Indie Comicstravaganza: The Devastator
The Devastator is a new quarterly magazine aiming to be the parody book of choice for nerds in the know. That’s what I glean from their first issue, at least. For a first issue it certainly has lofty ambitions, fitting into its inaugural issue’s slim page count among other things some parody slash fic starring Popeye and Bluto, a David Malki! parody of Inspector Gadget, and a faux “How to Read Manga” tutorial that fairly well eviscerates manga readers.
I really wish the Devastator lot well, they could have the chance to be a version of Mad Magazine that speaks more to our particular niche of society (as opposed to the mass-market shotgun Mad needs to be to stay on newsstands across the country). From a couple of the pieces in their first issue, they may need to just get out of their own way a bit and let the funny come naturally.
There’s a piece that lists forty one-liners Wolverine might use (“This contract could use some new claws-es”, etc.) that is fairly well done, and the Fat Albert/Dumb Donald slash fic hits my funny bone square on. But there’s a parody of Hanna Barbara propaganda that strays a bit too far into actually being political commentary to actually be satire. That one piece tries a bit too hard and falls a bit shy of the mark, but overall the direction of the book is solid. There’s a “Toon MZ” piece playing as a cartoon version of TMZ that does well, but will serve as the ultimate test of these editors. If they see it as a funny one-off, more power to them. If they try to go to that particular well again it probably doesn’t have enough legs to go the distance.
Time will tell on The Devastator, but I think they’ve got the ambitions, skills, and sense to make it work. This is a market that could use serving, and The Devastator looks primed and ready to please.