"Doc Bizarre M.D." Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joe Casey
Illustrated by Andy Suriano
2011, 121 Pages
Graphic Novel Published on December 13th, 2011
Yes, it was a bit odd for Image Comics to release two comics at the same time dealing with a supernatural doctor, but when they're both of a high quality, you can let it slide. First there was Witch Doctor, a mini-series that wrapped up in December 2011 and then there was Doc Bizarre M.D., an original hardcover graphic novel released that same month. While Witch Doctor is like a version of House that treats monsters, Doc Bizarre is more like an episode of Looney Tunes.
Our protagonist is pompous, egotistical, and doesn't seem to know nearly as much as he claims. He does however have a medical license, much to the dismay of his demon assistant Epoch. The case featured in this all-to-brief graphic novel has the good doctor called to North Romania and the castle of Dr. Offensteiner. He's made a monster a la Frankenstein, but the beast isn't taking to any of the brides that are made for him. Bizarre is brought in to help solve the creature's impotence.
What follows is a slapstick-esque adventure as Bizarre tries a variety of cures including Monster Viagra. Meanwhile, Epoch battles the ghosts of the town and the monster starts killing his brides. It's a mess, but the doctor is confident that he will fix this situation.
The humor in Doc Bizarre can be a little hit or miss. Author Joe Casey definitely nails his characters here, but some of the jokes fall a bit flat. The interaction between the doctor and Epoch are fantastic, though. You can see that Epoch hates taking shit from Bizarre, but for some reason he has to. He's the only one that sees through his nonsense.
What the book lacks in story length, it more than makes up for in art. Andy Suriano turned in some fantastic work here. The character designs are top notch and the colors make the whole book pop. It has a slightly pulp feel to it, like this is an older comic that is only just now seeing the light of day. This fits the story as it a parody of old horror funny book in many ways.
My only real issue with the graphic novel is how short it is. There's really only about 60 pages of story. The rest of the book is filled with a ton of bonus content from pinups to sketches to page development breakdowns. I would love to see more from Doc Bizarre as he's a pretty fun character. He could cure the wolf man of dandruff or give a root canal to Dracula. I'm sure there's plenty of cases for him to solve.