From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.88: Timeless Heroes
Last week, one of the most intriguing web comic concepts of the year launched, ShiftyLook.Com. Remember all those old video games Namco used to make? Well, plenty of their characters are getting a second lease on life thanks to this new site! The site has several strips based off both old video game classics, such as Bravoman, Xevious, and Sky Kid, and newer games from Namco that you would get on such things as your iPhone, like Alien Confidential. Namco-Bandai has brought in Udon to oversee the creative side, and some great teams have been put together for these titles. The site is updated daily, with each strip on a rotating schedule being updated once or twice that week. It’s still brand new so we’ll see how this all plays out, but thus far all the strips have had a great start, each with their own individual look and writing, giving a sense of charm and joy for old school gamers. As the weeks go on, we’ll be keeping our eye on ShifyLook here in our column, but in the mean time, enjoy these strips for yourself at www.shiftylook.com. Already, I highly recommend the Xevious strip, written by Mike Costa with art by Mike Norton, which has this cool Flash Gordon vibe to it. Check it out!
This book made me laugh a ton, and it could be the funniest thing to hit shelves since that Sergio Aragones Funnies title that Bongo put out last year. If you like funny: it’s here. If you like monsters: it’s here. If you like funny and monsters, well, as established, it’s all here.
Monsters Are Just Like Us is a fantastically hysterical comic-art book by indie artist Super Ugly. The concept is golden: Super Ugly gives us drawings of monsters in situations just like us. The situations are the more humor-esque ones, such as “They think ‘Double Decaf. Non-Fat, No Foam Latte’ is coffee, just like you!”, or “They always forget the poop bags, just like you!”, with each one accompanied by a drawing of that monster in that given situation. The combination of a monster in the innocent situational humor scenario, with Super Ugly’s great artwork, gives this title the magic to keep it on your end table as a re-reader that is sure to make you crack a smile.
Monsters Are Just Like Us is a funny read for everyone, everywhere of all ages, and is out as part of Action Lab’s Signature Series, which showcases the very best up-and-coming indie talent. We highly recommend you pick this title up.
There are some things that one can enjoy over and over again. For me, no matter how interchangeable the heroes are from Space Ghost to Mighty Mightor, I could watch Hanna-Barbera action toons over and over, or I could sit for hours and read issues of DC Comics’ The War That Time Forgot, without flinching. When Reed Gunther came out last year, I was quite smitten by the series and we felt it was the best all-ages series of last year. Reed Gunther has been going for a bit now, with issue 9 now hitting stands, and for us it has become one of those titles that we could just read for hours, always enjoying it, and if you haven’t read it, we hope you’ll start and feel the same way, too.
Issue 9 of Reed Gunther gives us part one of “Fiends Forever,” where at the finishing of a railroad line, it turns out Sterling has been possessed by the evil Mr. Todd, who decides it’s the perfect time to unleash himself. This leads us to a tricky rock ’em-sock ’em battle, as Reed faces off against Sterling, as secret agents run around, the President of the United States faints, and an ill-timed train approaches.
This is a great action issue and Chris Houghton does a great job of drawing this duke out, along with Reed Gunther‘s signature humor and gags mixed in. The Houghtons do a great job keeping this series constantly fresh as we have noted before, and we get a nice big showdown, accessible to readers new and those who’ve been with the title since issue #1.
Issue 9 of Reed Gunther is still comic gold to us, and if you haven’t read it yet, we really have to ask you what you’re waiting for. Don’t pass up one of the best all-ages titles out there and pick it up now.
So it’s been a few weeks since I’ve given you a “something to watch” for the week, and with my fascination of the above mentioned ShiftyLook.Com, I went through my memory of all the odd video game adaptations we have seen. Certainly these superheroes of the arcade had to have some quality adaptations along the way? Actually, yes! Before the guilty pleasure but terrible adaptation from America in the early 1990s, the Super Mario Brothers made it to movie theaters in Japan with 1986’s Super Mario Brothers: The Great Mission To Rescue Princess Peach! The film starts out with Mario playing his Famicom at home, when Peach escapes the TV into our world pursued by Bowser and his men. Bowser pulls her back in, but Mario is left behind with a crystal which leads him the next day to follow a dog-like creature called Kibidango (whom I do not remember in the video games at all) into the mushroom kingdom, where him and Luigi adventure to cross the land to save the princess. The plot is pretty straight forward, and all the major characters from the original video game make appearances. Better yet, though, they occasionally include sound effects and music from the game! So when Mario jumps or goes down a pipe, to a fan’s joy, we get the same, familiar noises! Super Mario Brothers: The Great Mission To Rescue Princess Peach! is a pretty rare anime, though. After showing at movie theaters in Japan on a double bill, with other video game adaptation Running Boy Star Solider No Himitsu (based off a Hudson Soft title), it made its way to the huge 1980s video rental scene in Japan on video tape, but the releases end there. Only so many copies of the tape were made, and it was never reprinted or issued a DVD release. If you search YouTube or the web you can find it posted by some die hards to watch, although you’ll have to know basic Japanese or be lucky to come across a fan-sub. However, it is an enjoyable time and one of the best video game adaptations out there. Your something to watch this weekend is Super Mario Brothers: The Great Mission To Rescue Princess Peach!
That’s it for this week, see you next! Until then, get your kaiju-game on!