Early on in said reading, though, it became apparent that tackling these in small chunks was the way to go — Ralston has created an idiosyncratic world unto itself here, where only his own made-up-on-the-fly rules apply, and given that none of the strips he’s put pen, ink, pencil, brush and occasionally even magic marker and collage cut-out to have carried over from issue to issue, there was no need to worry about my always-tenuous memory failing me altogether or, less drastically, requiring some sort of jolt or kick-start to get back into the flow of things. Issue, say, 12 is every bit as accessible as issue one, and there’s a kind of beautiful simplicity to that which should appeal to anybody out there either bored to tears with, or simply seeking respite from, long-form comics narratives. Complexity is great and all, but who needs it all the fucking time?
And so it is that Ralston can accurately be said to be more concerned with doing a particular thing and doing it reasonably well than he can be “accused” of being too overly ambitious. Issue 11 breaks the mold by being a prose and mixed-media affair, and it’s plenty interesting as a one-off, but there’s a definite sense by the time it’s over with that Ralston is perfectly content to return to regularly-scheduled programming for his next installment, and I have a hunch most readers will be on board with that decision, as well : when you’re in a bit of a creative groove, after all, there’s no need to rock the boat too terribly much, and by that point in the series it’s plainly obvious that such a groove has, indeed, been achieved. If I can level any specific criticism at this comic as a whole it would probably be that it boasts little to no progression, either in pure storytelling terms or in terms of the methodology behind the creation of said stories, but again, I should stress that I don’t have a huge problem with that given the project’s aims, which strive for a kind of tenuous balance between unpredictability and consistency, with Ralston more often than not succeeding at delivering both.
Anyway, characters come and go from the revolving door of Ralston’s imagination according to their utility to each issue’s particular story (or stories), but it’s a pretty damn likable bunch of animals (Buzza Wuzza, Judy Moon, Clancy The Cop, Dr, La Paz, Wuv Bunny, Messy Rabbit, Smokey The Cat) and people (Pal, Stressy) as well as the occasional ghost, robot, monster, and devil (among others) that populate the series’ core cast, and if you wonder what all they get up to beyond “hijinks ensue,” it’s generally stuff like going to Mars, solving mysteries, fighting crime, playing in shitty bands, visiting Stonehenge, serving in combat, going to jail, etc. — in other words, yeah, “hijinks ensue.” My favorite issue is of the bunch is probably #17, a full-length story called “Friends Of The Library,” but on the whole each installment isn’t too far removed from every other in terms of both overall tone and overall quality. I’m not sure if Ralston took much by way of breaks when writing and drawing these things, but they very much feel the end product of an artist who got a head of steam to do something quite specific and stuck with it until he’d done everything he wanted to do within the parameters he’d set for himself.
There doesn’t seem to be much by way of distribution for Buzza Wuzza Comics And Stories, but interested parties are directed to contact Jeff Ralston directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to order up and issue or two — or even all 19, I suppose.
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