Sugar Buzz #8, March 2002, Slave Labor Graphics
by Ian Carney & Woodrow Phoenix
With so many desserts left over from the holidays, cookies and cakes included, I thought that a comic book called Sugar Buzz would be the perfect pick for a post-Christmas examination. The phrase "sugar buzz" evokes the after-effects of an evening spent sizzling Smarties on one's tongue with Mountain Dew, or the jittery consequences of a terrible Fun Dip accident. The comic Sugar Buzz is as spastic, but in less of a physical way than a lingual, as the author spins a phrase with the vocabulary-bending enthusiasm of Snoop Dogg trying to describe his clothing line. What I'm saying is, it's weird, not a language in itself, but a manipulation of vernacular that makes the observant reader uncomfortable with actually understanding what these characters are saying. For example, when Happlejack forlornly proclaims, "Oh no! We have no mama-milk! We'll have to skip breakysnack and then we'll be tired and listless all day," one can easily deduce that the little critter is simply disappointed that they're out of milk for breakfast, and that consequently he'll be cranky for the rest of the day. Yeah, he can figure it out. Doesn't mean he has to like it . . . or himself for figuring it out.
The plot of this issue concerns a quest for the egg of felicity, the source of love in the world. The two Happy Tree Friends rejects brave a few obstacles before discovering that the evil Adult Male swiped it selfishly for himself. Alas, when love is released from the egg, in the form of a Marvin-the-Martian-faced fairy, she fulfills the Adult Male's secret wish: "He wants a domineering maternal mother! Every single adult male in the world secretly wants to be a baby girl! Kissy kissy!" If the creators are trying to make a statement, it's a bit lost by their comedic frivolity, and perhaps their own insecurities, but visually, the gag retains a chuckle-worthy integrity that ends the story with a bit more sense than its cutesy rambling beginnings. You can see some of the sharp character designs for yourself:
Interestingly, the issue is sprinkled with other humorous tidbits, including the "advertisement" at the top of this entry, a Dennis the Menace style strip featuring a mischievous young Jesus, and Mike Robot, Action Robot!, an interesting exploitation on the quirks of modern adventure strips, utilizing the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner motif with a robot/jealous human brother twist. I enjoyed these supplementals more than the issue's feature story, but to each his own, I say. Hey, some like sizzling Smarties on their tongue with Mountain Dew. Others pop Bottle Caps and Sprite. In the end, the result is the same. Whether or not it was worth it, though, is another matter entirely . . .