Has anyone ever wondered if Dennis the Menace and Johnny Bravo teamed up and became superheroes? It would be a disaster of unbelievable and idiotic proportions, and that’s what we get with Crimson and Rascal #1.
Crimson and Rascal #1 is cute, funny, and quite entertaining, but suffers from the same problems that most humour-centric comic books do. The comic tries to invoke a meta-humour that has a few flat notes.
Comedy of Errors: The Story of Crimson and Rascal
Crimson and Rascal #1 is an Australian indie comics self-published by Peter Wilson. Wilson’s entire comic book is auteured, from the story, plot, writing, and art.
The story follows the (mis)adventures of two heroes - Crimson Crusader and Red Rascal. Crimson carries the usual “Superman” set of powers, especially super strength. Rascal, on the other hand, is a boy genius and a mechanical wizard.
Two alien races, The Greys and The Greens, are fighting amongst themselves and the city is becoming a battleground for their antics. Both superheroes try to resolve their dispute, only for it to backfire with the two aliens working together.
Missed By A Hair: The Writing of Crimson and Rascal #1
Crimson and Rascal #1 is a short comedy story that works similar to a Sunday newspaper comic strip. The comic book is funny at some points but has a few problems going for it. I’m not sure if it’s my way of reading it or it’s the writing that has a problem.
From how Wilson wrote the story, Crimson and Rascal seems to work under the same premise as many ‘90s comedy cartoons.
Crimson Crusader was reminiscent of ‘90s cartoon characters like Major Glory, The Tick, and Johnny Bravo. Red Rascal, on the other hand, is a mix of Batman, Dexter and Dennis the Menace.
Whilst I feel like Wilson is not trying to invoke these characters; I’m not sure either if the entire story is an homage to the genre. Even then, there’s a reason they’re comedy archetypes.
The dumb muscle and smart child combo has been a comedy trope since time immemorial. Whilst it can still be funny, the execution of the humor for these types of stories is razor thin.
Wilson tried his best to keep the story funny. In all fairness, it has its points of “knee slapper” comedy that is truly enjoyable. Even then, I must admit that it has its points where the comedy falls flat.
For starters, the interactions between Crimson and Rascal feel contrived. They don’t feel like comrades but rather two people who saw each other on the street. It doesn’t even feel like they treat the other as their sidekick.
Crimson has a problem with too much simplicity. Even Johnny Bravo, a muscular idiot extraordinaire, can interact with others. Crimson fails at this spectacularly, which makes him miss a good chunk of the punchline.
Rascal is smart and knows how to interact with the other characters. Even then, he has a problem dealing with how Crimson reacts. Once Crimson lets the situation go, he enables him further, which turns the supposed joke into a headscratcher.
Art So Good You Can See It Animated: The Art of Crimson and Rascal
What Crimson and Rascal #1 lacks in comedic purpose, it makes up for its art and art production. It’s hard to believe that Peter Wilson singlehandedly pencilled and inked the entire comic. His art arsenal is fantastic, to say the least.
The panelling makes it smooth to read, akin to the flow process used by stories like Archie. The action is palpable and alive, and the reactions are easy to understand. The design is also clean, which makes it enjoyable to read.
Whilst I’m no graphic artist, I’m proud to say I love comics and comic book art. It’a always a joy to read a comic book with good form. There’s nothing to complain about the art at all.
If anything, the entire comic book will look good with colour on it. The cover image proves that the art works well with crisp and vivid colours. It makes up for whatever errors there are with the writing.
I would even admit that the art style will work with full-blown animation. It will work, and it’s easy to imagine that it will work due to Wilson’s style.
Should You Read Crimson and Rascal #1?
Should you read Crimson and Rascal #1? Whilst I would admit that it’s not a must-read similar to Killnowski or Bazza, it is nice, short introduction to what Peter Wilson is capable of.
There is another chapter to this story, so Wilson has more chances to show what he’s got. It’s a great comic - flawed but is beautiful in its own right.
Is this a great resume for Peter? Quite so.
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