Thursday, July 24, 2003

Dork Tower #23 - A Review

Written by: John Kovalic
Penciled by: John Kovalic
Inked by: John Kovalic
Colored by: N/A
Lettered by: John Kovalic
Editor: John Kovalic
Publisher: Dork Storm Press

The Cover? A parody of “The Matrix: Reloaded”, about two months too late to be topical.

The Plot? Character development of a character who needs no depth… and indeed, gets little depth added to her.

The end result? Not up to the usual standard, but still amusing on the whole.

For those of you who haven’t had the good fortune to discover it, John Kovalic’s “Dork Tower” is the most consistently funny comic book to deal with the subject of fandom. Gamers (of the video AND dice-rolling variety) are the most common focus, but science-fiction TV shows and even sports are addressed through the dorks and geeks making up the cast.

The book’s continuing plot for the past few months has centered around the romantic triangle between gamemaster/cartoonist Matt; Kayleigh ( his on-again/off-again girlfriend from Hell, who mocks all his hobbies) and Gilly ( a perky Goth girl who is seemingly Matt’s perfect woman).

To make a long story short, Matt and Gilly met about two minutes after Matt got back together with Kayleigh way back in Issue #13. This after months of “almost” meeting each other. Matt and Gilly fell instantly in love but the whole thing was shelved as the two tried to avoid each other after Matt said Gilly’s name instead of Kayleigh’s at the absolute worst moment. The past few issues have focused on individual characters dealing with the aftermath of the break-up and the end result is Matt is now ready to win back the woman he lost. To the dread of all his gamer friends, the woman in question is Kayleigh, and not Gilly.

This brings us to the current issue, where we find out a bit more about Kayleigh’s past after a not-to-subtle tribute to the writings of Stan Lee and a certain curmudgeon of an editor and I don’t mean our own Daron K. We find out the specifics of Kayleigh’s privileged background (daughter of an ambassador, school in Europe, etc.), how she is unsatisfied with her job as a small town newspaper writer compared to that of her doctor siblings and how she wants to make someone suffer for her miserable life. Naturally, this leads to her calling Matt and asking him out to go clubbing that night. He accepts, and as the issue closes his friends move into action and arrange to get Gilly into the same club that night.

Kovalic fumbles the ball a bit here. Kayleigh has always acted as a one-note, shallow example of everything negative in women that fanboys put up with for in exchange for a little feminine attention and has worked well in that role. It is not impossible or unwanted for her to be developed past that but all the attempts to develop Kayleigh into a three deminsional character in the early half of the issue seem a bit pointless since by the end of the comic she is back to being the evil plotting shrew out to change Matt into a non-geek or make him miserable.

Still, many of the past “character” issues have been a bit slow on plot but built up to something very funny and poignant indeed. It is my hope, and indeed my belief, that we are building to something like that with this issue and that even though this issue was a bit light on the laughs (though I can relate to the scene of Kayleigh going to the liquor cabinet to get “important journalistic supplies”), that the next issue will be something special.

Until then, I shall content myself with the tri-weekly strips Kovalic posts at I advise you all to do the same as well. You have nothing to lose but your time and nothing to risk but the splitting of your sides.

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