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WTF Comic Books

Issue #1 to #3 - Devilman

By Billy MarsdenPublished 7 years ago 4 min read
"Pick the one with the coolest cover!" - Famous last words.

A lowly South Yorkshire town such as the one I live in doesn't have much access to comic book conglomerates like "Forbidden Planet" and so I get my reading material from a very nice gentleman on the market. Mr Y, we'll call him, has an excellent array of stock from his many travels - some of it dating back few decades, much of it is quite obscure.

Now, I don't have an extensive knowledge of the comic book industry as a whole, so when I land upon something like "Devilman" it is usually with fresh eyes. My fresh eyes were blinded with this one, let me tell you!

To make this a little more regimented, I will use a percentile system - 5 categories with scoring out of a possible 20 points on each:

  • Art
  • Story
  • Characters
  • Humour
  • Drama

These are, after all, the main points of personal enjoyment when it comes to comic books and graphic novels.

Devilman was a 70's anime made by Go Nagai (supposedly a manga master) and seems to have generated quite a following across many different mediums. Further research has also made me aware that this is not the original version of Devilman but is instead one of many "Branch-off" versions and has been coloured (horribly) by an American chap called "Chip Marler". Unfortunately, I didn't have this information when I bought the comic and so I will review this set of three at face value.

Art

I was instantly enticed by the cover - perhaps due to my childhood obsession with trading card games - It's red and shiny with a great two-tone image of Devilman himself, grimacing joyfully. It boasts its publisher as "Verotik" (which sounds like a pornographic offshoot of DC) along with the tagline "The new covenant." - which is fitting as, much like the arc of the covenant, anything past the cover is the kind of artwork that would cause the skin to melt from your face... and not in a good way.

Remember that girl in high school that would just sit and draw anime all day but was never actually any good at it and grew up to be a back-alley tattooist? Well, imagine she illustrated this after losing her drawing arm to septicemia. The next two issues are the same (although the third issue is somewhat improved) without the impressive cover work.

Art Score: 3/20

Terrible, but with some good use of colour and the odd satisfying gory panel. Some progress in the third issue but the nature of it being a translation leads to some empty speech bubbles, to me that seems lazy.

Story

As far as I can tell, this "Akira" kid has fused with a demon in order to become a superhero, a time-travelling one at that (How? Why? I'll never know). So what does he do? Well, he ends up visiting Hitler of course, back in his painting days. Does he kill him and prevent the holocaust? Nope, in fact, he contributes to it and helps good old Adolf out and the reader is led to believe that Hitler had a good motive for his racist anti-Semitism. Now, there's a sentence I never expected to write. Its portrayal of Jewish people is unquestionably offensive and even abhorrent. The other two issues show Akira and his pajama-clad buddy visiting Joan of Arc as well as Nike the Roman goddess. Each one as insulting and historically inaccurate as the rest (See: Romans with Kalashnikovs).

Story Score: 2/20

I seriously considered giving this one a zero, but one can see the potential tongue-in-cheekiness of it all. However, this does not excuse its lack of sensitivity, especially in '95; people were supposed to know better.

Characters

The characters are stock at best and offensive at worst. The only piece of development we see is the relationship between the Goddess Nike (Who's actually a baddie) and Akira's demon side (who's a baddie being controlled by a goodie). They have a little fling that I am certain would be forgotten about by issue #4. Again, I cannot begin to describe the outrageous depiction of Jewish folk so I will embed a photo:

Character Score: 4/20

It goes from hilariously terrible, to horrifically insensitive to confusingly hilarious.

Humour

Not much to say here - any intentional humour falls flat, but it is so unfunny and tasteless, one cannot help but laugh. I have no choice but to give it:

Humour Score: 5/20

Completely unintended, to laugh at - not with.

Drama

Even going along with the mammoth stretch of suspension of disbelief, the most dramatic moment is where the young painter is revealed to be Adolf HITLER! (surprise surprise...) and by that point, you've already vomited on yourself.

Drama Score: 1/20

WTF Score: 14%

14% on the WTF scale and I still find this generous. The real question is: would I recommend this comic book? Unfortunately, the answer is a tentative yes. But only because it has to be seen to be believed - be sure to get rid of it as soon as you read it, however, as you might get arrested for possession of materials that incite hate.

Cost me a fiver for three: for the overall experience? Worth it.

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About the Creator

Billy Marsden

Budding Barnsley Bard Boy

https://twitter.com/libidius

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