“Top characters, great gags, ludicrous action,” says the blurb on the front cover of Tozzer and the Invisible Lap Dancers, a quote from Maxim magazine. Well, two out of three, maybe. Unfortunately the “top characters” are all Hollywood celebrities or the characters they’ve played, not Tozzer or any original character. And “ludicrous” (at least last I checked) isn’t a compliment. The gags… don’t even make me gag. They just lie there.
For example, the title character is abducted as an infant and given a tattoo on his forehead. To make sure we get that this is supposed to be a reference to Harry Potter, the tattoo artist suggests a lightning bolt instead. “They’re my biggest seller.” And how exactly is him getting a swastika instead… funny? Just because it’s offensive?
That seems to be the main thrust of writer Rob Dunlop’s humor. Calling Claudia Schiffer “Shifferbrains” and David Copperfield “Lord Cop-A-Feel” is the typical level of humor: playground-level name-calling. It’s one thing to do this sort of thing in Mad, a magazine aimed directly at the grade-school crowd, but in a book labeled “adult themes”, it’s just… sad.
Peter Lumby’s art isn’t bad. Most of the celebrity knock-offs are recognisable caricatures in a cute, cartoony style. It was the look of the book that coaxed me into picking it up, and I’m not sure whether to curse Lumby for that, or wish him better luck finding good stories to draw in the future.