September 10, 2009

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The Dada Detective Volume 1

Written by Dave Milloway and Matt Wood
Illustrated by Stephanie Freese
Self-published

As we approach the Small Press Expo (aka the only comics convention Rob has ever attended, believe it or not), I thought it might be useful to post some reviews of things my wife and I got at last year's SPX.

For those who've not been to SPX, the best part is getting to interact with creators of comics and zines on a level that would be difficult at a larger convention. It was quite fun getting to meet the creators behind this series, and talk a bit about the work. Freese even drew a little image on each of the two volumes we picked up.

It's a shame that there won't be anymore of this webcomic, which ended shortly after SPX, because the concept is hysterical.

The Dada Detective Agency gets a new client in the form of a talking mime who's lost her pet duck. Our mime suspects foul play. If that's not enough to hook you right there, then don't bother reading any further because it just gets sillier from here.

Written in 3-panels per "day" ala Dick Tracy, the story continues, taking all sorts of absurd twists and turns in the true spirit of Dada. A mad scientist gets incredulous at the idea of a duck detector, but has a leming detector on his desk. There's a mime mafia, and bags of money literally hit people on the head.

Oh, and a classic Hollywood horror/noir stooge makes an appearance as a supporting character as well, as one of the suspects. Why? Because everyone always suspects him.

As the first book comes to a close, some suspicious cops run the world's oddest good-cop/bad-cop routine and our mime questions the Dada Detective's nieve apperance.

What happens next? That's for volume two to (somewhat) answer.

The charm in this series is the combination of visual gags (a dead body hidden in feathers) and bad puns (a mime field) that keep the reader entertained and wanting to see what silly gag is coming up next. There is a true spirit of absurdity in the plotting of this story that I think the original Dada artists would have appreciated.

Those who like send-ups of detective stories should really enjoy this aborted series and pick it up if they're able to find a copy.