This is one strange series. The first issue alone introduces over a dozen characters, ranging from sentient dinosaurs, several shadowy conspirators (including one with a suspicious little WWII-era-German moustache), a weird alien, a US president who acts like a 6-year-old, a professional bad girl named Thrill Kitten, various scientists, and an angel cast down from heaven. The next two issues keep it up: a lobotomising psychiatrist, a cardinal assassin, Norwegian antarctic explorers, the Pontiff and his sidekick Castrato, and even YHWH Himself.

The plot is equally bizarre and convoluted. Somehow it all seems to revolve around the O-Ring, a cosmic object which will grant its bearer great power, but the story includes a dizzying number of subplots. (How else could he work in so many diverse characters?) Fortunately, Walton includes a “last issue” synopsis on the inside front cover. {whew}

And then there’s the art. The dinosaurs are seemingly faithful to actual known species. The alien looks like a refugee from a Dr Seuss book. Thrill Kitten is a simplified, but anatomically possible figure. One antarctic explorer is drawn with a “realistic” nose, lips, etc; in the same panel, the other explorer has a simple cartoon nose and mouth. The angel looks like he might have stepped out of Hellboy. Walton’s style is all over the map. (But then, so are the events of the story.)

Walton doesn’t hesitate to blaspheme (at least from the Catholic and Capitalist perspectives), so this book certainly won’t appeal to members of those persuasions without a sense of humour on the subject. But since neither of those philosophies is dear to my heart (just my home), I’ve found it highly amusing, if a bit blatant in making fun of those whom Walton sees as the “villains”.

Almost as good as the story itself are Walton’s pin-up pages and single-page back-ups. For example: a lampoon of bad girl comics, in which the adolescent creator of the book “Stroke” explains to a wary-looking young woman, “It’s feminist cause, like, the chicks are just as violent as the guys, and like, in every issue one of them gets hassled by some dude, and she says, like, ‘Don’t call me “Babe”!’ Saaay… you’re a fox!”

Rob Walton even devotes a page to a comics-format essay (by one Brad Walton) which debunks the modern interpretations of 18th Century economist Adam Smith. Wow! Comics can be used for material other than super spandex, funny animals, and slacker autobio!

Pick up a copy of Ragmop and read a page. If you don’t like it… don’t worry: turn the page, and it’ll change.

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