Overview

Super Bad James Dynomite #1

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Super Bad James Dynomite #1

Credits

  • Words: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Keenan Ivory Wayans, et al
  • Art: Robert Reed and Darren Huang
  • Inks: Robert Reed and Darren Huang
  • Colors: Robert Reed and Darren Huang
  • Story Title: Super Bad James Dynomite
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jan 11, 2006

Led by little brother Marlon, the Wayans clan brings their unique brand of humor to the world of comics in the form of a 1970’s blaxploitation film.

New York, 1972. The streets are overrun with pimps and pushers. The cops can’t do anything to help the common man. So it’s all up to one man, Super Bad James Dynomite, idol to children and lover of women (white and black), to clean up the streets…and his new gators. Certain that there is a major drug deal going down, Super Bad James walks the streets, going through the usual channels to catch his man. But most importantly, Super Bad James Dynomite makes sure he looks good, and everything is done with a sense of style.

If you’ve seen any recent Wayans produced, directed, and/or written spoof/farcical comedy (Scary Movie 1 and 2, White Chicks), then you’ll be properly prepared for this book. And if you really enjoyed those movies, there’s a good chance you’ll really enjoy this book. The jokes come out at a pace that seems almost faster than what they got away with in their films. The introduction may run a little long, but it’s filled with great lines and character scenes that make it worth it. The characters are barely more than caricatures of blaxploitation archetypes, and they are given plenty of chances to show it. The only problems here are when they try to directly translate and lose something in the process. The 3rd person narration is completely unnecessary. If this was a film it would be done with a famous deep voice like Isaac Hayes or Barry White, but in comics it’s a little flat. Also, the opening scene is screaming to have music in the background, and the callout to the Shaft theme song only serves to reinforce its absence.

It’s a funny thing with the artwork on this book. The artwork is at times sloppy, mismatched, lacking in details, and overly cartoonish. In most instances, I would deride this type of artwork as lazy. But in the case of this book, it works perfectly. The images can obviously be noted as two dimensional overlays, which works perfectly because the characters themselves are only two dimensional. The interesting decision to use a painted style for the faces is inspired and allows the art team of Robert Reed and Darren Huang to fully utilize Marlon Wayans as the model for the main character. It also helps them to marry the important film elements to the comic book format and eases the transition for the other creators. They manage to keep pace with the verbal gags of the writers, and despite a real lack of detail, they go out of their way to match the verbal gags with their own visual ones.

Most crossover creators only get into comics so that they can work on their favorite superheroes. It’s nice to see some of them getting into it to tell their own stories. It remains to be seen whether or not this is a story that needed to be a comic, but being a Wayans Production, at least I’ll be laughing.

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