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March 4, 2011

Retro-Read #48 Plastic Forks

Filed under: Retro-Read — Doorman @ 8:42 am

With years spent reading single issues here and there, juggling storylines of dozens of titles, I decided it was time to find a better way to read comics. So, it was off to the back issue bins armed with the longest want list you’ve ever seen! Putting together series after series and reading them in their complete goodness, I was reborn as the Retro-Reader!

Publisher: Epic Comics
Number of Issues: 5
First Issue: 1990 ($4.95)
Last Issue: 1990 ($4.95)
Writer: Ted McKeever
Artist: Ted McKeever

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Doctors Henry Apt and Albert Finger have been working on a revolutionary device – the Electro-Pinealator. Their creation has only been tested on apes so far but, once applied to humans, it’ll allow a man (or a woman) to self-impregnate himself. They propose that it’ll reduce birth defects, create better genetics and increase humankind’s overall health. But, it seems that progress may grind to a halt when Doctor Kaffirs (their overseeing administrator) reveals to Apt that Doctor Finger has died.

In an emotional display, Henry Apt visits the ape test subjects as he contemplates shutting down the Electro-Pinealator research. But, something goes wrong! The apes go nuts and savagely attack him. Apt wakes up days later covered head to toe in bandages. As he begins his rehabilitation, he’s told that he’s been castrated. Over a month later, he gets the feeling that something is being kept from him so he breaks free from the hospital and once he removes the bandages, he discovers that he has become the first human test subject for the Electro-Pinealator!

Now, he’s on the run from some shady men-in-black type characters who are trying to recapture their test subject for a mysterious mad scientist! They’ve also taken his wife and young son with the intentions of making them their next test subjects. Along the way, Apt makes some friends who join him in his mission to rescue his family and perhaps, save his very soul.

The Bad: This series was originally published as a set of five 60-page, prestige format comics – my least favorite, physical comic format. Luckily, it was beautifully collected into a limited, signed & numbered hardcover by Graphitti Designs.

The Good: Ted McKeever’s art is wonderful! It’s all over the board: simple and then beautifully intricate. disgusting and then emotionally resonant. This extended, 60 page format really allowed him to expand upon the subtle, quiet moments. Oftentimes, he was able to take several pages just to capture the setting or mood.

The Verdict: What a great read this was! Ted McKeever wonderfully captures the emotional journey of a scientist as he begins to realize that people are not just “plastic forks” – disposable. This adventure teaches him that very lesson – that each life can be important and can make a difference – but the lesson comes at a very steep cost. McKeever’s art is gorgeous – you can lose plenty of time analyzing many of the pages and panels that he clearly created with much painstaking thought and detail. I understand that the ‘mad scientist’ aspect of this story may lose your interest but, the real crux of this story is the emotional journey of Henry Apt – not the physical adventure.

On Ebay: Plastic Forks | Ted McKeever
On AtomicAvenue: Plastic Forks

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