The subtitle for It Came!, the new sci-fi spoof series from Titan Comics, written and illustrated by Dan Boultwood, gives you an excellent idea of the flavor of humor contained within: “Something is coming round for afternoon tea… and it isn’t the vicar!” The flavor is unmistakably Earl Grey, with a hefty dollop of spirits added for good measure. Imagine if Monty Python had created a sci-fi comic book and this might be the result. In fact, I kept expecting the Colonel to break in from the sidelines and pronounce the whole thing as “too silly.”
The plot is a pure, unadulterated celebration of B-movie science fiction and contains daffy versions of the quintessential characters. We have our cleft-chinned, gin-soaked hero; his buxom, red-headed, straight-line provider sidekick; and, of course, the giant robot villain which looks a bit like it ought to be pin-wheeling its arms and shouting “Danger, Will Robinson!”
The action opens with the invasion of a tranquil English village by our alien contraption, much to the consternation of a local agrarian, who lets fly with a hearty, “Bleedin’ ‘ell!” Several days later, our dynamic duo stumbles across this now singularly abandoned town during a country drive, and proceeds to sort out the rampaging robot temporarily with a bit of bunting from a fete. In issue #2, the destructor has managed to disentangle itself and the army is called in for further hijinks and bumbling hilarity.
The humor here is first-rate and flip-flops smoothly and effortlessly between the subtle, quirked eyebrow and the shamelessly bawdy slapstick. The artwork is very good, done in a sort of a cleaned-up Dick Tracy-esque form. It’s black-and-white throughout, which works well with the old-movie-reel feel of the comic, yet an occasional full-colored page à la Lichtenstein would have added punch. There were even a series of ad spoofs in the “intermission,” one hearkening back to the days when cigarette ads were allowed ubiquitously. The only thing missing was the dancing hot dog of drive-in movie fame announcing “five minutes until show time,” but that would most likely be the American version.
The story, however, will need to add some more complexity if it is to carry future issues. I do, though, have every confidence that as this series develops it will progress from being a “good show, old chap” all the way up to being the “dog’s bollocks.” [subscribe2]