This is Part Two of my analysis of a ten-year-old creative duo’s output. Poof The Old Lady is the name of the series; Poof and an English Owl called Worm-Hoop are the main characters.
POOF JUST WANTS A MOTORBIKE
Although the creators have never seen Supergran, an English comedy series from the 1980s, they have taken the classic ‘weak old lady’ stereotype and turned it on its head. Poof is an example of the Cool Old Lady trope.
Poof may be an old lady, and permanently close to death, but she is also a thrill seeker.
In this story, her Desire is quickly established. Her psychological weakness as a blabbering baby is also swiftly established.
A new character appears. The word ‘poof’ has double meaning here — Poof both addresses the old lady (whose name is actually Poof) and also functions as mimesis when the character appears from nowhere.
We get a glimpse into Poof’s mind. Why does she want a motorbike? Because she thinks it’ll make her famous. She wants people to look at her.
I think this is a pretty good insight into why a lot of people ride motorbikes. Big noisy ones, without mufflers. The young writer is aware of this phenomenon because we live in an area which seems to attract weekend bikie wannabes.
The illustrator has used the comic book convention of zooming in on the character’s face as an emotion intensifies.
The ally has now become the opponent, promising something they cannot actually deliver.
This leads to a Battle scene in which Poof loses her temper, baring her teeth. Borrowing from the trope set of werewolf stories, her hands morph into grabby crab hands.
In case we didn’t pick it up, now she is ‘Monster Poof’. Her frontal lobes have completely taken over. Now she is the big monster we all fear.
Now I’m wondering if the ten-year-old has ever seen Godzilla. I didn’t think so.
It seems Worm-hoop fancies himself a bit of a pirate. As established in previous chapters/stories, Worm-hoop is Poof’s pet. She thinks he’s a parrot and treats him like a dog. He’s wearing a new hat. (Not a pirate hat.) I think it’s very appropriate that this character has pirate attributes, with that single eye. It’s masterful how much comic value has been derived from that single peeper.
When Poof sees her pet from home appear, she seems to be reminded that she is not actually a monster. She’s not sure how to respond.
Worm-hoop thrusts out a leg and defeats Monster Poof. The crosses in Poof’s eyes are a clear indication she is dead.
POOF IS A CANNIBALL
The young writer does not know how to spell cannibal. (She is not attempting a deliberate pun.)
Though she is normally depicted as a stick figure, this time she is shown with a giant belly, which she rubs lovingly. She seems to have grown in stature, back into Godzilla size.
But this is not the beginning of the story. This is more like a flash forward snippet.
This is where the story begins. The writer has not yet learned to keep her tense consistent, but she understands desires (the desire to eat people), and the need for a plan (first she checks the fridge).
The plan changes. The sneaky look on her face foreshadows doom.
We don’t know how she caught the person, but that’s irrelevant — this shoots straight to the Battle scene.
The flip-o-rama is taken straight from Dog Man by Dav Pilkey, also ostensibly written by two young creators of about the same age. (Except Poof the Old Lady really is writte by two young creators.)
As in the previous story, Worm-Hoop saves everyone. This time by kicking Poof in the head, using a karate kick, complete with sound effects.
By kicking her in the head she seems to turn into a vomiting Pacman, hence releasing all the people she has eaten, using classic fairytale logic.
Facial expressions show that Worm-Hoop is very disappointed in Poof. With all the love and kindness in the world, he force feeds her an apple. I suspect this is how kids often feel when they’re required to eat their fruit and vegetables.
RANDOM SCENE PAGES
The young creator seems to know which parts are complete stories and which are simply scenes.
I really don’t know what’s going on, but it seems a monster is climbing right out of the page to exact revenge on Worm-Hoop, who is now established as a character who exacts revenge on Poof. I think these ‘random’ scenes are designed to even up the power balance within the storyworld.
This is deliberate and knowing absurdism. The unseen narrator advises the reader not to take it seriously, or to consider it a part of the story.
I think a cog may be emerging from a butt. That may be an x-ray view of a chicken.
I can’t decipher what’s happening below the line. I think a male and female bird meet and both think of the same bird. Perhaps this is a meet cute. Perhaps they’re imagining their future offspring.
POOF’S NEW CAR
Here’s a story which starts out happy, but Poof’s glee is undercut harshly when she receives a mean Christmas card from Worm-Hoop.
In case the reader doesn’t pick up the irony, we are told.
This begins an insult war. It escalates. I like the use of ‘ticks off’, since birds tend to be riddled with ticks.
This is the story that began arm-pit hair as part of Poof’s character design. It did require the illustrator to go back and add arm pit hair to previous stories.
The good old switcheroo.