Comics Time: Alex Robinson’s Lower Regions

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Alex Robinson’s Lower Regions

Alex Robinson, writer/artist

Top Shelf, October 2007

56 pages

$6.95

Buy it from Top Shelf

The kind of comic for which the phrase “your mileage may vary” was invented, Lower Regions (its official title; I went with the long version above to preserve the obvious pun) is Alex Robinson’s loving tribute to the pulp-Tolkien fantasy hodgepodge of the Dungeons & Dragons games of his youth. As such I really enjoyed it. I didn’t play D&D as a kid, mind you–not until after my freshman year in college, and then only for one glorious, Sam Adams-soaked summer–but as an avid Tolkien reader since kindergarten and a He-Man action-figure fan extraordinaire, I kind of get the D&D aesthetic through osmosis via its antecedent and offspring. Robinson develops an impressive assortment of monsters and thugs for his pneumatic barbarian heroine to bloodily dispatch, throwing in the buckets of gore and hint of gratuitous, seedy sex/nudity that was a big unspoken part of the attraction of the earthier brands of heroic fantasy for nerdy adolescents. (What’s up, Xanth?) The comic is wordless, as these kinds of things tend to be, and if that means that the action choreography and (particularly) the attempts at conveying thought or speech are occasionally muddled, well, you really only have to get through a page or two max before you come to the next axe getting lobbed at an ogre’s head. Robinson’s goofy character designs, which have kept me away from his straightforward comics, obviously work quite well here. I’d say that the opening image of a band of goons and creatures led by some kind of sexy topless demon-priestess will tell you all you need to know about whether you’ll enjoy the rest of the book.

One Response to Comics Time: Alex Robinson’s Lower Regions

  1. Steven says:

    One of the things that I hadn’t realized until Gary Gygax’s death was that he didn’t consider Tolkien to be a primary inspiration on Dungeons and Dragons. One of the reasons I always tried to avoid D&D was because I’m not really interested in fantasy created by or influenced by Tolkien. His position on Tolkien seemed to change over the years, but I imagine that may have been due to so many people using his game system to replicate that style of storytelling. Why fight it?

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