The Bogie Man:

by Alan Grant, John
Wagner, Robin Smith
(Tundra, 2004)

A patient at the Spinbinnie Hospital, in Greenock, Scotland, sets fire to the facility and makes good his escape. Spinbinnie is an institute for the mentally disturbed, for lack of a better term, and nothing illustrates that fact better than escapee Francis F. Clunie's malady. You see, they call him the Bogie Man, because he thinks he's Humphrey Bogart.

Having escaped in nothing but socks and a hat, all that remains is to find a set of clothes and a caper!

The Bogie Man is a top-notch adventure, the likes of which many comic readers have probably never seen. Writers Alan Grant and John Wagner pen a superbly entertaining tale that includes interesting characters, a compelling storyline and more than its share of humor, albeit of a strange nature. From the outset, the reader is pulled into the tale, wondering what brand of trouble ol' Bogie's bound to get into. His run-in with a gang of would-be protection racketeers is made all the more amusing by his complete faith in his pseudo identity.

Something about the guy being a nut, yet possessing the savvy to handle himself in such a pinch, is extremely satisfying. Then there's poor Joseph Mullion, the actual private eye who buys Bogie's shtick and is dragged along for the adventure. In him, Grant and Wagner have created a character who can be both pitied and laughed at.

Artist Robin Smith is one of those who is at least equally at home in black-and-white as color comics. The lines are crisp and clear, and there's not a muddled panel between the pages. What's more, the realistic style perfectly fits what is as much a crime story as comedy.

And, hey, besides a story with action, great art and plenty of laughs, the reader gets a lesson in English with a Scottish brogue. What more could you ask for?

The Bogie Man: Chinatoon is recommended for all but the youngest readers.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 11 December 2004