Wayward Girls by Michiel Budel
Wayward Girls

Michiel Budel is an Amsterdam-based Dutch comic artist, best-known for his oddball comic 'Wayward Girls'. With no previous experience in creating comics, he gained notoriety in the USA with his webcomic in 2012. Budel draws his inspiration from the work of Joost Roelofsz and studied the narrative techniques of movies from film audio commentaries by directors and film connaisseurs.

Budel studied Illustration and Theater Design at the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen. He subsequently held several office jobs and studied to become an art teacher. He started publishing his drawings and comics on the website slechtemeisjes.nl in 2011, and also promoted his short comic stories on Twitter and Facebook. The independent New York-based publisher Secret Acres picked-up Budel's work, and published it in two comic books under the title 'Wayward Girls' in 2012. The main characters are a group of, at first sight, charming pubescent girls (and later also green alien girls), who get into weird, absurd and uncomfortable situations.

It is impossible to pinpoint anything normal in the one- and two-page stories. The almost childlike pencil drawings, pastel colors and panel lay-outs are in stark contrast with the bizarre and adult thematics, which are full of fascist leanings, lesbian sex and global issues. Comic artist Scott McCloud and the My Little Pony franchise are also regularly referred to. The use of largely incohesive narrative and the downright weirdness of the comic explains why Budel gets away with depicting rather risky subjects in a funny way. 'Wayward Girls' was widely praised in the USA, and even labeled as one of the "greatest comics of all time" by CBR.com. It subsequently gained media attention in the Netherlands as well.

The artist at work

Budel moved on to create short stories with 'Francine', a character he named after Dutch children's novelist Francine Oomen. Francine is a Jewish girl who ends up in nightmarish adventure with her friends Annet (a WASP) and Gislaine (an Islamic girl). The subjects can vary from ghost swimming pools and fake deaths to TV repairmen and Generation X. A first collection of 'Francine' stories was published by XTra in 2014. It contained both issues of 'Wayward Girls', an introduction to the character Francine in 'Francine: A Letter to the Taxman and Other Stories', as well as several reviews and an interview with the author. Budel has since released several one-euro comic zines with the character; the first as 'Franzine', and then under the self-explanatory title 'Zine'. They are for sale are Desert Island Comics (Brooklyn, New York), Quimby's Bookstore (Chicago), Fatbottom (Barcelona, Spain) and Lambiek (Amsterdam, the Netherlands). 'Francine' was released in the USA through Secret Acres in 2017.

Wayward Girls by Michiel Budel
Budel's original was art for sale exclusively at comics shop Lambiek in Amsterdam in 2013. The Wayward Girls visited the store as well.


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