Posts Tagged Matthew Taranto

Review: Brawl in the Family

I certainly hope that all of you out there in Readerland enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day in the manner of your choosing, be it tinted beverages, Shamrock Shakes, food coloring in unexpected places, chocolate coins, speaking in a terrible attempt at a Celtic accent*, wearing shamrock-shaped paraphernalia, singing “Danny Boy” one more time while people cry into their pints, pinching people for not wearing green**, or ignoring the holiday outright because you’re not Irish and don’t feel like pretending for a day. It was a good time to get in some festivities while the weather in the Northern Hemisphere goes from dingy gray to vibrant green.

Meanwhile, over on the pink end of the scale, there’s Nintento’s lovable puffball Kirby, who’s been borrowed as the main character for Matthew Taranto’s Brawl in the Family.*** While a fan-comic doesn’t do much for original characters, Taranto has fun with the characterization: Kirby has a crush on Jigglypuff; King Dedede is malicious, but not that bright (and has an eccentric relative in the neighborhood); Captain Falcon just can’t shut up; Waluigi is utterly befuddling; and personality quirks from various video games are extended to an endearingly silly level.

There isn’t really an overarching plot to BiTF, although there is a certain continuity between strips. Kirby and Diddy Kong remain good friends. King Dedede’s theft of Christmas becomes a pass-through gag. And Meta Knight gets some rather interesting revenge. For the most part, though, BiTF consists of quick little one-shot gags or odd little speculations on Kirby’s diet. A limited spectrum of jokes, perhaps, but it works just fine.

To say the art has evolved since the early days would be a bit of an understatement. Taranto’s basic style has stayed relatively constant, but the art itself has become generally smoother and more practiced (with a shot of color once every five comics). And the occasional homage to other art styles is generally done well. And then on top of all that, he sings (be warned, the page has sound that starts on loading). We’re looking at a talented artist who has fun with what he does, and even if some of the jokes are headscratchers, Brawl in the Family is a generally entertaining read.

Comic Rating: 100 points for that dead goomba, you monster.

* Ye blaguards ain’t foolin’ nobbut wi’ such a tinny brogue.
** As long as I can pinch back because you’re not wearing orange. The portion of my ancestry that goes back through the Emerald Isle is split between Ireland and North Ireland. The combination of Belfast and Dublin in one body leads to some interesting self-conflict, let me tell you.
*** These segues aren’t as easy as I make them look.

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