From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.127: 2013 Has Arrived!
‘Ello and welcome back explorers of the interwebs to the return of our all-ages column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! After a few weeks off for holiday and then your friendly neighborhood columnist being under the weather, where I just spent most of the time on the couch watching Kamen Rider Fourze, we are back at it! So much back at it that you’ll notice it is a MEGA-DOUBLE COLUMN WEEKEND! That’s right, folks! I had so much stuff I cut it in two! This column has the review of all the age titles, and if you come back tomorrow, we’ll have a separate column in which we interview Eisner-nominated Jermey Whitley, the man behind Action Lab’s Princeless! Check it out!
This week the latest issue of Garfield hit the stands, rocking out in 2013 as much as it did with delight in 2012.
Issue #9 features two stories to get your Garfield fix. In “An Ode Story,” written by Evanier with art by Hirsch, Garfield, much to his annoyance, decides that since the fans demanded it, he would take a side seat as narrator and bring us a story with Ode in the spotlight. The story finds Ode running off to fetch a stick, where he finds a boy who will play with him. While the boy is distracted, a burglar breaks into his and his father’s home, and it’s up to Ode to hunt him down and set stuff right. In “Pet Force Vs. The Fearsome Four!”, written by Nickel with art by Barker and the Heikes, the evil Vetvix organizes a gang of villains to take the superhero versions of Garfield and pals out. A battle ensues, but by the end the tables may be turned (read it, because I’m not gonna spoil it here).
As per usual, issue #9 delivers up another great all-ages book. Both stories, writing side and art, are great! The little things in these are what pop them from good to great here. In “An Ode Story,” there is so much fun in playing Garfield as the reluctant narrator who is constantly eating as he tells this Lassie-like story. In the Pet Force tale, the whole Shawarma Avengers-film reference at the top, to the fun with sound bubbles in the middle, gives comic book fans outside of Garfield a way into this world with humor they can totally laugh at, if they’ve been holding off and haven’t enjoyed it yet. As we have said time and again, there is nothing not to like about this title.
Garfield #9 is out this week in print and digital from Boom!
All of Scrooge McDuck’s Millions issues #1-7
Publisher: Disney Comics
Story: Fausto Vitalano
Art: Marco Mazzarello, Paolo Vitaliano, Stefano Intini, Giampaolo Soldati, Paolo De Lorenzi, and Giuseppe Dalla Santa
So a while back the license for Disney comics reverted back from Boom! to Disney. This turned out to be a great thing, because Boom! unleashed a new wave of awesome all-ages titles that have rocked hard over the past year. Interestingly enough on the Disney side, we all thought Marvel would end up publishing Disney character titles since the Mouse House bought them. Instead, Disney unleashed its own comics label in the digital world with its own App, keeping print as a second thought, and recently getting a huge boost by unleashing its titles on comiXology. Out of all the titles they have pushed, the one that steals the spotlight is All of Scrooge McDuck’s Millions!
All of Scrooge McDuck’s Millions is reminiscent of the classic The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, with the same vibe and story texture, only poppier art as per the other Euro-Disney comics we have seen. The set up is simply Scrooge, Donald, and the gang are at Grandmas when they pull out an old photo album of Scrooge. The album isn’t organized in years, but in each million that Scrooge made. Each issue then follows as Scrooge tells the family about his adventures leading up to each million, from gold mining, trains, stock markets, cruise ships, and more, each scenario provides a set-up with a variety of unexpected obstacles, each one with a nice little pay off and occasional twist resolution.
Vitalano is writer on all the issues, and perhaps he is in spirit American favorite Bark’s soul brother here, channeling these great scenarios as Scrooge goes from riches to even more riches, in an always entertaining and fascinating way. The variety of artists on the issues do a stunning job at continuity, and you can’t even tell who drew what issue unless you look at the credits because of how uniform everything is with the style of these. As mentioned, the art has a brighter pop-feel to it, but fans of the many comics translated by Boom!’s time with Disney are use to this, and even if you aren’t, just know it looks great.
All of Scrooge McDuck’s Millions issues 1 through 7 are available now from Disney Comics!
In the Adventure Time world there resides an alternative gender-bender version of Finn and Jake, with the parallel universe of Fionna and Cake, the most radical adventurous chick and her awesome cat that you could ever find. Although this duo has only appeared a few times on the show, they have captured the minds and hearts of the fans, and now Boom! is stepping up to the plate to please those said fans by expanding their universe in an all new six issue mini-series.
In the main story by Allegri, it’s another night of Cake’s bad bed time stories to Fionna, when they are suddenly disrupted outside by the Ice Queen hunting down a pack of baby fire lions! Ice Queen doesn’t get far when she starts exchanging blows with a wild Fire Boy, but as she gets the upper-hand there it’s up to Fionna and Cake to arrive on the scene. The back-up story, “The Sweater Bandit,” by Stevenson, shows us what happens when adventure time becomes sweater time for our duo!
Issue #1 fires this mini-series off to a great start. The art by Allegri is great! She takes advantage of the page and gives us something special to match her writing, which from talks about swords made of kitty-litter and so forth is packed with the adventure and humor this title needs to live up to, and does. The back-up art and writing are cute, and give the usual balance in humor as the back-ups do in the ongoing series, helping balance out action with laughs. Personally, I think this mini is stronger than the ongoing already, so hopefully the pace will carry through its next five issues, providing us with some more much needed coolness in our lives.
Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake #1 is out now in digital and print from Boom!
There are some cool things about being a comic book fan these days, and one is the access to stuff. Take The Beano for example. This weekly British comic book has been going since the late 1930s, and for years was only available in the United States and Canada (in my experience I only found it in Canada) in a select handful of shops. Now if you want a physical copy in North America, only a handful of shops still rings true, but recently The Beano went digital in US dollars on the iPad making its accessibility soar, perhaps to much delight of fans who’ve loved it for years, those who have been curious and could never find it, and the new generation of young Americans who watched the animated version of its flagship characters, Dennis and Gnasher, which aired here on The Hub from 2010 until 2012!
Last week issue #3666 hit both stands and the digital world, bringing back all our favorite characters in a handful of stories. Dennis and Gnasher has fun as Dennis tries to get out of school pictures, with a hilarious outcome. Billy Whiz, the fastest boy in the world, has some fun with his New Year’s resolution. The Bash Street Kids (which had a street in the U.K. named after them in real life) have a hysterical story when an inspector comes to school. Bananaman takes on the evil Snowman in his own way. Roger the Dodger creates an elaborate scheme to trick his parents into thinking it’s a snow day so he doesn’t have to go to school. Minnie the Minx, The Numskulls, Ball Boy, Meebo & Zuky, Ratz, and Calamity Jones all provide one-page funny humor. Finally, on the Funsize Funnies pages, which feature a variety of humor strips, we get the return of classic Beano-character Biffo The Bear, who is still very loved by the comic’s fans!
So as you can tell from the run down, week after week, The Beano is churning out a ton of comics that are simply all-age fun and just quality for readers of all-ages. The art style is similar with little nuances and differences here and there, but for the most part if you like one comic, you’re going to like most in the book. For us, obviously this column loves The Beano, and we love more that we have easy accessibility to it now thanks to digital! Check it out!
That’s it for this week! See you next, folks!