From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 182
It’s Friday the 13th, and like all good things that come back from the dead and haunt you on this day, this time it just happens to be: THE ALL-AGES COMICS COULMN! BUMP-BUMP-BAAAAAAA! Howdy ya’ll, and welcome to our all-ages comics column that we dust off and bring back from time to time, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays!
The past year for all-ages titles in North America has been kinda, well, stagnant. There are no new, original, all-ages titles invading our hearts and minds like there were three or four years ago. Currently 2015 is like 2014, and how 2013 ended, with lots and lots of licensed titles. That doesn’t mean these licensed character titles are bad, in fact some of them are amazing, like Spongebob Comics or Looney Tunes regularly do great work (and you should check those out). Is hope on the horizon? Too soon to say. One great thing happening later this year is IDW re-launching the Disney titles! That’s right, not Marvel, not going back to Boom!, but IDW will be doing Mickey, Donald, and our other friends, a group that has been missed sorely the past few years.
So today, we look at one of those still great titles that never fails to do its job correctly, DC Comics’ run of Looney Tunes.
There was once upon a time when Looney Tunes was a title grossly looked over by us, and perhaps for some of us, it’s twice upon a time and still is overlooked. Even when all-ages comics were all but dead in the eyes of direct market buyers, Looney Tunes (along with Simpsons Comics and Archie titles) kept going somehow, and thank god it did. The magic of the title is that if you love Daffy, Taz, and the rest of the gang, you get to read the comedic misadventures of them every month.
Now, I’m gonna talk about this title, but here is one thing I have to say straight out of the gate: Looney Tunes at the core is animal funnies, one of the oldest and best forms of comic art. That means at its core, unlike, say, a review of Batman, Looney Tunes will always be a title you need to read yourself. I can tell you how funny a Buster Keaton movie is, but you may not think it’s funny when you watch it yourself, or you may think Buster Keaton is way funnier than I could ever describe him. Obviously I am championing the title by writing about it here, but really, you have to read it yourself and decide if the humor clicks with you, like it does for me.
The main focus of this month’s issue is Wile E. Coyote in a gem of a story called “Job Security,” with art by Alvarez and story by Fridolfs. After ages of chasing that Roadrunner, our fave coyote finds himself low on cash and gets a job as a product tester at, you guessed it, Acme. A hysterical array of mishaps ensue, which is what one wants when reading this. The story starts out in pure pantomime, as we know and love these characters, but goes into dialogue to keep it moving once we get to Acme Corporation (from everyone but Wile E. of course). The art is very, very clean thin lines, and precise looking in this piece; Alvarez really does a great job. In fact, my only complaint with the art is it looks way different than the rest of the issue, which on some titles doesn’t bother me in the least, but here it did. Alvarez drew most the stories in the issue, and the characters in each piece look how they should, so I’d have to place this difference on the color and inking teams they brought in for each segment. A minor unevenness in a field of good stuff.
The other long piece in this issue is “All Decked Out,” story by Weiss and art again by Alvarez. Here Elmer Fudd is hosting a home improvement show when he runs across Bugs Bunny, who is less than pleased with him, and decides to have the last laugh. Funny and great Elmer writing by Weiss, who has a good feel for that character’s voice.
The issue rounds out with several shorts between, featuring other WB favorite stars.
Overall, as it does every other month on its bi-monthly release schedule, Looney Tunes keeps proving to be a solid, evergreen title for all-ages material that can be enjoyed by anyone: your kid, your crazy grandpa, maybe even you. Which brings me back to my first and second paragraph here. You may be a cynical reader and saying, “Well are you even trying to review this title (which a proper in depth review would be endless spoilers explaining a gag-by-gag)?” The answer is because you are either one of two things to be in this column normally: a hard comic fan, which means direct market, which is the audience that has long overlooked this title and needs to start reading it for a laugh. Or you could be a parent looking for something for their lil’ ones, in which I say pick this up for them.
Bottom line: Looney Tunes is worth our money for a quick laugh every other month.
That’s it for this week. See you again soon!