by Kek-W & Shaky Kane
A mystery kicks off Cap’N Dinosaur and a free fall into a silver age homage ensues. The main premise of the book involves characters and items from comic book ads of the 50’s and 60’s. This may seem like a goldmine of comedic material, however, the execution is rather lacking. It is a quick read that reenacts the quirkiness of silver age down in one comic.
Kek-W is an 2000 A.D. alumni whose premise is interesting. Kek-W brings the look and feel of the silver age and combines it with Sea Monkeys, Frankenstein masks, hypno coins, muscle shakes and baking soda submarines. The script is straightforward; a man dies in a mysterious way and Cap’N and his sidekick, Honey Moon, waste no time uncovering clues and eventually solving the case. Kek-W’s script ranges from the deadpan detective narrative to the maniacal voice of the evil for evil’s sake villain. Kek-W is not concerned with plot or character development, the primary focus is to entertain a nostalgic audience. There are plenty of sight gags and Easter eggs that add some fun to the story. A good premise doesn’t always equal a great story. The downfall of the book is that it requires readers to be closely familiar with both the ads and the dry deadpan tone of the books it’s attempting to parody. Readers not familiar or not fans of the silver age pulp style might not get the most out of the book. Readers who are familiar will get a kick out of the many references.
The art is pop art goodness. Shaky Kane is Michael Coulthard, who has worked on Deadline in the 1980’s and is also 2000 A.D. alumni. Kane’s most recent release is Image’s Because You’re a Robot. Kane captures the kitch spirit that is attempted by the script. The humorous art that was expertly executed in the pages of Robot can be found here as well. Kane is subtle with expressions, backgrounds and panel placement. Kane makes great use of bright primary colors which make the panels pop. The style is reminiscent of Andy Warhol and Mike Allred. The visuals were a major component to making this premise work and Kane nails it. Each mail order item is rendered nicely which makes spotting them a good part of the fun.
Cap’N Dinosaur puts plot and characterization to the side and uses as many sight gags, non sequiturs and nostalgic memorabilia instead. Cap’N Dinosaur may not be a book that everyone will enjoy, however, this parody book might bring a smile to fans of the simple, quick storytelling era. Readers who are silver age fanatics that are looking for a quick read that is heavy on style and decorative storytelling could do worse.