Goldtiger – Guy Adams

2 out of 5

Much respect for the concept, but wow does the execution stumble over itself.

Goldtiger, or… Goldtiger: The Poseidon Complex – The Secret History of the 60s Greatest Unseen Comic by Antonio Barreti & Louis Schaeffer, as presented by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, is, according to most of the press, concerning a sporadically published newspaper-style strip that was meant to compete with Modesty Blaise (a popular strip in the 60s), but controversy prevented it from being released, sending its co-creators into a tailspin of self-published weirdness, rescued and represented here by eventual 2000 AD contributors Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton.  That it appears under the Rebellion publishing banner can further be justified as Barreti and Schaeffer (in this narrative) would later attempt to update the strip to a sci-fi escapade, and have it published by the Galaxy’s Greatest Magazine, but here it was also rejected.

Some reviews I poked at for Goldtiger repeat this story, and seem to review the material in that context.

Or maybe they were in on the joke, as the whole thing – Barreti, and Schaeffer and all – is a tale concocted by Adams and Broxton.  Goldtiger the book, then, is a fiction intercutting this fictional strip with excerpt from letters / correspondences with “”Barreti” and “Schaeffer.”  Which is a cool idea.  Unfortunately, the story – either of Goldtiger’s first outing via ‘The Poseidon Complex’ tale – or the external tale about the suffering writer, Schaeffer, and the artist who won’t listen to him, Barreti, isn’t very interesting or fun, and the manner by which Adams / Broxton decided to cut things up, alternating between comics and text, prevents either part of the story from gaining enough momentum to at least be cheeky.  It’s one of those things where the material keeps wanting to draw attention to its own cleverness, when playing it a bit straighter might’ve made it more interesting.

It looks good, although Broxton takes a few ‘Goldtiger’ strips to drop his own style (and tendency toward digital effects) and mimic something more 60s / Italian-artist appropriate, at which point the mimicry is pretty spot on.  The jumpy, punchy narrative is also pretty funny, but the “controversy” – which is claimed to be over the strip’s sexual content – isn’t explored enough before Barreti goes “insane” and inserts himself into the story.  This is especially where the book starts to giggle at its own cleverness, taking a meta concept that we’ve seen before and not doing much with it, wasting an interesting wrinkle on the idea which has the artist likely “living” the rest of his life in the strip.  I did laugh at Barreti’s rude responses to his writer asking if he was even reading his scripts.

Goldtiger’s faux-everything is a great idea, but its presentation, jumping between its featured comic and narration, ruins the immersion, and too clearly underlines when the creators are having a laugh at their own jokes.