The Daily Read: 6/02

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Let’s be honest – in pop culture today, ninjas are everywhere. After all, what’s more generic, cheap and just plain easy-to-do than a ninja? But you don’t see many ninja doctors – until Dr. McNinja that is!

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja by Chris Hastings and Kent Archer is one of the most absurd and most hilarious superhero creations on the web. In addition to the great image of a masked ninja wearing a lab-coat, the character itself lies on polar ends of the super-hero motif – divided between the lethal stealth of the ninja and Hippocratic Oath (when it’s convenient or practical) of the doctor.  

Of course, this is to say nothing about the enemies Dr. McNinja faces, which are worthy of a super-hero, or at the very least, Dr.McNinja, including diseased lumberjacks, Ronald McDonald, and of course, pirates. If this sounds strange to you, it’s because Dr. McNinja bequeaths another part of the superhero genre – the over-the-top, the absurd, and the just downright amusing. From hallucinatory chickens and mid-90s hip-hop tangents to vampires and raptors, Dr. McNinja does it all with style and a far too convincing sense of clarity.

The black and white art is just as disarmingly simple as a well-placed katana, and every bit as effective. While some of the earlier strips are slightly rough in terms of art, the art never loses the sense of pacing or just plain coolness. Another great thing about Dr. McNinja is, while the stories are funny and over-the-top, they aren’t very bloody. While the eponymous McNinja might spill some blood here and there, it’s never done with the grotesque self-amusement less funny, and more bloody, strips employ.

Overall, the good Dr. McNinja is one of the funniest and engaging comic books online. It may be as far from traditional super-heroes as ninjas are from pirates, but it succeeds in using the Western style to hilarious and unexpected applause in nearly every page. And unlike most webcomics, the only hooks are the ones on the pirates, with laughter spilling wherever you least expect it.

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