From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.117: It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To!
Hey web surfers, and welcome back to another week here at From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! It has been a crazy few weeks for me, with a brand new musical I directed based off Dracula, called The Dead English, having opened in the western New York region last week! However with that up and going, and after fixing a few computer issues, we are back in the swing of things so let’s get down to it! This week we look at the all-new Bravest Warriors, and just in time for Halloween next week, I dug up a favorite manga of mine, Cowa!, that is perfect for the season!
The first issue of Bravest Warriors hit stands this Wednesday, two weeks before the animated series it’s based on premieres on web channel Cartoon Hangover. The latest creation of Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward, Bravest Warriors is just as hysterical as his previous project, and here plays up more of a team dynamic instead of a duo, still basing its humor on a group of folks going on an adventure and the hilarity that ensues, with the back drop being outer space.
The issue introduces us to the team of Chris, Wallow, Pixel, Danny, and Beth. After a hard day’s work on solving a planet’s issue (won’t give it away here, too funny), they decide to spend the evening watching both cupcakes battle and horror movies, with their unofficial member Plum. Gags abound as we see a variety of these “horror” movies, and Danny tries to control his crush on Plum. In the backup story “Laser Sunday,” a day of laser tag gets out of hand.
Bravest Warriors is an all around solid first issue, introducing all the characters and giving us plenty of laughs. It also serves well as a teaser for the soon-to-be-seen cartoon. With said cartoon forthcoming, we have no comparison how it will hold up to the animated series, but as its own thing as a comic, it is really great and perhaps has built in an adult audience on the joke side more than Adventure Time does. Art wise it looks good and looks very much like it’s the same world as Adventure Time, locking in and keeping those fans happy.
Bravest Warriors is off to a great start, and once again: it’s really funny. I can’t say much more without giving it all away, but if you like Adventure Time, you are sure to dig Bravest Warriors and should check it out! Available in both digital and print!
So after doing Dragon Ball for 12 years straight as a weekly comic in Shonen Jump, creator Toriyama decided he needed a break finally as his arm began to hurt, and he wanted to go back to drawing everything himself without any assistants. Toriyama would do a few weekly stints that would fill single volume collections, or bi-weekly/monthly stints that would only fill a few volumes. In 1998, he did one of his weekly gigs that would run for 14 weeks and fill a single volume collection, a brilliant manga called Cowa!
Cowa! is a fantastic all-ages adventure starring a cast of monsters and one chain smoking, grumpy ex-wrestler. Combining the humor of his first hit Dr.Slump with the action of his second hit Dragon Ball, but keeping them both purely aimed at kids, with no adult winks or over the top violence, Cowa! is not only the author’s most accessible comic no matter where you come from on this globe, it also has a surprising amount of heart to it.
The manga follows Paifu, a half-vampire/half-werekoala, and his best friend, a ghost named Jose. They adventure around their town (at nighttime, of course) playing, stealing watermelons, and making friends with the few humans not afraid of them, which includes an ex-wrestler named Maruyama. When their town comes down with the Monster Flu, which can kill monsters in only a few days if not cured, only the kids Paifu, Jose, and Paifu’s rival Arpon, haven’t been infected yet. It’s up to them to travel a long distance to a great witch who can make the medicine. Since the distance is so long and there are dangers like a monster guarding the woods that surrounds the witch, Paifu tricks Maruyama into helping them. Suddenly the reader is treated to a road trip adventure, filled with fights against monsters and gangsters, the truth behind Maruyama’s past and why he doesn’t wrestle anymore, and some laughs along the way.
I first discovered Cowa! in high school on a scanlation site and was intrigued by Toriyama doing a color comic, which was part of the deal for doing the weekly again, that they’d let him do it in color. About five years after I first found it, in 2008 Viz would reprint the series as part of their Shonen Jump line (only the first chapter in the collection is color in our printed edition, though). I love Cowa! to pieces. Toriyama does some simpler cutesy monster designs, like his design work on the mega-hit video game Dragon Quest, and fills it with these great moments that are only through the eyes of a child, like their fascination with giant neon signs as they are on their road trip and such. That innocent sense of childhood discovery is prevalent through the entire title, and makes the comic only sweeter the older one gets.
That’s it for this week, see you next!