Comic Publishers

March 1, 2013

FFGtGR: Bart Simpson, Pantalones TX and The Beano!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.137

Out with February and onto March coming in, roaring like a postcard with a chimpanzee! Hoopla! For those of you who know why you are here, awesome, for those who accidentally clicked onto this page, welcome to our all-ages comics column on this site, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Earlier this week we had a special interview with some of the writers and artists behind Viz Media’s comic adaptation of Redakai, click here to check it out! As for today, if you are a wink, then I’d be a nod, so let’s high five and get down to some reviews!

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Bart Simpson #80
Publisher: Bongo Comics
Art: Nina Matsumoto, Mike Kazaleh, Carol Lay, and Dean Rankine.
Story: Eric Rogers, Tony Digerolamo, Carol Lay, and Dean Rankine.

Out this week is issue 80 of Simpsons spin-off comic Bart Simpson, packed with a handful of great stories.

This issue features “Springfield Elementary Shakedown,” story by Rogers and art by Matsumoto, where Fat Tony JR recruits Bart into his Junior Mafia, but at what price or family members is Bart willing to pay to stay in? In “Kneading Dough,” story by Digerolamo and art by Kazaleh, Professor Frink and Bart show a great gag with some dough-like substances. In “Maggie and the Moon,” story and art by Lay, after Maggie saves Homer’s and her lives by waking him up at the wheel, Homer promises her he will get her whatever she wants. However, Maggie decides she wants the moon. Finally, in “Meerkat Milhouse,” story and art by Rankine, while watching an old school movie on meerkats, Milhouse dreams off about being one himself, which leads to some very hysterical results.

All the comics in this are great in our books. On the art side of things, Nina Matsumoto’s art on the first tale in the issue, “Springfield Elementary Shakedown,” sticks out the most with a nice crispness to it, as well as looking closest to the animation currently on TV. Story side, “Meerkat Milhouse” was my personal favorite. As someone who would tune in to watch Meerkat Manor in my college days, I was beyond amused by this concept, as well as the fact the weird dream is just something you can do better in comics and works really well here.

Bart Simpson #80 gives Simpsons fans another great issue packed with just as many laughs as the show. For non-Simpsons fans, I think there is something here for you to check out, as well. Like how you don’t need to be some Disney die hard to enjoy a Donald Duck comic book, you don’t need to love the TV show to get into the book. It’s accessible storytelling in comic form that anyone can dig into, so don’t hold back if you don’t watch it, there may be something here for you.

Issue #80 is out now in print and digital.

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Pantalones, TX: Don’t Chicken Out
Publisher: Archaia
Story and Art: Yehudi Mercado

Really, really, REALLY funny! Pantalones, TX: Don’t Chicken Out is a solid little title not to miss, out now from Archaia.

The book is set in Pantalones, TX, where underwear was invented. Here we find Chico Bustamante, accompanied by his dog Baby T, who aims to perform crazy stunts in his attempt to become a Texas legend. Joined by other friends like Pig Boy and a little Jewish New Yorker named Bucky, he is plagued non-stop by the town’s law enforcement, Sheriff Cornwallis, as he attempts to make the impossible possible. In this collection, not only does he try an array of things in his car, Ol’Smokey, but as it builds and thickens it turns out the Sheriff has a giant chicken which becomes Chico’s goal to ride!

Pantalones, TX is a great book. Art side of things, Mercado has given it a hip cartoon look that is visually nice and has a feeling of being ready to jump from the page to a TV screen at any moment. The layout of the book is long ways, and not in traditional comic book form, helping it both stick out, as well as making it a great title to read on your iPad or other e-reader device if you decide to check it out digitally instead of in print. Story wise, although parallels can be drawn to other titles, he has given it enough flare and world-building to totally feel like its own thing. Mercado has also packed enough humor ‘n wit at every page turn that it is tough for the reader to stop laughing and not want more by the time they reach the book’s end.

The long-short is I probably can’t write enough good things about Pantalones, TX: Don’t Chicken Out, and look forward to seeing more books in this series in the future! Out now from Archaia in print and digital.

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The Beano #3673
Publisher: D.C. Thomson
Story and Art: Various

It’s time again to check in across the pond and see what they have going on, which, as mentioned before in this column, is awfully easy to do these days thanks to the digital world and things like the iPad that make it the perfect way to get this stuff at an affordable cost.

This previous week’s issue of The Beano was packed with a ton of laughs and gags as usual, as we see Dennis being forced to check out books from the library in “Dennis and Gnasher,” Smiffy causing trouble at his library in “The Bash Street Kids,” Bananaman takes on snowmen robots in his title tale, Roger trying to find his lost book of cheats ‘n dodges in “Roger the Dodger,” as well as the one-page funnies of “Gnasher’s Bite,” “Ball Boy,” “Calamity James,” “Meebo & Zuky,” “The Numskulls,” “Minnie the Minx and Billy Whizz,” and the numerous strips.

The Beano is always a fun time (and always packed with a lot of stuff as the above indicates), so when we finally had a chance to get a digital subscription in North America, it was just awesome! There is so much to always enjoy about it. Seeing what pranks Dennis pulls every week has quickly become a highlight to add to my weekly reads, and art wise I always love staring at “Calamity James,” which has this weird underground comics feel and is packed full of weirdness in its panels. “The Bash Street Kids” is a huge fan favorite, and recent issues of The Beano have introduced “The Bash Street Burp” which is their home made news letter those wacky guys make in school, adding a new edge to the laughs and humor of the title. “Meebo & Zuky” give a more traditional cat versus dog funny, but with a more intense Ren and Stimpy vibe to its craziness, keeping it fresh.

All-in-all, if you love all ages stuff and humor ones at that, check this weekly comic out. It’s a little tougher to find in shops around North America because of the import factor, but if your local comic shop cannot order it in, you can always go to Apple’s News Stand and get a subscription or individual issues on your iPad.

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

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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