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Step Aside, Dictionary: “New Word” Is Here

new word

New Word, written and drawn by Abdul Rahman Farri, follows a young superhero, apparently named Beanie Head. Beanie Head tries to discover the truth behind his best friend’s disappearance, while also stopping a gang of criminals from overrunning his city. The purpose of this comic seems to be: to introduce new and interesting words. Over the course of several episodes, a mystery unfolds which only Beanie Head can solve.

This comic is satirical in nature, and the jokiness of it definitely makes it entertaining. The stick figure style provides a chance for the reader to focus on the plot and the characters, rather than spending too much time bogged down on the art. This is refreshing in a way. Sometimes, an overly complex art style can detract from the enjoyment of the story itself. In the end, what matters the most is the journey and the lessons taken from it, regardless of how it’s drawn. The author manages to convey a significant amount of emotion and complexity despite the simplistic art style.

New Word does struggle in places. Visually, it’s hard to distinguish between the different characters. Their personalities are harder to decipher as well. The plot is simple in many ways. However, sometimes the author changes up the perspective, which can be confusing. The simplistic characters often come off as stereotypes. Although, perhaps this aspect is intentional due to its genre. This webcomic has a strong moral undercurrent. This is not a bad thing. But it does mean that the author targets moral evil more so than literal evil. This is tricky territory, since morals can vary vastly depending on each society. On the whole, the author condemns aspects of the real world that most might find reprehensible. 

I consider New Word a dark comedy. While it contains frequent jokes, the tone reflects barbed absurdity rather than lighthearted humor. The art style belies this; one might expect a simpler, more childish story. But New Word acts both as a teaching tool for complex words and also a reflection upon the corruption we often face in reality. It spoofs superhero stories in a way that entertains while revealing the depths some will sink to. Although the overarching story concerns dastardly plans and a city-wide conspiracy; New Word works the strongest on a more personal level. Beanie Head may be a superhero. But he goes to school and bemoans his personal life just like any other kid.

In a reflection of many superhero stories involving teens, his best friend is also an important part of the plot. This story contains mystical elements that fall in line with other media within the genre. However, the possibility of magic or superstrength is not nearly as important as the message that the author wishes to convey. I find it admirable when someone attempting to educate, does so in a genuinely entertaining manner. New Word accomplishes this. It’s like WordGirl for adults.

A big fan of the original One Punch Man manga? Curious to read a superhero story in a whole new different way and art style? Give New Word a try! It’s available to read for free at Ethical Entertainment. Share with us your thoughts over on Twitter and Instagram, or comment it all down below!

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Layna Putterman

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