This work premiered in North America at SPX 2019, after which Emil – who had travelled all the way from his native Denmark – stopped in here at Copacetic and performed (it was more than just a reading) as Dr. Murder himself. As the book was a nearly complete sellout at SPX, the meagre remaining quantity he had available for sale at Copacetic was snapped up in no time, and we had been bereft of copies ever since... until now! Finally, we have got our hands on an additional supply of this super fun, full size, vibrantly (and then some!) colored graphic novel that has traveled to us all the way from Denmark (but is, don't worry, nonetheless in English).
Dr. Murder and the Island of Death has at is center the thesis that the underlying structure of adult life is simply High School endlessly repeated. And, as that might seem at first to be a dispiriting notion, we will assure that Ernst has as much fun with this as you can imagine (more, actually; and therein lies much of its appeal). As fun as it is, there's also more: the underlying thesis of Dr. Murder is the absurdity (not to mention pettiness) of self-aggrandizement in the face of the the power and mystery of nature.
And, as for the art itself, the linework is confident, the compositions well-balanced and the color scheme spectacular. It makes a first impression that may have some readers thinking of the mind-bending 1970s work of Moebius and Philippe Druillet, but Ernst's story telling is considerably more straighforward; the narrative that unfolds here is, while complex, not complicated; it is clear, easy to follow and, yes, fun!
You can take a deeper dive into this work by reading Greg Hunter's review on TCJ.com.
But, you're most likely to be convinced by taking a look at the work itself, and, fortunately, you can! Emil has posted a nice chunk for your perusal on his own site, HERE.
Yes, it's that time, the new Now is here! Starting off once again with a Theo Ellsworth one-pager, this issue immediately proceeds to the feature attraction: the 40-page epic, "Misguided Love" by Raquelle Jac, a relatively unheralded newcomer whose work also graces the front cover of this issue. There are likely to be quite a wide variety of reactions to this story, which is powerful to the point of feeling like it risks running off its rails at any moment. One thing most readers will agree on is that Ms. Jac's cartooning represents a bold, original synthesis – one can register hints of many cartoonists and comics makers here – as authentic as it is cathartic. After that we are treated to the quite controlled stylings and musings of Keren Katz, followed by the amazing sight of an all new episode of Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk... by Noah Van Sciver! Then Emil Friis Ernst delivers "Zoom", a finely composed, color saturated 10-pager which harkens back to the glory days (read: 1970s) of Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal), particularly some of those enigmatic Moebius shorts. The issue closes out with back-to-back 20-pagers that, while employing quite distinct graphic approaches, each provide their own window on life in our times: "Quarryhouse" by Ben Nadler and "How Mums Annoy You" by Ethel Wolfe. Another great issue!