Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meredith Gran's "Octopus Pie"

If Scott Pilgrim were a page-a-day comic about a 20-something misanthrope and her zany stoner roommate, it might look a lot like Octopus Pie. Everest "Eve" Ning (yes, her parents are horrible people) comes home from another crappy day managing at overpriced food market Olly's Organix only to have her braindead boyfriend dump her (Over the phone. While sitting in her mother's living room.). This leaves Eve shy not just a love life but a roommate as well. Unfortunately for Eve, her meddling mother has taken it upon herself to offer the roommate position to Eve's preschool friend, Hanna Thompson.

Hanna, it turns out, is an inconsiderate pothead with no sense of boundaries and no visible job (although we quickly learn that she operates a small "baked" goods business -- hardee har har). She's constantly high, exercises her constitutional rights by running around topless, and is generally a pain in any civilized person's ass. But she also has an unerring ability to make her own fun and is exactly what the grouchy, uptight Eve needs.

Octopus Pie pokes at the happy part of my brain that has longed for an adult-ish update of the Nicktoons of my youth. It's about how, in the face of fiscal responsibility and impending adulthood, being in your twenties can still be full of raw and childish fun. Even when you've got a shitty day job, even when you kind of hate your friends and everyone else, even when your ex starts dating the ultimate poser -- there are always road trips to Renaissance fairs, wounded parrots to nurse back to health, and stoners vs. nerds laser tag. And it shares many of the surreal, self-aware qualities that made Scott Pilgrim such a success while maintaining a charm all its own. Like Scott, Eve is sometimes secretly a folk hero, and when a character gets all lovey dovey, everyone can see the floating hearts around them. And then there's the awesome bird-themed tribute to Pulp Fiction. I'm honestly shocked that no one has tried animating this puppy in Flash and airing it at three in the morning on Adult Swim.

Octopus Pie is currently at an utterly manageable 259 strips, so now is the perfect time to dive right into those archives.

[Octopus Pie]

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