The primary characters of Cupcake POW! consist of Frank (the perpetually lewd unicorn who loves recreational substances), Vanilla (an innocent cupcake with a sweet soul), Carrot Cake (a young male cupcake with a serious complex about being no one’s favorite flavor), Red Velvet (the resident hot girl/not so closet stripper), Ryokucha (the Japan-obsessed cupcake who keeps getting into or creating manga/anime scenarios with disastrous consequences), and The Princess (the only humanoid cast member and a clever twist on a princess as a “strong female character”).
There isn’t a strong, overarching story in Cupcake POW!, although some jokes carry over a little between strips. Each new comic is a simple four-panel format, with three panels as the set up and the fourth providing a punchline. Not every joke tickled my funny bone, but Houser’s insightful take on various pop culture and societal tropes kept me digitally flipping through the strips at an insane speed. My favorite characters are probably Ryokucha, since as a lapsed anime/manga fangirl, I recognized all of the scenarios being parodied, and The Princess, the most kicka-- girl with a fancy dress AND high powered weaponry. Frank/The Unicorn, however, had me gasping in laughter in a few of his strips, since he is the king of utter wrongness.
Houser’s tongue-in-cheek bio admits that she isn’t much of an artist, but I can’t hold it against her, since her writing is so enjoyable. There are no fancy backgrounds or detailed panels, just the featured character with lines. I must give her kudos for a simplified, dead-on take of a Lisa Frank unicorn in her Frank, though!
I don’t think that you have to love pink and sparkly to enjoy Jody Houser’s witty jokes and jabs in Cupcake POW! You just have to be secure enough in who you are to let the cutesy pictures and rainbow sparkles be part of your every day life. Besides, what is more awesome than a Lisa Frank unicorn with one of those parole bracelets?
5 Insanely Cute, Semi-Anthropomorphic Cupcakes out of 5