Imagine every cheesy cop show drama you’ve ever suffered through, imagine Roger Moore style suave, bad acting his way through the set, just with more polyester, smelling of day old Old Spice and those horrible Cafe Creme cigars your dad used to smoke down the golf club. That’s What Derek Danger is like.
A low-budget James Bond, just funnier. And better drawn.
Dangeritis is Derek Danger’s first recorded adventure, a technicolour epic of farcical proportions, an odyssey of chaos, but a short epic, a mini odyssey, all over with in about 10 minutes of real time whilst Derek has pulled the Danger mobile (Reg plate D4N G3R) into the a service station for a few gallons of 2-star and grabs a quick microwave pie on the way out. But as befits a true man of danger, there are ninjas, bad-guys galore, throwing stars, kung-fu, instagram moments, a damsel in distress (sort of), kidnap, hard rocking hits that hit rock hard, and danger. Loads of Danger.
Danger with a capital D. D for Derek, D for Danger.
(Dangeritis page 1 – Robert Ball)
(Dangeritis page 2 – Warwick Johnson Cadwell)
This was one of those must buy books at November’s Thought Bubble, something I’d been looking forward to since seeing the pages come together slowly on the Dangeritis tumblr. As Mssrs Ball and WJC tell you, adopting their Dangeritis persona of Cadballs, this was something that started (like all bad ideas) in the pub. Despite their self-depreciation, despite referring to it thus; “Characterisation. Plot. Emotional engagement. The bedrock of dynamic storytelling. Just three of the things missing from Dangeritis”, the end result is actually something of a triumph, a magnificent thing, big and beautiful, stupid, playful, bright and brash.
Cadwell and Ball take a page at a time, Cadwell mostly doing the right hand pages, Ball the left hand. It’s all done with utter enthusiasm and vibrancy, a mad-cap adventure done with a real sense of freshness in the artwork, all in glorious technicolour and drawn big, 44 gorgeous A4 pages. There was always a question of whether two very different artistic styles would work together or whether Ball’s vector style illustrations would clash against Cadwell’s very loose, scratchy style but instead these differing styles compliment each other, working together so well. And yes, it does help that both artists are excellent.
With something that essentially has nothing but a skeleton plot of ‘Derek walks into service station, battles ninjas and bad-guys, rescues kidnapped girl, heads off into sunset, effortlessly-ish cool‘ keeping the actions going for nigh on 40 pages takes some doing, but my oh my they manage it so well, giving a masterclass of virtually silent action, breaking down motion and movement across panels and page, with nary a problem. Every page is a simple snapshot of time, breaking down moments with so much humour, so much action, so much genius, so much out and out fun. Brilliance.
And as an illustration of such, here’s 4 pages from Dangeritis…..
If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.