In the spirit of bigging up things that probably don’t require it, this week on Webcomics Wednesday we’re looking at the New York Comic Con, specifically people who are going to be signing books there, specificallyer Chris Hastings and his The Adventures of Dr McNinja, an ongoing strip about a doctor who blah blah you get the idea.
Like all great heroes the doctor has a stupid and convoluted origin story. In 2003, while Hastings was a member of the Something Awful forums he posted under the name Dr McNinja, and shortly afterwards wrote a comic under the title “Dr McNinja vs McDonalds” involving an evil plot, a burger that makes children into ninjas, and farts. It’s fairly terrible, but suggests an active and creative mind behind the story, and surprisingly precise attention to detail in the artwork.
As for the character’s superhero origin, his parents are Dan and Mitzi McNinja, and he rejected their wishes for him to follow in the family business in order to gain his medical degree. This story, and the story of his family’s sacred holiday, Katanakka, are found here.
Since then, Dr McNinja has specialised in plotlines that can be summed up in a sentence or two – Dr McNinja finds a raptor in his office; Dr McNinja’s mentor at medical school was Ben Franklin’s clone; Dr McNinja takes on his arch-nemesis, an action hero from the 1980s – but the fun is in the execution. There are few other comics, web-based or otherwise, I can think of that have such a keen sense of how panels can be used to build a punchline, or how emotion can be so effectively expressed through a character whose face is never seen beyond his eyes and eyebrows.
For any fans in the New York area, Hastings will be signing copies of his book at the Dark Horse booth at New York Comic Con this Friday. For those who can’t make it, you can get his latest trade paperback here.
Got a favourite webcomic you’d like to see up here? Let us know in the comments.