You know I love Calvin and Hobbes, I've mentioned it a few times in reviews and it's in my bio. I try not to go overboard talking about it because obviously that's annoying and it becomes a bullet point of criticism that I toss into the ever growing pile of errors that is my life. It's like that time in college when I emptied half a bag of a collegue's Twix bars without even realizing it because I wasn't paying attention- it's really easy for me to drift off and be like "Okay, time for another oh holy christ it's 3am." Okay, enough with the self-deprecation. There's enough of that on LiveJournal. Point is, I feel compelled to compare C&H to comics when I feel like it's warranted. Not because I feel like Watterson's stuff is the pinnacle of greatness or even for the fact that it's one of my favorite series, but just because it strikes a certain chord in me when I see comparisons that make sense, and then I am compelled. Akimbo comics feels like one of those cases. B.Patrick (As he refers to himself) started up this webcomic to make, in his words, "Comics that I would read, that were also honest and heartfelt expressions." So right out the door this is a personal, not professional site. In a phrase, NSFW. Very, very NSFW. In here, he experiments a lot with his story style and art, and he has many big and small projects going on. Sometimes you'll see a few one-shot panels with a bit of text that sounds like the more insane Facebook posts I think about making and decide against, random thoughts or overheard conversation with a backdrop; on the other hand he also has several ongoing plot lines and recurring short comics that he produces.
The stories he produces are pretty interesting. He has one about a guy in the throes of paranoia as he tries to figure out if his brain has become the nesting site for a parasite that lots of people would kill him to obtain and sell. "Onan," one of his recurring comics, features shorts stories about a kid flying in a spaceship doing things that would make Spaceman Spiff piss his pants. Many of his more down to earth comics feature a pair of guys I would characterize as Patrick's own inner dialogue debating existential topics about things like The Virtues Of Being And Asshole or Why You Feel Sad So Much, all done in a style that is absolutely like an adult-metropolitan version of Watterson's strips. More than a few times his work as resonated with me and I've been muttering the title to this article whenever he says something particularly poignant.
Calvin and Hobbes, I think, had a huge influence on his basic art style. It definitely shows in his work "Lil Bastards," and you can see it is probably his favorite style when he draws his more introspective works. His more elaborate works are where he goes into more detail and plays with his style and it's fun to see what he does. I feel like he threw in some Lichtenstein influences into his work. It does have a more pop feel to it than Watterson's work, what with the settings and subject matter he chooses. His color palette runs from dull to vibrant depending on the tone of the comic, and I think he has a great grasp of that.
B. Patrick is just one of a sea of artists who know they're competing with each other to make a living off the thing they love to do most, but I think his talent is obvious and that if he were given the chance to profit off drawing, he could succeed with his work. With the internet it should be possible, and he does have a fanbase, but amid the cacophony of other webcomic artists it can be hard to get noticed. I hope he gets more recognition, because I think his stuff is awesome.
TL;DR If Calvin grew up and moved to the city, these are the kinds of comics he'd draw. They're visceral, modern, cynical, existential and enjoyable as hell. I can only hope to see more artists like this in the future.
Akimbo comics is a self-published webcomic run by B. Patrick. You can visit it here.