Ozy and Millie is a strip with the nerve to do something really special.
It doesn't try to shock. It doesn't throw its characters into random confrontations in order to generate quick drama. It doesn't throw around romance with reckless abandon. It just tries its very best to be funny.
Occasionally, it tries just a bit too hard, but most comics do that now and then. Occasionally, it gets preachy and even tiring. But it at least has some view to preach, and it generally doesn't get presumptuous about it. Occasionally, it gets pretentious. Good for it; I'm pretty tired of stuff that doesn't bother to even pretend to intelligence.
Occasionally - occasionally - it doesn't get a laugh from me. Occasionally.
The art's evolved, as good art tends to, and it looks pretty good now. It's clean and sharp, with a real sense of space. The little details are all right, and the expressions of the characters are generally well-done. Is it Calvin and Hobbes? No, but it's good.
Love them or leave them, I guess. Millie is a girl who loves her individuality, and expresses it with intelligence and inspired immaturity. Ozy is a quiet, meditative foil to Millie's antics. Llewellyn, Ozy's draconic father, is eccentric, charming, and often witty. Put them together, and you have three consistent characters who keep delivering the humor.
Unfortunately, this consistency can be a flaw; as the comic itself points out in one strip, the characters always seem to end each plotline the exact way they started. It's ironic that a strip that pokes fun at the follies of mass media should fall into this sitcom trap. Ozy never loses his temper, Millie never quite grows up, and Gilligan never gets off the island.
It's still better, though, than the soap opera whirlwind you get in some strips, where the original characters are so swamped in supposed development that they end up completely disfigured in a few years. Not improved - just ruined by too many romantic partner switchings and too many near-deaths and growth experiences.
As the above statement about the characters implies, Ozy and Millie doesn't really stand on its plots. Neither did Calvin and Hobbes, though, so that's fine with me.
The crux of the matter. Does D. C. Simpson quite capture the wit of Calvin and Hobbes, the strip he emulates most obviously, and does tribute to on more than one occasion?
Of course not. Who could? But the writing is still solid and witty, nonetheless. When it's pithy, it hits home quickly and sharply. When it's silly, it's FUNNY silly, not stupid silly. When it's sort-of-serious, it does it well.
Ozy and Millie isn't going to give us any moving death scenes. It's like "The Importance of Being Earnest" of webcomics. Frothy and light - just the way I like it.
9/10: Whatever its lapses, Ozy and Millie is my favorite webcomic. If D. C. Simpson is inspired by Bill Watterson, at least he's cribbing from the best.
|Review by John W. Wells Tue Sep 16 2003 03:45 AM