looks as if some loon had been keeping a secret diary in a notebook. All the art is executed in colored pencils, and mistakes are simply taped over and redone, which gives the pages a delightful faux-naive look and feel.

Like I said, you just can’t describe the incongruent logic and narrative that Budel applies in his strips, you have to experience them.

- Wim Lockefeer, Forbidden Planet International

Today I’d like to talk to you guys a little bit about one of my favorite webcomics. Dutch for “bad girls,” slechtemeisjes is a bizarre weekly strip starring a group of nearly identical teen girls who live with a professor? I’m not sure how much of a continuous storyline runs throughout the episodes, but I get the feeling that isn’t really the point. A typical strip consists of the girls getting involved in some surreal adventure or circumstance, punctuated by the odd, matter-of-fact dialogue that more or less narrates the scene, until culminating finally in some kissing and/or missing clothes…

…I couldn’t help but think of Paul Chan when I first saw the strip above, where the girls meet Scott McCloud. You have the similarly youthful and innocent girls who have that Darger simplicity to them, the nonchalant nudity and carefree sex thrown on top. And through it all you can sense the keen mind behind it that’s having just having fun as much as making some subtle, subversive commentary.

The author of this work is pretty mysterious – after exchanging a few messages with them, I’ve learned they live in the Netherlands (obvi), are an art school graduate and that this is their first comic. I was also tipped off that the similarities to Darger are coincidental, and that the main influence is Dutch artist Joost Roelofsz (see below). The artist has also adopted the name of the strip as a pseudonym, which I suppose is just as well since this is so far their only comic.

I think this is a great and hilarious strip, and it’s one of the few webcomics I’ve been reading on a regular basis. I love the drawing style and the colored pencils, and especially the bits of tape or pasted on word-balloons (perhaps a result of translating to English?) that show up from time to time. There’s a very physical quality to how it’s presented, the online presentation is very close to what you’d see in person, which is refreshing after seeing so much computer generated work on the web (not saying that’s bad!).

The true reward is that as it goes on, slechtemeisjes is getting better. I hadn’t read the earliest strips until just before writing this, and was somewhat surprised at how different they are. From what I can tell, the comic was begun this past February, and seemed to be much more focused on the lesbian sex aspect initially. Of course, these earlier strips are untranslated, also, so I can’t really gauge the other level that’s taking place. Still, it’s more clear from the first pages, with the blank background and lack of panels, that things were only just beginning to take to the air.

As the months go on, you can see more and more control being taken over the tone and the compositions. The girls are given space to exist in, and the panels allow for a nice rhythm that makes their varying tilted poses even more fun. September has to be my favorite month, as well, as we saw one of the girls get pregnant somehow from fooling around with each other in the woods, the girls do laundry, and the day when one of the girls forgets to do their homework for genius class (spoiler: it all turns out ok). This comic is weird and absurd and silly and baffling in the best ways possible. The humor is as strange as they come, but importantly, it does it all with a straight face, there’s no winks to the audience, beyond of course just how silly it all can be. This is the kind of thing that’s right up my alley.

Hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite enough by now, so you should go read the rest of the girls’ adventures and check back every week too see more.

- Kevin Czap, Comix Cube

BACKTALK

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RT @FestivalSeason_: Navigating anxiety, depression, and loss through mindfulness practice in the comics of @CorinneMucha, by @jasonviola: …
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@DandQ This is amazing! Best comics publisher site of all time. Maybe you should get artists for the other letters in the alphabet now.
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@realasianfriend It's all for YOU! But, really, thanks; we needed that!
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@MathewNew @andsoluke Only if you're buying.
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OFF THE WALL

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Secret Acres
Facebook IconAugust 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm

ZOMG! It's Tim O'Neil for the Onion AV Club on Corinne Mucha's Get Over It! and it's a pretty darn good review, too. Tim's clearly on top of his comics game, name-dropping and comparing Corinne to none other than Kate Beaton, John Allison and Dylan Horrocks - pretty much a Mt. Rushmore of the medium. He gets it right; Corinne hits every bump on Heartbreak Road, ever stage of grief, but all told, it's actually kind of... ...fun? As Tim puts it, she "turns a book about three years of anguish into a page-turner." There IS something fun about being heartbroken, and not just the rebound. It's like a license to crazy. At least we think so. There's lots of other good stuff reviewed here, too, including Rocket Raccoon's latest, Superman and Roman Muradov (love that guy). Corinne's got some good company for Get Over It! Thank you, Tim, and thanks, AV Club, for the very kind words. You guys go read now at the link!

