By Oliver Gerlach
The vast majority of the indie comics I end up reviewing seem to be serious high concept low sci-fi adventures about serious white men. That honestly gets a bit dull after a while, so sometimes a palate cleanser is in order. Bumstorm #3: A Snake Amongst the Wind Farm certainly cleanses the palate. It’s not grim, it’s not serious, it’s not clever or even slightly pretentious; it’s just stupid as hell and out to have a good time.
Bumstorm identifies itself clearly on the loud, cheerful cover as “THE comic about farting”, and that’s exactly what it is. I can, without a shadow of a doubt, say that this is definitely the most flatulent comic I have ever read. There’s no attempt to dress this up in any sort of serious and literary front; it’s just 30 pages of toilet humour and absurdity. Luckett is very clear about what he’s trying to sell here, and the honesty is necessary. I’ve seen this described as “for all ages” before, and that’s not really true. This is definitely a comic for kids, and there’s not much in here for an adult reader to appreciate (unless the adult reader in question is very into toilet humour).
Speaking as an adult reader who is not particularly into toilet humour, the story itself didn’t do all that much for me. That’s fine, though! I’m not the target audience, and I recognise that kids are probably going to be delighted by this one. It’s a ridiculous adventure story about a kid with superpowered farts who faces threats like “stinky ghost snakes” (not a euphemism, an actual stinky ghost snake), and if that concept appeals to you or your kid, go for it. Bumstorm is a well put together and very cheerful piece of silliness, and I suspect that Luckett’s got his target audience locked down nicely here.
Being issue 3 of the story, this one dives straight in on the action. Fortunately, there’s an exhaustive recap page that explains both the concept and the characters very clearly. I’d say this was a fine jumping on point even if you haven’t read Bumstorm #1-2, and if it’s your kind of thing you’ll have a delightful time even without the context. It’s a fun relatively standalone adventure that sets out to be a good time filled with comedy flatulence, and succeeds admirably at this simple goal.
Luckett’s art is reminiscent of any number of simple slapstick kids’ cartoons, with exaggerated character designs, big hair, and simple but expressive faces. The cover is bright and exciting, but sadly the interior of the book is in black and white, not quite living up to the energy of the cover. Luckett’s art works very well with just linework; his lines are clean and clear, and the panels are never too busy or too shaded. That being said, I do think this would benefit from bright, clean colours to really fit the kids’ cartoon tone of the whole book.
If you’re looking for a serious literary read, this is not the comic for you. If, however, you’re looking for a comic about farts, then this is ideal. It’s a big dumb fun time without a hint of pretentiousness, and that’s exactly what it should be. Judging by Luckett’s twitter presence, this should be available from him at Thought Bubble in Leeds next week. If you’re there with kids and want to entertain them, check it out.
Bumstorm: A Snake Amongst The Wind Farm
Writer/Artist: Robert Luckett