Rip is a weird kid who’s obsessed with the dark side of life (and death). Luckily for him, he lives next to a cemetery, so he has plenty of opportunities to feed his bizarre interest. He stalks the grounds every night (careful to be in by curfew, because when his parents get mad, then he’s really scared), looking for otherworldly figures.
He gets his wish one night, when he runs into first a scary bat and then an honest-to-goodness dead guy, whom he brings home to stay. Mom and Dad are surprisingly open to this new houseguest, and that’s even before things get really strange. Ghosts and werewolves and other ghastly creatures make their way to Rip and his family, and then Rip must rise to the occasion and become a hero to save the day.
Suffice to say, RIP M.D. is a bit silly, but it’s offbeat and funny too. It has the kind of gross-out humor that kids will love (Rip and his uncle have an awful lot of fun repeatedly knocking the head off the dead guy, for example --- it’s a Weekend at Bernie’s kind of fun, which some can take or leave, so be warned if that’s not your thing). In some ways, the book could be said to be disrespectful of death and the occult (which I’m mentioning only for the benefit of those who, say, order books for a library in a very conservative community; for those people, you might want to check the book out first to make sure it’s appropriate for you). For most kids, though, the zany antics and sly facial expressions of Rip will be enough to make them laugh and enjoy the storyline.
The art by writer Mitch Schauer is very nice, and he’s ably assisted by inker Mike Vosburt and the dark, subtle coloring of Michael Lessa and Justin Yamaguchi. End notes explain how the creators were striving for a cinematic feel for the book, and they certainly succeeded. While the book has its own somewhat silly logic, it also has a tremendously engaging look and feel that’s all its own.
Reviewed by John Hogan on October 18, 2010