How Not to Comic: Pibgorn


Brooke McEldowney has the job most of us consider a pipe dream: he draws comics for a living. As late as 1993, Brooke managed to edge his way onto a geriatric funny page that, much like a petrified oak forest, seems immune to the cleansing fires of new talent. His strip “9 Chickweed Lane” evidently appealed to the adult-woman-comic-reader market (which must exist), with its female cast and smattering of risque humor. Sure, you've probably never heard of it, but the fact remains that he's making money drawing gorilla-faced ballerinas, and you're not.

In 2002, Brooke decided to test his luck with a second strip called "Pibgorn." Far more fantastical than his slice-of-life newspaper strip, "Pibgorn" stars the titular fairy and her succubus sidekick, who embark on adventures and oh god you're not going to believe where this is going. The exceedingly wise syndicate rejected Brooke's proposed strip, but sportingly offered a home for it on their website.

Things only got worse from there.

“Pibgorn” started out as light and whimsical as you'd imagine something about a fairy would be. But then Brooke decided the strip needed a little more, well, Brooke. Remember what I said about Pibgorn's sidekick, the succubus? That should give you an idea of his vision of what the comic was going to be. Far beyond “9 Chickweed Lane's” occasional bawdy joke, sex swiftly became the comic's calling card. Sex and violence. Pretty soon, a dagger thrust through the heart of a naked (pardon, “dappled”) demon woman would be one of the least shocking images in “Pibgorn.” In fact, the strip's marriage of blood and prurience (both involving women, of course) is perhaps best exemplified by the infamous “thorn tree” arc.

Now that you're done violently shaking your head to try to erase that image, we can continue. Oh, you're not done? Well, I'll wait.

Okay, it's probably gone by now. I should perhaps mention that, unlike webcomics that court certain fetish groups (furries, BDSM) for views, “Pibgorn” didn't warp into this softcore porn fantasy because of fan demand. This isn't because of his followers, who seem like they drifted in to see what else that Siamese cat guy was up to. No, this is all Brooke. This is what Brooke wants, and his poor, nutty fans are sticking around to watch him jerk off with a splash of Photoshop gradient. He uses this comic to display his masturbatory fantasies to the world.

This story has something of a happy ending, gentle reader, as Brooke McEldowney's nastiness eventually got “Pibgorn” dropped from his syndicate's website.

The bad news is it simply sprouted up on another. And from there, the faux-sexy imagery only got worse. Gun-fellatio bad. Demon-rape bad. And this was long after Brooke's fetishes started to dominate “9 Chickweed Lane” as well.

On the dual fronts of the funny page and web, Brooke McEldowney merrily continues to make his sexual fantasies your nightmare. And he makes bank doing it.

Really, it isn't a happy ending at all.