‘Nothing nice’ does everything right

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By Desiree Perez


By Desiree Perez

If you thought walking, talking pickles, punk rock, vegans, communists, coffee and feminists had nothing in common, you’re wrong.

All of these things and more can be found in the wonderful world of ridiculousness that is “Nothing Nice to Say.”

The comic strip, created by Mitch Clem, started out as a Web comic, which can be found at http://www.mitchclem.com. In October of 2007, Dark Horse Comics released a published collection of the series.

The comic focuses on the lives of Minnesota punks, Blake and Fletcher. The supporting cast includes anyone the pair can make fun of – literally.

More regular characters include Chris, the pierced, vegan punk, Phillip, the whiney “emo” kid, lesbian couple Alice and Karen and Cecil the gopher.

Clem himself even makes cameos in the series. Sometimes he relates directly to the reader, and at other times he plays the role of the creator to Blake and Fletcher.

Nothing is sacred in Blake and Fletcher’s world. Whether it’s punk icon Henry Rollins or the occasional bandana-sporting hipster, no subject is too big or too small to be made fun of.

One of Clem’s favorite laughing matters is himself. Throughout the book, Clem will depict himself as the strip’s bitter parent. He’ll sell out Blake and Fletcher in a heartbeat – it’s less of a headache that way.

Clem is willing to make fun of himself and the things he enjoys. It’s no surprise, then, that he’ll make fun of the things that get on his nerves, too.

To poke fun at his critics, Clem created two characters who take over the strip. The two young “punks” can’t spell, can’t draw and have no sense of humor. In their version of “Nothing Nice,” Blake and Fletcher stick-figures stand around and complain about posers.

The hijacked version of the comic can be compared to “South Park’s” Terrance and Phillip. Instead of fart jokes, however, the duo is ripping up the punk scene. While it only takes up a few pages, the “Nothing Nice,” takeover is one of the funniest parts of the book.

Rife with musical references, “Nothing Nice” will make any punk or music snob feel right at home. But you don’t have to be among the pierced or elitist to get the jokes.

Clem is able to capture the lighter-side of what it’s like to be a 20-year-old outsider – a scenario that many can relate to.

Whether it’s hitting on girls, listening to music, or just hanging out with friends, “Nothing Nice to Say” brings the humor to the surface of the mundane. And, sometimes, it’ll throw in a bit of the completely-unrealistic-but-extremely-funny to boot.

So parents: stop lying to your children. It’s time to retire the phrase: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

In “Nothing Nice to Say,” Clem destroys the old adage, and proves that insults and sarcasm – not sugar, spice or anything nice – make the world go ’round.

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