The Repetitive Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck

Rodolphe Töpffer’s The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck follows the main character, Obadiah, and his essential “mid-life crisis”. While this comic was classified in the comedy genre, I have to disagree. Töpffer used a lot of repetitive happenstances, which as an attempt to be funny, only came across as annoying. I couldn’t help but sigh every single time I read:

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I suppose that the aim was to have readers find it humorous that Mr. Oldbuck constantly turned over a new leaf or constantly tried to find his relief in suicide, but I found it a little too repetitive. Sure, the situations that Mr. Oldbuck get himself into are comedic in their absurdity (I mean, who mistakes vegetable soup for hemlock and convinces themselves that they are dead?) but if it weren’t for the graphics, the reader would have no clue what was going on half the time.

Similarly, I believe I didn’t find this to be humorous because of the topics that it tried to make light of. It’s rather hard to use suicide as comedic relief, and while Töpffer’s attempt was apparent, it fell short in my eyes. I found myself thinking why anyone would find a total of five botched suicides as funny. While The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck is seen as a comedic piece of work, I would argue that because of its repetitive nature and dark undertones, it doesn’t make me chuckle in the least bit.

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