You Stink and I Don't #6

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2005
By: Steve Saville

Cover of You Stink and I Don't  #6 Creator(s): Ben Hutchings
Publishers: Green Comics (Self Published)
From: Australia
Price: AUS $3.00, USA $2.00

I must confess that when I sat down to review You Stink and I Don't [Number 6] I was hardly bursting with anticipation. I had just read another of Ben Hutching's comics and feared yet more tales of sweaty perverts and the like [see Sir Testimulump]. The title, You Stink and I Don't did little to allay my fears. So I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the worst.
Well I was wrong. Very wrong.

This comic is a gem. If it has a fault it is that it is too busy, it is too jam-packed with imaginative and often extremely funny strips. Sure there is a fair serving of material that revolves round poos and wees, namely the three Dr. Phower strips but these nestle quite comfortably alongside the thought provoking and the genuinely funny.

The must fascinating aspect of this comic is the fact that it has the feel of an anthology about it. It reads as if it were the compiled works of several creators not a solo project. So diverse are some of the strips that I can only assume that Ben Hutchings must have some interesting conversations with Ben Hutchings•all ten of them.

This would be one of those rare comics that once, having completed a reading, you immediately go back to the start for a reread and find the second read more rewarding than the first. The colour strip on the back cover [Captain Curiosity] being a case in point. Initially it seemed quite innoxious, a little inane, forgettable even. Subsequent readings however put it in a different light and I eventually found it to be not only funny but also highly original.

If we are talking clever though we need look no further than Hutching's upside down comics. Having read them frames the "right" way up you rotate the comic to get the second half of the gag or story. Yes I know this is not original but it is clever.

This is a comic full of unexpected treats. My personal favourite is The Phantom parody created by Lee Spoon. The Ghost Who Walks is something of an adopted icon in Australia so there is hardly an Aussie alive who wouldn't see the joke here. Lee Falk is the creator of The Phantom. Falk, fork, spoon, geddit. OK so it may be a little lame but this comic is full to bursting with this kind of stuff. This three- frame parody of the daily Phantom newspaper strip is perfect. The three frames are totally unrelated and the promise of what happens in the next instalment bears no relevance to anything that has preceded it. Readers of The Phantom will be able to identify with this as the short syndicated Phantom strips often seem to go nowhere, it is only when they are put together and read in their entirety that the story falls into place. Hutchings has caught the mood perfectly and the art- work is pretty damned good to. What makes it even more impressive is that are three more strips on this page alone. The parody on the work of Stan Lee that appears later in the comic is quite possibly even better.

And so we go on. Biting satire in Greeting Friend where a white supremacist attempts to justify his racist beliefs. A hilarious look at stoner apathy in Weeed Dude. A very funny look at Australian history in Who Gives a Brown One. A stunningly effective wordless strip, Doomben in Moonee Valley, think Mobieus here. I could go on and on as every page actually deserves mention.

It is as if Ben Hutchings has consumed every comic book ever published, swallowed them, digested them, genetically modified them deep in his bowels and passed them back to us in a new, twisted form. Never have I been so happy to have been proven wrong.

In a Word: Abundant.

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