From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.139
HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Welcome reader to our all-ages column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Hopefully you didn’t miss us too much when we had last week off. As regulars of our column know, I also direct plays and musicals, and I had an opening of the latest project I worked on, Cannibal: The Musical by Trey Parker (of South Park fame), which consumed my life (in a good way) and stole me from doing a column last week. But here we are now! Back in action and ready to talk about some titles! Hell, let’s throw in a few more exclamation marks in this opening: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Scooby-Doo gang has had a really long run in comics over the years. Although you never seem to see folks writing about this, or other DC all-age title Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? always makes it onto the sales charts and has a steady fan base (which on that hand is unlike DC’s MAD Magazine and Looney Tunes which don’t hit their charts and only have a steady enough base to grant them a bi-monthly publication schedule). Thinking over all of this led me to asking myself, “Self, why doesn’t DC push this title?” So this week I checked out the latest issue, and I think the answer is between the cartoons always being on TV, DVDs, and other marketable products, the title doesn’t need to be pushed since the market for it is so pre-built in. The lack of push to press for us to write about it is a shame, though, because issue #31 is an example of a great all-ages comic book.
The praise is simple: If you are a Scooby-Doo fan, now or have been at one point in your life, it’s a great title to pick up and read. If you are not, nothing will change your mind here. Issue #31 starts off with the story “Go For Broke,” in which our gang is all laid up in a ski lodge after ALL of them break one of their legs while chasing a Ghoulie on skis. Very quickly, being laid up in this ski lodge proves to be their best tool in solving this mystery. The second story, “Ready-To-Werewolf,” takes our gang right into the world of high fashion, as they have to discover the real culprit behind the terrorizing of a fashion show by a werewolf. We also get the short “Velma’s Monsters of the World: The Calchona,” which gives us a humorous look at the monster known as the Calchona in Chile, and a one-page funny of Daphne giving both monster fighting and fashion tips.
All the stories are fun here. It feels a little rushed when compared to an episode of the TV show, where it takes 20 minutes to solve a mystery, and here it takes 10 to 12 pages, but everything unfolds and connects together just how it would on the show; that in itself is the charm that keeps fans happy. Everything you expect this comic book to be, it is. On the art side, all of the characters look how they do on TV (which is awesome, as sometimes these things turn out bad), and a special shout out goes to Roberto Barrios Angelelli on “Ready-To-Werewolf” where his art just flowed together well, still capturing the magic and visual details of a fashion show, all while looking very Scooby-Doo universe-like and avoiding looking chaotic as it easily could given the setting.
Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? #31 is out now in print only from DC Comics.
How does one sum up the splendor of Ernest and Rebecca? I could state, as previously before in this column, that surprisingly it is one of the most over-looked titles on the all-age market, although it has something that would appeal to everyone, and that’s just a shame. It is one of a handful of titles that always delivers, and much praise does need to be given to publisher Papercutz for standing behind this title. The art by Dalena is always stellar, always gorgeous to look at, we are talking the kind you want to prop up on a wall. Packaged together with this art is the fantastic, sometimes heart breaking writing by Bianco, that chronicles the life of young Rebecca.
Volume 4, titled ” The Land of the Walking Stones,” follows Rebecca as she goes out to the country to spend the summer at her Dad’s trailer. She settles in fast there, making friends with a young boy named Rodrigo. Ernest, her imaginary friend created from her germs, reappears as well, giving a much needed change up to her vacation. As this is going on, her sister, Coralie, at home learns the passions of young love when she discovers her boyfriend hasn’t been faithful, and at the same time Rebecca’s Dad, still recovering from his divorce, starts to have the buds grow with Rodrigo’s Mom.
Throughout all of that plot above, on the surface it is very much a “life happens” kind of volume as we get that childhood magic of a summer vacation. However, where the previous volumes have felt very much Calvin and Hobbes, there seems to be something a little more here as we start hitting a definite turning point in Rebecca’s life, and a few childhood growing pains become apparent. As she gets a little older and this summer flies by while getting ready for a new school year, we see her relationship change and grow with her imaginary friend Ernest, maybe just not needing him quite as much as she once did. It’s a very bittersweet yet sincerely written undertone that treks throughout, underscoring the volume’s humorous mood, one as thoughtful as it is honest in its reflection of a start to a coming-of-age beat which everyone comes face to face with eventually.
Ernest and Rebecca is four volumes in and still a Grade-A title. Very much worth checking out and very much shelf-worthy! Volume 4, “The Land of the Walking Stones,” is out next week from Papercutz.
Do you like popcorn? All that fluffy goodness, always enjoyable to eat for a snack. That’s my comparison to IDW’s My Little Pony, it’s a popcorn title. The books are bright and fun, always good for a re-read, and one gets out of it pretty much what they expect every time. It doesn’t carry a heavy emotional weight, nor should it. IDW’s series and micro-series are great adaptations of the hit TV show that provided the source material, and if you are a fan it doesn’t let you down.
The second issue of the My Little Pony Micro Series follows the cute, high-flying Rainbow Dash, who one day while doing an air show, runs smack dab into a giant evil cloud. Turns out the cloud doesn’t want to leave, and its operated by these little demon-things, and suddenly everyone in Equestria gets more and more annoyed as the days go on and this dark cloud will not stop hanging over their land. Finally, our favorite ponies get together and decide it’s about time they do something about this.
Like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles micro-series, the MLP one spotlights a solo adventure for each individual member of the crew, with Rainbow Dash taking center stage this time. The art by Fleecs is great. It’s bright, poppy, looks like the TV show, and even makes you smile with its bubblegum sensibilities. The writing by Lindsay moves fast, giving us an A-B-C done-in-one tale that really does feel like it’s part of the TV show and captures the MLP-world pretty well.
My Little Pony Micro-Series: Rainbow Dash is out this week from IDW in print and digital.
That’s it for this week, see you next!