“Austin Tinius and Robert Salinas have created a comic that is as inventive as it is outlandish.”
This comic shouldn’t work. They use a different artist for each issue. The characters look a little different from one page to the next. They unapologetically create ridiculous scenarios that make no sense and then refuse to give any sort of reasonable explanation. They present a world which follows no distinguishable rules and then tell the reader to sit down, shut up, and accept it. The characters are nuts, the plot is nuts, and the premise is flawed. This comic shouldn’t work, but it does.
Somehow Doctor Muscles shines through its flaws. In fact it goes a step farther by taking these flaws and embracing them. Characters that start out as over-the-top and silly become beloved and endearing. Corny dialogue morphs, blends, and textures the landscape. On more than one occasion the comic began to remind me of the cult classics Evil Dead and Army of Darkness. It takes reality and bends it. When Doctor Muscles punches his fist through a guys head, or takes down a giant with its own tooth, you just stop questioning the improbabilities, you begin to accept this unreal reality, and when it’s gone, you miss it.
Doctor Muscles tells the story of Dr. Arthur E. Muscles the smartest man in Philadelphia, a brilliant scientific mind who inadvertently gets himself transported to another dimension, a place called Quargo, or as we later find out, Hell.
Once there, Muscle’s immediately begins looking for a way home and is willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Along the way we are introduced to a wide array of crazy creatures from pig-men to human sized talking bats, and of course there’s the Devil, who it turns out looks an awful lot like an outlaw cowboy, just in case you’re curious.
I’ll admit I started reading this comic with trepidation. There was a big part of me expecting the worst. Instead I discovered a really well written, surprisingly engrossing, completely insane story.
The credit for this kooky work of art has to rest squarely on the shoulders of Austin Tinius and Robert Salinas, these two guys have created a truly outlandish comic. Doctor Muscles is a feat. I’m not kidding. I’ve read so many independent comics, so many awful independent comics. On occasion I’ve been forced to consume the most pathetic and often idiotic attempts at originality. Reviewing comics requires reading comics and that isn’t always as much fun as it sounds, but every once in a great while you find a gem. Every once in a while you find someone who knows how to knock the ball out of the park. Maybe one out of a thousand independent comic book writers could have pulled this odd concept off. Tinius and Salinas took something strange and unique and preserved its strangeness, they nurtured it uniqueness and allowed it to flourish into this most peculiar and perfectly satisfying graphic tale.
I highly recommend reading Doctor Muscles. If you’re looking for some straight up, unadulterated, entertainment, this may be your lucky day.
Doctor Muscles: Journal One
Pages: 146 color – paperback
Story: Austin Tinius & Robert Salinas
Artwork: Andrew Whyte, Stefano Cardoselli, Antonio Brandao, Cecilia Latella and Ilaria Bramato
Cover: James Brunner
Pick up a copy for yourself over at Bogus Publishing
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