Dr. Grordbort Presents: Victory (Dark Horse)

grordbort-header.jpgWeta Workshop artist Greg Broadmore crafts a vibrant send-up of old pulps and sci-fi in "vol. 127" of this series promising "scientific adventure violence for young men & literate women."




64 pgs. FC; $19.95 hardcover

(W / A: Greg Broadmore)


Dr. Grordbort Presents: Victory — Scientific Adventure Violence For Young Men & Literate Women Vol.127 is probably the coolest book that I have seen this year. It’s a collection of original background material, comic stories, short excerpts and posters based on a popular line of collectible ray-guns from Weta Limited but truly inspired by classic sci-fi books and magazines of the early 20th century. The writer and illustrator of the book, Greg Broadmore, works for Weta Workshop (the special effects company behind Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films) and has done design work for such movies as District 9, King Kong, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Though Dr. Grordbort Presents: Victory contains two short comic book stories, it is definitely not a graphic novel in the traditional sense. What Broadmore delivers instead is the complete backdrop for a universe reminiscent of old pulp science fiction magazines and books from the 1910s, 20s, and 30s, but with a modern sense of humor and cynicism. Broadmore shows true love and admiration for this past period of sci-fi while politely poking fun at the era’s campiness at the same time. It’s science fiction based more on fantasy than fact: the planet Venus has a livable habitat and, of course, nasty little aliens that the post-Victorian hero, Lord Cockswain, is allowed to obliterate at will. If you were ever a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs works like Princess of Mars or Pirates of Venus, you will probably appreciate much of the material in Victory.

Broadmore’s sense of art and design is intense and complete. Many of the illustrations in the book might remind you of covers from old pulp fiction magazines like Amazing Stories, but Broadmore’s imagination and talent as an illustrator go much deeper, and the result is more complex than anything you would have ever seen in that era. What I particularly loved were the early 20th century propaganda-style posters based on the Dr Grordbort universe. For the true retro-enthusiast, Broadmore even presents his "Compartmentalised Picture Essays," in which he presents the classic illustration technique of only illustrating in shades of brown and using red to highlight things like blood or explosions.

Dark Horse is getting this book out just in time for the holiday season. Good timing, too, as it would be perfect for anyone that likes comic books, science fiction, retroculture, humor, or just fun, plain and simple. If you are that weird person that no one ever knows what to buy for Christmas, go ahead and treat yourself to this one. | Ryan Parker

Click here for a 3-page preview, courtesy of Dark Horse.



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