Dr. Grordbort’s Triumph – Greg Broadmore

2 out of 5

Choose yer lane: you can be off-handedly crass, and you can be overly crass – mixing the two dilutes the potential humor of both approaches. You can be wink-to-the-camera self-aware, and you can be more subversively self-aware; again, mixing the two tends to make the overall approach less effective. That’s not to say you absolutely can’t swirl these things, but it takes quite a talent to balance it, and writer / artist Greg Broadmore’s obtuse adventurer shtick – Dr. Grordbort – isn’t so much about balance as it is striking a pose and using a funny accent and seeing what sticks. ‘Triumph’ sees the mustachioed, drunken space explorer invading a cola-bottling company and discovering the secret ingredient in their product, and then a second short in which the Doc is unsuccessfully psychoanalyzed, mistaking things like pain and violent fervor for emotions. In both cases – and in the faux ads for weapons and such inbetween – Broadmore has some funny concepts, but they bounce back and forth between the tones mentioned above, and so it never quite gets as funny as it seems it should.

It’s akin to an impression – see my reference to poses and accents above – we laugh at the person doing the impression not so much due to what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it.

In a comic, that’s a lot to do with the art and dialogue timing, and Titan’s / HarperCollins oversized HC printing and Greg’s zealous characterizations and detailed designs and explosive pages, again, suggest good things, but for every chuckly alien design or Grordbort mustache twiddle, there are a handful of too-much details – stuff weighing down the page – and then beats wasted on poor word bubble placement or “plot” churn that sticks out as especially dull in something so attemptedly over-the-top.

Still, I read most of this with acceptable amusement – not a reread, not laughing out loud, but flipping pages. …Except the damned pages don’t flip. This is the thickest goddamned page stock ever made, and it is uncomfortably thick; I would fondle a glossy brick of paper for five minutes each page turn, trying to figure out if there were twenty pages stuck together. This is when I was able to even get a handle on the pages in the first place, as they’re so stiff and unwieldy as to not very easily pick up when touching the corners or edges.

So while this humor book is probably more or less humorous depending on your tastes, there’s no way the printing presentation is a plus, and it gets a further demerit on that account.