Dorkboy: Tales of Mirth and Despair #1

Posted: Tuesday, August 8, 2006
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Dorkboy: Tales of Mirth and Despair #1 Creator(s): Damian Willcox
Publishers: Dorkboy Comics (Self Published)
From: Canada
Price: $4.95 (US) includes P&P in North America

Being a collection of a variety of Dork boy and scooter boy stories with a couple of autobiographical tales. Dorkboy builds a little robot sidekick who lacks a certain respect for his creator. Their adventures involve a plot by aliens to take over the planet via a student radio station. Scooter boy tries to find love through money and politics. The autobiographical tales cover events amusing (nude bathing photographs) moody (a lonely ride home on the bus at night.

Moving up to the traditional size of US comic format for what I believe is the first time, Damien wraps his enjoyable tales in striking colour cover. Readers who let their eye be taken will find a welcome collection of entertaining stories.

Damian has a polished art style, which is always cleverly finished with bold, cartoonish flourishes. Scooter boy’s minimalistic stick figure is well used in stories that go for direct humour with a punch line every few panels.

The cartoon style allows for an amusing range of creatures to take part in events, like the rum cake who is always being mistaken for a drunk "I always smell like this", and a little robot who has no difficulty pointing out all the flaws in his creator.

In the more serious stories Damian adjusts his art style giving his characters a more realistic look and putting in greater detail into the backgrounds. The nighttime bus journey is the story that stuck in my mind after reading the comic offering a slice of urban life and a character who seems lost, looking for something that he can't quite pin down.

While the humour in this book is enjoyable the more melancholic tales contain single panels that evoke of disquiet. Damian shows a keen ear for dialogue that is displayed throughout the book, making all his stories flow seamlessly from panel to panel over the many pages.

Damian has produced a top notch collection that will hopefully expose him to a wider audience than can usually be tempted by even the best small press offering.

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