Featured Columns

April 4, 2014

FFGtGR: SpongeBob and Scooby-Doo Team-Up!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.170

Hello and welcome back to From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! That’s right, this week we are dusting off the old all-ages comics column that has been quiet for a few months and bringing it back! I’m your writer Drew McCabe, and for those regulars of the column who have been missing it these past two months, we are back for you! This week, we take a look at two titles that are really solid, SpongeBob Comics and Scooby-Doo Team-Up! Let’s get down to it!

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spongebob31SpongeBob Comics #31
Publisher: United Plankton (distributed by Bongo)
Stories By: Joey Weiser, David DeGrand, Gregg Schigel, Chuck Dixon, James Kochalka and Max Riffner
Art By: Vince Deporter, David DeGrand, Gregg Schigel, Ramona Fradon and James Kochalka

At some point last year in this column I became a big advocate of some of the titles out there based off existing properties. Now comics based on cartoons have always been a staple for eons, but frequently since the early 2000s a lot of the original all-ages work has out shined the existing property stuff. Then within the past two years, magically some of these existing property titles got really good, like really-really good. Of course due to their legions of fans folks will first reference Adventure Time or My Little Pony, and yes those titles are good, but one that I feel goes toe-to-toe with those two and the bloggers ain’t typing away about since it’s not the “hot new property,” is SpongeBob Comics.

SpongeBob you can safely say will become the Millennials’ Looney Tunes, and how baby boomers can now talk on end about rabbit season-duck season, when Millennials are reaching retirement one day they will be fondly recalling SpongeBob and Patrick trying out swearing, that is censored to our ears by a convenient dolphin sound effect. The strength of SpongeBob Comics is how accurately it captures the feeling and content of the show itself for us readers, while being entertaining and accessible even if you do not watch the cartoon.

Issue #31 contains a nice chunk of stories for us, which is always a good thing to make it feel like it is worth your buck. With so much free digital content out there, you have to make it feel worthwhile to pony up cash these days, and this title does. Highlights among the many stories in this issue include “Kings of the Night,” with art by Vince Deporter and story by Joey Weiser, in which SpongeBob and Patrick do that thing everyone does at least once during their early years, and try to stay up all night to experience the world at night time; “SpongeBob Shapes Up,” with story and art by David DeGrand, which possibly has the funniest gag using ranch dressing I have ever read; and “Mermaid Man in Love,” with story by Chuck Dixon and art by Ramona Fradon, which is great Silver Age feeling hero tale, echoing some the best things you’ll only otherwise see reprinted in a DC Showcase collection these days.

The comic is funny, and although the art slightly varies from story to story, that is much appreciated because it really lets the artists speak their voice in their own way, also lending a nice strength to the title and making it feel more personal and not manufactured in the least.

Issue #31 is another great issue for SpongeBob and friends, check it out.

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ScoobyDoo-3_TeamUpScooby-Doo Team-Up #3
Publisher: DC Comics
Story: Sholly Fisch
Art: Dario Brizuela

Another title based off an existing property that is pretty awesome and has proven to be great is the bi-monthly Scooby-Doo Team-Up, which pairs the Scooby gang with various characters from the Batman universe to solve crimes. It works so amazingly well I’m surprised it wasn’t tried out a little sooner as a title.

Issue#3 starts off with Batman, Robin, Scooby-Doo, and the rest of the gang busting a crime being pulled off by False Face and The Spook. However, very quickly while trying to unmask them, things get strange, and before we know it, entering into the scene is Bat-Mite! That’s right, the love him or hate him magical imp and number one Batman fan starts causing trouble, but not too much before another imp appears: Scooby-Mite! Suddenly Bat-Mite and Scooby-Mite begin to argue who is the greater crime solver, and a battle of imagination and epic proportions begins to ensue, at the expense of our main characters.

Issue #3 is great. If you were a Bat-Mite fan, specifically remembering him from The New Adventures of Batman, you may have wondered why he never showed up on the Super Friends or with Batman’s guest spot on the Scooby-Doo Movies cartoons to wreck havoc in the Hanna-Barbera universe, and the answer simply is The New Adventures of Batman was animated by Filmation and they had rights to only certain characters and Hanna-Barbera the others, although they could share Batman and Robin. Well here you may get your childhood wish with this issue! Writer Fisch ups the stakes further than the normal Bat-Mite tale immediately by introducing Scooby-Mite, which seemed very appropriate given the issue’s tone. The greatness in the issue that ensues after Scooby-Mite is introduced rocks, feeling at home with Batman: The Brave and The Bold TV episode absurdity.

It’s colorful, it’s fun, if you like Scooby-Doo or Batman, then three issues in this title still proves it’s for you every other month, and you should take a peek.

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That’s it for this week! See you next!

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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