July 15, 2011

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Life With Archie, Mameshiba and Mercury Man!

Blah-blah-blah! This week I’m saving you on all the intro shenanigans and just getting down to the good old all-ages stuff to enjoy. You are reading your favorite column and mine, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays!

Out On Stands: Mameshiba On The Loose!
Publisher: Viz
Writing By: James Turner
Art by: Jorge Monlongo
Shorts by: Gemma Correll

Mameshiba = ridiculous fun! We first ran into Mameshiba a few weeks ago in this column, and now they’re back again! What are they? They are part bean and part dog with a super cute design, and as they spout off weird facts for your entertainment, they also go on adventures in their latest collection of comics, Mameshiba On The Loose!, published by Viz Media. This graphic novel contains two comic stories and a handful of one-page gag comics.

The stories “Journey To The C enter of The Sink” and “Beans in Space!”, written by James Turner, provide a ton of entertainment out of this bizarre concept. The art by Jorge Monlongo on these is great and really captures the spirt of the Mameshiba as they adventure to save each other down the drain ¬†of a sink in the everyday home they live in. This off-beat setting is perfect and feels right up there with other for kids/for adults titles, feeling like The Littles meets Invader Zim, as they venture through sewer pipes coming across old hot dogs and a horde of zombie chicken creatures that dwell below. Pop culture references and off-beat gags provide us with plenty of laughs and moments we don’t expect. “Beans in Space!” features some of the silliest gags dealing with space madness since Ren and Stimpy had a few space episodes on TV back in the 1990s; Viz surely knows who part of their target audience is with this title when they have jokes like this. The Mameshiba come across some aliens, who are these talking one-eyed pig creatures, and of course hilarity ensues. The one-page gag comics are hysterical as well, and certainly would be at home in any newspaper or online humor site, so great job by Gemma Correll.

Mameshiba On The Loose! is a great title that will appeal to youth readers, anime fans, and alternative comics lovers. It’s colorful, bizarre, and has a great concept that pays off and leaves a lot of room for your imagination to run wild right there with it, and of course a little here. Highly recommended read.

Out On Stands: Life With Archie #11
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writing: Paul Kupperberg
Art: Norm Breyfogle

The most important note: This is the greatest Archie story ever told.

I love Life With Archie. We visit it from time to time in our column, but with so much stuff we cover, we don’t get to it nearly enough, but I assure you month after month I go back for more Life With Archie every time. Between Megaman and the Sonic The Hedgehog reboot, Archie comics really has their A-game on this year, and Life With Archie is the best example of it. Issue #11 continues the tale of the two different timelines in Arche’s adult life, one where he married Veronica, and one where he married Betty. The Veronica story line has been heated up lately with Reggie on trial and filled with some court drama and mystery, while Archie deals with marriage trouble with Veronica and Jughead being unable to handle running a business. In the second story, Archie and Betty are doing their best learning how to be teachers and dealing with teenagers at Riverdale, a few whom remind Archie more of himself when he was a teen. At the same time, Moose deals with the school practically coming down in pieces from a secret plot by Mr. Lodge to run down the building and get rid of it.

Both stories by Kupperberg are fantastic, each with its own flavor, but in each we get to see some overlap, like Jughead not being able to handle his business on either timeline. Breyfogle gives us a nice flow, a variety of page layouts, and that classic Archie look we love, just all grown up now. If there is one book you shouldn’t think twice about getting a subscription to, it’s Life With Archie.

Something To Watch: Mercury Man

Thailand over the past few years has really up’d its cinema magic with Tony Jaa films like Ong Bak and The Protector, Muay Thai Giant, Chocolate, and much more. The 2006 film Mercury Man comes right out of that scene with a superhero twist. The plot tells the story of a firefighter named Chan, who after being stabbed with a Tibetan amulet accidentally turns into the superhero Mercury Man, with super strength, the power to fly, and power over heat. Unfortunately, an Afghan terrorist leader named Osama bin Ali is after the amulet, and after a prison break plans on launching a world wide terror attack, starting in Thailand. Mercury Man has plenty of entertaining action scenes, which is the number one thing that action films are known for these days. You also get plenty of superhero action from classic saves, to psychic children, to super powered villains. Lastly, you get a ton of Dragon Ball-esque humor, including some sex jokes and dirty magazine photos which makes this more towards the PG-13 side of things for parents reading, thanks to Chan having a transsexual sister (which is played by real life transsexual Thai-kickboxer Nong Toom, interestingly enough), and Chan having some trouble learning about his powers. Although the handful of Spider-Man shout outs may get tiresome, there is still a huge chunk here to be entertained by! Your something to watch this weekend has to be Mercury Man!

That’s it for this week! See you next! Sending you kaiju-love from abroad!

Drew McCabe

A copy of Mameshiba on the Loose was provided by Viz Media.



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