From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 80: It’s Past 10, We’re On The Brunch Menu
Writing this week’s all-ages comics column for ya’ll, I quickly realized two things. The first was at quick glance, we sounded like some sort of vending machine at a bowling alley with your choice of a Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll or some Peanuts. I assure you, the choice to review them in the same week was not done on purpose; although I do have a soft spot for things like Fighting Fu-dons and Iron Chief, this was not intentional to do some sort of “food-sounding theme.” The next was this would be published on Friday the 13th! Bump-Bump-Baaaaa! So I needed to choose a superhero movie with a horror theme, which is where Mexico’s Wrestling Women Vs. The Aztec Mummy comes in. Problem? Someone out there may eat Aztec Mummies! You may be banned from multiple museums of natural science across the globe because you stick your head in the case and go to town. If that’s the case, this really is the brunch menu for you today (and you should seek help for this type of behavior). Let’s get down to!
So you may have thought your friendly neighborhood columnist would be put off by this manga title? Wrong you are, reader! It will now become public knowledge that in fact I have enjoyed since its American release in 2007, the claymation series Hello Kitty Stump Village, which features Cinnamoroll as one of its main characters! So when I was told I would review this, I sent back one of those emails with a lot of exclamation marks and emoticons in it. Now, the real question is not even if this series is for you, but is it for your kids? Honestly, Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll isn’t aimed in the slightest to anyone above the age of 8, not that there is anything wrong with that, and not that an adult (ahem, i.e., your reviewer) can’t enjoy it, too. It is light-hearted, innocent, and lovable, and that’s what makes this title work.
The first volume of Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll follows the adventures of the little dog Cinnamoroll, born among the clouds with the power to fly. He ends up on the ground below where he begins to live at a cafe making baked goods and hanging out with other dogs, all also named after beverage/food: Mocha, Cappuccino, Milk, Espresso, and Chiffon. Together they go on little adventures filled with evil clouds, magic guitars, unicorns, talking trees, treasure maps, Santa, stag beetles, and more. Sounds a little random-happenstance? Don’t worry, it’s part of its absolute for-kids-charm. I don’t care why Cinnamoroll was born from a cloud or can fly; fact is, he just was and can, and once you accept that, you can just have fun with this comic.
The story and art by Yumi Tsukirino is cute and simple. Cinnamoroll, like all Sanrio characters, has an easy but hip design, and the world and supporting cast’s look matches. In black and white it may seem plain to some, but the colored pages look really cool. As I mentioned, the story is full of imagination and anyone who asks things like, why does that tree talk, or so on, is missing the point of just having fun with this book. That said, although fluffy is in the title, don’t mistake this for just filler fluff, that’d be too cynical. Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll is an excellent comic for kids that may hook some adults too, and at the low price for the collection it is worth picking up to read. Out on stands as of last week.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Peanuts are back in comic books. Last year we got a tease of them returning to comics with both the Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown graphic novel adaptation of the new special and an issue #0 teaser for the new ongoing series, but here it is finally starting for us, and in my opinion the title does not disappoint.
The issue is made up of several Peanuts short stories, so no epic cliff hangers here, which is exactly what a fan would want/expect from this title. First thing the team at Kaboom! did right was to make sure they included some classic color Peanuts comics and drawings by Schulz himself. This was the guy’s masterpiece, and some hardcore fans may argue you cannot have Peanuts without Schulz, and here he is for us.
We also get brand new Peanuts stories here, too. My favorite and the strongest of the new bunch was “Cat Cash,” with writing by Shane Houghton and art by Matt Whitlock, in which Lucy, not getting any business lately, exploits Snoopy’s dog sniffing abilities to find Frieda’s lost cat. The art is great by Whitlock, the writing is funny with nice moments by Houghton, and maybe most importantly feels at home with the body of work by Schulz. We also get two tales drawn and written by Vicki Scott, “Music Goes Round” and “How To Draw Charlie Brown.” “Music Goes Round” is a cute little tale in which Lucy is trying to get “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” out of her head, and by humming it she passes it off and around the Peanuts gang, eventually to the reader’s smile, coming back to her anyway. “How To Draw Charlie Brown” I thought was pretty cool and fresh for Peanuts, in which Lucy gives us a step-by-step on how to draw good old Chuck. Not only does it really work and helps teach you how to draw him, but Lucy’s commentary is hysterical and classic Peanuts, as well.
So did I have any issues with the first issue? Yep. As you can read from above, the issue really feels like an all-Lucy issue. I know she can be the catalyst for a lot of stories, but I feel like she just ate up a lot of the issue. I still loved the new Peanuts, I just want a little more variety in character stories from the next few issues. That aside, it’s off to a great start. Issue #1 of Peanuts came out on stands last week.
So it’s Friday the 13th, how could I let this column get away without finding something horror related to comic books? Well, adventure back with me to the year known as 1964, when the now cult gem of cinema was produced, Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy! Mexico is well known for its luchador wrestling superheroes, but also for a little bit there was a series of films that starred women wrestlers as the heroes. Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy features our femme fatales of the ring, Loretta and Rubi, racing against the evil Black Dragon and his gang to find the all pieces of a mystery that will lead them to the treasure of the lost Aztecs. After plenty of brain washing, fist fights, and a little wrestling, we get to the treasure to find out it’s being guarded by an Aztec Mummy, who comes back to life when his treasure is stolen! Everyone is against everyone else, the Mummy can turn into a bat and a spider like a vampire or something, there’s Mexicans playing Chinese people like Fu-Man-Chu, it’s everything you could want from a 1964 superhero flick that felt like pulp novel stuff on the big screen. The film would be brought over and dubbed by K. Gordan Murray, the man behind the dubs of Santa Claus and a few Santo flicks, into English, and can be found on a few DVD collections if you search the web. Do yourself a favor this Friday the 13th and save the day against the Aztec Mummy with these babes of brawl in Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy!
That’s it for this week, see you next! In the mean time, get your kaiju game on!
A copy of Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll was provided for review by Viz Media.