"Hot Damn #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Ryan Ferrier
Illustrated by Valentin Ramon
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 13th, 2016
Teddy Graham is in Hell...literally. He's past the fire and brimstone and now he's just down there living. It's actually not all that bad on the surface. Picture New York City a few decades ago when it was at its sleaziest and you're not far off. It's essentially just strip clubs, fast food joints, and crappy housing. The damned get through the afterlife day by day, working towards their suffering for all eternity.
Hot Damn is easily the best portrayal of Hell I've ever seen in comics. It's not filled with murderers and other criminals (although I'm sure they're in there). The underworld's residents are just assholes. Think of every weird pain-in-the-ass guy you have to encounter on a regular basis. Is there a jerk at your local coffee shop? Some douchebag neighbor? That idiot in your office that won't shut the hell up? They're ALL HERE. That's the point! Welcome to Hell!
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I'm sure there are different layers in this place, and Teddy probably just resides in the area reserved for assholes and other assorted miscreants. We get a glimpse as to the final fate of folks like Hitler and Stalin. It's so incredibly perfect. Artist Valentin Ramon's depiction is brilliant.
Ramon's designs for Hell and its residents are nothing short of amazing. This is a comic you can take your time with and really look through every detail. Each panel is packed with little Easter eggs, especially the larger crowd scenes. Each serves as a reminder that you're in Hell. For example, Teletubbies appears to be playing on every TV screen in the area.
In case you hadn't figured it out yet, Hot Damn is a pretty friggin' funny comic. The gags are solid and definitely laugh-out-loud worthy. Writer Ryan Ferrier packs this book with jokes ranging from drinks (horse cum or orange juice and toothpaste) to the hippie goat demon Abaddon. I think the peak was perhaps the live camel birth at a club called “Butt Stuff.”
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This fun is not limited just to Hell. It's in Heaven too. They're not polar opposites. Instead, they're more like awkward competitors in the business of souls. Heaven is like a hippie haven with posters of God hanging around with slogans like “Who's Your Daddy?”
Hot Damn is like a stoner comedy set in Hell. These characters are screw-ups just trying to putz through the afterlife. They were stupid when they were alive and they're still pretty dumb. The thing is, if they mess up now, the results are far worse. That won't stop them from getting into trouble.