Saturday, March 15, 2014
Invisible Dick revived
As mentioned on this blog last week (and covered in more detail on the Down The Tubes blog) the Glasgow League of Writers have been given permission by DC Thomson to revive several of their old adventure characters for a project outside of Thomsons. The first of those revivals, a revamping of Invisible Dick, was previewed yesterday in the digital comics news mag Comic Review No.7.
To avoid any innuendoes, the story is now simply titled Invisible. Written by Gary Chudleigh and drawn by Graeme Kennedy, the six page preview begins the tale of young Rick Dickson, who is bullied at school and suddenly discovers he has the ability to turn himself invisible. We learn that his father also had those abilities due to a magic bottle. This seems to be a nod to the original Invisible Dick from Rover in 1922 and the Dandy version of 1937, rather than the later 1960s Sparky version who used a torch to turn other things invisible. However, don't expect any strict continuity references. This is inspired by, rather than related to, any previous versions.
The story uses the slower pacing of modern comics, rather than the tight scriptwriting of the classic version. It's also very centred around the character of Rick himself, again using the modern technique of the hero narrating everything in floating captions. This may disappoint older readers expecting something closer to the old strip, but presumably the creators are trying to appeal to a new audience. That makes sense, as some older readers have already gone online to say they won't read digital comics. Which is ironic, considering they use the Internet to post those views, and are happy enough to read free scans of old comics. (Admittedly it'd be crazy to spend £200 on an iPad Mini solely to read comics, but a tablet has many more uses than that of course.)
The artwork of Invisible seems a bit raw in places. It's engaging enough, and easy to follow what's going on, but there are some inconsistencies in perspective (such as a window and the door that are built into the same wall having two different vanishing points). Things like that become a little distracting unfortunately.
However, it'd be unkind to be too critical of the strip. These old characters would not be revived at all without the enthusiasm of these creators. There are too few British adventure strips around these days, so I wish The Glasgow League of Writers all the best in this venture. Next Friday, Comic Review will publish another preview of a different strip. I'm already intrigued to see what we get.
To access the Invisible strip you'll need to download the free Comic Heroes app, and then buy Comic Review No.7 for 99p. The digital magazine also features lots of other comic previews plus, as the name suggests, many comic reviews.