Saturday, April 14, 2007

Gabagool! #4

Gabagool! #4, May 2003, Mike Dawson Comics
by Mike Dawson with Chris Radtke

If you, my fellow fanboys, ever find yourselves in a position to argue that geeks are not fat, hairy, unemployed, sex-starved oddballs, don't submit Gabagool! #4 as evidence. Although lead character Christopher Vigliotti is employed at the beginning of this issue, his surfing such fan favorite sites as Ain't It Cool News and Comics2Film may have contributed to his getting fired by page four . . . a generally sympathetic situation until Chris opens his severance check to find a $10,000 stipend. Believe me, a sum that large is dangerous in the hands of an admitted geek, and the contemplation of this cash's fate is what makes Gabagool! #4 a surprisingly entertaining read.

This issue, and perhaps Gabagool! as a series (if I ever find another issue, I'll let you know) is one part Office Space, one part Clerks, with a fair share of Swingers in this case, considering how Chris and his friends decide to spend his mini-fortune: on a whirlwind trip to "Hedo," Jamaica, where "you'd have to be a retard not to get laid there!" When Chris and company decide to make this trip, I assumed that the rest of this issue would document their failed attempt to get laid in that distant land, but interestingly, in true geek form, the subsequent pages offer their mere preparation for the trip: confirming arrangements with a travel agent, confirming the trip's potential with crazy Cousin Larry, and finally Chris getting his back waxed -- a scene so humorous and vivid I nearly forgot I was reading a comic book and thought I had tuned in for a Seinfeld rerun instead. In fact, Chris both looks and acts like George Castanza, which means that his seemingly normal vacation may present some quirky diversions. Apparently creators Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke wouldn't have it any other way.

While this issue is entertaining, its story is comparatively mundane, which may lead one to believe that its events are autobiographical in nature. Now, I haven't looked up Mike Dawson Comics (I like to read and review these comics cold, as if each were my first foray into comics every time), but I'd venture to say that, though specific elements may be inspired by true events, the main plot may be a fabrication or elaboration. Simply put, the circumstances are just a bit too linear and eccentric to be completely true. Further, Dawson and Radtke put the story together in a solid succession of events, A leading to B and so forth, that I can only assume that this chapter in their characters' lives is less of a graphically adapted adventure and more of a carefully planned story arc. With so much going right for Chris after the initial shock of getting fired, I wonder if he'll eventually learn that the $10,000 was an accidentally unintended amount, that someone in accounting misplaced a decimal point and only intended to allocate $1000. I'd understand if this twist is contrary to the creators' intentions, and I wouldn't presume to impose on their work, but this move seems like a natural point of contention in an otherwise flawless story.

Between the lead story about getting laid in Jamaica, and the shorter follow-up story about "Li'l Gabagool!" characters roleplaying the rescue of a lizard princess and thus getting rewarded with the chance to "have their way with her," it is painfully obvious that geeks are a sexually repressed lot. Still, this peculiar characteristic may be the common ground we share with more common folk. You give me ten grand, I'm buying toys and comics . . . but ask any other guy what they would do and you'd hear them go the Gabagool route. Yes, geeks may be oddballs, but we're people, too.

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