Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen #1 (Oni Press)

tekheader Witness the battle for truthiness, justice, and the American way in this real comic based on a fake novel by everyone's favorite fake news pundit.

 

 The cover to Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #1. Click thumbnail for a larger image.

32 pgs FC; $3.99

(W: John Layman, Tom Peyer, and Jim Massey; A: Scott Chandler and Robbi Rodriguez)

 

Quickly, dear reader, radioshower, lasershave, autodress and get yourself to the store to pick up the first issue of Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen comic book. Think that's too much technobabble? Maybe, but in this book, it's just the tip of the ridiculous dialogue iceberg.

 

Let's back up. This book is about Tek Jansen, the main character of Stephen Colbert's sci-fi epic novel. If you haven't heard of the novel, you're not alone. It's a recurring gag on Colbert's Comedy Central show The Colbert Report. So basically the Tek Jansen comic is a spinoff of a novel that doesn't exist and the title character is the alter-ego of a fake news pundit.

 

While the concept of a sci-fi comic targeted at Colbert fans seems like an absurd attempt to fill up the Comedy Central coffers with nerd cash, this book is way too good to be written off as a marketing ploy. Fans of his show know about Colbert's nerdy side (he's a D&D expert, for real). And fans of sci-fi know how ridiculous it can sometimes get. In this book, the authors go for the ultimate crossover, doing to comics what Colbert does to the news.

 

The 1-in-4 variant cover by John Cassady. Click thumbnail for a larger image.It's no wonder the crossover works. The first story in this issue is written by John Layman (Army of Darkness vs. Marvel Zombies) and Tom Peyer (Simpsons Comics). Those two cram a lot of jokes into just a few pages. From ludicrous futuristic terminology (chronotime, holodrink, President Lincolniac-7) to bizarre characters (a flying female brain, green goo-covered skeletons, a radioactive robot monkey), Layman and Peyer lampoon everything that makes campy science fiction great. There's also a funny and compelling story and good looking art, courtesy of Scott Chandler.

 

After the first story comes a second, non-continuing tale done by Jim Massey and Robbi Rodriguez (the pair behind the Oni Press series Maintenance). While shorter and slightly less funny, the second story is still a fun read.

 

Overall, Tek Jansen succeeds in a world where many TV, movie or video game spinoffs fail. The writers don't take the subject seriously, or maybe they take it too seriously. Either way, Tek Jansen embraces and celebrates its ridiculousness, which fans of sci-fi comics and fake news alike have probably already done. | Gabe Bullard

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