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Awesome Hospital: Too rad for modern medicine


It’s just another normal, average day for you in the city, and you have a lot of errands to run before you can get back to your hobby of stitching animals together to create chimeras in your parents’ basement.  Sure, scientists laugh at your attempts, but you, well, you’re the kind of person who isn’t easily daunted by the totally justifiable laughter of your peers.  Oh no, the voices in your head have taught you to not listen to them.   You have to stop at the bank in order to make a hefty withdrawal before hitting up the pet shop again for more chimera fuel.  Have I mentioned that you really freak me out?  I’m not one to knock someone’s hobbies, but man, you’re totally crazypants.  A shower probably wouldn’t hurt either.

Anyway, so there you are, standing in the bank line and eagerly talking to the guy in front of you about how sometimes when the moon is at just the right spot you can actually understand the secret languages of snails, when in busts a bald-headed, well dressed man in a flying hover pod.  You all stare up at him in shock, the man who was in front of you taking the opportunity to abscond to the other side of the bank, away from you.  This, the flying man announces calmly while waving a death ray, is a robbery.  It’s THAT kind of day.

Dr. Space Baby is very concerned about the future of Kwistmas. I mean Christmas. Christmas.

Maybe in retrospect you realize it was a bad idea, but you decide to launch the cabbage you’ve been storing in your suspenders for lunch at the man in a misguided attempt at heroism.  The man retaliates, once again, with completely justifiable laughter before shooting you with a death ray, robbing the place blind, and heading back out of the hole he shot into the wall.  You’re left in the bank, concerned because hey, you’ve just been shot with a death ray!  That’s probably not a good thing.  Where do you even go for something like that?

Awesome Hospital, written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Matt Digges, provides an answer to this age-old scenario.  Except…  for that stitching thing.  You should probably cut that out.  It’s pretty creepy.

I first stumbled across Awesome Hospital through a link posted by “Dr.” Chris Hastings, the creative mind behind webcomic power house Dr. McNinja. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure Hastings’ post said something along the line of “Oh hey, you guys like comics about doctors who are also other things, right?  Well, you should totally check this one out too.”

Awesome Hospital follows the lives of a group of radical doctors as they attempt to heal those unlucky few who have afflictions too bizarre for modern medicine, as they deal with a decidedly weak ass merger, a terminal case of balls to the wall, and each other.

I love the doctors in the background, all "ah, a classic 360 BMX motocross bypass procedure."

There are quite a few doctors that take center stage in this comic, but if I had to point to one “main” character, it’d have to be Dr. Dirtbike.  Dirtbike (or Mike, to his friends and peers), is the first doctor we’re introduced to, as he rides his dirtbike into the operating room and performs a tricky surgery on a patient while RAMPING OVER THEM UPSIDE DOWN.

Dirtbike is a bit of a loose cannon.  Or so his fellow doctor and chief antagonist Dr. Space Baby believes.  He sees the methods of Dr. Dirtbike to be iwwesponsible.  Errr, I mean irresponsible.  But at the end of the day, Dirtbike gets the job done, despite his rocky relationship with Dr. Robot, having a bit of a temper, and having the uncanny ability to make all the wrong decisions in his personal life.

Though, to be honest, Dirtbike is right at home at Awesome Hospital.  Each of the doctors has made a vow to awesomely serve those in need, and they go about doing so with their own flair.  There’s Dr. Guitar Solo, who uses the unfiltered power of rock to operate and sedate his patients, Dr. Caveman, who eerily carries a huge club around with him all the time and has trouble opening childproof pill caps, Dr. Robot, whose emotional mood swings prompt abrupt program switches, and Dr. Bulldog on a Skateboard, who, uh…  is a bulldog on a skateboard.

Modern medicine challenges him in new ways

Rounding out the cast is Dr. Celebrity Guest Star, Dr. Superhero, Nurse Punk Rock, and of course, Dr. Space Baby.  Sudden mutations, death ray victims, businessmen FLIPPING TEH EFF OUT, and tenacious sharks are all just a part of the daily grind for these awesome doctors, under the watchful eye of Awesome Hospital Chief of Staff, Kris Kringle.

