Now that I've finished my first history assignment, it's back to some more regular reviewings. This first by my good pal, John Robbins. Johnview.
A striking yellow day-glo cover sees the good doctor in hunched, damaged pose; his goofy grin etched with boyish psychosis; his hair a shock of nefarious invention. The promise of bloody surgery and awkward hair waxed from unhealthy hole seems certain to be realised. I all but get the pong of hardened faeces in month-long tangle...
Sound lettering, inventive layouts and a cartoon style caught somewhere between Ted McKeever and Jamie Hewlett combine to lend this comic a polish not alien to mainstream publication. A competent grasp of pacing and expert use of 'camera' angles further mark creator Chris Askham as an artist capable of achieving a financial stability among 'professionals' should he choose this route to his eventual demise. (I still await my cognitive therapy!)
The writing however is less impressive. With suspenseful, well crafted opening six pages in which the arrival of one 'General Synod' is eloquently captured in cinematic 'Mad Max' mode, the sudden scene-switch and plunge into the zany, mad-cap territory of Doc Sponge is all the more irritating. Here the mood is turned on its brain; when a deluge of witless dialogue takes over, and the doctor gleefully subjects his patients to a variety of physical and mental tortures. Funny? I nearly smirked between exasperated sighs!
However, that's not to say that this script does not flow, or that it does not exude appealing ease of reading. No, the only blunder of which Askham is guilty (in my eyes) is in his choice of subject matter - he chooses that which demographics proves is most likely to sate fan-boy tastes.
Not really my kind of thing, then; but technically impressive and skillfully realised, DOCTOR SPONGE is definitely recommended for the British mainstrem audience.
Check availability with Chris Askham, 9 Balmoral Grove, Colwick, Nottingham, NG4 2GB; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.