Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 151: Ninja's Can Be Doctors Too

*This is part 3 of 3 in my Web Comics series.

One of my favorite things on the internet are web comics. I'm a big fan of the comic medium, but I don't really read comic books regularly. It can be prohibitively expensive to keep up with them, and there are so many out there it's hard to know what to read. Most of the comics that my wife and I do read are ones that we've borrowed from friends. That's why I love web comics so much. They're free, (usually) update pretty regularly and a lot of them are as good, if not better, than most of what's in print right now.

The internet allows people to post their own material without first running it through a gauntlet of producers and editors who might change it into something they think people want. While that's not always a good thing occasionally it leaves you with something amazing that you never would have seen in a comic book store.

I really only follow four web comics regularly so I've decided to do a post about three of them (the fourth is kind of a tie-in).


For my final web comic post I'd like to highlight the first web comic I started following: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. It is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a ninja who's also a doctor, but it's also so so much more. Axe Cop is easy to describe by saying it's a comic written by a 5 year-old. When you tell people that they stop trying to make too much sense of anything else you tell them about the comic, but how do you fully explain the inner workings of a comic with a very similar story structure that was written by a grown man? (Incidentally Axe Cop and Dr. McNinja did a pretty awesome cross-over story arc) It's a well thought out level of ridiculousness that is never predictable, but never feels thrown together. It's a little like watching Arrested Development. A large part of the comedy comes from the absurdity and there are setups for jokes so far in advance that you can't help but believe there is some master plan behind all of the stories.

I can't seem to find the exact quote, but I remember reading an interview with Chris Hastings, creator, writer and artist of Dr. McNinja, where he said he tries to imagine what his 8 year-old self would think was cool and then he creates a world where that is possible. With that in mind allow me to introduce you to a few key characters in the story.

Dr. McNinja comes from a family of ninjas who don't try to hide their disappointment in his decision to dedicate his life to healing other people. It goes against their nature as ninjas and is sometimes a conflict for Doc.

Gordito is Doc's 13 year-old Mexican bandito sidekick with a sweet mustache. He currently lives with the McNinjas.

Judy is Doc's gorilla receptionist. She now has a kitten named Ice Cream Cake.

Yoshi is Doc's Velociraptor and trusted steed. He tried to eat Ice Cream Cake.

King Radical is Doc's most hated enemy. His goal in life is to make everything more awesome, which doesn't sound so bad, but he's really kind of a dick about it.

Mayor Chuck Goodrich is a former astronaut and current mayor of Cumberland, MD where Doc resides (every time I see anything that says "Cumberland" I say, "Hey, that's where Dr. McNinja lives!" and my wife rolls her eyes). He installed a zombie defense system in town that everyone thought was crazy until it saved them all from a zombie attack. It was recently revealed that he is also a time-traveler and kind of a whiner. 

I was first introduced to Dr. McNinja through a link in an article on in which the author wished everyone a happy Katanakka. Intrigued I clicked the link and was brought to a comic about a ninja trying to break into his own family's cave house followed by the story of how the McNinjas came to be ninjas and why they now celebrate Katanakka. I was pretty much hooked right then and I've kept up with it ever since.

I really enjoy reading Dr. McNinja, so much so that I even dressed as him for the Austin Comic Con a few weeks back. I didn't get as big a response as my wife dressed as April O'niel, but I really liked the costume and the few people who got it really seemed to enjoy seeing it.

That concludes my brief web comic series. I urge everyone to go check out the comics I recommended. I only talked about a few, but there are a lot of other great web comics out there to enjoy.

Click here for my XKCD post.
Click here for my Axe Cop post.

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