The FUNN-e-PAGES: Bad Machinery



I don’t know why I’m ever surprised when I find something new on the Internet that delights me, but luckily for me, I am.

I find it akin to rummaging through the bins in a comic book store: Wait…what’s this!.
Perhaps what’s so interesting about this phenomenon is that rarely am I the one who “discovers” whatever it is that delights me. Usually I hear about it by word-of-mouth, or through an article, or by some other means than simply stumbling across whatever site or meme has suddenly tickled my fancy.

This week’s webcomic was no exception.

I first heard about John Allison’s Bad Machinery when I saw that MTV’s Splash Page had awarded it the Best New Webcomic of 2009. And the main reason I was reading that column in the first place was because one of our books, Goats: Infinite Typewriters, by Jonathan Rosenberg was awarded Best Print Edition of a Webcomic, and A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge was awarded Best Nonfiction Comic.

But I couldn’t help thinking: what is this Bad Machinery all about.

And then I got really busy at work, and forgot about it.

Fortunately, I had bookmarked it on my work-computer, and so the other day, deciding I needed to do some “webcomic research” (read: take a little break and play on the Internet), I started going through my bookmarks to see if I had saved anything cool for later.

Turned out I had.

The premise is pretty simple: students in a British school interact with each other, their teachers, and, for some reason, a football (soccer) club run by a crazy Russian guy. And despite it having moments that feel decidedly “British,” including turns of phrase that can sometimes be confusing, I find myself laughing a great deal, especially the dynamic between Charlotte and Shauna. Charlotte is so loonily-charming that I really can’t help find her fun to read.


I love the expression on the cat.

As for that “Crazy Russian?” This is one of my favorites:


The whole premise, based in a absurd reality, borders on the surreal. But that border is what makes Bad Machinery so promising to me.


When we add the excellent art–both colorful, cartoony, and expressive (reminds me a bit of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”, which is never a bad thing)–I find myself happily tearing through the archive (and distraught to realize that said archive is relatively short, having just started in the fall of 2009). But I console myself with the thought that Bad Machinery is here to stay–and that there will be more to come for a long time.

I realize it’s not going to be for everyone. While you don’t have to love soccer, it helps to understand what they’re talking about. And while you don’t need to know suburban British slang, again, there are probably jokes I’m not always getting. But regardless of those things, the creativity, the art, and the humor you will certainly get are strong enough to warrant at least a look, if not a place in your daily webcomic queue.
In other words, Bad Machinery is, in fact, really, really good.

And I’m probably going to start reading Allison’s other comics as well. More on that to come.