The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt #1
- Words: Frank Candiloro
- Art: Frank Candiloro
- Inks: Frank Candiloro
- Publisher: Franken Comics
- Price: $4.00 AUD
- Release Date: May 29, 2011
Posted by Andy Oliver on May 31, 2011
One of the great joys of small press/self-published comics is the obvious freedom they allow creators to indulge themselves in projects that may not seem immediately viable in a commercial sense yet, artistically, deserve their moment in the spotlight. Australian small press offering The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt is one such book; a glorious homage to German Expressionist film that combines a love for its influences with an accomplished sense of graphic design.
Set in a futuristic city that owes much to the imposing, dystopic civilisation of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 film Metropolis, this first part of two chapters of The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt sets up a story of betrayal, revenge, and the cruel whims of twisted fate. In an alternate 1914, in the steam-powered “utopia” of Metullistadt City, the young inventor Doktor Zeitpunkt is horrified to discover the city’s leaders announcing the development of a device that ensures clean and safe energy for all.
This energy generator proves to have been of Zeitpunkt’s own design, appropriated and claimed as his own by his one-time idol, the scientist Dr. Burton Tuknupteiz. Vowing revenge for the theft of his intellectual property, Zeitpunkt enlists his robotic aide Ora in a scheme that will settle the score with his treacherous nemesis…
For movie aficionados, The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt is an obvious love letter to the German Expressionist films of the 1920s and ‘30s. Creator Frank Candiloro’s visuals are full of sequences that hearken back to the work of directors like Robert Wiene and Fritz Lang - from the opening scenes that play on the imagery of Metropolis to the layouts depicting Zeitpunkt’s shock at Tuknupteiz’s betrayal that replicate the abstract, surreal sets of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Although the plot itself is somewhat slight in this first instalment, the true strength of this book is in its execution as a piece of graphic design. Perhaps it’s Candiloro’s background in animation, or maybe his enthusiasm for the classic material he draws his influence from, but whatever his muse, Doktor Zeitpunkt is a beautifully constructed work visually. His clear, angular linework, and black, white, and grey presentation, is reminiscent throughout of a golden age of pioneering cartoons.
My only reservation with this opening part is that the dialogue could possibly have been a little stronger if Candiloro had played up the melodrama to a greater degree, but that’s a small gripe. The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt was originally intended to be an animated work and it would be intriguing, indeed, to see it eventually presented in that medium. Reverently translating the sensibilities of a classic era of cinema to the comic strip form with both charm and respect, this is a comic that is a testimony to the wonderful diversity and opportunities of the small press.
For details on how to order Frank Candiloro's The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt online check out his website here.
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