What Did I Learn?
webcomic reviews by Delos Woodruff
(This is a reposted and slightly edited version of the original posting.)
I’m reviewing Jitterati, a delightful comic by Grant Buist. The NZ Comics Wikipedia has this information about Jitterati:
“Jitterati is a four-panel cartoon by Grant Buist that has appeared weekly in Wellington’s arts newspaper Capital Times since 2002. It features three characters, Jaimee (a redhaired librarian), Debbie (a blonde PA) and Tony (a Maori actor). They are usually shown inside a Wellington cafe discussing topical local issues, which have included the controversial motorway extension, Lord of the Rings, the Wellington singles scene and the general election…In 2006 Jitterati won the Eric Awards for Best Webcomic in NZ Comics. ”
My first impression was an interest in these three characters who were juxtaposed against these non standard backgrounds. They sometime said things I didn’t quite understand but it still captured my interest. I also knew there were some jokes there that I just wasn’t getting, but I was curious. What is it all about?
At that point, I found the link to the summary above and it all fell into place. Jitterati is mostly about Wellington natives discussing local concerns, so there are bound to be a few in-jokes not apparent to outsiders. Here’s an example where they discuss a local film festival. It sure seems like a very interesting place.
I really enjoy the visuals. Those backgrounds I find interesting on their own probably have some local subtext to offer on the content of each strip. (I’m assuming they are photos of the local sites.) The characters are consistently rendered and are shown in a variety of poses and expressions. The dialog is sharp and you really get a sense of personality from each of the characters.
Something I failed to mention properly in the original review (it being my first review) was that the specific local bits gave Jitterati some very unique color and points of interest. I could immediately tell how different in composition and subject matter that could be created from different cities. You could, in theory, franchise the comic in each city and end up with totally different comics. My hometown could have themes like we-finally-have-a-chinese-restaurant and a tourists-are-annoying theme. In New York City Jitterati, you might see topics like police-crackdown-on-the-mob and other urban topics. The tone would be wildly different, even if you kept the same characters.
What Did I Learn?
The setting of a comic has it own personality, even if it rarely contributes. In the case of Jitterati, it is a driving force in the comic.
Jitterati has a lot of personality. I enjoyed reading it and I can see why others, especially those in Wellington, really enjoy it. There are a lot of good things in it worth emulating. Check out Jitterati for yourself.