Thanks to it’s outlandish title and character filled artwork, Dr Love Wave and The Experiments is an over the top slice of sci-fi surf rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously. With issue #2 now funding on Kickstarter, it’s time to get experimental!
Publisher: Greg Gustin
Writer: Greg Gustin
Artist: V. Ganon, Kaylee Rowena, Joanette Gill (letters), Michael Kennedy (Back up story)
Price: Issue #2 currently funding on Kickstarter or pick up issue #1 on ComiXology or via Gumroad
If Dr Love Wave the comic was like a band then it would be a bunch of great musicians, playing great riffs, but looking for a groove (although making a great noise in the process!). In other words, it’s an odd mixture of concepts, which somehow comes together to make a really fun, albeit jumbled, read.
On one level it’s a coming of age story about young Milt, who is dealing with the anniversary of his mother’s death and his upcoming gig with his band – Dr Love Wave. It’s also a buddy band movie as we are introduced to his rag tag band mates. And finally it’s a sci fi mystery as the story begins with the water disappearing from the harbour and ending with a mysterious fan of the band who has a big secret. Add to this an epilogue origin story for Dr Love Wave that is styled like a Lee and Kirby story but reads like a sexed up Archie book, and you have a lot going on!
While often this mish-mash of styles can make for a frustrating read this isn’t the case here. Writer Greg Gustin has a really easy-to-read style and he makes the world of Madra Bay really endearing and well thought out. Unfortunately the story never really seems to get going in this first issue and you’re not entirely sure what this book is about at the end, but with more issues coming, that seems ok. There’s enough depth to sow the seeds for the future and the mix of retro band comic and Lovecraftian weirdness just seem to work.
It’s helped by some really fresh artwork from the enigmatic V Gagnon. They have a style which reminded us a bit of John Arcudi’s BPRD work, and a bit of Bruno Hidalgo (Gryffen, Heavenly Blues) in the it has a quite angular and squashed approach to the faces and line work. It feels very original though and it has a really strong look and feel that matches the plethora of ideas pretty well. As well as the over the top musical moment, they handle the quiet, personal moments expertly as well helping it to feel like there may be some hidden depth underneath the silliness.
Overall this is a really fun and intriguing book in spite of its flaws. Gustin and co. clearly love their characters and have created a really unique world full of engaging concepts. Based on reading this first issue it’s a book which is struggling to find its place in the indie world, but we think it has enough potential that it could work long term. The sci-fi element comes to the fore more towards the end and so should hopefully bring everything together in time, however continuing our forced band metaphor from the opening paragraph of this review, Dr Lovewave is an enjoyable racket by creators clearly having a good time in the process, and that is no bad thing!