HCZF MONTH! Collecting Peggy Wang’s popular webcomics series Peanut Butter Season 1 is a compilation of short strips exploring the minutiae of life living as a couple; one that does so with an ever knowing smile in the reader’s direction. Originally posted on Instagram, Peanut Butter is structured in 4-8 panel arrangements; often a challenge in itself for creators in remaining consistently inventive in conforming spaces but something that Wang has an obvious affinity for in terms of build-up and comedic pacing. Its title is derived from the mix of the smooth and the “crunchy” bits that make up relationships.
The emphasis of Peanut Butter is on the interactions of Wang and partner Ben; those small and very personal relationship moments that nonetheless have an inherent relatability. Arguing over whether something is an aubergine or a radish, hogging the wi-fi, diet failures and stealing the blankets are just some of the subjects explored in these micro spotlights. Each strip builds up to a punchline of “Cheers!”, albeit it in a variety of forms tonally with food-based humour being much evident throughout. There are occasional shifts into something more noticeably off-centre (a dating app for socks who have lost their other halves stands out) but for the most part the quotidian nature of the strip is what makes it such a sweet and distracting read.
Peanut Butter is observational humour without the need for cutting commentary; recognisable moments of everyday life delivered with a gentle and comfortable sense of fun without any overt attempts to make pithy statements or redefine the standards of domestic situational comedy. And that’s very much its appeal. The stripped back nature of Wang’s characters allows us to immediately connect with their emotional states and the timing of each entry is mostly pitch perfect in delivery. An escapist and diverting read, Peanut Butter is available from Peggy Wang in Hall Three at HCZF.
Peggy Wang • Self-published, £12.50
Review by Andy Oliver