Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2004
By: Steve Saville
Creator(s): Simon Parducci
I confess that I have a problem with web based comics; this is my problem but, as yet, I am not over it. It’s just that I get so damned frustrated waiting for the images to download onto my screen that by the time they have finally appeared in their entirety I just don’t find them funny or enthralling any more. There that’s got that off my chest. Now I realise that I should just get on with it and by a bigger computer or something but I haven’t and anyway I like to hold my comics.
Nothing Idea features two comics with the promise of more to come. The first, The Illuminated Life, presents life from the viewpoint of a man who can’t cope with reality.
It is aimed at a teenage to young adult audience and therefore everyone is referred to as 'dude'.
It is kind of Doonesbury meets Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. And yes Death is one of the major characters. The comic is a series of self contained gag strips with continuity provided by the characters, Death, Satan, and the grungy protagonist.
In keeping with the target audience most of the humour revolves around references to popular culture. So we have appearances from Scooby Do, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Morpheus and references to N'Sync, Star Wars, Freddy and Jason etc. When the gags work they are very good. My personal favourites revolve around Satan’s experiences in a mosh pit and the appearance of Morpheus from The Matrix. This is an uneven collection though and some of the strips just don’t work, The Terminator strip being an example of a punchline that doesn’t punch.
The black and white art is straightforward, sharp and clean.
The second comic is a seralised tale, well three separate storylines actually. The Adventures Of Labratman tells the story of a young student who has an unfortunate experience in a Science lab and, as a result, mutates into a half rat half human figure called Labratman. The three strorylines revolve around Labratman waging a crusade against drugs [recreational and medical]. So in the first tale Prozac is the enemy while Dak is the drug featured in the second. Throughout syringes are the weapon of choice.
Labratman is a thinly veiled parody of Batman. Bat, rat yeah that works for me. Bongo Boy is Robin the sidekick and The Toker [The Joker] features as the arch villain. Actually 'The Toker' is by far my favourite character, beautifully drawn and delightfully manic. His mob of killer crack heads are one of the high points of this comic.
All three tales feature a fairly straightforward plot. Good versus evil, fight scene, good wins and we finish up with a cynically delivered moral for the kids about the evils of drugs. Nothing too adventurous there.
What is more adventurous though is the artistic development and change between the three tales. I think Simon cracks it in the middle tale, for me this is the artistic highpoint. He uses far less black in the third tale [featuring a huge menacing robot called Bongra] and it is fascinating to see the same character and the same theme go through these changes in representation.
Well worth a look, amusing and well drawn without necessarily being ground breaking.
In a Word: Dude.
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