I return from my break a little late this week, but I return with the fascinating, deep, and kind-hearted dramedy Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell. The comic takes place in an other world where tracking your Karma is as important in life as your credit score and your taxes. Unicorns are available as pets, your landlord might be a minotaur, and pothead angels might foist their heavenly duties off on their roommates. Darwin Carmichael is, according to his Karmic balance, one of the worst people on earth. While he tries his best to improve his balance, he has a hard time making up for a single stupid mistake made as teenager. This action haunts his every job hunt, apartment application and his romantic life. He is sometimes arrested by the Karma Police in a preemptive strike against someone so (apparently) evil, and when he occasionally meets up with someone with psychic sensitivity they usually go into fits from fear and shock at his doom. Since he is in actuality an average joe, he has some good friends who try to help him get into the black. His best friend and ex-girlfriend Ella tries to keep him on the path of righteousness despite her own frequently questionable actions. She herself is incredibly karmically wealthy thanks to inheriting the karmic balance of her deceased guru parents, enough so that she could commit several murders and still be considered one of the best people on earth. His two-millenia-old and somehow still-mentally twelve pet manticore Skittles is always there to cheer him up, or sting him with a scorpion tail if he had been accidentally locked in the closet.
While Darwin Carmichael’s cheerful tone and brightly colored, friendly animation style give it the appearance of a light hearted romp through international traditions of faith and creatures of myth, it does have a very deep commentary on the dangers of thinking of good and evil as merely black and white, and the hypocrisy of whatever moral authority deems itself fit to judge you. It also lovingly pokes fun at the more mundane intricacies of New York hipster culture with beings like the Leprechaun of Gentrification and the actual Muses who hang with the art scene. It was recently completed after nearly five years of weekly regular publication. The stories are a mix of funny one-shot gags and longer philosophical stories, and is as a whole a heart-warming and positive saga of friendship, moving on from your past, and being the best person you can be.
About the Creators
Jenn Jordan is the cowriter and draws Skittle’s Crayon interludes. She is a PHD student of History at NYU. Sophie Goldstein is the other writer and the primary artist, who is currently getting her MFA from the center of cartoon studies. She is working on a contribution to the horror anthology Sleep of Reason and more of her art, incuding the recent Adventure Time cover can be viewed at her website.