Featured Columns

February 22, 2013

FFGtGR: Professor Frink and Ariol!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.135

Hello folks, and welcome back to another week at our all-ages column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! I’ll cut all the intro stuff this week and just get down to it: reviews. Not just any reviews, though, nope, we are talking reviews of two solid all-ages titles here, so let’s Thunderbirds go already!

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Simpsons One-Shot Wonders: Professor Frink
Publisher: Bongo
Story: Ian Boothby, Chris Yambar, and Nathan Kane
Art: Hilary Barta, James Lloyd, and John Delaney

Coming out next week from Bongo is another edition in the line of Simpsons One-Shot Wonders with Professor Frink, giving us three awesome tales to rock out our reading enjoyment to!

The first is “Frink Sinatra,” written by Boothby with art by Barta, in which while on a date one night, Professor Frink accidentally spills his bottle of “Cool Juice.” This seems fine, except it goes into Springfield’s Water Supply, turning seemingly everyone in town into Vegas-like hipsters hyped on coolness! A few fellow geeks, though, such as Lisa, are unaffected by this and it becomes a battle of a mob of cool-folk against the few nerds for the fate of the town! In “Hook, Line & Frinker,” written by Yambar with art by Lloyd, Frink is showing Bart and Lisa his formula which holds the secret to evolution, and tests it on our favorite three-eyed fish, Blinky. Suddenly, Blinky grows legs, but it doesn’t stop there as very quickly this fish-frog begins multiplying, until there is a huge army of them, causing a big problem at hand. Finally, in “Synchronicity For Two,” Professor Frink is showing off a ray at school which has the potential to unlock other dimensions. Of course, Bart has to fire it off, sending him and Professor Frink to another dimension of fun where they encounter some unexpected problems, and the reader gets to put on 3-D glasses for this one for some special art!

This whole issue was a lot of fun. It took ideas from good old 1950s/60s sci-fi stories and put a great Simpsons spin on them, with of course Frink being at the center of things (which perfectly makes sense in this world). The art looks great on all of them, with the writing feeling right at home as more of a sci-fi special version of some of the Tree-House of Horror tales we get from the Simpsons universe. The art on “Synchronicity For Two” was especially fun, being it was both in 3-D (always a good time) and had this great Dr. Strange vibe to it when they were in the other dimension. Extra tip of the hat to all the writers for the little Simpsons beats at the end of each story, wrapping them up perfectly. Also another tip of the hat to the awesome 3-D back cover by Chris Houghton, which you just have to see.

Overall, the new Simpsons One-Shot Wonders: Professor Frink that comes out next week is just a good time, pleasing both fans of the TV show as well as comic book readers, so check it out!

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Ariol Vol.1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me
Publisher: Papercutz
Story: Emmanuel Guilbert
Art: Marc Boutavant

Ariol is a simply charming comic out this week from Papercutz. Originally published in France, Papercutz releases Guilbert and Boutavant’s comic for the first time in North America, playing like animal versions of the Archie gang, but with the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes.

The comic focuses on the title character Ariol, a little blue donkey with huge glasses, as he goofs around, goes to school, deals with his crush on a fellow student (a cow named Petula), and his undying love for his favorite super hero Thunder Horse. It is very much that slice-of-life gag humor genre, that takes us back to simpler times when we were younger, and for kids reading it, gives them a current reflection into their own parallel lives. It is packed with wit and never afraid to give you a moment that tugs on your heart-strings, and then follows up with a comment about boogers for a reality check and laugh.

The thing that really¬†accelerates¬†this title above others like it out there is Marc Boutavant’s art. You could just stare at his art and be happy. His characters are cartoons, but not in the traditional American way, nor the traditional French comic way, either. It’s just different and the freshness is enhanced by the choice of colors to complete the look into something very special, and honestly even if it was a bad comic (which it is not in any shape, way, or form), one could still go out and want to buy this thing based on its artistic merit alone.

Papercutz gives us a nice hardcover edition, counting in at about 125 pages for the right price. Ariol Vol.1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me is out now from Papercutz!

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That’s it for this week, see you next!

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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