French Toast Comix
What’s it about?
French Toast Comix is an autobiographical webcomic by a lady who works as a cruise ship musician. She’s Jewish, gay and draws pretty much anything that happens in her life. Strips might appear about a coffee shop, her mum, cruise ship culture, new places that she’s visited, her art class, anything (also – stealing giant porcelain cows)!
It’s not as linear as a lot of web comics, in that it mostly reads more like stand alone events. However, you can buy more structured print mini comics if you like (see the more information section at the end of the review). Many of the entries have a text blog accompanying them, giving more information about the events being depicted.
What’s good about it?
This web comic is what we used to call ‘a giggle’. Ms Hawkins has a dry wit about her and can pull out the important elements that make a situation funny, then reproduce them concisely. It’s a style that makes you warm to her and all her friends, even if they are doing stupid things.
The humour is very visual. This may seem an odd thing to say about an artform that is always visual, but French Toast Comix really does put it’s jokes in the art, not the words. As a result, the comics seem to become a living, breathing thing. This also means that people who’s first language is not English will hopefully find it easier to understand.
It’s an easy read, it’s not got any traumatic situations, it’s not written as therapy or an attempt to chronicle her life, it’s just retellings of one off events, sometimes they last for a few entries, sometimes not. Some entries are examples of art class homework, some are doodles from a bus stop. It’s not that the quality varies, it doesn’t, the entries are all pretty good, but they are sometimes different things.
I found it a refreshing, relaxing read.
What’s bad about it?
I guess the very elements that made me warm to it – the easy feel that it’s got, the variation in entries, the lack of a structured narrative, may put off some people. Some comics are one panel pages of a packed lift, others are recordings of familial conversations. This may not be what some readers are looking for, but in that case, I would point you towards the mini comics and urge you to buy them, as they are far more structured and more conventional in presentation.
What’s the art like?
The comics take a variety of forms – sometimes they are 3 panel strips, as seen above, sometimes they are larger one panel scenes, sometimes they are laid out as they would be in conventional print comics:
Some are in colour, some are black and white. This one is done in pencils (or biro) only, this one has been coloured with grey tones. All of them have a caricature feel about them. The faces are round, with big grins and few line details are put on the faces, giving them a cartoony feel. The feeling comes from the position of the eyes, the mouths and the eyebrows, this comic being a good example of that. There are also a couple of silent comics included.