Funny Creek has been one of the most interesting creator-owned comics of the summer. Produced by Stout Club, self-described as "creative powerhouse composed by the comic creators Eduardo Medeiros, Mateus Santolouco, Rafael Albuquerque and Rafael Scavone," Funny Creek focuses on Lilly, a girl who hits her head and enters the world of her favorite cartoon following a real-life tragedy. Now, as Funny Creek #5 plays both Lilly's real-life story and her injury-induced cartoon adventure to their conclusions, does it all work?
A few issues it, it was clear where the Stout Club produced Funny Creek was going. Lilly's real-life tragedy was headed in the direction of an accidental shooting when her best friend Andy, feeling rejected due to his homemade costume and Lilly's response to it at a costume contest, goes to get his grandma's real gun. This issue quickly reconciles Lilly's cartoon adventure with the real world, wrapping up her Funny Creek journey with her favorite characters with a nightmarish trial scene. The real-life ending plays out like expected, except for the last couple of short scenes that end this series on an oddly bitter note. It's less of a tragic ending and more of a "What could they have been thinking?" unfortunately. The tragedy has already happened… but then, Scavone's script pulls back on it. It gives the reader a sliver of hope only to then take it away in the very next scene with a visual gag that compares a TV being turned off to EKG monitor flatlining. It's such an odd scene that could have better been spent showing a reflection of Lilly's dark lesson learned in the real world.
The artwork by Eduardo Medeiros and colors by Priscilla Tramontano continue to be the highlight of this series, but never more than now as the story falters in its final step. The narrative may offer a weird conclusion that gasps over the finish line when it could have so easily scored the win that it set up, but the artwork is every bit as stunning and evocative as in the previous issues.
Funny Creek was a fun weekly read from Stout Club that told a cautionary tale of hero-worship, but a stronger ending would've made this one of the best of 2020 so far. Instead, with the little emotional payoff and a bitter final sequence, it's a series that didn't live up to its own potential, but one that will still be enjoyed for its art.