One of the less appealing aspects of “mainstream”/super-hero comics in the last decade and a half has been a propensity for confusing mocking the conventions of the form with self-referential humour. The finest comedy in this regard often comes from a place of affection; a gentler self-deprecation that is very much in evidence in Claude T.C.’s Viscera Cera (subtitled Whatever Will Bleed Will Bleed), a sci-fi-based story that blends parody, action and comedy in 20 relentlessly frantic pages.
Part of the artist’s Immortal Ewen series Viscera Cera follows the misadventures of immortal human Ewen and his alien chum Luvvit as they travel the spaceways, attracting trouble from all manner of unlikely directions. As this issue begins our heroes are on the run from a near-army of flesh-eating cyborgs known as the Borgies. Their attempts to escape the cybernetic horde will lead them to encounters with elder gods, visits to alien planets, and the truth behind their pursuers.
Frenetically paced, with barely a moment’s respite from start to finish, Viscera Cera is a non-stop volley of top visual gags, offbeat humour, and slapstick silliness. T.C. makes fond fun of comic conventions like footnotes and sound effects in space while also providing an engaging double act in the form of Ewen and Luvvit, whose banter-filled dialogue quickly endears them to the reader. There’s even an element of social commentary as the story progresses, though to say more would be to give away too much here.
On a first glance, though, it’s the art that will be the most striking aspect of the comic. Claude T.C.’s cartooning is vibrant, high-energy stuff with more crammed into a single panel than most cartoonists fit into a page. Comedic pacing is perfect (particularly in the case of one late gag in the last two pages of the comic) and every gurning grimace or worldweary expression speaks volumes about our leads’ state of mind. Viscera Cera is truly fun, escapist reading, and a reminder that Claude T.C. is one of the most under-rated cartoonists on the UK scene.
Claude T.C. (W/A) • Gronk Comics, £3.50 (digital)/£4.50 (print)
Buy in print from Gosh! Comics online here
Review by Andy Oliver