"Hold on to your asses, ass holders."
Anybody with even a passing familiarity with the "action" anime series Dragonball Z will be fully aware that the show is ripe for parody. It is, from all but one very profitable viewpoint (that of adolescent boys), a terrible show - mind-numbingly slow-paced, among many other objections.
Well, if you have indeed suffered through more than, say, 100 episodes of Dragonball Z, Buttlord GT is your reward.
Written and drawn by Nathan Avery and Andy Helms, BLGT is a webcomic which ran for 81 strips from 2002 to 2003. It is essentially the pinnacle of DBZ parody and ridicule; the peak of the artform. Delivering deeply sarcastic critical blows at all the most ludicrous aspects of DBZ, it also features people calling each other gay and getting kicked in the balls in a humorous variety of ways.
It's very, very funny. No, really.
Setting and characters
"He is obviously finished. No one could survive that much dust."
BLGT self-confessedly begins "mid-saga" and specifically parodies the Namek Saga, Ginyu Saga and Frieza Saga. All the characters' names are changed. So are the character designs, slightly. And their personalities are completely different. So, essentially, they're new characters who look similar to the DBZ ones. Which provides creative freedom. The result is an anarchic, dysfunctional take on the DBZ character set. Follow the pipelinks:
We join the action on Planet Hammock, where Takahashi and Glutes are watching helplessly as the utterly unspeakably evil Snowflake negotiates the purchase of the final nadball from the ambiguously villainous Mr. Huge. With all the nadballs in his possession, Snowflake could summon the Eternal Hammock Nad-Beast and wish for immortality, so this is very bad! Meanwhile in space, Glutes' dad Buttlord is en route from Earth, training furiously in his spaceship under the supervision of his master, King Pie, hoping he can arrive in time to defeat Snowflake. Also featured: the good guys' Hammockian allies, Brad, Screw, Master Rolls and Bendi, and the evil Gerber Force: Admiral Gerber, Cocky Guy, Ridiculously Huge Guy and Random Fat Alien Guy.
Takahashi is weak and incapable and everybody makes fun of him because he gets killed a lot. Huge's power is mainly to multiply the muscle mass of his upper body... to the point of insanity. Snowflake wears comfortably faded blue jeans, transforms into various preposterous forms and has a snowglobe in his head. Brad and Takahashi are gay lovers. (Seriously.) Glutes is constantly bullied by his dad and unable to reach the vaunted power level of "hair boner". Buttlord is secretly Kevin, an alien Gayan from the planet Cornhole who turns into an enormous Danny Glover under the light of the full moon. And the Gerber Force each have a special hidden power. Can you discover them all?
"Quickly, Glutes! We must get to a nearby cliff to grunt and sweat but offer no help!"
Variable, but positive. BLGT's all black and white except for the final splash. Panel layout is flexible. BLGT's two artists, Nathan and Andy, completed the pages roughly alternately. Nathan's line art is very good indeed. Andy's work, on the other hand, starts out seriously poor, and he hand-letters his panels, too, with uninspiring results.
However, Andy can be seen to improve significantly by the end of the comic, for which I give him great credit. By the end, the two styles are difficult to tell apart. Overall, the result is crisp, smart and clean - very readable.
"Heed my huge words, anus-pharaoh! There is one more powerful than you on Planet Hammock!"
"What?! OMG NO WAY! RGH MRGHH!"
BLGT has been described as immature, infantile, childish and uncreative.
Here's the thing. BLGT does consist largely of profanity and fireballs-to-the-groin. But it's done in a really smart way. The DBZ jokes are all absolutely 100% spot-on and invariably hilarious - the more familiar you are with the real show, the more you'll get out of it. The violence is alternately slapstick comedy and totally awesome. Unlike the real DBZ, there is no filler, and the pacing is fast and excellent. It's an incredibly foulmouthed production, true, but the insults are not childish but hugely imaginative. I've checked pretty thoroughly and found no repetitions, and that's quite something, let me tell you. It certainly doesn't feel like lazy or immature writing.
I should note that there are some glaring, almost unforgivable spelling errors. "Rediculous", I'm looking at you. Also, what's with the pointless references to the movie 8 Mile (which was released around the same time)? I mean, come on, guys.
"Now I must begin the ridiculous charge-up of my most INZANE technique! Phear."
"What? Unheard of! I must allow you to do this, of course."
It's an acquired taste. And you have to have watched DBZ beforehand to appreciate it, which is a sacrifice you may not be prepared to make.
But if you are and have: Fully and unreservedly recommended.