The Big Bad Book
- Words: Nikola Jajic
- Art: Sergio Giardo, Rick Hershey, Bob Cram, & Cliff Kurowski
- Publisher: Alterna Comics
- Price: $11.99
- Release Date: Feb 3, 2010
Posted by Eric Lindberg on Nov 30, 2009
An office drone is tormented by Thor and Loki as the Norse pantheon vies for control of an ancient book in this original graphic novel.
Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, has a secret—a sexual proclivity for animals. His foster brother Loki, the trickster, is determined to make a book detailing Thor’s perversions known to the world. In a wager overseen by the All-Father Odin, the duo must attempt to retrieve the book from an impartial mortal, a modern-day office worker named Jim. Disguised as a sinister clown and a talking monkey, Loki and Thor proceed to torture Jim in his dreams and in reality. Who will emerge the victor?
Writer Nikola Jajic describes his graphic novel, The Big Bad Book, as “Clash of the Titans meets Office Space.” It’s an apt analogy. The story juxtaposes the ancient and majestic world of classical mythology with the mundane one of ordinary, workaday mortals. At times, it’s an inspired combination. Jajic mixes the two styles in humorous ways, exposing the base and petty tendencies of the deities and the bureaucracy of godly life. We see Odin conducting a business meeting, Zeus signing movie deals, and a multi-pantheon committee overseen by Shiva (bearing a gavel in each of his many hands). These moments are very clever, giving us a glimpse at how the gods would adapt to the arena of business. One is left wanting more about the new corporate structure of Asgard and Olympus.
Unfortunately, the scenes in the mortal world do not fare quite as well. The characters come across as stereotypical and the script relies a bit too much on toilet humor. Granted, this continues the theme of the gods being as immature and petty as the rest of us but it feels a little over the top. Bodily functions are a frequent subject. Jim’s roommate, Josh, speaks in nothing but crude jokes and porno references. This reviewer is not a prude by any means but the book felt as though it was trying too hard to make the mythic source material lowbrow.
The art for each chapter is provided by different artists. Each of the pencilers is talented in his own right and delivers competent line work, gray-shaded textures, humorous facial expressions, and a blending of the mythic and contemporary. However, the constant switches lead to a few continuity problems and inconsistent appearances for the cast. Josh’s sideburns vary in length, Odin’s eye-patch comes and goes, and love interest Debbie becomes a noticeably different person in later chapters. To their credit, the creative team acknowledges this with a framing device of Loki narrating the story and calling attention to these mistakes in a comical way. Even so, the discrepancies are somewhat distracting.
The Big Bad Book has many fascinating and funny ideas about gods and mortals but its delivery of such is a little rough around the edges.
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