by Paul Collicutt
“Welcome to Robot City — the metal metropolis that never rusts! Here, highly developed robots are part of everyday life, living and working in harmony with humankind. The city that never rusts . . . is rusting! The well-loved robotic dance troupe, the Automettes, has been struck down by rust, and who else would they call on but Robot City Confidential Investigations — the city’s premier private detective agency? Detectives Rod and Mike smell a rat. Can they track down the villain and find a cure before rust panic spreads? This thrillpacked graphic novel will grip readers with its action, adventure, and humor.”
Hmmmm. That’s what I thought after finishing this one. Sure, I may not be able to put myself squarely in the “perfect for boy readers of 8 plus” demographic that the press release talks about, but then again, based on the content, the dialogue and the gags, neither can Paul Collicutt either. I didn’t find it thrillpacked, and I really don’t think there’s enough here to grab an average 8+ boy either. It never really took off on the fun filled adventure I felt it really wanted to be. The Robot and human private detective angle is nice enough, allowing for some flashes of funny dialogue, but the whole film noir gumshoe voiceover style of the dialogue may well be referencing something the average 8-10 year old boy just doesn’t recognise. Nice for me perhaps, but not for the younger audience.
In many ways this just smacks of a publisher doing the old favourite of “quick, graphic novels are popular, didn’t we get a submission for a graphic novel series a while back?” method of publishing. Because I could give a long list of comic creators in the UK more worthy of publishing than Collicutt’s Robot City Adventures.
(There’s some nice retro-futuristic touches in Collicut’s art, and a nice gag here and there, but not enough to excite either me or the 8+ year old boy I tried to be as I read it. From Rust Attack, Templar Publishing)
But I really don’t like being quite so negative, so here are a few nice things about Robot City Adventures.. the art shows occasional signs of some nice touches. Reminiscent of Dean Motter or Michael Lark in parts, with it’s sparse layouts and figure work, and with the Robot City architecture. And there are some nice bits of comedy dialogue, which may well fly right over the heads of it’s intended age range, but had me smiling at least.
But all in all, it just left me feeling very hmmmm. There’s very little here to justify it being given a nice book publisher release, especially not when there’s much better work around. Of course, I could be completely missing the appeal here, as like I said, I’m far from the 8 year plus boy target market, but when I was a lad I doubt this would have had me crying out for more.