Madtown Hospital Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, May 28, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Translated by:Michael Han
What They Say
Korea's #1 comedy author and his genre-defining masterpiece, Madtown Hospital, are invading the U.S.! Prepare to overdose on laughter as you enter JTK's aptly named Hospital and meet its staff of quirky characters: Dr. Don Juan, a lady's man who has not failed to kill every patient he operates on; Dr. Kang who will do anything for another liter of RH-A type blood; Nurse Lee, a former supermodel who gets diced into pieces in the hospital's high-tech preparation machine, and many, many more. Madtown Hospital is black comedy on steroids! Get ready for one hysterical ride into comic madness!
If in the mood for a absurd, goofy comedy Madtown Hospital definitely delivers in spite of the few bits that fall flat.
The cover printing looks very sharp with crystal clear colors on the matte finish. The print reproduction is crisp with only some very minor issues of moiré tones. The paper used is thinner with an off-white tint, but it's heavier and smoother which highlights the nice printing (which was done in Korea). No color plates and no extras, with the back of the book filled with ads for other Netcomics releases as well as a release calendar.
Artwork is very simple yet clean. The purpose of this title is to make one laugh and the art serves that purpose well. It's very much reminiscent of a lot of the gag or 4-panel manga that I have seen out of Japan. The panel layouts are very strict and linear with just enough detail to get the joke across.
SFX are translated with overlays that are very clean and are well integrated within the panels. As with other Netcomics titles, there are a few issues with the translation in regards to grammatical mistakes, for instance, "She'ill" or "?..". There is also too much of a reliance on ellipses for run-on sentences. The faux-expletives also show up here as well.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Out of all the medical shows that have streamed across the TV airwaves over the past few years, Scrubs is the one for me that has always stood out. While the show does have its moments of sentimentality, it is the oddball antics and hospital hijinks that have me laughing out loud with each and every episode. Their hospital is one that I would like to visit, but never as a patient. The same can be said for JTK's manwha Madtown Hospital, a black comedy filled with gags, bizarre characters, parodies, and slapstick humor.
A lot of JTK's humor can be quite absurd. Surgeons and their attendants enter the surgical rooms through tubes that put on their scrubs and do the sterilization automatically--never mind the malfunctions that lead to death. Once in surgery, your life is in the hands of a surgeon who has recently celebrated his 100th failure. Life support is measured on a machine similar to an arcade game, displaying "You Lose" when the heart stops beating. If this wasn't nutty enough, visit with the hospital psychologist; a wooden dummy who calls his male ventriloquist master "Susan".
The parodies found in this first volume are definitely clever. A 2nd in command mafia member is kept prisoner inside a well in the hospital basement ala The Ring, who also traps the male nurse's hamster in a scene very reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs. Surgery also sometimes involves injecting a miniscule capsule into a patient much like Innerspace, where the capsule will do battle with another hospital's "submarine" as if they were in Crimson Tide.
At its peak, this first volume delivers quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. However, as is the case with a lot of comedies of this style, sometimes the comedy falls a bit flat. The book starts and ends with essentially chapter sketch comedy bits that work to deliver a punch line, much like ADV's Cromartie although without the rapid fire delivery. It is when JTK tries to carry stories over multiple chapters and through introducing random and unnecessary outside elements that the comedy begins to struggle. When working within the realm of the hospital and focusing on the whacky situations of the employees and patients, the comedy feels much more focused and tightly executed. Since the comedy is rich in slapstick and gag delivery, the bits work better when not stretched across multiple chapters.
Fans of Cromartie High School who are looking for another absurdist comedy to hold them over between releases should definitely have a peek at JTK's Madtown Hospitial. The comedy has quite a few clever parodies and off-the-wall moments that deliver good laughs, but it's definitely not as tightly delivered as Cromartie. The comedy style here probably would have been much better served with more focused chapters around a punch line rather than dragging some bits across multiple chapters.
The one major reservation with this book is the quality of the translation is not quite as high as I would hope for a title that costs $10. It's definitely not up to par with some of the other publishers out there, so I hope Netcomics can continue to improve in this area.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: C
Age Rating: All
Released By: Netcomics
Orientation: Left to Right