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 'Wayward Girls' in 2012. Budel draws his inspiration from the work of Joost Roelofsz and 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.
Budel has moved on to publish a series of one-euro comic zines under the title Franzine. A collection of his work, called 'Francine' 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.