By Dustin Cabeal
Buni speaks to me on a generational level. This mostly fucked up collection of short stories follows buni, a character I only know the name of because it’s the title. Buni is relatable in that sometimes he’s delusional, other times he’s depressed, but mostly jacked up things happen around him.
Each story has a bit of a reset to it and normally last just one page. There are simple gags like cakes making cupcakes overnight, to gangster fish sending another fish to its death via balloons. A lot of times the gags are the intentional opposite of what you’re expecting or some wordplay brought to life.
It’s a quick read, but there’s plenty of laughs and a surprising range of emotions given the fact that there is no dialogue. That’s right, Ryan Pagelow manages to capture all of those emotions I listed with just his artwork. The writing is solid, well-paced and even the jokes that didn’t make me die laughing were still well executed and enjoyable.
The artwork reminds me a lot of Milk & Cheese plus something else and I never quite found that other thing to compare it to. It’s clean, cartoonish in its designs, but well illustrated. The emotion rings through with success. The coloring is mostly solid tones, but it works with the style and story. If there were a lot of detail and layers to the artwork, it would detract from the emotion and gags. By having solid colors, you maintain your focus on the gag. It would work just as well in black and white, which was a curious thing to notice. Usually, it’s the other way around.
You’ve likely seen Buni online. Its easily digestible and I could see it working quite well on a cellphone. Having a book collection though, was a different experience though and so if you’ve already read a lot of this series, give it another shot because it might just surprise you. If you’re new to the series, bring your sense of humor, if you don’t bring that you’re just going to make a bunch of “guffaws” and need to drink warm milk as you lull yourself to sleep at 8 pm. Bring that sense of humor is what I’m saying, old person.
Buni: Happiness Is A State of Mind
Andrews McMeel Publishing