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May 23, 2014

FFGtGR: SpongeBob and Duffman!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.172

Welcome back one and all to our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! You know that song “Big In Japan” by Alphaville?! Whelp that has nothing to do with this week’s column. As for why I’ve been gone the past few weeks, I could get into a whole song and dance and blame it on directing several theatrical productions in a row, but it’s way better to just blame it on the TV show Spectreman, also nothing to do with this week’s column. By this point you’re saying, “Well get to the reviews!”, and yep, I shall, because if there is one thing that I’m rusty at in my time off, it is intros.

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spongebob32

SpongeBob Comics #32
Publisher: United Plankton
Writers: Derek Drymon, James Kochalka, Caleb Meurer, Vince Deporter, Brian Smith, Weiser, Rementer and Travis Nichols
Artists: Derek Drymon, Jerry Ordway, James Kochalka, Caleb Meurer, Vince Deporter, Brian Smith, Weiser, Rementer and Travis Nichols

The latest issue of SpongeBob Comics has something going for it alright: the start of an epic. As the cover cries out, it features the first part of a 5-part serialized saga following Merman in his early days coming across an underwater kingdom and the trouble that ensues. The story, which runs with a solid Silver Age vibe, features art by the great Jerry Ordway, with Derek Drymon book-ending the tale’s art with our current day Bikini Bottom world. Drymon also wrote this piece, which packs in the classic SpongeBob humor, so anyone perhaps put off by the look (but really, who doesn’t love Ordway’s art) should have no fear diving into it.

The issue also features a handful of shorts by an army of Plankton-writer/artists, highlights being “Squidward’s Shell Phone” by Vince Deporter, in which Squidward deals with SpongeBob getting a cell phone to harass him on his phone; and the extremely charming back cover chose-your-own-adventure-esque comic “Which Socks Will SpongeBob Wear?” by Travis Nichols.

Rounding out the issue are some funnies by James Kochalka (whose sense of humor is always appreciated), “Dish Sponge” by Caleb Meurer (great art), “The Haircut” by Weiser and Rementer (it feels so 80s but I love it), and “If The Sheet Fits!” by Brian Smith (which reminds me of my everyday life).

Once again, have to champion this title as a super solid, you must pick this up, wha-what do you mean you don’t read it, go stand in the corner then and punch yourself, OK, good boy, here’s 2.99 and a band-aid, go buy a copy, now, its that good, no, really, that damn good kind of read. On sale now.

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duffman

Duffman Adventures #1
Publisher:Bongo Comics
Writers: Max Davison and Ian Boothby
Artists: John Delaney and Jacob Chabot

There are some things in life I thought I’d never see. This is honestly one of them. Radioactive Man comics. Bartzilla videogames. Growing up and seeing The Simpsons go from being the thing families debated letting their children watch to over 20 years a widely accepted staple of American pop culture that would be weird not to see on TV, still could not have prepared me to get the Duffman comic. Now, it is not that I never wanted a Duffman comic, oh no, no, in fact I enjoyed this book very much. I just never thought of it, but Bongo has now made me realize that yes, yes I needed a Duffman comic, and hopefully this one-shot will blossom into at least a mini-series down the road.

Two stories pack these pages. The first, “The Duffman Corps,” follows Kyle McKagen being chosen by the flying Duff Beer can to become one of the Duffmen in the Duff Corps, where he is transported to the planet Oyah, and must engage in the proper way to non-stop party, until a certain villain shows up! The whole tale by Davison, with art by Delaney, is an obvious parody on the Green Lantern Corps, but it is done with so much wit that its laughs hold up on their own, and if you don’t know a thing about the DC Universe you can still enjoy this just the same (but of course us nerds get the best of both worlds humor). The second story, “Duff TV,” by Boothby, with art by Chabot, tells of an all Duff channel and multiple TV shows it airs, all parodies of current shows, but starring Duffman and friends, including such hits as CSI: Duff and Duff Tales.

Enjoyable? Silly? Yes, and more. Now of course Duff is beer, and a huge chunk of the issue’s humor has to do with partying, so some parents may be a little hesitant to give this to younger readers, however, being it’s cleverly done, I’d still safely call this all-age worthy. I think like Garbage Pail Kids or the like, this is the kind of title an adult can indulge in, yet a kid can enjoy and think he’s pulled one over on his parents reading something a bit “racy” and fun, so that earns it a high recommendation for all readers from me. On sale now.

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That’s it for this week! See you next! I promise this time I’ll be back. ; )

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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