Comic Book: D.R. & Quinch
"My name is Ernie Quinch, college student. I like guns and starting fights. My psychiatrist says I'm a psychotic deviant. But that doesn't mean I'm a bad person, right?"
—Ernest Erroll Quinch, "D.R. & Quinch Have Fun On Earth"
"Even had I suspected then the truly horrifying suffering and amazing loss of life that would be caused by our well-meaning enterprise...I'd have done it anyway. Only more so."
—Waldo "D.R." Dobbs, "D.R. & Quinch Go Straight"
Hey, man, let me tell you about something that's, like, totally amazing
While Alan Moore
is mostly known nowadays for writing dark, serious stories set in crapsack worlds
, such as Watchmen
and V for Vendetta
, D.R. & Quinch
stands out as something very, very different.
It all began at The Galaxy's Greatest Comic
where a young, budding Alan Moore
was frequently tasked with writing for the Tharg's Future Shocks
and Time Twisters
strips. These would always be brief, self-contained stories that are rarely over five pages long and would usually end with a Twist Ending
of sorts (often of the Cruel Twist Ending
Somewhat breaking the trend, a young Moore decided to write up a Totally Amazing Black Comedy
adventure comic strip
about two teenage alien miscreants who steal a time machine
and head out to a little planet way out in the boondocks
that no one else in the galaxy would ever care about called "Earth," all in part of an elaborate revenge scheme on their college dean for suspending them after he found stolen goods and laser guns in their locker
. This story was originaly publishec in issue #317 (May 21, 1983). The characters were intended to appear only once in the pages of 2000 AD
, but they became so popular with readers that they would get their own series
In what can best be described as "Rule of Funny meets For the Evulz
," D.R. & Quinch
tells the totally amazing
story of one Waldo "D.R." Dobbs
(the "D.R." stands for "Diminished Responsibility"), a skinny, lanky, teenage delinquent
who boasts a genius IQ, enjoys acts of extreme violence and destruction, and looks like a cross between a gremlin and a skrull
with a pompadour
, and Dobbs' best friend Ernest Erroll Quinch
, a large, purple-skinned brute
who is much, much quieter than Dobbs
as he prefers writing to talking. Together, these two deeply sociopathic
, evilly affable
, omnicidal maniacs
do as they please, and what pleases them usually involves death and destruction on a tremendous scale; it helps that, in their part of the Milky Way, nuclear warheads
are as easily obtainable as a handgun in the Deep South
Along with their two occasional companions (and, presumably, only other friends in the galaxy, besides each other) Crazy Chryssie (D.R.'s equally violent girlfriend) and Pulger (a war veteran
who is always prepared for combat, just in case Charlie
launches a sneak attack), the delinquent
duo have been on a handful of adventures in which they influence all of human evolution (including, very fittingly, the Survival of the Fittest) and a lot of Earth's history, get drafted by the army to fight in a war similar to The Vietnam War
, and even making a cult film
Unfortunately, the strip, did not last long
at 2000 AD
, as Moore
had a tumultuous falling out with illustrator Alan Davis after a disagreement
over the reprinting rights to other works the two had collaborated on in the past. Needless to say, Moore abandoned the characters in the aftermath of this, marking the end of D.R. & Quinch's appearances in 2000 AD
save for small collection of one-page-long strips known as "The Agony Pages," written by Jamie Delano and Alan Davis.
Only five complete adventures were written by Alan Moore
after D.R. & Quinch's first appearance, but despite there being such a small amount of material, the characters remain tremendously popular with the readers of 2000 AD
, and the strips continue to be reprinted in paperback trade editions. Overflowing with totally amazing Black Comedy
and with a sprinkle of Surreal Humor
here and there, D.R. & Quinch
stands out as some of Alan Moore's
funniest, most entertaining work and serves as evidence that he has one incredible sense of humor.
When you read Watchmen
, you think Alan Moore is a genius.
When you read D.R. & Quinch
, you think Alan Moore is totally amazing
- Aliens Are Bastards: Just the eponymous main characters though.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Even after Quinch shows Chrysoprasia what a real monster her boyfriend, Waldo, is really like, she just commits herself to being as evil as he is, transforming herself into "Crazy Chryssie" in the process, and insists that she's now more compatible with D.R. than ever.
- Battle Cry: "The Official Space Marines War-Cry" is claimed to be "EAT PLUTONIUM DEATH, YOU DISGUSTING ALIEN WEIRDOS!"
- The Bermuda Triangle: In D.R. & Quinch Have Fun On Earth, one of the segments of the eponymous duo's adventure through time that sees them influence the course of history on some Insignificant Little Blue Planet features Quinch recalling a time with his buddy "while cruising just off Bermuda" and trying to pull in human aircrafts towards their ship with a Tractor Beam "to get a better look at them," only for the beam's force to break apart the fragile planes.
- Black Comedy: This describes practically everything there is in the comic.
- Break the Cutie: Quinch's method of explaining to Chrysoprasia what her boyfriend, one Waldo "D.R." Dobbs, is really like.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done at the beginning of just about every adventure with whichever character is narrating the story making reference to the "totally amazing, well-written, awesome adventure" that we're about to read about.
- Brick Joke: The quad-engine strato-chopper with thirty air-to-ground warpedos in "D.R. & Quinch Go Straight".
- Casual Time Travel: One story has them casually time traveling and spending their holiday repeatedly messing with Earth. With everything from creating the first life and meddling with emerging cultures to altering the layout of the continents so that the planet's appearance spelled out a rude insult against their dean. When humanity was accepted into the galactic union and everyone saw the offensive message, they ordered the planet (and humanity) destroyed just to save face.
- Chessmaster: All of the revenge schemes Waldo comes up with would count. "D.R. & Quinch Go Straight" could be interpreted as a small twist on this as D.R., continually claiming to be doing good will & charity work, explains some of the pieces of his plan coming together before the explosive climax as the results of honest mistakes on his own part (but they really aren't).
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Dean Bitterman: Dean Fusk, who suspended D.R. & Quinch after he found fur coats and laser guns in their locker.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sgt. Rorchmutt. He also has the nickname "Ribsnapper."
- Dumb Muscle: Quinch.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The fate of Earth, obviously.
- Evil Genius: Waldo "D.R." Dobbs. As his best bud puts it,
Quinch: He has an I.Q. of 280 and he blows things up and I respect him totally.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title of every story. "D.R. & Quinch Get Drafted"? Guess what happens. "D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood"? Guess where they're headed.
- Faux Affably Evil: Our starring duo in a nutshell.
- For the Evulz
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Waldo's pompadour would rightfully categorize him with the other delinquents and anti-heroes.
- Great Escape: Pulger's master plan to escape from the penal stockade on Ghoyogia. The plan consists of a bar of soap that was molded to look like a gun, half a pound of plastic explosive that was molded to look like a bar of soap, a hidden escape tunnel, and Pulger in drag. What's going to happen is Pulger will blow up the explosive, then after the guards come to investigate, they'll confuse Pulger in the dress for an actual woman and immediately fall in love with him at which time he'll brandish the "gun" and force the guards into the escape tunnel and hide them there and refuse to tell anyone where the guards went until they agree to let him go.
Pulger: It's an old trick, but it just might work.
- Historical In-Joke: D.R. & Quinch's first adventure ever is based entirely on how they influenced Earth's history and development as part of an elaborate revenge scheme against their college dean.
- Humans Are Morons: Plays a large role in "D.R. & Quinch Have Fun on Earth." When humans finally discover the alien life and society the title character's corner of the galaxy, they're given a civic reception at "The League of Disadvantaged Planets' Charity Hall" because everyone thinks they're "mindless lifeforms."
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every single story is given a title along the lines of "D.R. & Quinch _______"
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The duo's charity project for war-torn veterans from the Ghoyogi Slime Wars, "Massacre House: A charitable institution caring for threatening ugly men with guns and unstable personalities."
- Insane Equals Violent: Pulger, justified given his role as a Shell-Shocked Veteran.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Before being sent off to Ghoyogia, D.R. isn't phased by his platoon-mates' fears about the planet ("Ghoyogia, where the saliva-trees digest you alive," "Ghoyogia, where even the terrible diseases have terrible diseases") until he learns that there aren't any expensive foreign restaurants there. He then describes this incident as his "first exposure to the total insanity that is war."
- The Judge: Thorkwung.
- Karma Houdini: D.R. and Quinch.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Former screenwriter-turned-crazy homeless person Torquetto "T.J." Jubbli, as he is explaining his plans to return to Hollywood with a new script; at which point D.R. & Quinch steal his script and head out to Hollywood to make the movie themselves. The trope is ultimately subverted, however, when our two protagonists returned to the very spot where they first met the screenwriter four weeks later, who immediately snaps back into consciousness and finishes the sentence he began a month earlier from the exact point where he left off.
- List of Transgressions: "D.R & Quinch Go Straight'' begins with Judge Thorkwung reading all the criminal charges the two Villain Protagonists are being accused of.
Ernest Errol Quinch and Waldo Dobbs, also known as "D.R." or "Diminished Responsibility", you are charged with arson, kidnapping, theft, grievous wounding, possession of unlawful atomic weapons, taking and driving away, conspiracy to overthrow the government, coveting thy neighbour's ox, graverobbing, torture, criminal libel, blackmail, polluting the environment, shoplifting, 714 separate driving offenses, forging sacred relics, transmuting
base metal into gold, genocide
, and thirty-two offenses so unusual and horrible
they do not have names.
- Love Makes You Crazy: While D.R. was romantically involved with Chrysoprasia before she snapped, he was much less willing to commit acts of violence.
