Monday, 21 July 2014

Journey Into Mysterious Comics #4: Cap’n Dinosaur and the Carnevil of Crime Review (Kek-W, Shaky Kane)

Each week we read comics we know and love – that’s why we read them! But what about the scores of other comics that get published that we don’t read? In Journey Into Mysterious Comics, I’ll pick up a random comic I know nothing about each week and review it. Maybe I’ll strike gold and find a great new title to follow, maybe I won’t – but I live in hope!

Join me each week as we… Journey Into Mysterious Comics! 


A man falls to his death in the middle of a city, his lungs full of water. The police are baffled – enter Cap’n Dinosaur and his partner, Honey Moon! Their investigation - finding a carnival ticket stub on the victim – leads them to Citizen Sputnik whose dastardly plans involve both giant and tiny Frankensteins and a rocket to do something dastardly.

I’ve never read anything by writer Kek-W (great name!) or artist Shaky Kane, but I loved the art straight off. It’s pop art with strong lines and bright colours and the zany subject matter looks absolutely terrific given this treatment.

Unfortunately the art was about the only thing I liked about this comic. It’s quirky, I liked the title and I thought it’d be a fun romp but it’s a little too knowing to really be fun. Every aspect of the writing felt like it was winking at the audience, as if it was saying “look how goofy we’re being – a detective called Cap’n Dinosaur who has a dino-helmet? And a Wolfman? AND a ton of Frankensteins?! We’re SO whacky!!!”. 

When something’s that obvious, it stops being fun and starts being quite wearying. Then little details started annoying me like calling the Boris Karloff-models Frankensteins, when they’re really Frankenstein’s Monsters – Frankenstein was the mad scientist. And the opening line to the comic – “A man falls from the sky. An empty sky.” What does a full sky look like?

Again, the excuse for both of those annoying details would be “hey, we’re being whacky and kerazy! You can’t take any of this seriously!!” and again that’s what’s strangely irritating about this comic. Something so self-consciously trying to be silly and out-there funny should be more subtle than out-and-out over-the-top. But that’s just my take – maybe Cap’n Dinosaur’s readers (I’m guessing this is a character who’s been around for a while) love this aspect of the character? “He’s dino-fied a Spidey line on the cover! LOL!”.

Reading Cap’n Dinosaur is like someone spilled out a box of toys on the floor and threw together a story with them. “Cap’n Dinosaur and… Honey Moon… go to… the Carnevil of Crime!... and they fight… Swami Midnite! and… Muscle Mary… and tons of Frankensteins, and… Wolfman Jack and… Citizen Sputnik! Pew pew! Cap’n Dinosaur saves the day! The end”.

I’d love to read more comics drawn by Shaky Kane but none written by Kek-W. Cap’n Dinosaur and the Carnevil of Crime is like Napoleon Dynamite – you’ll either like it’s brand of quirk or not. Me? Nope!

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