Toupydoops #1

Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Toupydoops  #1 Creator(s): Kevin McShane
Publishers: Lobrau Productions (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $3.50(US)

Imagine a Hollywood run not by movie studios but by comic book publishers where ‘wannabe’ stars audition for a part in the next big comic book. Where super heroes are the superstars and most of the city is trying to land a role in the next big comic book. Well that’s the basic premise for this first instalment of Kevin Mc Shane’s new comic book.

Nice idea, one that is fair dripping with potential for irony and humour. As McShane himself puts it "It’s the comic book industry. From the outside in."

Into this world arrives our hero ‘Toupydroops’ and his friend ‘Teetereater’ [hmm I sincerely hope that the characters names actually do mean something otherwise they are just plain corny]. Toupydroops was the star of his own comic strip when he was Art College and now he is hoping to break into the big time in Hollywood. A fairly obvious narrative but with the ‘comic book as movie’ twist it has the potential to have new life breathed into it.

I must admit it took me some time to warm to the main character. Physically he seems to be a cross between a cartoon alien and a cartoon insect, so he is blue and has antenna. He does have a nice smile though. My problem was that when compared to the other characters in this comic Toupy’s [to his friends] simplistic appearance and presentation come across as a little bland. Other characters such as, Teeter, Mr Bananas and Tim are created in far greater detail and as a result seem visually far more interesting. I realise that this effect is probably intentional it’s just that initially it backfires.

Thank goodness then that Toupy's friend Teeter has come along for the ride. Now this chain smoking, half bear is full of character. Most of it deviant but still instantly interesting. Think of a cross between Gentle Ben and James Dean and you are getting warm. He is ‘oh so cool’ and motivated primarily by his most basic instincts. Now this guy has attitude and has most of the killer lines in this first edition. Toupy is na´ve where Teeter is an over confident Casanova, nice contrast there.

In fact it is the supporting cast of characters who are the more interesting [so far at any rate] The two characters have bought their laconic, chain smoking ,video game addicted pet monkey with them and their ‘basic’ apartment is shared with a human sized, coffee guzzling Cockroach called Tim. The fight scene between Teeter and Tim is one of the comics highlight, particularly when it morphs into a computer arcade game. Touches like this reveal McShane’s genuine ability to construct and tell an interesting story. The way he simultaneously finely balances the two narrative threads that he is developing promises much for future editions. Likewise he does a nice line in dramatic irony when Toupy thinks he has landed his first big break only to lose it when he meets the star he is going to be appearing alongside. Think of a cross between Roger Rabbit and Swingers and you are in the general vicinity of Toupydroops.

The comic is nicely drawn and has a totally professional appearance, the use of a nine identically sized frames on most of the pages is a little predictable but doesn’t detract from the overall impression. There is a genuine charm about this comic, one that means that having read it you want it to succeed, or is it that I am finally warming to Toupy? Only the second instalment will provide the answers. Hows that for a Hollywood ending?

In a Word: Teetering.

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