Writer: Dwight L. MacPherson
Artist: Mathieu Benoit
Publisher: Silent Devil Productions
The Grim Reaper gets a replacement! Except itís his cousinís nephewís wimpy son! Talk about a great premise filled with potential. The Grim Reaper just doesnít get enough love these days in popular culture (I canít understand why not!), and itís great to see a strip comic devoted to the ghost and his extended family. Whatís less great is the execution of strip; letís face it, a comic strip about the Reaper needs some killer jokes!
. . . sorry.
Each page is a separate ďstripĒ and punchline and makes good use of the space available. The panels are of varying size and shape, dynamic but nevertheless easy to navigate. The art really jumps off the page, as each characterís gaping skull is loaded with expressions ranging from ghoulish to goofy. The colors are bright and betray the somber source material but liven up the comedic aspect of the story. Better yet, the tone and style does well to contrast the absurdities of the underworld with the absurdities of the real world.
The real stumbling block to Jim Reaper is, naturally (supernaturally?), the humor. It comes down to the fact that half of the punchlines are literally piss-and-feces jokes, as the title character loses control of his bodily functions at least every other page. At best, this might be seen as a single joke that gets old by repetition, but itís never actually funny the first time, and the other characters try to play up how funny they think it is. The fact the writing tries to jab the reader in the side while suggesting ďHey, thatís pretty funny right there, ainít it?Ē only digs the humor a deeper grave.
The rest of the humor isnít that witty either and rather betrays its own internal logic. Itís established early on that these Reapers can withstand any kind of pain or disembowelment to their beings Ė theyíre just ghosts Ė yet a good portion of the punchlines later involve physical pain. Iím not advocating strict rules in a zany world, but just a little consistency.
Thus far, Jim Reaper is a clever concept with pretty drawings. Hopefully during Week Two, itíll find its funny bone.
And I sincerely apologize for littering this review with terrible puns while advocating better humor. Iím clearly out of my skull.
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