Search This Blog

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Ultimate Gnatrat (Humor) (Superhero) (Graphic Novel)

by Mark Martin  

Publisher: Fantagraphic Books (January 1, 1990).

Softcover, 167 pages

This is a collection of the three Gnatrat comics, a parody superhero book, which picks mostly on Frank Miller, but not in a bad way. The main character is an anthropomorphic rat who dresses up like a gnat to fight crime. The main action of the story is based around Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (Batman) and Born Again (Daredevil). Both are solid choices. These Gnatrat issues came out around 1988 and both of the Miller books were some of the best available at the time. The author also rags on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, their popularity and the host of imitators- ironic as the author went on to work on the series.

The problem with this book is that the action is disjointed, almost stream on consciousness from page to page, and thus you don’t care at all about any of the characters. This is a problem most parody comics have. The story isn’t interesting if you haven’t read the material it’s poking fun at. This is doubly true in Gnatrat where the plot is almost indecipherable unless you've read the previous two books.

The two most successful parody books, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cerebus the Aardvark, both dropped the parody aspect in a relatively short time and created their own mythology from the stories. All of the humor eventually gave way to a serious (or at least semi-serious) dramatic work. Not so much here. It does not go beyond the material it is making fun of.

The art is good, but not so good as to override the material. As parody’s go, there doesn’t seem much of a point to it. Apart from commenting on the popularity of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its copycats, the only point seems to make a disjointed rat version of the Dark Knight Returns with Daredevil mixed in. I found it for three bucks, don’t pay anything higher for it.

For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

No comments:

Post a Comment