For anyone who reads a lot of different webcomics, there are a few main archetypes that start to emerge. You have your gag-a-days, your continuous story-lines, etc. And then of course, there is the ‘narrate my life’ type comic. These comics often detail the (hopefully) hilarious misfortunes of the creator, with varying degrees of success.
Boumeries is one such comic, and one that executes within its archetype quite well. In my opinion, this is due to creator Samantha Leriche-Gionet’s uncanny narrative talent. In terms of writing style, it is the rhythm, and subtle, self-depreciating humor that really sets Boumeries apart. The dialogue between the strips recurring characters seems both genuine and easy – there’s nothing forced about the humor, Samantha is simply relating details of her life, much to her own dismay, and more often than not, her misfortunes are quite funny.
Visually, you’ll have to accept that the comic is in black & white. I wouldn’t say this detracts from the comic at all; in a way, it furthers the feeling that this strip is unique. But, it is out of the ordinary, and if you flip through a large quantity of the archive, there is a slight sensation of reading through a newspaper and after a while things can start to blend together. The artistic style itself is very interesting, with strong lines, subtle shadow work, and varying degrees of background complexity. Due to Samantha’s expressive characters, many strips tell a story with very little dialogue. Additionally, Samantha makes incredible use of motion, sometimes quite literally by taking advantage of animated panels, and the sensation is one of…progress. I felt like I was living along side of the characters, following them through their life adventures.
Back to the lack of color; would I count this as a criticism? No, certainly not. But, I will say that Boumeries is a relatively short comic, in terms of height. Combine that with the greyscale color scheme, and often bold character outlines, and sometimes I felt a little – claustrophobic. I think Samantha could get around this by employing more frequent use of traditional panel-busting techniques. Aside from this, I would love to see more usage of multi-panel comics; some of my favorites where expansive single panel strips or strips with one panel then a three panel span.
At any rate, Boumeries is one of my new favorite webcomics. The characters (and their frequent mishaps) are truly enchanting. And, with over 250 strips, there is still plenty of archive left for me to dig through!