Marmaduke has been around basically forever, and it’s by this guy named Brad Anderson but now his son is helping, and those are actually a little bit better than the ones Brad is doing. I mean, it’s not like it’s super good or anything, but it’s a lot less bland but it’s still mainly about how gigantic Marmaduke is and how much trouble he makes. There was this book that I read, and it was all about Marmaduke, and he’s always been just enormous but he used to be a lot smarter and meaner. There was also this comic that the Garield guy did where Marmaduke met Garfield, and I guess there used to be a Maramduke cartoon but I never even saw that cartoon but there were actually lots of old cartoons with lots of different comic strip characters. We had a lot of time to kill when the feed was down.
Oh, anyway, I guess I have to review the comic. Well, I said it wasn’t super good. Brad’s son is a little better than Brad, but Brad is old so I guess that has something to do with it. It’s also not very funny, it’s just kind of there, but I guess I mentioned that before. I think my grandma would like it, though. She likes a lot of old comics.
When you first start reading Rhapsodies, it presents itself as one of those comic strips with wacky roommates involving Paul, Kate, and Brian. It very quickly becomes a comic that is basically about everything and the cast has become quite large. Not only do you have the principal characters and their own supporting casts, but those supporting casts have their own supporting casts, and the result is an ensemble comic that is able to have a wide variety of stories running at once that still manage to make sense within the world that Morse has established and, if followed from the beginning, make perfect sense for the characters. The fact that this is the case speaks well both of Morse’s world-building and character creation, and the fact that each character has a distinct look allows things to retain some clarity.
As for the stories in the comic, well, these range from one character trying to figure out the intentions of another to a cosmic Department of Minor Nuisances making up for lost time by forcing a band called the Circle Band to get repeatedly irritated by any number of things. There is also a Christmas story every year featuring a pixie and a member of the band named Kevin, and a long-running sub-plot features the pixie’s mundane avatar trying to hook up with Kevin in the real world. It sounds confusing, perhaps, but Morse manages to keep things from getting too obtuse. There are also a number of nods to Golden Age Hollywood and entertainment in general, from one character’s obsession with Frank Sinatra to two goths who have been modeled after Laurel and Hardy.
The only two real flaws are a number of typos and the strip’s large archive, spanning ten years, perhaps putting off new readers. It’s well worth your time, and Morse has done a good job of bringing readers up to speed with a cast page and several other little touches. These are very tiny things, though, and the strip’s characters and world more than make up for them. Morse clearly loves this world and the things he has put into it.
Milty Reviews Comics is property of Mike Podgor.
Marmaduke is a creation of Brad Anderson, currently aided by Brian Anderson.
Rhapsodies is a creation of W.P. Morse.
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