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.
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
…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
And Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster Book Two has its very first ever review, from RE:Views Media's Max Szyc! It's a rare thing that a review makes us laugh out loud, or LOL, as the kids say. If you've read the first book of the Understanding Monster, you'll understand that reading doesn't begin to describe the experience of this story. The logic of this world, like most psychedelics, takes a minute to kick in. Like Max says, "A few more pages and then I think my mind may have reached some sort of subconscious arrangement with the material, meaning I think I 'got it'. Perhaps the book is so futuristic that it actually has the psychic power to make me think I’m understanding it." Cue us giggling. It is a long, strange trip indeed for toy mouse-bodied Izadore and his consciousness, but the sheer force of Theo's art will move you along with him. You may even start to identify with him. You can thank Max for capturing these feelings so well by reading his review. Thanks, Max!
We survived yet another Small Press Expo. This is no mean feat. Between the thousand deep gang of exhibitors and the crush of so many attendees, it's a wonder we're still standing. Credit Corrinne Mucha for pulling us through. In the absence of Theo Ellsworth (DNP - Fatherhood), Mike Dawson (DNP - Bachelor Party) and Brendan Leach (DNP - Get well soon!), Corinne sketched out everybody's books. We mean everybody's. Even Sean Ford's books. And Sean was there. Secret Acres made bank, yes, but we hardly got to see anybody, or so it felt. This might explain how we escaped the con crud which is laying so many folks out after SPX. This year's show was really all about the Breeders, meaning the band, not folks making babies. Corinne, you see, had not heard of the Breeders. We can see not having heard of, say, U2. But the BREEDERS? COME ON. Also, fair warning, we don't dare dish on our SPX 2014 Celebrity Comics Mule, Tucker Stone. In fact, we're terrified of what he must be saying about us right now. Check out the blog, and you can also get some details on this Sunday's event, the Brooklyn Book Festival! It's going to be a star-studded affair at the Secret Acres-Koyama Press megatable...
OKAY. Summer's over and we're heading back to school, or at least back to our Scuttlebutt blog. It's been a while and a half, but we've been busy, sitting by the pool, giggling, eating watermelon. Included in this post is a rundown of our trip to RIPE, our first ever internet kerfuffle, SPX news and switcheroos, and one rather ridiculous Secret Acres baby boom. Boy, oh, boy are we looking forward to SPX. We know we promised you the second volume of Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster. The good news is that the book WILL be at the show and it will be beautifully sketched and signed. The bad news is that Theo is skipping out - but he'll be coming out to Comics Art Brooklyn to officially debut his new book. He has a a good reason (note the mention of a baby boom above). We do, however, have Sean Ford, Eamon Espey and Corinne Mucha coming to comics camp with us and they will armed with new minis, prints and even little paintings. Our guest comics mule for the road trip will be Tucker Stone, so we'lll have plenty of gossip to dish when we get back. You get yourself to SPX! See you this weekend...
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!