Blüdnekk the BaraBarian

Creator/s: Paul Jon Milne
Run: 2/13-current
Schedule: Random

Note: You should assume that all the links in this review are Not Safe For Work. You'll know why in a moment.

Website: Aside from the extremely bland layout, something that quickly stands out is that there isn't any name attached to the comic. Readers who do their homework, though, can figure out that it's made by Paul Jon Milne, the Scottish creator of the indie magazine Guts Power who sometimes goes by the alias Jean-Paul Malone.

Blogger's a weird choice to host the comic, as Blogger's main appeal is its customizability, and the creator doesn't do anything to try to customize the site besides add a banner at the top of the page. Organizing the archives by month also doesn't make a lot of sense for a webcomic. If the creator wants to use a blog for his comic, then WordPress with a webcomic plugin would probably be a more natural fit.

The update schedule's very random. Out of the 10 months the comic's been running, five have had 13 or more updates, while the other five have had seven updates or less. The most prolific month, October, had 26 updates, while the least active month, July, only had four updates. A regular schedule combined with a buffer would help this webcomic achieve some level of consistency.

Finally, while going through the archives, I noticed that the Next button on Page 102 goes to Page 1 instead of Page 103.

Writing: So, basically, this is a bizarre, plotless comic about some barbarians (or "BaraBarians," whatever that means) who are extremely violent, extremely horny, and extremely gay. For most of the comic, the naked or mostly naked characters are either trying to kill each other, talking about their "rock-hard party boners," calling each other "babe," commenting on each other's "hott" bodies (that's right, with two "t"s), or declaring how great science is. But before you expect this to be the kind of review you'd see on The Bad Webcomics Wiki, I have the task of trying to explain why I actually really enjoyed reading this webcomic. (And, no, it isn't 'cause I get off on seeing big, sweaty guys in thongs.)

To start off, the comic has a certain irreverence and lack of restraint that I find refreshing and strangely appealing. If a typical webcomic is a suburban residence with a "Welcome" mat out front, Blüdnekk is a Halloween haunted house daring you to come in and experience the freaky stuff waiting inside. It's crude and demented, sure, but beyond that's a sense of sheer pleasure at breaking all the rules and creating something so completely awful and inappropriate. On the comic's 100th page, the creator comments, in all caps, "I HOPE YOU ARE LOSING YOUR SHIT," and y'know what? By the time I read that, I kinda was.

The story starts off seeming like some kinda Conan the Barbarian parody, with Blüdnekk shown fighting goblins (or "globbins," as they're called in this setting) and then arriving in a medieval village. The townsfolk there then ask the barbarian to rescue them from an evil prince who's taxing them into poverty. If you're unfamiliar with the comic, you might guess that what happens next is Blüdnekk kicks the prince's ass and is celebrated as a hero by the villagers. Instead, though, Blüdnekk slaughters the villagers, tries to become the prince's sex slave, talks to a hallucination of the B-52s' Fred Schneider, gets his legs cut off and upgraded to goat's legs, watches his dick suddenly explode, and then, finally, gets ejaculated on by psychedelic, music-playing treefolk. And that's probably the most normal and coherent part of the story. (Soon afterwards, a sword asks, "Wanna fuck?" to a halberd, which is followed by a montage of the weapons trying to have sex.)

