Mr. Boop, the psychosexual webcomic that could be a scathing critique of copyright

Mr. Boop, the psychosexual webcomic that is a scathing critique of copyright


You possibly can’t summarize the webcomic Mr. Boop higher than its first panel, which emerged out of what felt just like the raging id of the web on February 28, 2020. “My spouse Betty Boop is actually sizzling,” says Alec, the strip’s spectacled, grinning protagonist, a cartoon avatar for precise author and artist Alec Robbins.

His spouse, you see, is Betty Boop. She’s actually sizzling.

At first blush, Mr. Boop won’t appear all that totally different from the webcomics that largely outlined the style’s growth a decade or so in the past: imperfectly drawn panels, fixed flirtation with copyright violation, and a sexy, endlessly self-indulgent hero based mostly immediately on the creator.

However Robbins isn’t simply channeling the tropes of a largely bygone period of fanfiction; he’s weaponizing them, delivering a note-perfect satire of a really particular time on the web with layers that solely reveal themselves because the story unfolds. Over 216 comedian strips, a number of movies, and one alarming free-to-play visible novel, Robbins — a author and comic whose credit embody stints on I Assume You Ought to Depart and The Eric Andre Present — begins with a goof a few man who’s married to Betty Boop and steers it right into a hilarious, typically existentially troubling interrogation of what’s fascinating about fandoms and dumb about copyright legislation.

Although Mr. Boop’s preliminary enchantment was immediately tied to the web — new strips debuted on Robbins’ Twitter feed, the place your complete factor can nonetheless be learn totally free — the comedian has a unique type of weight in Silver Sprocket’s lavish new hardbound version, which additionally collects a collection of visitor strips and cleverly adapts the unique video ending for the written web page. It’s the new finest approach to learn the most effective comedian I learn in 2020.

I had roughly a million questions once I completed Mr. Boop final 12 months. Alec Robbins is right here to reply a couple of of them:

Cartoonist Alec Robbins, eating Chipotle while dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog.

Cartoonist Alec Robbins consuming Chipotle whereas dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog.
Picture courtesy of Alec Robbins, amazingly

Of all of the fictional characters you would have internet-married, why Betty Boop?

It was by no means anything. This wasn’t, “Oh, it will be humorous to attract a comic book about being married to a fictional character. Who would that be?” That was by no means the method. It all the time got here from Betty Boop. There was a bar known as the Winchester Room that had a life-size statue of Betty Boop. I might pose for a photograph with it to make my mates snigger. And from that, I used to be impressed to tweet, each every so often, one thing like, “Rattling… Betty Boop’s actually sizzling.” I simply beloved the considered this character who was so uniquely designed to be a intercourse image however is now particularly remembered by, like, grandmothers.

So how did that inside joke morph into this psychosexual webcomic?

I drew a sketch, as soon as, simply to make my pal snigger. I simply texted it to him. However then I received executed with work sooner or later, and — sitting in my automotive after work — I had a notepad file open on my cellphone, and I wrote 40 Mr. Boop strips unexpectedly. They got here so naturally. After I began drawing them, it was like rocket gasoline.

The comedian hadn’t been working lengthy earlier than you expanded the universe to different fictional characters: Bugs Bunny, and Sonic the Hedgehog, and Peter Griffin. By the forty fifth comedian, Alec and Betty Boop are having an orgy with Goku, Jessica Rabbit, Fred Flintstone, Gardevoir from Pokémon…

Oh my god, I took it so significantly, which characters could be in and which wouldn’t. When you crack open that shell, you’re enjoying with each archetypal character that folks have well-known sexual obsessions with on-line.

Some are ironic, like Sonic or Shrek or SpongeBob. Some are apparent, like Jessica Rabbit. However then there are left-field ones. Like, when you’re accustomed to Pokémon followers and the way they find yourself sexualizing sure characters — I knew there was a factor with Gardevoir. In the event you’ve seen somebody drawing sexy Pokémon artwork, Gardevoir might be one of many ones you’ve seen.

And also you want some which are private. Ranma and Gina from Porco Rosso — once I was youthful and watching anime, these resonated with me. You’ve received to incorporate your personal favorites. I wanted to ensure I used to be within the crosshairs, too. I don’t wish to come off, ever, like I’m making enjoyable of anyone. So I threw in a few of my vices as nicely.

Ebook 3 has this entire meta-narrative about Betty Boop’s father imposing her copyright and breaking apart her marriage to Alec. And that’s a query I had from the beginning: writing a comic book that includes so many very recognizable fictional characters, did you run into any precise copyright snafus?

Possibly. I don’t know if I ought to speak. My reply is a winking “perhaps.”

You’ve got a scene the place Mickey Mouse reveals up with an erection and says, “Walt Disney actually hates it once I, Mickey Mouse, take part in orgies.”

I believe it’s fairly clear how I really feel about copyright. I can let you know this. There was a scare. And I ultimately stopped worrying in any respect. The scare truly empowered me, when nothing occurred to me, to be braver than ever. And the tougher I went — as soon as it’s about copyright infringement, with Mickey Mouse because the holy grail of that — I’m much more protected. It’s a really legitimate critique of that world.

The ending actually dips into all-out horror — proper right down to a video finale that includes the Finish of Evangelion music “Komm, süsser Tod.” How did you determine when and the way to wrap the comedian up?

There have been a couple of drawings that I modified as a result of I used to be like, “That is making me uncomfortable.” I’ve essentially the most reservations about Ebook 4. To at the present time, I’m type of like… was that the best capper for all the things? It positively is smart, however I used to be very frightened in regards to the assertion I used to be making. I don’t need the final word assertion of Mr. Boop to be that it’s unhealthy to fall into fantasy worlds and revel in them.

It’s a reasonably definitive ending, however would you ever return to the Mr. Boop universe? We all know Alec was beforehand married to Samus Aran and Gina from Porco Rosso, however we hardly know something about these relationships.

Possibly. I like having a button on it, particularly with the hardcover. Nevertheless it was so enjoyable. I miss it. I didn’t assume it ended prematurely, however a variety of different folks do. I used to be actually invested in not letting it drag on too lengthy. There’s no cause I can’t return to it.

Lastly, I’ve been questioning for months: when Sonic the Hedgehog talks in Mr. Boop, I hear Jaleel White’s voice in my head. Is that proper?

Sure. That’s the canon voice for me.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


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