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Der Round #1
posted November 29, 2010

imageCreator: Marko Turunen
Publishing Information: Daada Books, mini-comic, 32 pages, 5 Euros, 2010
Ordering Numbers: 9789526710266 (ISBN13)

I could read nothing but these mini-comic sized little publications featuring deadpan superhero adventures for months, I think, without getting bored. The centerpiece of this first issue happens to be the most straightforward story, about the child version of the title superhero avoiding a face-to-face encounter with a nefarious villain that means him harm. It's a more gruesome version of a scene from one of the Home Alone movies, sure, and the conclusion won't shock a soul, but the sinuous line work that makes up the bad guy's body and the representation of his physical actions in storyboard terms allow what we're seeing art-wise to be kissed on the forehead by the spirit of absurdity. It's not that Turunen's approach approximates a form of serious-looking comics or provides a visual impression that it's to be read one way or the other. It's more like that the comics are actually well-drawn, with attention to spooky-looking shading and malleable figures that demand you bring a requisite seriousness to the work that the rest of the comic then sprays with seltzer. It's not a clown outfit; it's a banker's suit with a wet spot on the crotch.

Turunen's basic approach is more effectively realized in the oddball essays on each side of the little-kid adventure, off-kilter marches through ridiculous sets of circumstances where our expectations for control over violence and mayhem from lead character to supporting one is abandoned in favor of bewildered confessional. The last page of Der Round #1 tries to sucker punch the proceedings via relayed information that all of the biographical elements that drive some stories and allow for the structures in others is wholly made-up, a figment of our hero's imagination. At that point, it's hard not to be under the sway of Turunen's deadpan to the point you hardly care what mask is being worn by whom and for what purpose. It's a crack-up, modestly yet forcefully presented.