Okay, I know I'm going to lose some "geek cred" here, but I've never read a single Harry Potter book. It just wasn't my thing. I mean, I guess I get it: magic, kids, owls, monsters, evil, that sense that you are destined for something great -- sure, I can see how it hits those big buttons we all carry around with us. It just didn't hit mine. Maybe I'm too buttoned down.
But then there is the web comic Wizard School from Kevin Kneupper and Robert Rath. Wizard School seems to have the same feelings about Potter as I do -- it just ain't their thing. Instead, Wizard School takes the tropes ofPotter and puts some big old hairy balls on them. Needless to say, this web comic ain't for the kids.
The tag line that Minion Comics uses to sell Wizard School is: "Bumblebane's Magical Academy of the Wizarding Arts has a new student -- a chosen one, destined to save humanity. And he's a complete and total dick." Russell Graham is truly a dick, probably the biggest dick I've ever seen in a comic book. One of the characters describes him as "The most vile, selfish, reprehensible shit I could find." Graham is bamboozled by the bad guys, gets the three stars of "the chosen one" tattooed on his forehead, and is whisked away to the Magic Academy "to defend the infused against he imminent approach of a great evil!"
But Graham ain't the chosen one. A matter of fact, he's a foul-mouthed drunken dick who wants no part of anything that is going on, and it's hysterical. I mean real shooting liquid out of your nose laughter kind of funny. By playing with all the trappings of the Potter-verse, Kneupper and Rath are able to tickle their audiences expectations to the point where they pee themselves a little.
But let me warn you, if you are sensitive about dick jokes and curse words and sex, then Wizard School is NOTfor you -- and by golly, if you got kids, please think twice about enjoying this series together. If you're not of this sort, then you have to at least give this webcomic a chance. It's helpful to know a little bit of the Harry Potterstory (which, I think at this point, if you are at all cognizant of the world around you, you already do), but it's not really necessary.
While Kneupper's writing is spot on funny as hell, Rath's art is perfect for what the two of them are trying to accomplish. I know I'm not supposed to use the adjective "cartoony", but really, that's what it is. The juxtaposition between the more "kid-friendly" drawings and bright colors with what is actually going on in the panels only adds to the humor.
And, like I said, this is some pretty funny shit.
Right now the fellas are on issue 11 on the site, so there's a huge backlog of material to enjoy. I'm hoping that by pointing you in the direction of Wizard School I might get back some of that "geek cred."
You can can read all of Wizard School (as well as some other pretty cool comics) at Minion Comics.