Yeah, that Kris Kringle.  What, you thought the guy just sat around while his elves made toys all year?  Dude’s gotta eat too, you know.

I find myself coming back to Awesome Hospital on a regular basis.  The art is clean and crisp, and there’s never any confusion about what’s going on.  The pacing moves the story along at a good clip, and medical problems get solved rather quickly (These guys are professionals, after all).  Plus, it’s just fun to watch Dr. Sven Guitar Solo use different songs as the situation develop, watch Dr. Space Baby use his suwgewy way, ahem, surgery raw gun on people, and see Dr. Bulldog on a Skateboard careen through the halls while shouting orders to nurses and orderlies.

Plus, the comic updates every Tuesday and Thursday, which, as I believe I’ve said before, always wins bonus points from me.  Most comics dodge Tuesdays and Thursdays like they have leprosy, but the staff of Awesome Hospital hit those two days with a flair that only the professionally awesome can deliver.

Still, there are some negative points here.  Though, it should be noted that a lot of that might be because Awesome Hospital is still a relatively new comic, with only two storylines under its belt.

Currently, what you see in Awesome Hospital is what you get.  Each doctor’s name pretty much tells you exactly what to expect from them in the story.  Dr. Dirtbike, well he’s a doctor with a dirtbike!  Dr. Caveman, he’s the doctor who is also a caveman!  Doctor Space Baby, he’s the doctor with a bwain fwom the futuwe.  Err…  a brain from the future. And so on and so forth.

Nurse Punk Rock was probably hired for her guitar flailing skills

So far, we’ve seen more development from Dr. Dirtbike (and Dr. Robot, to a lesser extent), a bit from Dr. Guitar Solo, and some from Kris Kringle himself.  Dr. Space Baby has also seen a lot of play, but mainly just as an antagonistic foil to Dirtbike.  All you need to know is that he is a baby from space in the future who doesn’t like how Dirtbike handles himself in the OR.

I figured this happened in the first story since the creative team behind Awesome Hospital had a lot of characters to introduce in a short amount of time, but the second story hit on pretty much the same note.  I wanted to see more of the cast they introduced in the Diagnosis story handling problems, but a sudden merger leaves the staff dealing with some new acquisitions from Weakler and Assoc., the company the presides over Weakass Hospital.  Don’t get me wrong, these new doctors are hilarious in their own rights (I find Dr. Fanfic and Dr. Casual Rasicm to be the best of the batch), but the emotional conclusion of the second story felt a bit hollow, since I felt I didn’t really know anything about most of the characters involved.

There's always one, isn't there?

Bowers, Sims and Diggs have started into the third chapter in Awesome Hospital, and so far it seems as over the top and awesome as I’ve come to expect.  I’m really hoping to get a better feel for each of these characters, to find out what inspired them to go to awesome medical school, to see them succeed, fail, and deal with the consequences therein.  Luckily, Awesome Hospital is fun enough without beating the plot to death with a mackerel, and you’ll never really be able to expect what might walk through the OR doors.

Also of note:  The creative team also provides us with some bonus stories to pass the time between chapters.  These stories jump all over the time line…  you might read one story that takes place before the story that you just finished reading, the art might change, or the tone.  So far, we’ve had a look at Dr. Bulldog on a Skateboard’s side gig as a private detective, and seen the hospital deal with an amnesic patient with the highly infections “Bailey’s syndrome” during a Christmas 2010 special.  Each story is short, awesome, and bizarre to the extreme, but I’m not actually sure if each of the stories is cannon or not.  So far, it seems like it is…  it’s not like Dr. Fanfic was writing them, but I’m just really not sure.

Also: anyone who doesn’t believe that a bulldog on a skateboard is awesome obviously needs to spend more time on the internet.

Anyway, Awesome Hospital is a comic that never stops asking that eternal question:  Do you know what would be awesome?  Three out of four doctors recommend taking a dose of this comic twice a week until the swelling goes down.


One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Sims, Mathew Excavaciones. Mathew Excavaciones said: Awesome Hospital: Too rad for modern medicine: http://t.co/fB7imMp […]

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