You might not know that tomorrow is in fact Dungeon Fun Day, but if you’re a fan of fun comics like Adventure Time or cartoons like Regular Show, you need to mark the date in your diaries!
Neil Slorrance has been one of my favourite artists for a while now, winning me over with ridiculously cute and amusing comics such as How to be a Ghost: An Illustrated Guide, The Amateur Astronomer’s Journal, and A Sinking Night. And when Colin Bell isn’t busy contributing to Multiversity Comics, he’s also writing the popular webcomic Detective Space Cat.
Oh, and did I mention that this pair are the geniuses behind Jonbot Vs Martha?
THEY’RE TALENTED, is my point.
Dungeon Fun, which officially launches tomorrow in Glasgow and will be available at Thought Bubble this weekend (not to mention online here), is a 32 page full colour comedy-adventure comic that is suitable for all ages and recommended for anyone with a sense of humour.
This is a story of a girl and her sword…
Raised by trolls in the moat of a castle, Fun Mudlifter lives a life of boredom, until one day when adventure finds her and a sword plummets into her village. Setting off to confront the trolls responsible for the falling items that plague her and her neighbours, Fun begins an off-beat odyssey that encompasses jobsworth trolls, three-headed beasts, soothsaying shamans and headless barbarians, as she valiantly battles her way up through the dungeons to her final goal.
Given how much genuine laughter Jonbot Vs Martha managed to squeeze out of me on a regular basis, I knew going on that this was likely to be at least mildly funny. What I didn’t expect was the sheer outrageousness of the humour, from Monty Python-esque surrealism to cleverly sending up the dafter aspects of the dungeon and dragons adventuring genre.
Opening with a daft little gentle argument between knight and bridge troll – sorry, between knight and Jeff – page 4 is an absolutely perfect example of how to introduce a character in only five panels, yet have the reader know absolutely everything there is to know about said character. Mud arrives from above, falls into a pile of, well… mud, and is brought up by the inhabitants of Deepmoat.
And then things get really strange. But no spoilers, because you really need to read this firsthand to enjoy the rich diversity of characters and giggles that Dungeon Fun has to offer.
What really caught my attention with this book though was just how much I wanted to read more. I want to see more of these characters, find out what on earth the backstories for some of them could possibly be, and I want to see more of this wonderfully imaginative world. And I can’t help but think that it would make a terrific animated series as well.
Bell’s writing is a balanced mix of the silly and the intelligent, with numerous meta-touches that provide extra giggles on each read through. Kids will love the slapstick humour, and bigger kids like me love the little reveals throughout that “hah!” out loud.
Slorrance’s cute style has a wonderful innocence about it, and he has a great eye for facial expression even on such simply drawn characters. They are endearing, even when they are huge and scary with multiple heads – Cecil! – and the artist uses panel transitions with the confidence of someone who has worked his comic timing down to a tee.
I’m seeing a lot of people comparing it to Adventure Time, but don’t go in expecting the same sort of comic. Dungeon Fun is an adventuring tale for sure, and shares some of the psychedelic aspects of Finn the human and Jake the dog’s exploits, but the humour here is much more central to proceedings – it’s much more of a laugh out loud read. The deceptively simple artwork is possibly another point of comparison, but Dungeon Fun packs a much heavier emotional punch at times – often when you least expect it.
Sometimes it’s rather nice just to sit down and read a comic that is fun for the sake of being fun; a comic that is daft, cute, clever and produces genuine laughs and a great cast of characters for readers to want to hug.
Already picked as one of The Beat’s Recommendations for Thought Bubble 2013, I highly recommend picking up a copy. Because if you don’t enjoy it, I desperately need to hear from you.
I’ve never met anyone without a soul before
Dogooder Comics is a new small-press publisher committed to putting out original, visionary and entertaining comics from the UK’s brightest creators. Dungeon Fun will quickly be followed by two new books by wholly different creative teams in 2014, details of which will be announced shortly. More information can be found at dogoodercomics.co.uk and on Twitter @dogoodercomics.
Laura Sneddon is a comics journalist and academic, writing for the mainstream UK press with a particular focus on women and feminism in comics. Currently working on a PhD, do not offend her chair leg of truth; it is wise and terrible. Her writing is indexed at comicbookgrrrl.com and procrastinated upon via @thalestral on Twitter.