‘Mighty Skullboy Army’ is a comic by Jacob Chabot (http://www.beetlebugcomics.com) which I first spotted in a Dark Horse anthology trade highlighting up-and-coming cartoonists.
For ages, I mourned of ever seeing more. The art was crisp, the gags funny, and hell, I have a real weakness for monkeys and I’ll be damned if Unit 2 isn’t the cutest li’l dickens!
So anyway, the upshot is that Dark Horse has finally released a digest-sized collection of ‘The Mighty Skullboy Army’ and I am a happy, happy feller.
The essential set-up is that Skullboy (Real Name: Skullboy) is an evil preteen criminal mastermind and head of an (equally evil) corporate empire who, due to his young age, still has to attend elementary school.
This is a considerable inconvenience to him, and so, to aid him in his evil enterprises, he has recruited THE MIGHTY SKULLBOY ARMY, which is intended to consist of Unit 1, a formidable robot armed with an array of lethal and nonlethal weapons technology and Unit 2, a monkey genetically engineered to be a superintelligent killing machine.
Unit 1, while actually armed with a bunch of high tech weaponry, looks like a wind-up toy robot, and is far, far more focussed on his own self-interests.
Unit 2, is also (sporadically) superintelligent, but is still a silly monkey, and would much rather use his great mind to discover new and better ways to piss about. He is almost entirely UNinterested in pretty much all of Skullboy’s schemes.
Initially, it’s similar to Jhonen Vasquez’ ‘Invader Zim’, with a vainglorious but incompetent would-be conqueror and his equally incompetent, but less committed assistant(s), but it really lacks the mean-spiritedness and satire of Vasquez’ work, instead using energy and whimsy. This is just silly fun cartooning, suitable for all-ages with some great timing, smashing gags, and an extremely clean black and white linework which I just love to bits.
Normally, I like to do detailed academic reviews or foulmouthed rants, but seriously, this book is too simple at its heart for the first, and too damn good-spirited for the second. Simply put, this is a fun book. It makes me happy.