Page 45 Review by Stephen
Quality comedy all-out adventure starring a dude who's gone and dropped dead.
Don drowned in a bowl of oxtail soup. "Which smelt a bit like wet dog."
It was a freak accident.
It was a really freak accident.
Okay, it was a succession of really freak accidents which fell like dominoes in the form of custard, cards, the caretaker's leg and a poor, startled hamster. Did I mention the step-ladder? I don't think we'll talk about the puddle of puke. That school's Health & Safety needs a certain degree of attention.
This is perfect for kids aged 5 through 15 to 5,015 which is, I'm afraid where I come in.
It is full-on mirth-making mentalism replete with puns like The Demon Drink's salutary slogan: "Cures What Ales You!" Now that's a pub after my own heart. And probably my liver.
It all takes place in the netherworld known as Broilerdoom with its holy Krapookerville and its less divine, adjacent Corpse City. There Don encounters Castanet the crow with his mortal terror of flying, experiences the Welcome Arena and is showered with gifts only to fall foul of its Unwelcome Arena where he is swiftly relieved of them.
"Lesson number one: Broilerdoom gives with one hand and takes with the other. This is an opportunist's underworld, Don, which means if you think you can get away with something, you probably can."
Point in question: the stall called Stolen Stuff which happily sells its second-hand goods back to their original owners.
The demon who's been getting away with everything up to this point is General Spode, high up in his ivory Bone Tower Monolith. Ruling aside his Regina, he has stolen the crown from rightful king Ripley who has since retired to sign books and shrubs as a celebrity gardener. Think Alan Titchmarsh as a dilettante and dandy. Spode's right-hand man is Count Valush, a red-eyed shadow in a cape and a tall hat that he is inordinately protective of. Excellent for target practice.
In the opposite corner sit Lewd and Safina back at The Demon Drink, along with many a hidden ally like Viktor Rictus, the sentient squid with sloppy pink tentacles and a singular eye for invention.
Don will encounter and make use of a Brick Licker (armadillo/slug/hedgehog hybrid), Castanet's tail-feather plumes and a great big bucket of blank paint. Also, a lamprey-like giant worm called Thanatos with terrible tombstones for teeth.
If all this wasn't enough, the art is insanely detailed and lush, with exotic, Eastern architecture not even hinted at on the cover. There are maps and monsters and a magnificent, walled, tiered garden. Moreover, if this was really serialised in THE PHOENIX COMIC, I cannot see the joins.
Also, I have a new favourite expletive:
"Sweet Sherbet Dipdabs!"
Lorenzo Etherington you may already have encountered in the VON DOOGAN puzzle adventure.
"The work those guys put into LONG GONE DON blows my miiiiind. I've said it before and I'll say it again: there are many, many creators whose work I love and admire and gasp in awe at, but Lorenzo is the only guy I know whose work I look at, and pause, and ask "are you actually HUMAN?" ;)"
- Neill Cameron of the awesome comic called HOW TO MAKE AWESOME COMICS
(Errrrr, in a private email which I haven't even asked if I can quote. I am so indiscrete.)