Writer/Artist: Mike Birchall
Editor: HB Klein
Publisher: Self-Published (WebToon)
WHAT IS IT?
An intense and suspenseful horror webcomic where everything is definitely not fine.
Think The Stepford Wives meets The Truman Show with a dash of Happy Tree Friends.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Sam and Maggie have the perfect life. Their house is gorgeous, they have lovely neighbors (except for Charlie, perhaps, who seems really into his model trains), and they have everything they need... granted that they follow the rules. Other than that, everything is fine.
Things begin to get strange after their neighbors, Bob and Linda, invite them and Charlie, over for dinner. During the meal, the hosts want everyone to agree to have their backs in case anything should go wrong in the future. Before they leave, Charlie also asks Maggie to come to his house the following day, insisting there's something in his basement that she must see. What's going on in this neighborhood, and why does everyone act so strangely?
Mike's story is truly unnerving. The disconnect between the positive, 1950s dialogue and the setting is both funny and, at times, disturbing, making for some excellent dark humor.
The unchanging facial expressions of the characters is incredibly creepy as all emotion is masked outside of what the reader can insinuate from the dialogue.
Primarily bright flats are used for most of the story, making its sudden changes to vibrant red portions or shadows on someone's face insanely dramatic and shocking.
Since the characters look so similar, Birchall assists the reader through creative lettering. The balloons match the main color of each character, so there is no confusion over who is speaking.
Music is used quite creatively within this comic. Two of these instances begin in certain panels, highlighting the important parts of the story while adding to general eeriness of everything.
Scattered throughout the story are some genuinely heart-wrenching moments. The writing elevates the fear and emotion of the comic.
There are lots of cool, subtle elements in the art that add a lot to attentive readers. These little touches demonstrate beyond the text that there's something mysterious going on in this world.
Similar pacing and panel design is used to lull the reader into a rhythm before smashing the pattern with some intense, connected panels for long stretches. This technique is brilliant and makes these moments cause even more dread.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK
Content Warning: There are some depictions of graphic violence and suicide that could be a turn-off for some readers.
Some objects in the art looked very flat and couldn't seem to overcome the limitations of the style chosen for this comic.
Likewise, the art style made some of the more dynamic, action-packed scenes feel less impactful. The character's bodies had difficulty showing intense movements because of their cartoonish design.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Everything is Fine is one of the most intense horror comics that a reader can find on WebToon. It brilliantly uses what is unique about the WebToon medium to create something that will make readers deeply uncomfortable. Its pacing and art style create a sense of unease through the contradictions presented. The happy suburbia setting and cute cat faces go directly against the looming sense that these characters are one wrong action away from something terrible happening. Even the sparsely-utilized music mimics this by beginning ominous before going into a jolly romp.
At the same time, the panels are hypnotically repetitive before dumping the reader into the proverbial deep end. The art relies on bright colors and minimal shadows, which makes anything contrasting, even something as small as heavy shading on a character's face, amazingly jarring. It is because of these disconnects and the slow-burning story that this comic can create such an intense, horrifying experience.
Perfect for anyone who is a fan of suspense and stories that can truly make their skin crawl, this comic hits the mark in so many ways.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Witch! by Mike Birchall
Witch Creek Road by Garth The Geek & Kenan Halilovic
Memetic by James Tynion IV & Eryk Donovan
If you like the art:
Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs & Trish Forstner
Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson
Five Nights At Freddie's by Scott Cawthon & Claudia Schroder
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Mike Burchall (@mikebcomics) – Writer/Artist
Mike got his start in comics creating web comics on Instagram before moving to publishing on WebToons.
He developed a love for comics after reading Batman Adventures as a child, but later became more interested in Manga and WebToons.
In addition to Everything Is Fine, Mike also writes Witch! which can be found on his Patreon.
Kyla Smith (@kyla_aiko) – Lettering Assistant
Kyla will make her comics publishing debut in 2024 with her middle grade graphic novel, Foxes, Fire, and Other Magic, she has also contributed to multiple independent releases.
Her work is also featured in the anthologies Freddie Mercury: Lover of Life, Singer of Songs published by Z2 Comics and The Out Side.
HB Klein – Editor
HB serves as an Associate Editor for Webtoons and has edited many of their top title including Purple Hyacinth, In The Bleak Midwinter, and Not So Shoujo Love Story.
They are a multifaceted creator and have also contributed to multiple anthologies and webcomics as a writer and letterer.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Everything Is Fine characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Mike Birchall or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.