From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.152
Welcome back to another week of our all-ages column From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Like last week, thanks to my foot being jacked up with a fracture, I had a chance to read ‘n write about a few more things than usual, and so for the second week in a row, you lucky reader, get a FFGtGR-MEGA COLUMN (or a double FFGtGR with bacon and medium fry, whatever you wanna call it). So let’s get down to it because there’s no better way to spend your 4th of July weekend than reading some great comics, and these will help you pick!
There has been a slew of Disney comics released digital only this year, the big winner being All Of Scrooge McDuck’s Millions released as 2012 turned right into 2013. That title was sooooo good, it’s been hard for the others to live up to that 10 issue series. Last week, though, we saw Uncle Scrooge: The Canterville Ghost hit the scene, which immediately jumped out as the Duck family was chilling with Oscar Wilde on the cover. Opening up the book (Do you open up a digital comic? Maybe swipe open.), it proved to be more than just a great cover!
As the title says, it is the Disney Duck family’s take on Oscar Wilde’s classic story “The Canterville Ghost.” By the time we hit page two, the level of fun is set as the entire Duck family is introduced as playing characters in the “Amatuer Dramatics Society For Ducks” presentation of the tale, in which Scrooge plays the millionaire part where he buys the castle, moves in with his family, and is haunted by a ghost, the ghost here played by Donald. However, Scrooge and gang are not scared in the least, and hilarity ensues as Donald has quite a hard time scaring them.
The writing by Sisti is a great comedic play off the original story, one in fact the witty Wilde perhaps would have enjoyed himself. The art by Marini was a joy and throw back to the 1980s/90s Disney comic book art. Where today we get a lot of really fresh and fun art from these Euro-Disney tales in translation, this one art wise called back to a time 20 plus years ago, and the nostalgia for this reader mixed in with the good writing made for a winner.
Uncle Scrooge: The Canterville Ghost is now available digitally from Disney Comics.
The 85th issue of Bart Simpson has hit the stands and is a shining example of an all around great comedy title.
In our first story “Exit Through The Comic Shop,” written by Shane Houghton with art by Phil Ortiz, Bart is just having a laugh doing his famous graffiti as El Barto, when suddenly an art collector thinks it’s of genius level and offers a pot load of money to whomever reveals himself as the true El Barto. Before Bart can do anything, the Comic Shop Guy thrusts into the spot light claiming to be him and getting the money (all for a rare Kahn trashcan). After Bart is tortured as his graffiti piece by piece is misrepresented, he decides to strike back with a plan. Next in “Maggie & The Buccaneers,” story and art by Sergio Aragones, at a fair taking photos, Maggie falls asleep and in her dreams goes on a hysterical pirate fighting adventure as she saves the day on the high seas! Short funnies in the issue are “Angry Dad in The Last Beer,” a comic about Homer as drawn from the perspective of Bart himself (in real life story by Digerolamo with art by Ho); and “Agent vs. Agent,” story by Boothby and art by Lloyd, is an awesome take on “Spy vs. Spy” from MAD, but here “from the pages of D’OH!”, only with Itchy and Scratchy in the rival positions!
Issue #85 is a home run. “Exit Through The Comic Shop” (playing on the Banksy documentary title Exit Through The Gift Shop) is an awesome story that plays out well, not feeling constrained to the length of a comic book single issue, yet giving us just the right X-amount of everything we need from it. Writer Houghton crafts a fun Bart tale, packing in just the right amount of pop culture references (a skill he has become a master of in the Fanboys Vs. Zombies title which he writes at Boom!) as the story unravels for us, paired visually with Ortiz’s spot-on looking art. And speaking of modern masters, where does one begin with Aragones’s piece? I feel like every time I read something he does here or in MAD or in his own self-titled funnies, the guy makes visually compelling, laugh until you’re teary, and sometimes surprisingly touching pieces of comic art. Maggie taking on a ship full of pirates is something only he could pull off with such spot on quality. Also, the shorts in the book are great, and while I’m not about to get overkill and tear into the gritty on one and two pagers, I can’t deny to you how cool they are.
Bart Simpson #85 is one of those rare examples of a perfect issue you come across every so many, don’t miss it. Out in print now!
Skyward is the latest title on stands from Action Lab, the guys who publish such awesome all-ages hits as Princeless, and it lives up to both the company’s track record of solid titles, as well as its own hype.
We start off following Quinn, who is out fishing with his Dad, Corin. After running into a mad giant boar in the woods, they make it home safe for dinner…or so they thought. Corin is visited by an old war comrade named Herod, who shows up with some demonic henchmen, and goes off for a little chat where we find out Dad was once a war hero and is wanted back. When Herod doesn’t get his way, he has Corin take notice that his cottage is being burnt down, killing Quinn’s Mom and putting them in a very tight spot for a cliff hanger ending.
Skyward #1 is a great opening to the series. Story wise at first we get a very typical set up, nothing we haven’t seen before at the start, then within a few pages it accelerates quickly and becomes an exciting adventure tale full of back stabbing, sword fighting, and a boy ‘n his dog! Stories like this have been told before, but Dale is telling it well, which makes a world of difference for the reader. On the art side of stuff, Dale’s work looks great. It has a nice feel to it, detailed but not overkill early-90s detail, and his layouts flow nice. When the two ingredients are combined, Action Lab has baked itself a winner here to put on the shelf.
Skyward is available now from Action Lab!
The latest issue of the best selling all-ages series Adventure Time hit stands last week to the joy of fans. So how does it rank for us? The answer is: it’s a winner!
Our issue sets up with Finn, Jake, and Ice King fighting a giant underwater fish monster (with a chainsaw hand) to get to the treasure in an underwater dungeon. After all the action fun they get the treasure (I won’t ruin the surprise here), and move onto the next dungeon in the demonic flame world, as it seems all the elements of the mystery of these multiple treasures are starting to connect.
And really that is the whole summary of what happens. The issue is awesome, but as my usual complaint with most Boom! all-ages titles it feels too short and flies by. Perhaps that is because you are sucked in, or perhaps that is the nature of a floppy single issue form, but either way it’s a quick one. Still, Boom! is producing some of the most quality and spot-on cartoons-to-comics out there, Adventure Time 100% included. Proof in the pudding is this stellar issue here that is never boring, has great art and writing, and is feeling more and more like the TV show with every issue that goes by. The back up story in this issue is uber-solid as well, as Finn and Jake battle to save a micro universe in a piece of bubblegum from being destroyed.
Adventure Time: everyone loves it, and for a very good reason. In print and digital now!
That’s it for this week folks! See you next!