‘What We Mean By Yesterday’
Created by Benjamin Marra.
Instagram Webcomic – Black and White – Free to View – Probably not safe for people with a nervous disposition!
Available Daily on Instagram here.
The Story – Bruce Barnes is a school teacher in a class full of those sort of nightmare kids that put any average dude off joining the profession. After a run in with a particularly horrific example of a student Bruce heads into the Staff Room where another teacher gives him a cigarette laced with amphetamines.
‘How long am I gonna be riding this rage snake!’
It’s then that one of the female teachers offers to fuck him to calm him down. Trust me, this is just the beginning of what is developing into one crazy ride.
After turning down the offer of medicinal intercourse Bruce heads out and with his head still hot gets into an ill-judged road rage incident. He does try, albeit momentarily, to calm down by heading home but instead grabs a gun and heads out again. A confrontation in a garage whilst buying a slurpee leads into a prolonged and brutal fight in a bar. This in turn leads to meeting what Alan Partridge refers correctly elsewhere to as ‘Sex People’ and it then continues on and on and on.
The Review – I’m old and sadly stuck in my comics reading ways and not usually prone to reading webcomics on any platform. But with my semi-regular logging into Instagram I found myself reading the odd one that popped up. This is now by far my favourite and has really become a daily pleasure. I felt a need to share why.
Marra puts his work in. You get four panels a day, every day and as I type it has reached 380 instalments which is quite the achievement. Sure it’s not super-rendered and occasionally you get some very similar repeated panels and maybe something is drawn a little quicker that others. But it has a DIY but dangerous feel to each instalment and chapter that makes it somewhat addictive. It is also very funny. (For those interested in reading along in the UK it tends to land around 6pm daily.)
There is a diabolically brilliant ongoing theme of a descent into madness. As each different situation appears you begin to wonder if this is reality or in fact some Coma/Cheese/Speed dream gone haywire with no chance of escape in sight. Marra plays with the reader and their expectations. For example there’s a whole week where all we see is a fight between a snake and an eagle on a highway. It also takes a while to become accustomed to the strange pacing and the moments I suspect where Marra is just fucking with the reader. Each set of four pages leads you scratching your head and asking yourself ‘What just happened?’ and ‘Why did he leave it just there?’
But this also isn’t lacking in action. Sometimes to the point where you wonder when and how it might end. The fight in the bar was absolutely relentless and went on for week after week. The mulletted Barnes faced and gave bloody pummellings with fists, feet and a pool cues. Snot, spit and blood flying he still managed to walk out of the place with a woman who looked like she’d stepped out of a saucier Cannon Studios ‘Crime on the Streets’ genre movie! (Just after her stint as a stripper was finished for the night).
So if you have an Instagram account I would recommend this as an early evening visit. Marra mixes it up in tone and story direction and although it’s a little scratchy in art style and plays free and wild with narrative this is totally up my street. Why would you want to read a comic about some introspective BS? Who needs someone crying about the pandemic and moaning about there being nothing to watch on Netflix? You could instead be reading about Bruce Barnes and his fighting, shagging, shooting, racing, and insanity soaked lifestyle!
Relationship problems? FDS! This has a sex swing!!!
If you jump in now it involves a car chase with between Barnes and a couple of what we in the UK unkindly refer to as ‘Chavs’.
Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading.