The Ludocrats #1 Review

by Jay Hill on May 23, 2020

Written by: Kieron Gillen & Jim Rossignol
Art by: Jeff Stokely
Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles
Published by: Image Comics

Ludocrats = Ludicrous Aristocrats, that tells you everything you need to know about this book. This is about the exploits of crazy, kooky, and outlandish figures of high society (and what a wild society it is). In particular, we follow Baron Otto Von Subertan as he holds a wedding at his house which hosts many of the titular “ludocrats”. And, with that many ludicrous aristocrats in one building, things are sure to get a little bit (or a lot ‘o bit) weird.

The unique, hilarious, irrelevant, and irreverent humor was immediately reminiscent of the writing of Douglas Adams, and, specifically, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. That is high praise and throughout this issue I had the familiar feeling of not knowing where we’d go next but loving every second of it that I get from reading those books. This is a comic that can’t be called “meta” or “fourth-wall-breaking” because those boundaries simply don’t exist in this story (see the great Dr. X-Position scene for confirmation). This is outlaw creativity that does what it wants when it wants. And, when it is done with the touch of skill that this story is, it can be one of the most fun types of fiction.

And, in the story is a brilliantly simple conflict. They show these insane, out-of-the-box characters and scenarios and ask, “What would their enemy be?” And, the answer is a great one: Normality. The ludocrats are fighting a war against being boring. With this conflict in place it adds a reason behind the silliness, a method behind the madness. It’s easy to just throw every wild thing at a story, but this book seems focused on adding depth to their outlandish society. The world of the ludocrats, while seeming completely random and full of chaos, has a subtle structure behind everything that allows this story to get away with its hijinks. It’s that structure that I believe will keep this story from becoming a mess of ideas. Like the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” before it, you can get away with anything as long as there’s an answer behind it, especially if that answer is forty-two.

The art is the perfect representation of such a wild story. It’s bubbly and colorful. It has to visualize some of the most inconceivable concepts I’ve seen in a comic, and it does that beautifully. The character designs are full of life and style. The entire aesthetic of the book feels cohesive while also feeling as eclectic as the story elements. There are also some very detailed illustrations throughout; as in the narrative, the art shows a mass of creativity, but it’s not creativity for creativity’s sake, there is some definite and definable skill behind every scene. The colors fit the atmosphere and aren’t too overpowering. In total, the visuals (including the amazing lettering) feel like the exact expression this story needed and deserved.

I feel like I can say, with a great deal of certainty, The Ludocrats #1 is unlike any comic you’ve ever read. The world on display is one found only on the outskirts of creativity. This story doesn’t lull you into its craziness, it drops you right into this world of ludicrous aristocrats and says, “Bet you’ve never seen a blood gown before.” With shades of Douglas Adams and other forms of nonsensically hysterical humor, this book is not for the boring. So, unless you’re boring, you should be picking up a copy of this book. Y’know… unless you’re boring.

Our Score:


A Look Inside