The Webcomic Watchman

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Review #5: Wait, the clown is serious?

Title: Clown Samurai
Artist: Quinn Fleming
Collective: WebcomicsNation
Genre: Crime/Drama
Format: Ongoing serial
Updates: *knock knock* Hello? You still there? (unknown)

By just reading the title, you might think that this could be a very hilarious cartoon. A clown who doubles as a samurai? Maybe he makes swords out of balloons and uses magic powers to make people laugh?

But then when you read it, you find out an actually serious cartoon, involving guns, blood, the mob, and a main character who keeps his clown facepaint and clothes on.

The story centers around Utamaro (or just "Maro"), a guy who lives in Brooklyn, was born and raised outside London, and has family from Japan. He appears to have read the hagakure. That seems to be where the "samurai" part ends.

Utamaro is a clown who hasn't made any kid laugh in three years. One day, he stops for a drink at a bar in Brooklyn after making a kid cry at his birthday party. Somehow, the bar is owned by a prominent mobster, who takes "Maro" in the back of the bar and gives him an offer to join their group. As a clown, he is able to infiltrate the home of another mobster whose daughter is having a birthday party of her own, and shoot him in a fierce firefight.

After two chapters and change, we still don't know much about Utamaro's past, why he considers himself a sort of modern-day samurai, and where he learned to shoot people with such amazing speed. I also don't exactly know why the mob would trust a disgruntled clown to "off" one of their rivals in the first place.

The one thing that sets this comic apart from the others is the art. A whole comic has a huge film noir feel to it that you will either love or hate.

Of course, the one thing that really hurts the comic is the fact that it takes Fleming months just to post one new strip. Despite frequent promises of getting a semi-regular schedule, he just has trouble getting enough together for even one strip.

Art: 5/5 (Like I said, I absolutely love the noir style, but others may hate it).
Story: 2/5 (It's missing too many pieces, but it has the makings of something good).
Humor: 2/5 (A little humor in the fact that a clown can shoot people in his enormous shoes and keep smiling, but this comic is actually serious.)
Action: 3/5 (A clown "samurai" shooting people with guns. Think about that for a second.)
Characters: 2/5 (I'm trying, but I just can't wrap my head around these people.)
Overall (not an average): 4/10
Evil Stuff: Blood, moderate violence.
Recommendation: I really wanted to like this comic, but under all that stylized art, there's not much substance. If you really like noir style art and story, then read the stuff that's there. Otherwise, don't.


  • Any idea as to why this comic has stopped updating? I realize this is an old post...however i liked the comic so much that I have routinely checked up on it, even trying to figure out a way to contact the author Quin Fleming. Any leads would be helpful. Would love to support the author if I could. Thanks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:13 AM  

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