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New releases include Superman, Outcast, and a Palomar collection

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Anyone coming to Gilbert Hernandez’s work fresh in the year 2014 has a steep hill to climb. Never a lazy cartoonist, he has become especially prolific in the last decade, producing stand-alone graphic novels in a number of different genres for Drawn & Quarterly, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, and Ve

Secret Acres
August 1, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Secret Acres commented on their own link.

Secret Acres
Facebook IconAugust 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

We are outta here! Or at least will we be in the morning. Actually, the very early morning. Sigh. But we're going to the Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo aka RIPE! This is our first time at the show. It's also the first time FOR the show. RIPE is brand new and the brainchild of some folks we truly adore, like Mickey Z, who roped us into going way back when at the last Comic Arts Brooklyn. Yes, it is suspicious that there's a comic show in the dead of summer called RIPE. We've stopped showering and wiping for the occasion. Kidding. At our table will be Brendan Leach, of Iron Bound fame, and Sean Ford, he who has brought you Only Skin. Not only will Sean have the new and improved edition of Only Skin, he will have the fourth, yes, FOURTH issue of his new series, Shadow Hills. Playing the role of Secret Acres comics mule on the ride up will be Dave Nuss of Revival House Press, home of folks like Malachi Ward. It's a star-studded event and we don't even have to worry about crossing any borders! Doors are at noon and details are at the link below. If you're in Providence now, there's all kinds of stuff happening tonight, too. We will see you tomorrow...

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RIPExpo

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Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo Comics! Zines! Other forms of independent publishing!...

Secret Acres
Facebook IconJuly 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

The thing about Mike Dawson's newest graphic novel, Angie Bongiolatti, is that it's daunting at first glance but kind of impossible not to identify with its characters. Well, you could somehow not identify with them, and that's your right, but you'd probably be completely insane. Rob Kirby, writing for the Comics Journal, writes about Angie Biongiolatti so well, that he might just be the ideal reader for this one. He's sensitive, empathetic, politically conscious and he likes to party. He also nails Angie, the character, who can come across as enigmatic or aloof, but it's her faith and her clarity, as Rob puts it (and we're paraphrasing), that make her the best barometer ever for the most difficult of times and the craziest of people. The key, though, is Rob writing that he knows these folks and he's partied with them. It would have been a lot easier for Mike if he'd had an agenda when he drew these people. Yeah, we might have recognized the ideas, but maybe we wouldn't have recognized these people. Poor Rob! He's one of THEM! Thanks, TCJ, and Rob, especially. This was a really good one.

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Angie Bongiolatti | The Comics Journal

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A varied group of twenty-somethings sort out political beliefs and interpersonal relationships in post 9/11 New York City.

Secret Acres
Facebook IconJuly 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Well, folks, Edie Fake has arrived! This newest LA native gets a very warm welcome indeed from Joshua Michael Demaree at the LA Review of Books. It's both a full-blown interview, a complete history and in depth review of Memory Palaces, Edie's latest and our first ever art book. If you're worried about Edie going Hollywod, go ahead and worry since Demaree has christened him a "flourishing celebrity." At least, he's a flourishing celebrity in the queer art world. There's some stuff in here that rarely gets discussed, including Edie's background as a video artist and the influence of that medium on his comics work. We even get a mention in the story of how we met Edie, which almost didn't happen. Plus, and this was news to us as well, Edie's return to Chicago (after "going feral") coincided with the death of Michael Jackson. But was it a coincidence? Thank you, Joshua, for all your super thoughtful work here (and for making another dream come true and writing up a Secret Acres book for the LA Review of Books). Go and read this very funny and very serious career retrospective right now!

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http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/fake-places-work-edie-fake

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Joshua Michael Demaree on the career of Edie Fake.

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