||It has been suggested that this article be merged into List of Viz comic strips. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2012.|
Rat Boy is a fictional character in the British adult comic Viz. He is sometimes referred to as "Doll".
Rat Boy is an extreme caricature of the juvenile delinquent and criminal underclass, who lives by theft, has a strong drug habit and defies the law as openly as his youth allows. Originally introduced as the younger half-brother of Tasha Slappa, Rat Boy's age is variable from under twelve to mid teens. He always wears a track suit and goes barefoot in all weathers; his appearance is deliberately rat-like, with huge ears, a long nose, protruding front teeth and a scampering gait. He displays his irreverence by defecating everywhere, especially in the properties which he burgles, and is drawn with a permanent turd protruding from his behind, like the tail of his animal namesake. It is, in fact, a point of pride for Rat Boy to always befoul his crime scenes. The sheer volume of excrement he generates is absurdly unrealistic, which sends up an urban myth.
The inspiration of his character is from that of the real life career criminal, Tommy Laws, who is nicknamed Spiderboy by the police and the media due to his habitual climbing onto roofs and high places in order to evade capture.
His dialogue normally consists of northern English slang and constant profanity, with long offensive tirades often shouted at his victims or the police; sometimes, however, he shows himself to be highly intelligent and articulate, such as when making confessions and implicating others.
Most of his adventures involve breaking and entering, vandalising a place and taking anything of value, then usually either evading the law, or getting off very lightly because he is a child. When arrested at one house which he ransacked he is sent on a "self-esteem building for young offenders" programme, which turns out to be a holiday in Spain. After another crime spree, he is put on trial by remote TV link to a detention cell (intended to be less traumatic than a courtroom trial); the kindly judge allows him to go free, whilst Rat Boy has already escaped through a sewer, somehow taking the TV with him, and is busy selling it as a stolen good. He was once subject to house arrest, enforced by electronic tagging on his ankle - unable to remove the tag, he gnaws his own leg off and hops outside to quickly rob several more houses. (Needless to say, his loss of limb is forgotten in subsequent comics). He even once managed to steal the Crown Jewels.
The primary motive for Rat Boy's constant burglary and thieving is to acquire money for buying drugs, such as cannabis, crack and even heroin, or strong drink. On one occasion, he resorted to carol-singing to feed his habit; another issue has him grassed up for attempting to buy cocaine, then framed, beaten and imprisoned by the police when they found him without any - in his prison cell, he injects the heroin used to frame him and seems content. In yet another issue, burning and inhaling a huge lump of cannabis fails to affect him at all, since he had become immune to the drug after years of abuse. He proceeds to steal an old cruise ship used as a floating nightclub off the Newcastle coast and abandon it (burnt-out and balanced on bricks, like a stolen car) in Amsterdam, where he gets arrested for seeking drugs and underage sex. His punishment, ironically, is to be used as a lab rat in a drugs testing clinic, which he finds delightful....
The supporting cast in the Rat Boy comic strip often includes other young criminals who look like him, his mother 'Mam', plus his sister Tasha, her violent boyfriend Bobba, and various drug dealers. Exceptionally, he was once seen to have a permanent girlfriend and a brood of children, even more rodent-like than himself.