- Love Makes You Evil: Chrysoprasia's reaction upon finding out what the real Waldo Dobbs is actually like, and thus inspiring her transformation into Crazy Chryssie.
- Memetic Mutation: Alan Moore actually provides an In-Universe example: The line, "Mind the oranges, Marlon!" from D.R.'s big-budget film adaptation of a script he can't even read. It even helps the movie attain a cult film status afterwards.
- Mumbling Brando: There's a Marlon Brando caricature in "D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood." The fact that he's The Unintelligible isn't really much of a surprise.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Subverted for as far as legal rights can go. The story "D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood" consists of several alien characters who look like caricatures of various Hollywood legends; the main one, based on Marlon Brando, is always called "Marlon."
- Noodle Incident: The beginning of "D.R. & Quinch Get Drafted!" This is immediately lampshaded.
Waldo "D.R." Dobbs: I have no idea how I came to be in this incredibly strange, confusing situation. Actually, it has nothing to do with the following totally awesome story and I'd advise you to forget it, man.
- Nuke 'em: For whatever reason, D.R. & Quinch have no problem acquiring these and have no qualms with using them for any purpose.
- Pen Name: For the first strip, Alan Moore gave the writing credit to one of his main characters, "E.E. Quinch."
- The Quiet One: Quinch. S'right!
- Satire/Parody/Pastiche: "D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood" Because the characters indirectly destroyed Earth before, the Hollywood they end up going to is actually a planet named "Hollywood" where the principal economy of the entire planet is the entertainment industry, and every resident alien is a caricature of a legendary Hollywood personality.
- Shaped Like Itself: Many of the descriptions whichever character is narrating the story gives for things. For example,
Waldo "D.R." Dobbs: A Hatchway in the craft opened with this sound which was just like, y'know, the sound of a hatchway opening."
- The eventual, easily foreseeable, violent climax at Massacre House becomes known as "The Massacre House Massacre" in the media.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Pulger. He did some fighting the Slime Jungle Wars on the planet Ghoyogia and is now completely crazy and beyond reform.
- Everyone admitted to Massacre House counts, really.
- Short Runners: Only six adventures were written by Alan Moore in the span of two years.
- Shout-Out: The oranges that crush Marlon in "D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood" are a clear reference to The Godfather in how they always signify that danger is looming a character. Both stories also include Marlon Brando, cementing this as a clear movie reference.
- Spin-Off: Their first adventure was supposed to be a one-off for 2000 AD's Time Twisters strip. It proved popular enough for D.R. & Quinch to get their own strip.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Seeing how, Waldo Dobbs, has a 280 I.Q., it doesn't come as much of a surprise that he says an occasional "sophisticated" word here and there mixed in with his more usual lexicon that's based around more Totally Radical words (i.e. Asking for The Judge's appellation, rather than his name).
- His recitations of Shakespeare sound like something translated into a foreign language through Babblefish and then back into English.
Waldo "D.R." Dobbs: But, like, soft, man... What's all this light that through yonder window breaks?
- Standing Between The Enemies: When the entire gang caught between the enemy Ghoyogian Army and their own Space Marines platoon with whom they're in trouble for creating a friendly fire incident with a tactical nuke. Waldo attempts one plea for sanity by stepping up to "cry out at the horror and injustice of war..." It doesn't work.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: The ending narration to "D.R. & Quinch Get Back to Nature."
"Before closing, I would like to make clear that nobody has forced me to write this letter, even if at a later date I claim they did. And, like, under no circumstances whatsoever was I held upside-down over a pterano-gator-infested water-hole until I agreed to sign it." Followed by the kid's signature, written upside down
- Too Dumb to Live: Pretty much everyone who isn't D.R. or Quinch, Played for Laughs.
- Totally Radical: Both title characters are likely to describe just about anything with a two-word phrase based on an adverb such as, "totally," "incredibly," "unbelievably," or "extremely" compounded with an adjective like, "amazing," "awesome," "incredible," "unbelievable," "extreme," or "stupid."
- Unreliable Narrator: In a few stories, either D.R. or Quinch may try to portray their actions as being far more well-intentioned and sincere, even though they never really are. Occasionally, the narration tells us the exact opposite of what we're actually seeing or is a general understatement.
- Verbal Tic: When nervous, Chrysoprasia is "unbelievably quiet apart from the weird, squeaky little 'EE-OUK' noise that she keeps making in her throat."
- The Vietnam War: The Slime Jungle Wars on the planet Ghoyogia.
- Villain Protagonist: And not just one, either.
- Weapon for Intimidation: Pulger once carved a (fake) phaser rifle out of a bar of soap as part of a prison escape attempt. When in traveling the tunnels burrowed out by a species known only as the "Snufflegruffs". When one of them shows up and turns out to be incredibly dangerous, Pulger makes his best attempt at this.◊
D.R.: Pulger, that gun is made out of soap, man!