Two Pedants: Season One by Sean Molloy
The saying goes that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but, frankly, you often can. Sometimes, you don’t even need a cover – the title alone tells you everything you need to know.
Two Pedants, by Kiwi writer Sean Molloy, is one such book. You probably have an idea of what to expect from it already, even though I haven’t told you a thing about it (some reviewer I am, huh?). If you said hilariously humourless protagonists, plenty of jokes about grammar, and, well… general pedantry, you’d be spot on.
The comic originated as a webcomic in 2012, with the book collecting all of “Season One” – or, every strip released from the series’ genesis until April 2014. There are also a bunch of deleted strips, and a preview of Season Two, which is yet to start.
At the centre of Two Pedants are the pedants themselves: Blonde-haired Pedant (called as such because of her blonde hair) and Black-haired Pedant (called thusly because she has… I don’t need to explain this, do I?). You know that person who annoyingly corrects even the tiniest of grammatical errors, whether you want them to or not, and hasn’t the faintest idea they’re doing that? Now imagine two of them in a room together.
As infuriating as people like this can be – and I should know, I am one – looking in from the outside is hilarious. Just as TV sitcoms find humour in the tedium of everyday life, Two Pedants is all about shining a light on just how ridiculous pedantry is. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if someone pronounces it “supposably”?
If you want to get pedantic, Two Pedants isn’t the most accurate title – it really should be called Two Pedants, Curly-Haired Guy, TXT SPK GRRL, Time-Travelling Shakespeare… you see where I’m going with this. The point is, there is a lot more to Two Pedants than just the pedants themselves; there’s a host of other characters for our heroines to annoy and to play up for jokes.
There’s Curly-Haired Guy, the author of the comic and the source of plenty of fourth wall-breaking jests. TXT SPK GRRL always talks in “TXT speak” (“OMG I ❤️ MY PHD SUPERVISOR HE IS A QT! ROFTL!”), and as you can imagine, isn’t much liked by the two pedants. In fact, she was introduced because Curly-Haired Guy decided that the stars needed a nemesis.
As the book progresses, even more outlandish characters join the show. There’s a time-travelling William Shakespeare, who’s using his power to visit the future and copy his own plays, so that he doesn’t have to actually write them. Deep Blue is a supercomputer who out-pedants even Blonde-Haired and Black-Haired, much to their dismay. Even Frankenstein’s Monster – sorry, Adam (he doesn’t much care for being called a monster) – and the devil show up on occasion.
Being of webcomic origin, Two Pedants’ strips are, for the most part, self-contained four-panel affairs. That said, there is an ongoing plot throughout, which sees the Two Pedants and their bizarre cast of allies trying to save the Space-Time-Grammar continuum from disruption by TXT SPK GRRL. There’s also a particularly entertaining ongoing story that shows up from time to time, called The Wooing of Blonde-Haired Pedant. Yes, it has Curly-Haired Guy attempting to flirt with Blonde-Haired Pedant, and getting shot down in hilarious fashion, over and over again.
The art style is intentionally minimalistic, with simple characters that are barely more than stick-figures. This isn’t a book you’ll read for the art, but it does fit in with the overall style of the humour well, and a surprising amount of characterisation manages to come through the pictures.
Two Pedants is a comic written for a particular kind of person – and if you’re that person, the title alone will have caught your interest. But even if it hasn’t, this is a book that’s worth a look, because you just may find something special in Sean Molloy’s quirky sense of humour. The best part is, since it’s a webcomic, you can check it out before you spend a thing.
REVIEWER: Matthew Codd
Two Pedants: Season One, by Sean Molloy, is published by Two Pedants. The book costs $25 and is being distributed by Seraph Press, so email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange payment and delivery, or order it through your local bookshop.