So for all of my crying about the thin line between “commercial” and “fine” art, I was extremely amused to find the above strip by Mr. Paul Southworth. For those of you who don’t know, Paul Southworth is the creator Ugly Hill. Ugly Hill is a webcomic dealing with the lives of the Bros. Killgore, Eli and Hastings, and their respective existences as polar opposites within the fictional “Monster” community of the titular Ugly Hill.
Eli is the layabout, Hastings is the workaholic- forced to live together by an overbearing mother. Comedy ensues. Think Odd Couple meets Monster’s Inc. Mr. Southworth could tell the same story with human characters, but his use of monsters gives him a greater visual variety and, I imagine, a greater wealth of possibilities in character design, for which he has received several nominations and awards. His skewed sense of humor goes a long way, too. In this world racism is based on the number of eyes someone has, instead of the color of their skin. Devouring of ones enemies is a common occurence as well. At it’s base Ugly Hill is about all of those little idiosyncracies we all enjoy (or loathe), as experienced by the monster analogs that populate it. Same old slice of life, 3-beat punchline, workplace humor- but something in the three dimensional characters and whimsical aesthetic gives it so much more- The characters are likable, their “issues” appropriately ridiculously inane, and comically rewarding. The panels play out with the backgrounds and characters sharing the space and complimenting each other nicely, one never really imposes or outshines the other. Absolutely perfect blend of eye-catching art and well-timed humor. Ugly Hill displays all of the hallmarks of a seasoned and dedicated veteran cartoonist at work, but stays humble enough to be endearing and charming-it never feels like it was phoned-in or handed-off to an assistant, like a Garfield. No, I get the very real feeling that Paul Southworth does this out of pure love for the medium, and I am suitably impressed by that.
Other places to see Paul Southworth’s Work:
Guest Strip at Diesel Sweeties.
To get a good grasp of how far he’s come as an artist check out Krazy Larry Not to say he wasn’t good to begin with, but as the strip progresses he get’s REALLY good, basically perfecting his skill to the point he has come to today.