Dr. Tim Book One

By Christopher Varian
112 pages, black and white
Published by Etompro

The evening of Christmas Day, I came home to discover the apartment above mine had burst a pipe—and left unattended, water was now pouring into my living room through the light fixtures and vents in the ceiling. One of the strongest streams of water was splattering directly on a padded envelope that I’d dropped on the floor the day before, in a hurry to meet my family for dinner. I figured that, like many other possessions, whatever was in that envelope was ruined. It wasn’t until the next day that I opened it up to see what was inside and discovered that against all odds, the book was still intact. Taking it as a sign, I promised that sooner or later it would get reviewed… and while it’s a little over two months later, I’m finally getting to that promise.

Dr. Tim is a brilliant scientist. A little too brilliant, as it turns out, inspiring great jealousy and hatred from many of his peers. Sick of living in his shadow, some scientists try to have Dr. Tim eliminated once and for all, forcing him to go on the run, never staying in one place for too long. And of course, wherever Dr. Tim goes, danger always seems to find him.

What I liked the most about Dr. Tim, easily, was its format. Christopher Varian wrote a series of one page, single panel scenes all focusing around Dr. Tim’s adventures. What’s nice is that while almost all of them stand entirely on their own, there are little miniature storylines that appear from time to time, linking the jokes into a greater whole. Varian’s little punch lines on each page are amusing on their own, but there’s something to be said for the buildup of ludicrousness with each new encounter of Dr. Tim’s along the way. This really is a book where the sum of its parts is much greater than the individuals.

Varian’s art is very simplistic but works nicely for what he’s trying to achieve here. He draws with a really smooth ink line, and its vaguely animation-esque look is attractive. There’s a nice sense of depth here with the help of graytones, using just the right shading in each drawing to keep the look just right. There’s just the right level of detail here, too, knowing when to just draw a carnivorous flower eating Dr. Tim, or when to go for a much larger scope of design. Although I’ll go on record now and make a plea to the comic creating community as a whole, here. Please, please, please, don’t ever use the Comics Sans MS font ever again.

Dr. Tim Book One is a cute, if perhaps slightly forgettable book. It’s the sort of reading that you can just pick up, open to a random page, and dip into for a couple of pages. Don’t get me wrong, the more you read the more you’re going to get from it, but the very nature of the one-panel installments means that it’s very easy to be able to just experience it in small doses. At the end of Dr. Tim, Varian promises a second volume, and while I’m not sure the joke can sustain multiple books, I was certainly entertained enough by Dr. Tim Book One that I really can’t argue against it. Bring on more of the good doctor’s adventures!

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