From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 188
Howdy ya’ll, and welcome back to our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! This week we look at what we can safely at this point in its run call a staple, evergreen title for all-ages comics, SpongeBob Comics! Yes, on my desk filled with many distractions, from piles of DVDs to video games and more, if an issue of SpongeBob appears, it always moves its way toward my reading delight very quickly, holding up with quality for quite some time now.
Issue 45 of SpongeBob Comics struck stands this month with its usual brilliant array of talent, that pleases numerous groups of readers, between its laugh-out-loud humor, great art, and witty storytelling. If you have read the book before, you know the structure, but if not, usually the comic is composed of stand alone stories with one-pagers in between (with a rare exception a chunk of months ago), which has been the formula that has worked since the good old days of Uncle Scrooge books (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).
Things kick off with “The Deranged Detector,” in which Mr. Krabs has created a small robot that can “sense value” and collect coins dropped by customers off the floor of his burger joint. This soon gets out of hand, as SpongeBob has an item he will not fork over to the robot, causing it to grow to gigantic troublesome proportions. Smith does double duty on both art and writing in this story, the art being especially noteworthy, with a kinetic energy that summons the beauty of a kaiju film, yet remains Bikini Bottom, by the story’s end. We’ve reviewed quite a bit of SpongeBob here, and certainly if there ever was a “Best Of” collection put together, I’d expect this one to be included in it.
Next comes “One Tuesday Afternoon at Squidward’s,” which connects to a later story in the issue, “On Tuesday Afternoon at SpongBob’s.” Squidward is trying to sell off his house as a variety of amusing things take place, and then in the later story we see SpongeBob’s side and how he and the gang affected things. With story by Leighton and art by Chabot, this tale is pretty funny, and shows clever wit with pay off in the connecting second story. It’s moments like this that show off the frequent creativity displayed in the book, which is part of the title’s cross-generational charm for comic readers. Tip of the hat, aside from to the duo on this, should also go to editor Chris Duffy from not shying away from creative material like this, but embracing it and helping champion it in this title.
The final long form entry is “Patrick’s Itch,” by Drymon, with art supplied by the legendary Ordway. The plot is in the title: Patrick has an itch, and SpongeBob does an array of things, getting more and more hysterical as we ride along (and perhaps stranger and stranger, in a good way), until its climatic moment with a gut-busting revelation.
And of course between this solid selection is a nice grouping of shorts, which I never summarize here because that’d ruin the one-page experience, but I will note they feature the talents of James Kochalka, Maris Wicks, Joey Weiser, Becky Dreistadt, David DeGrand, Kate Sneider, and Nate Neal.
In final thought, and in case you didn’t pick up on the message yet: SpongeBob Comics #45 is a winner. Buy it, love it, buy all the back issues and future. Great stuff.
Join us next week for more SpongeBob love when we review the 3rd annual SpongeBob Annual-Size Super-Giant Swimtacular!