I'm gonna get me a Butch doll. Some day...
It's dangerous business, starting a webcomic about a very touchy subject. The life and times of a vaguely lovable serial killer, as found over at Chopping Block, could very easily become simply horrific and something most sane people avoid. You have to have a very particular sense of humour to laugh in the face of this sort of thing.
But Lee Harold accomplishes it wonderfully. And I think there's a very particular reason why. Harold makes sure that his star is very much aware of the role he is supposed to play as a serial killer. He is the villian in the horro movie, and must be that mysterious. He is the smiling face on the news and must be that insidious.
But being this self-aware also opens up other paths to humour. I flinched when I read this strip at first because it fulfills the same 'family' horror that terrifeid me about Red Dragon. But then we see Butch knows that, as an adult, he is meant to be an example. And so he will struggle on, despite wanting to quit. It is this down-to-earth quality, in the midst of stark fear, that makes us laugh, sometimes jsut for the shock.
And then there's the times that we find being a serial killer isn't all it's cracked up to be.
[Edited To Add:]
Diablo appears to think that the niche is larger than I give it credit for.