Oh, yeah, so back to the part about this actually being a good webcomic and not some God-awful abomination. Well, first of all, the creator's top-notch when it comes to writing ridiculous, over-the-top dialogue. For example, here's Doc Muscle's first lines, which I imagine being spoken in a California surfer's voice: "Wazzzuuup, science dweebs! This demonstration is DOG. SHIT. NOT! Peeps are all 'science doesn't fit into my life!', but it does! SCIENCE FITS... llllike a glove!" It's something perfectly absurd for a goofy-looking macho-guy to say. And while pop-culture references are usually pretty lame, the creator manages to make Fred Schneider a weird character with a distinct personality, saying lines like (in all caps, of course), "YOU'VE REALISED WHAT'S IMPORTANT: THAT NO MATTER HOW TOUGH THINGS GET, YOU GOTTA REALISE YOU'RE NEVER MORE THAN ONE SCHNEIDER AWAY FROM A PAAARTAYYY!" Secondly, while you've hopefully gotten a good idea so far of how wild and nonsensical this comic is, it kept surprising me when I thought it couldn't get any more wilder and more nonsensical than it already was. As if it wasn't already hard enough to keep up with what's going on, the creator further convolutes the story with alternate realities, virtual realities, time-jumps, and metafiction, which leads to there being several Blüdnekks who fight each other. In addition, severe injuries -- even fatal ones -- tend to get ignored or forgotten about several pages later, and I think Blüdnekk's had his dick destroyed in some manner at least three times. This kind of nonsequitor should get boring eventually, but, so far, the creator's been able to somehow find enough material to keep the story fresh after more than 100 pages. And, finally, the creator occasionally really throws readers a curveball by including social commentary, and it's never particularly clear whether they're supposed to be brief moments of clarity or just more twisted jokes. See what you make of this speech from Blüdnekk, for instance: "Sure, 'shame' might be a component of what made some of my sexy adventures so erotic! But it was on MY terms! The 'shame' you speak of is a harmful tool of the oppressor... used to diminish and curtail experiences I've had which harmed NO-ONE!" It actually sounds sort of reasonable, but then, later, the same guy's saying "sxxxyy" and publicly masturbating, and it's difficult to take what's going on seriously.

The biggest mystery of the webcomic, though, is that even though the characters are constantly calling each other "hott babes" and saying how horny they are, none of them ever actually try to have sex. It's a head-scratcher that I just don't have a good explanation for. The closest the comic comes to showing it is when Future Blüdnekk "transmits data" in cyberspace by plugging his dick into another guy's dick, but penis-to-penis sex is so ridiculous an idea that it doesn't even seem like they're actually having sex. I mean, I get that Blüdnekk's a nasty jerk who doesn't get along with other people, but this is a guy with so much libido that he had sex with his own poop. As sort of an aside, on the creator's Etsy page, he describes his comics as, in quotation marks, "'a grotesque exploration of gender and sexuality,'" as if it's either somebody else's words or it's meant skeptically. And elsewhere on his Etsy page, he features ugly, Blüdnekk-style drawings of various superheroes, paired with the following description: "Love superhero comics but are fed up with their relentless, heteronormative misogyny? Then these colourful A5 prints are for you! Provocatively dressed and packed with confidence in their LGBTI-spanning sexuality, these posing, muscular super-characters subvert the male gaze and make their universes that little bit more of a progressive place to be." The creator has an odd way of phrasing these sort of things, almost as if he's both supporting and mocking LGBTI people at the same time. And, similarly, is Blüdnekk a parody of our culture's hypermasculine action heroes, or is it just an endless series of dick jokes that mischievously invites overanalysis? Your guess is as good as mine, but, in any case, this webcomic's a lot more interesting than your typical superhero or yaoi comic.

Art: I'm not gonna write much about the crude artwork, although I'll say it's a fitting match for the crude dialogue. The art's deceptively nonchalant, though, as a high level of cartooning ability's conveyed in the advanced perspectives and compositions, and the creator's skillful at drawing the barbarians' exaggerated muscles. The comic has a few miscellaneous illustrations (like this one) that prove the creator can do better when he tries to, and while the minimalistic drawings have some charm, I imagine the comic would benefit if the creator treated it as a more serious project.

Also, with sexuality at the forefront of the comic, it's surprising how unattractive the creator tries to make the characters. Practically all sexual webcomics lure in readers with racy shots of "hott" guys or gals, but I'm having a tough time imagining even the most perverse individuals finding anything sexy about this comic's disgusting, sloppily-drawn oafs. (Oh, who am I kidding. I'm sure this blog's search referrals will be flooded with variants of "bludnekk hott gayy sexx.")

Overall: I was a little reluctant to review Blüdnekk at first, as it looked like some crappy shock-humor comic that didn't even have a real website. I now see it as one of the Internet's hidden gems, and while it's far from perfect, the comic manages to get a lot right. Actually, I'd say it's more compelling than prominent superhero webcomics like Grrl Power and Spinnerette, which might just -- wait for it -- make this the best superhero webcomic out there. So, if you're ready to lose your shit, then grab your rock-hard party boner and give this sxxxyy comic a look.



  1. The "BaraBarians" thing is probably a reference to this: