School Spirit - Wendy the spirit in the cemeteryThe Mundane Circus,when choosing to begin a review site as part of its website, was looking for other webcomics to start off with. Being a regular but quiet reader of the strip, the Mundane Circus chose School Spirit. In June, 2007, this review of School Spirit was published on the Mundane Circus Live Journal Review site.


For this journal — especially since I’m an artist myself — I wanted to do some kind of “…of the week” for this blog.

And a good “…of the week” subject would be comics.

Especially those you’ll find on the web.

When NBC debuted “Friday Night Videos” in 1983, the first music video on that program, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, was introduced by the announcer in a special manner — “Many of our viewers aren’t familiar with music videos, so we’re going to begin our first show with one of the best.”

On that note — Many of our web surfers aren’t familiar with web comics, so I’m going to begin my first Comic of the Week with one of the best. It’s “School Spirit” (http://www.schoolspiritcomic.com/), by Daniel VanderWerff, an elementary school teacher in the Outback of the Australian state of Victoria, who does this delightful strip about a group of schoolchildren; an insufferable teacher who’s dedicated to her pupils and her career; and a group of spirits who live in a nearby cemetary (don’t dare call them “ghosts”).

What’s unique about this strip is that, despite each character having their strengths and weaknesses, they’re all likeable and enjoyable, not going overboard on their personality. One example is Chastity, the most-popular girl in her class — though she’s never presented to be vain or over-demanding — in fact, her overall attitude represents that she would rather be like the rest of the kids; it’s like she feels she’s experiencing something missing in her life. Another notable character is “Brylcreem”, the class’ “egghead”, who’s very smart and knowledgable in various facts, and is often found hanging out at the library. However, outside of school, Bryl has a second life — he helps out at his family’s resraurant on occasion. He may be a boy genious like Jimmy Neutron or Dexter, but Daniel preferred Bryl to be normal.

And that’s what’s quaint about this strip — normal kids in normal situations — with a supernatural angle thrown in at points.

And you’ll also know alot about Australia as well — the current sequence features the school principal reminicing on Australia’s most important battle — the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915, during World War I. This was the battle that helped Australia and New Zealand demonstrate that, as new nations, they could be a contending power for peace. And for the soldiers’ bravery, their actions are remembered every April 25th, when Australia and New Zealand celebrate ANZAC Day.

“School Spirit” is a strip that entertains, educates, and doesn’t disappoint. makes you wish you were one of the students.