Curse Words Holiday Special 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

“No hugging, no learning.”

-Larry David

Patrick: It’s maybe not fair to say that Seinfeld was a show about nothing. The show was about cynicism, it was about flawed people trapped in their familiar patterns, it was about manners and modern etiquette. But it was mostly a vehicle for observational jokes about the weird ways human beings behave. So while there are virtually no sincere lessons learned in the whole series, the show illustrates an awful lot about human nature. The only way it ever drills down into that fundamental human truth is by straying aggressively true to itself — no hugging, no learning. The same is true of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s Curse Words, which gets to the heart of a nearly impenetrable relationship by being just as gross, just as crazy, and just as heartless as it possibly can be in Curse Words Holiday Special 1. Continue reading

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Pride Goeth in Curse Words 9

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Hubris is like the ultimate pair of shades. You think you look pretty fricking cool but meanwhile you are not quite seeing what’s in front of you. In Curse Words 9, both Wizord and Botchko are too self-absorbed to see the trouble looming. Charles Soule and Ryan Browne play straight with the audience, creating a layer of dramatic irony that makes the attitudes of Wizard and Botchko easier to endure.

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Jagged Panelling Cues Evil in Curse Words 8

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Charles Soule and Ryan Browne haven’t been shy about Wizord’s twisted morality. The very first issue of Curse Words tells the tale of an interdimensional wizard sent to destroy the Earth, but who is charmed by New York City. Lest we think Wizord a pure soul, we’re quickly reminded of his origins when he shrinks a packed baseball stadium and exiles hundreds of thousands of people to a hell dimension, just to sweep his misdeeds under the rug. That’s a weirdly easy thing to forget — out of sight, out of mind, right? Wizord’s a monster, and while Soule’s script may insist on making him relatable, Browne’s paneling has an agenda of its own. Those cool chevron panels don’t just say “Wizord,” they say “evil.” Continue reading

The Banality of Magic in Curse Words 6

by Drew Baumgartner

Curse Words 6

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There are countless diagnoses for the success of Harry Potter, but I have to think at least part of the appeal is that the stories embraced both the pleasant and unpleasant extremes of fictional magic. On the one hand, there are enchanting magical novelties — everything from candies to sports to boarding schools — and on the other, there are evil characters that practice corrupted magic in order to kill their adversaries and gain power. While plenty of fiction has embraced one or the other of those extremes in their depiction of magic, few took on the whole spectrum, treating the world of magic as if it were every bit as messy and nuanced as the real world. Curse Words has gladly taken up that cause, and indeed takes it several steps further, exchanging Harry’s naive wonderment for more mundane complacency, emphasizing how commonplace and banal magical acts are in Hole World. Continue reading