Wow. I never in my life thought that I might be reviewing a legitimately published Doodle Jump comic.
On the surface, the idea seems ludicrous: a comic based on an app with no story at all just couldn’t work. Yet at the heart of it… Doodle Jump is a comic really. It’s a game made of little sketches and doodles with a very comic-esque aesthetic. Once you think about it that way, you might start to see some potential for this comic; still, let’s ask the question: is it good?
Doodle Jump #1 (Dynamite Publishing)
I must applaud the author of this comic (Meredith Gran) for actually coming up with a way to blend the video game spirit with some fairly memorable characters.
The comic starts off with a very intriguing opening mystery and conflict. The Doodler is stuck in an arctic terrain, surrounded by killer penguins and the only person who he can trust is a tiny blue monster. It’s a very light-hearted comic book with some fun sequences that really make it seem worthwhile. However, even with some fun characters and a somewhat interesting conflict, the whole thing just seems like some sort of stream-of-consciousness writing. Since we know nothing about this crazy new world there’s nothing to understand or cling to. Now, that’s kind of interesting as it translates into a nice “what the hell’s going on?” excitement, but also kind of annoying because it seems like things are not happening for a reason.
What I mean is this: there’s a whole sequence where the Doodle guy is about to be cornered by penguins when he conveniently jukes them with a neat portal jumping trick. Why the hell does jumping through a portal mean escaping the penguins and having them get sucked through instead? We have no idea, we just are asked to go along with it. Than, when the penguins are temporarily out of the picture, the ruby from around the leader penguins neck falls into Doodlers lap. That then leads to…the going off to see this guy called “the Knower?” Why? Who is he? Why is that blue guy there? What is Doodler’s goal here? How did that ruby translate into a quest to see the Knower? What does it all mean?
This doesn’t mean that I was confused at all while reading Doodle Jump, the story itself was relatively basic, it just raised a whole lot of random questions. I think that although there are several plot holes and conveniences this comic’s story can be enjoyed just because it’s such a whimsical adventure. The way the book is written in a very linear, first person video game kind of way makes it very engaging, but less impressive in scope. Again, it seems like the author was just spouting ideas that somehow led to one another and then tried to cram it all into a comic.
Unsurprisingly, the artist on this book provides pages of art that both look good and emulate the spirit of the iPhone game. It’s truly hard to look away from this comic, which makes the wonky story less pronounced and sucks you in even further.
Is It Good?
Looking at this comic as a comic based off of a video game: it was very good. Looking at it just as an independent and entertaining comic book: it was still good, but less so. This comic really succeeded in bringing the game to new places in a different medium, despite the weirdly convenient and random story.