Bump-bump-bump-badda-bump-bum! Doo-doo-doooo-do-do-do-do! Yes, that was the start of an attempt to sound out the Super Mario Brothers theme song for you. In fact, I think this may be the second time I am attempting to open my column with that theme song. Odd. Also a bit silly, I know, but you know what isn’t silly? The fact that you’re reading From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! And with that we kick it off with a little, and say it with me guys, COMIC CHAT!!!!!!!!!
That’s right, gossip for a second week in a row, folks. First off, this week sees the final webisode of series one of The Bullpen, in which what our creators have feared most from the first webisode happens.
Next, Kaboom (Boom! Studios re-branded all-ages line) has just announced some brand spanking new titles being added to the mix to delight us! Three new titles will be coming out soon to the mix. We get Snarked! by Roger Lanridge, one the minds behind Boom! Studios’ successful Muppets comics, Space Warped, which I’m already loving the art to, and Word Girl!
This all comes out just as it was announced all Disney-Pixar titles will no longer be at Boom! Instead Marvel Comics will begin publishing a monthly title called Disney-Pixar Presents, which will feature Pixar characters from Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars, and more. Other Disney titles such as Mickey Mouse or the popular Darkwing Duck, Rescue Rangers, and others will all remain at Boom!
Ah, the 90s. No one likes to realize you’re aging, but when I think that 1990 was 21 years ago, it makes you think. In fact, I remember as a child coming home from school and every day seeing a commercial that was counting down the days until the premiere of Darkwing Duck hit the airwaves. It was a time that was filled with great memories for many. The writers of Darkwing Duck realize this and realize who a good chunk of their readers are, and the first annual opens with a brilliant little bit about the glory of 16-bit video games, and from there dives into a tale of Quackerjack, hatching a new scheme, turning people into toys. However, the story also paints an issue of better days gone by for Quackerjack, how he couldn’t handle the corporate world and lost it and turned to villainy. There is of course action and that great Darkwing Duck humor, however, the better days gone by vibe provides us with a piece with just as much heart as we have seen since the first story arc of relaunch. Ian Brill has written a fantastic Darkwing Duck story with an oddly heart breaking end. The art by Sabrina Alberghetti looks great and flows nicely.
The second story in the annual is a short written by Darkwing Duck creator Tad Stones himself, with art by James Silvani. In this tale we get the crazy-fun side of Darkwing Duck, feeling right out of the TV series with a really fun time-warp story (I really don’t want to say more or I’ll give too much away). Stone’s writing is fantastic to read and leaves us with a smile. I enjoyed Silvani’s art very much, and specifically was in love with all the Disney animal characters in different tanks stuck in a pet shop; nice touch (seeing the Rescuers behind glass had me rolling for hours).
The team at Boom! has done a bang-up grade A job at providing us with Darkwing Duck Annual #1. It’s good to see they keep the steam going and haven’t slowed down with their stellar take on relaunching this character. Pick it up, it’s out on stands now!
Daft Punk. They have provided us with endless musical hits, a great stage on D.J. Hero, and most recently the best film score in years for Tron: Legacy (which the film would have been weakened without). Leiji Matsumoto. Creator of such comic book and anime series as Star Blazers, Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express, and more. Put them together and we get Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Back in 2003, with their Grammy-winning album Discovery selling like hot cakes, the idea came up to animate the album. Daft Punk wanted to work with a list of childhood heroes/inspirations, and somehow ended up with Toei Animation getting Leiji Matsumoto, whom they deeply love and admire, to work with them to create the story and do character designs. Best remembered here in the U.S. for having the first four songs cut into music videos and aired frequently on Cartoon Network’s now defunct Toonami late night blocks, Interstella 5555 tells the story of an alien rock band which is kidnapped and brought to Earth. Here on our planet, they are brainwashed, disguised as humans, and forced to churn out hits. However, a lone warrior, in love with the band’s female, tracks down the kidnappers, and after adventuring across Earth, faces their evil technology-meets-magic-powered manager and saves the group. Interstella 5555 was a hit over in parts of Europe and loved by Daft Punk fans across the planet. The entire film is just to Daft Punk’s music with a single spoken word, giving it a house music-meets-Fantasia vibe and spectacle. The film is great, packed with action, thrills, and a few touching moments. The animation by Toei is top of the line, and the character designs by Matsumoto are done in his signature style. Of course if you don’t like Daft Punk’s music, that may kill the film for you, but otherwise you can’t go wrong. My pick for something for you to watch this weekend is Interstella 5555.
That’s it for this week, see you next!
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