Stolen Pizza, Stolen Lives
Writer: Malachai Nicolle
Artists: Christopher Hastings & Ethan Nicolle
Dr. McNinja is a comic about a ninja of Irish descent who is also a doctor; it then proceeds to get better from there. Hastings takes ridiculous ideas and goes on to show you how wonderful they can be. This series is a 14-year-old’s notebook drawings made into a coherent series. That’s one of the best things about Dr. McNinja that sets it apart from other series; it is actually really well written both comically and in its story. Even better? He’ll call himself out on his inconsistencies and make fun of them (usually in regards to his art). What I’m trying to get at is, I really enjoy Dr. McNinja.
Time Fist is the latest collection of Dr. McNinja stories, so while it’s not necessary to understand this story, it’s really useful if you go read the others. These previous stories are all collected as graphic novels and on the Dr. McNinja webcomic site, so you can always go read them there. This collection is all about time travel and dinosaurs, and it’s not in the idea that Dr. McNinja goes back in time, but forward. There’s also clones and cyborg action stars, along with Ben Franklin’s clone, who was Dr. McNinja’s teacher.
That’s another thing about Dr. McNinja, his world is really a fun place that you sort of want to live in, but what beats out the world is the cast, literally and figuratively they beat the world. McNinja’s got his family, friends, and enemies, and no two are alike. I love whenever Doc’s dad, Dan, says something (his mustache is so impressive it goes through his ninja mask). Even minor throwaway (sometimes literally) villains get to have funny, unique moments.
Beyond the characters being able to have their own quirks, the story is wonderfully complex in how weird things can get. What starts out as pirates kidnapping the Doc, turns into a mad man’s plot for vengeance with clones. When a time traveling astronaut shows up, it turns into a fight to save an alternate timeline from the wiping out of humanity by laser gun wielding dinosaurs.
Hastings also has some great artwork that is enhanced beautifully by Anthony Clark’s color work. Hastings has this skill to make just a wide eyed stare have all the meaning necessary to get a joke across. Seeing the Doc give a goofy stare along with the dialog, you know exactly how it needs to be said out loud. When your main character and several others only have their eyes to emote, that’s the best skill to have. The artwork is great at conveying the action, and the colors are vibrant for a world that’s filled with so many amazing things.
One of my favorite parts from the series is the alt-text Hastings leaves with each page. Sometimes they are there to point out something weird, or he adds to the joke by giving you more information. These are at the bottom of the page so you don’t have to worry about spoiling the alt-text too early. This is a series that can actually get me laughing at just a character’s reaction shot, and then the alt-text comes in as a one-two punch of gags and I’m laughing uproariously.
If you can’t tell, this is a great book and a great series overall. If you like absurd comedy formed into a cohesive plot, then this is for you. If you like ninjas, or dinosaurs, or grand adventure, then this is for you. It’s a fun series, and it knows it is a weird world and revels in it. Do yourself a favor and get this book, go to the site, fall in love and fill a void in your life with a ninja that is also a doctor.