Lovefool 03.04.13 | Ninja Love

Combine a doctor and a ninja and whaddya get? Action, comedy, and maybe a little bit of the warm fuzzies, courtesy of Christopher Hastings’ The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.

 

 

Oh, nerdlings, I am sorry. I up and vanished for two weeks with nary a word and that’s kind of bad form, isn’t it? One week, I was sick because it’s winter and I am, apparently, a delicate flower. But the next week I was…well, I was off doing that thing where I do something that changes quite a lot about my life but I can’t tell anyone about it until all the stars align just right AND KEEPING SECRETS KILLS ME and, anyway, JG,FE said he would write a column for me and then didn’t, the liar. [I had stuff to do! And things! So many things. –JG,FE] So, really, I think I can only be held responsible for slacking off the one week. But this week, to make up for my lack of content the last few weeks, I have something delicious for you.
 
Have you thanked your family for not raising you as a ninja and then frowning on the medical degree that you decided to get? No? Because that’s weird? Too right it is. And that’s before all the dinosaurs get punched. I bet that Christopher Hastings, the creator of the ridiculously funny The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, is an interesting cat. I also have a hunch that Dr. McNinja was created over a long weekend with a bunch of beer or some other substance because it’s weird. It is truly, truly weird, but in a really good way, which is how you know it’s really weird.
 
It’s pretty much what it says on the tin. Dr. McNinja is Irish, obsessed with Batman, and a practicing doctor and ninja, which occasionally leads to some conflicts of interest. He has parents named Mitzi and Dan and a ridiculous little brother with some ridiculous ninja name that he’s picked for himself who speaks mostly in terrible teenage suburban rap patois when he’s initially introduced. Along the way, he picks up Gordito, a teenage dinosaur-riding bandit that the McNinjas adopt as one of their own. And they’re all adorable and vaguely dysfunctional and I like to think that I can recognize that special brand of love there. In fact, the McNinjas make me miss my family a great deal. My family used to tell me to go to school so they didn’t get in trouble, too.
 
Familial love is such a tricky thing to capture. Dan blows up the entrance to their secret cave compound when he thinks that rival ninjas might attack their family and, in an alternate universe, dives into a dinosaur to save his wife. He doesn’t dive in to save her from dying, but rather goes in to save her from dying in vain, which is way more important to a ninja. When he fakes his death for five years, Mitzi eventually figures it out because her new boyfriends keep mysteriously disappearing. Sean and Dr. McNinja save the world, and each other, in an alternate timeline. Sean helps Gordito adjust to school and train, treating him like just another bro, basically. Dr. McNinja saves his family several times, despite the fact that they tend to treat him like he’s a twerp most of the time and, in return, his parents shamelessly meddle in his life, trying to convince him to get back together with his ex-girlfriend.
 
It’s all vaguely wholesome and brightly colored, like watching a sitcom after a hazy weekend that makes you want to hug your partner or call home just to check up on people. Despite the gore and alternate timelines and the thing with the mustaches, there’s still the occasional shot of warm and fuzzies. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja feels a lot like a clever, loving homage to Calvin’s Spaceman Spiff that feels like it borrows from the ridiculous rantings of a bunch of drunk sci-fi geeks on the weekends after one too many games of Arkham Horror. But, once you take away the giant lumberjacks and ninja holidays, it also just kind of feels like the story of a dude dealing with his job and his goofy family and the occasional accidental trip through time and space, which anyone who has spent regularly scheduled time with their family as adults and has a lost weekend or two under their belts can identify with. | Erin Jameson
 
Read The Adventures of Dr. McNinja online at drmcninja.com, or in print courtesy of Dark Horse!

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