“I see things that other people don’t see sometimes,” says the large, idiot-savant man-child named Baby Cakes, created by Austin, Texas-based cartoonist Brad Neely. But it might as well be Brad who says the line.
Drawing single-panel, Creased Comics with implied, universal themes (life, death, the Bible, nature), Neely’s been producing little bits of internet gold for over a decade, telling stories through unlikely characters and revealing sinuous streams of aberrant wisdom that flow into solid sense. He got some press for his alt narration to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but went internet famo with his presidential myth on psychedelic steroids, Washington.
After the viewcounts hit six digits, TBS’ Super Deluxe came knocking, and the web series Baby Cakes and Professor Brothers were born. Josh recently caught up with with the man behind the crude, un-moving animation at ROFLCon to ask him about process, strip malls, and muses.
Neely describes his cartoons as “stories with visual aides…comic books with sound.” The storyboard aesthetic makes for some great visual jokes and doesn’t get in the way of the tale.
In the case of Baby Cakes, it’s the world through the eyes of a slightly retarded, yet endearing, RPG-playing rapper who lives with his Dad and opines in off-beat philosophic soliloquies. In the case of the Professor Brothers, it’s the lives of Frank and Steve – sharp-witted, uncouth, spaced-out, community school profs, with signature tag-team humor riddled by random, loose associations.
In the case of China, Il., it’s a tale of both Baby Cakes and the Professor Brothers.
###Neely’s 11-minute, 4-part magnum opus (a new episode released every Monday on Super Deluxe and then the whole thing airs on Adult Swim on Sunday, May 25) puts the stars of both series on the same screen:
Like Brad said, Baby Cake’s warm-fuzzy world populated by Wizards and Face Fucklers, accented with epic musical interludes and diary entries, and navigated with the help of a ‘walking potion’ (10% sugar 90% whiskey), is actually the very same world inhabited by Frank’s squeaky, strung-out Steve Zahn of a voice, and Steve’s detached, Kenny Winker cool. He apparently just wasn’t making the part about them living in the same space very clear.
But now, for 11 beautiful minutes, fans will look at the world of China, Il. with newfound clarity. We’ll watch with joy, wonderment, and wide-eyed innocence as these everyman heroes of insight drop poetic knowledge and make astute observations, connecting the dots on pieces of paper we didn’t even know existed, and seeing things that other’s don’t, in a way that only Brad Neely can.