The fascinating story about a fée extraordinaire
This is not a review of the cartoon "Pibgorn"; it is an attempt to introduce it to those of you who have not yet heard of it. Maybe I shall kindle a small flame of interest...
Pibgorn, the creation of cartoonist Brooke McEldowney, is a fairy with a philosophical inclination and a revolutionary heart. Facing the fact that her future holds nothing in store for her but lugging dewdrops and weaving gossamer-magic, she rebels in a quiet fashion and becomes an outcast from the Fairy Realm.
Since March 11, 2002 the adventures of Pibgorn and all her friends and associates - and enemies - unfold in masterfully drawn and coloured frames, once a day (except Sundays) only on the Internet. Two or three frames each day ensure that I am kept on my toes, waiting to see what happens next. (Sometimes I long for the story to move on, but who am I to question Brooke McEldowney?) The plots are weird, the twists are very surprising, and the characters are diverse and actually believable, fairies and all.
(Be warned: If you wish to discover Pibgorn on your own, reading the following may spoil the fun...
The Pibgorn saga begins when she and her friend Maurice (a fieldmouse) are flying high in the cold of winter. Maurice, clinging to Pib's back, is questioning the wisdom of their flight (he is a very sensible mouse, a good counterpart to the air-headed Pibgorn), but Pib is so preoccupied with the outlook of actually having an adventure, that she only too late realizes her wings have frozen. They plummet to the ground - luckily into a deep snowdrift - and the story is under way!
Pib falls in love with a human: a church-organist who rescues her from the cold after her fall from the skies, and whose girlfriend she unwittingly gets rid of. (Pib's friends - a horse, a cat, a pig and, of course, Maurice the mouse - send the poor girl running scared). The organist, Geoff, lives in a small cottage on the outskirts of a forest somewhere, a quiet and idyllic setting.
At this time, Pib is not human-sized. She is roughly 9 inches tall (mostly green in a fetching pattern, otherwise naked, and has golden-red hair) and she does not fit well into Geoff's rather bland and orderly life. However, Pib kisses Geoff! It's a fairy-kiss (Brooke McEldowney admits to taking liberties, as far as to what this type of kiss is supposed to do) and suddenly Pib is human-sized. This does lead to some more kissing and changing sizes, Pib's as well as Geoff's. ("I didn't realize a fairy's kiss casts spells on both parties", says Geoff, and Pib answers: "All the best kisses do."). In the end Geoff falls in love with Pibgorn.
But what about the ex-girlfriend?
When we first meet Geoff's ex-to-be girlfriend, Drusilla, she is portrayed as an ordinary young woman
. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Drusilla is by no means your everyday easy-to-scare-off chick
. She is in fact a succubus
. When she shows herself in all her sultry glory, she is glowing red in a pattern that covers her nakedness - sort of. Her black hair falls to her feet and never tangles.
She loves Geoff fiercely, she is close to omnipotent - and she is very, very testy. Drusilla and Pibgorn battle it out, no one of them wins, and they warily settle down to be Geoff's faithful... well, whatever they are. They make up an intriguing threesome: Pib loves Geoff, Geoff loves Pib, and Dru loves Geoff to the point where she will let no one - including herself - harm him. Thus, killing Pib is out of the question, since this would indeed hurt Geoff.
Tying up some loose ends
Pib's quiet rebellion has not gone unnoticed in Fairyland. As a matter of fact, the supreme ruler of this realm, Prince
Crewth, has sentenced her to death. Renegade
fairies won't do; people might start thinking for themselves. So he sends an assassin
! He sends... Luciano!
Luciano is a fly. A nasty, germ-ridden fly with no feelings of mercy or remorse. He is sent to bore Pib to death by reading her the latest fiscal report out loud. In this reality it is a serious threat. As it turns out, Luciano falls in love with Pibgorn, as only a fly can fall in love. He becomes her ally. He helps Geoff rescue her when she, betrayed by Drusilla, is captured by Prince Crewth and his henchmen and gets her wings torn off (a sure way to kill a fairy, slowly and painfully). But who ends up rescuing Pib - and the day? It's Drusilla! She finally decides that if Geoff really wants Pib, he shall have her!
The adventures of Pib, Dru and Geoff
The odd threesome experience their first adventure together while living in the cottage, involving a grand piano, a time-vortex, succubus-dreaming and Count Dracula. (It is a long and weird tale, not to be told here). They all return safely home, and would perhaps have continued to live in the cottage if it hadn't been for Dru.
Drusilla has the succubus' view on lovemaking: it should be pursued freely and vigorously, with just about any male who comes within range. When she includes the Bishop of Geoff's church in her list of "victims", Geoff gets fired. The three of them move to the big city and take up positions as night-club entertainers with Geoff on the piano and Pib and Dru as singers. By now, Dru has taught Pib how to "do a trick" with her fairywings, to magic them into any kind of clothing - usually rather clinging and not very practical or sensible. But, hey, Dru is a succubus, after all.
The three heroes, Pibgorn, Drusilla, and Geoff, keep having one strange adventure after the other, often involving travelling in time, and sometimes through the dimensions too. Pib and Dru become friends of a sort with Geoff always the sidekick-ish centre of their attention. We never really know if Pib and Geoff are lovers, though Geoff at least once refers to Pib as his "girlfriend".
Wrapping it up
The Pibgorn Saga is drawn in a style that combines realistically (and delicately) depicted bodies and surroundings with cartoon-style faces. The colouring is fantastic and vibrant and Brooke McEldowney has a way with perspective which brings the story to life.
Some day the adventures of Pibgorn may be published as a book - at least that's the artist
's wish. Until that day I will have to follow her adventures on the internet, one episode at a time.
Catch Pibgorn on www.comics.com