SPSMSAIRI: Bud Colbert, Time-Travelin' Janitor

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

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I should probably not promise people reviews, as I promised to look at this comic book ages ago and never did. Anyway, now I've had the time to peruse it, and my verdict: it's generally pretty good.

I will say my heart sank when I saw the square speech bubbles and slightly subpar artwork on the first page...

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But it gets better. By the end of the book when our antihero has taken psychedelics and envisions himself being attacked by Mr. Magoo and Betty Boop, the drawing is at least good enough to draw me in.

Basically, the pitch here is Army of Darkness meets Hard Time on Planet Earth (Martin Kove TV show from the '80s - anyone else remember it?). For reasons I don't fully grasp, but which will presumably be made clearer if there are subsequent issues, people far in the future have created a time machine to bring forward Abkinzoc, an ancient Zapotec whose laws are now apparently the foundation of society. Instead, the machine captures Bud, a chain-smoking alcoholic janitor from 1961, who makes off with the time machine and finds himself back in Zapotec times, where he generally acts like an incompetent asshole, and once he realizes the talking ship's computer can replicate anything he wants, goes crazy with absurd requests, like a coconut shell that can teleport anything under it into outer space, and of course a never-empty beer.

Bud is pretty obviously inspired by Ash, but he's even less heroic, and older and more prejudiced. It's fun to follow his antics because he's as selfish as he is oblivious and apparently indestructible, wantonly destroying the present by messing up the past.

Also interspersed throughout the comic are by-now-standard parodies of older comic ads and PSAs - the obligatory X-Ray Specs come-on, and a jokey series of panels encouraging kids to dangerously play with electrical outlets. Some of them have better artwork than the main story. I feel like it might have been funnier to take this joke all the way, and have a more retro-feel to the illustrations, but I understand that on a budget, certain hallmarks of the computer creative process will show through.

Bud Colbert should be available at comic stores in May. LYT says check it out.

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