WWWednesday: Gilligan's Island Doujinshi
by Sharon Gauthier
I was browsing through ComicSpace for possible WWWednesday fodder when I discovered this, Gilligan's Island Doujinshi. It's potential status as fan fiction initially deterred me from considering it for review, but the more I read it, the more engrossed I became. This doujinshi (roughly transliterated, "self-published magazine") may star the characters from Gilligan's Island, but Sharon Gauthier really just uses the TV Land classic as a vehicle for traditional horror storytelling. Let me tell you, the Minnow may have been lost, but her focus as an artist is sure and steady.
Plot synopsis? Gilligan goes nuts. There's really no other way to describe it. After one too many hat slaps from the Skipper, or accusations of blatant sabotage from Ginger or the Howells, Gilligan just plain loses it. His first kill is of course the Skipper, a gruesome surprise unfortunately void of the climatic confrontation true Gilligan fans might have suspected. No, it's the Professor that proves to be Gilligan's greatest foe, since his intelligence apparently includes forensic expertise and his physical strength makes him capable of climbing trees, out of the "little buddy's" machete range.
Heed my warning, though: Gilligan's Island Doujinshi will leave you wanting more. At sixty-one pages, Gauthier isn't done, with only the Skipper, Ginger, and half of the Howells dead and done. Its almost cinematic pacing is what elevates this piece above mere fan fiction to me; it's a legitimate horror comic with all of the conventions and suspense one would expect. While some of her pages aren't as strong as others (and, believe me, while the weak ones are weak, the strong ones are really strong -- and moody, and creepy), Gauthier experiments successfully with varied angles and perspectives, bringing the reader to the tops of the island's trees one page, into the thick of its brush the next. Oh, and another warning: This material is for readers 18 and over. I had to log in to view it, so don't share this with the squeamish.
Fans of GI shouldn't be too disappointed, as long as they don't take themselves too seriously. Gauthier retains a fair amount of humor about the series to nudge-nudge-wink-wink loyal viewers, even incorporating its famous theme song as an eerie soundtrack. If this were adapted to film, I could see Marilyn Manson covering it. Or am I thinking about it too much? Can you tell that I really liked it, much to my own surprise?
I mean, Gilligan's Island? What was Gauthier thinking? Are the Harlem Globetrotters going to show up and save the day, or what? And what's next on Gauthier's plate, a Get Smart spoof in which Agent 86 goes rouge, using his shoe phone and cone of silence as . . . Wait a minute. I'm onto something there. Get Smart . . . or Die SLOW. It's mine, people! Mine!