Evil Geek Book Report – Indie Spotlight: RoboChuck
We just paid the hell out of the electric bill Evil Geeks, so we’re legally allowed to flip on the Indie Spotlight again! For the past few years a battle unseen by human eyes has been playing out between classes of a society many of us glimpse every single day, yet we still have no clue of their existence. Scores of us have already chosen sides without even knowing it! Who are these conflicting social strata you ask? The clash I refer to is the one between traditional two-dimensional cartoons and their modern-day 3D computer generated successors. Today we’re delving into the burgeoning rift between old school and new school toons as we take a look at RoboChuck from creator Chris Callahan of TurtleBunny Productions.
Obsolescence. Something any technology must face down one day. No matter how cutting edge something may be when it’s initially created, someday it will be replaced by something newer, better, and more powerful. The same goes for forms of entertainment too. We don’t spend our nights huddled around the radio with our families any more or staring at a burning fire, praying to Baal that you weren’t the one sleeping closest to the entrance of the cave when a hungry bear came looking for a meal. No one can argue that some of the greatest cartoons ever created we’re traditionally animated by hand and not in 3D. We all grew up on Scooby-Doo, Looney Toons, Transformers, GI Joe, etc and to us those will always be the shit. Today though, toons like that are getting harder to find as kids lose interest because CGI cartoons are more popular. Whether we like it or not, someday those classic toons that we all remember will fall by the wayside, leaving the 3D toons to rule the land (until 4D cartoons are invented anyway). RoboChuck takes place in a world populated by children’s show characters, where the changing of the guard is just about complete and 2D toons are becoming second class citizens. The title character, RoboChuck, is the adopted son of Inksplat Magee, who is a legendary 2D character. Inksplat falls somewhere between Batman and Mickey Mouse, that he’s billed as the “World’s Greatest Detective”, yet looks like something that hopped out of Steamboat Willie. Since the 3D toons are firmly in control of the world, Inksplat and the rest of the 2D crowd are left to work at crappy low paying jobs, while the 3D folks are enjoying the spoils of social power. As a result of his poor economic status Inksplat has taken to dealing in stolen computer parts, which is strictly verboten in this world, as 2D toons are not allowed to possess computers. In Inksplat’s defense, the creator of the world Don Masshurter and many of the 3D toons are gargantuan jerks to the 2D toons, so maybe they’ve got a little bad luck coming their way. I’m just saying, I don’t want to see those 2D toons going down without a fight. RoboChuck is one of the few non-douche 3D toons, most likely owing to the fact that he’s been raised by 2D toon, and has taken an interest in following in his old man’s footsteps as a detective and the end of issue #2 finds him helping out a little 2D toon girl whose mother has been abducted.
I enjoyed my brief trip into the world of RoboChuck, as it offers up a fair dose of parody of many of the archetypes of modern pop culture; from Inksplat’s Batman-esque detective pedigree to the CGI toon company Piczar, Callahan (who handles both writing and artistic duties) has worked in satire at multiple levels. One character I really liked is Ballie; he’s basically a super twee send up of Wall-E, but whenever he isn’t making cutesy kids movies, he’s playing the part of the spoiled superstar who talks about himself in the third person like Ricky Henderson in a post-game interview. The city of Flattown, where RoboChuck lives, feels something like Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s an eclectic mix of 2D and 3D toons, offering plenty of opportunities for background characters to pop in steal the spotlight for a few sentences. The unique art style of the book kind of reminds me of Reboot; a welcome nostalgic throwback to earlier CG cartoons. Originally conceived as an animated film, but later adapted for a comic, RoboChuck seems poised to be able to poke fun at the big names in the animation business and I hope Callahan doesn’t hold back when it comes to pointing out the foibles of such giants as Disney and Pixar. You can pick up issue #1 of RoboChuck right now on Comixology with issue #2 to follow shortly. I highly recommend stopping by and checking it out. That’s all the Indie Spotlight we’ve got for today kiddies, make sure to stop by again real soon for another Evil Geek Book Report!
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