(Austin Tinius, Robert Salinas, Andrew Whyte, Ilaria Bramato, Stefano Cardoselli, Antonio Brandao, Cecilia Latella)
Every once in a while you come across a book that is so bug-fuck crazy that it fills the rest of your week with pure, unabashed, goofy, knee-twitching glee. Doctor Muscles: Journal One is one of those books. Reading Doctor Muscles is a wild ride: lurching suddenly, hurtling through ambiguity, dropping dangerously into gibberish then soaring into straightforward nutzo. It's fantastic fun and works in a cleansing way to undermine all your pretense and snootery.
What Austin Tinius and Robert Salinas have crafted in Doctor Muscles is a box filled with all of those old adventure stories you read as a kid, wrapped brightly in every single issue of Heavy Metal Magazine ever published. The story revolves around "the smartest man in Philadelphia, Dr. Arthur E. Muscles" who, through some totally random, completely impossible "science event" is rocketed into another dimension that may not be another dimension at all, but rather Hell. Or maybe it is another dimension's Hell? Or maybe it is none of these things at all, but just another planet? Who knows? Whatever! It doesn't matter because no matter where Dr. Muscles ends up, it's all AWESOME!
Muscles teams up with some rat-like creature named Mickey (not to be confused with that mouse with a similar name) and they go on a quest. Or is it an adventure? Or is it a holy mission? Are they trying to get Muscles home? Are they trying to save the planet? Are they trying to destroy the devil? Fuck it, who cares, it's AWESOME!
I mean, really, I loved this book.
Of course, it ain't a comic book if there ain't some art. There are five different artists on this book and, while it is all of note, what really struck me was the work of Stefano Cardoselli . His work only added to the insanity of this book. Cardoselli is actually a contributor to Heavy Metal, and you can feel that vibe in what he does with Muscles. It's all slightly off kilter, with his line choices adding angles to propel the story forward, but it is his use of color that really makes the whole thing pop. His palette is the stuff of the PCP dream sequences in The Avenging Disco Godfather. I kid you not. Cardoselli should be drawing all the comics.
And it's AWESOME! Doctor Muscles is crap in your pants insanity that is the perfect antidote for dreary thinking and too tight shoes.