November 26, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma-Rays: Disney, Archie, Oz and Atragon!

It’s Black Friday, which means it’s time for Blacula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I know there’s some rumor that today is an excellent day to get deals on shopping, however it’s actually a day where all the black-vampires come out, so be on the look out tonight, for Blacula is sure to be out and about, even around here at From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma-Rays!

We have a ton of fun to get through this week, so let’s get down to it now:

Out On Stands This Week: Mickey Mouse and Friends #302
Publisher: Boom! Comics
Writer: Sergio Badino
Artist: Giorgio Cavazzano

Picking up where the last issue left off, Minnie, Mickey, and his nephews run across gigantic robots, modeled after the Presidents of the United States, hidden in Mount Rushmore, that have been destroying towns! In a turn of events Mickey’s old nemesis, the Phantom Blot, is behind all the wrong doings! It’s up to this little Mouse-pack to save the day and stop Phantom Blot and the robo-presidents gone wrong! The writing on the issue is solid and full of adventure, although for some Disney comic fans, the story may feel too close to the Mickey Mouse and the World of Tomorrow story, which Boom! published earlier this year and is now collected in a TPB, given it’s the Mouse against evil-doers using giant robots gone wrong. The artwork is the great European-Disney style we have been given with the recent Boom! stories, always capturing the magic of the Disney characters while giving us these fantastic action layouts, making it appeal to both children and adult readers!

Out On Stands Last Week: Life With Archie #4
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Artist: Norm Breyfogle

The Life With Archie comic-magazine is probably the best thing to happen in comics this year. As mentioned before in my column, Archie Comics has made a great come back this year and it’s great to see them in action. Currently the magazine has been serializing two stories, one with a time-line where Archie has married Betty, and another on a time-line where he has married Veronica. Each story has been showing us the troubles and trials Archie must go through as an adult in each reality. In the Veronica story, Archie must deal with trying to save his town from being bought out and replaced with big businesses from his business tycoon father-in-law. The Veronica tale is real and captures the current state of economic turmoil we deal with today, as well as illustrates the strain on Archie’s marriage from all this with realism and honesty. Although someone might just write it off for some CW wanna-be, it certainly is not and is a story with heart that keeps us coming back every month. The Betty story as well has plenty of interesting drama with Archie and Betty struggling to make it in NYC, with Mr.Lodge trying to break them up in hopes Archie will remarry Veronica. Although the Betty story is a little bit less reality based and has more humor, we have the subplot where a mysterious figure (Archie fans have surely figured out his identity) knows about the alternative time-lines, and it still has a ton of heart. It also has an adult version of cult-favorite character Ambrose, who we haven’t seen since Little Archie, adding that extra coolness factor. The artwork is great, looking wonderful on the large glossy pages. In February the stories will change up in Life With Archie and Archie comics will be bringing back their classic character Lil’ Jinx for a new serialized story called Jinx, giving us her grown up adventures.

Out On Stands Last Week: Donald Duck and Friends #360
Publisher: Boom! Comics
Writer: Ennio Missaglia
Artist: Valerio Held

The second half a two-parter that started in Donald Duck and Friends #359 gives us Donald Duck and friends in the land of feudal Japan! Scrooge as an evil lord makes perfect sense in this world, as does Donald as our reluctant martial arts hero who must save the village, duel baddies, and save the day. The artwork is fantastic and I must say the karate action scenes, although not drawn like a manga-martial arts scene (which is what most are used to these days for these types of scenes) is still well drawn and full of action. Writer Missaglia captures the Donald characters and transfers them to this world perfectly. There’s even a great traditional Disney-esque gag where every time Donald and Daisy go to kiss something interrupts them, making me laugh out loud. This two-parter was one of the nicest surprises of the year rolled out to us by Boom! The issue also features a back-up story with Donald taking karate in the real world, not a dream-world like the two-parter. Although not as good as the feudal Japan story, it still has plenty of laughs and traditional Disney gags. Highly recommended!

Collection of Awesomeness: The Marvelous Land of Oz
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Eric Shanower, based off the book by L. Frank Baum
Artist: Skottie Young

So after Marvel produced the Eisner-winning adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, they decided to re-team up Shanower and Young for a second go, adapting the second novel to comics, The Marvelous Land of Oz. Now I may just be biased, being The Marvelous Land of Oz is my favorite book in the Oz series, as well as one of my favorite books to read in grade school, but this adaptation rocks! Shanower and Young do an amazing job again and perhaps a better job then they even did the first time around. The writing is a fantastic adaptation of the novel, with a few changes being pulled from The Woggle-Bug (Baum’s own stage adaptation of the novel), and stellar artwork from Young, capturing the fantasy world but making it look fun and gorgeous at the same time. For those of you unfamiliar, the plot follows the story of Tip, a boy who escapes Mombi the witch, and using magical powder brings to life his friend Jack the Pumpkinhead and magical wooden Sawhorse. The trio ends up in the Emerald Kingdom, now run by the Scarecrow, at the most unfortunate time, for it seems a young lady named Jinjur has organized all the young women in Oz to revolt and overthrow the Kingdom: and they do to much success! Now Tip and company have to gather some help and figure out how to restore Oz to order! For those of you who mistake the film Return to Oz as the sequel (the film actually takes from the first 3-4 sequel novels to combine into its plot), then think again and read the most interesting Oz story ever, filled with talking pumpkin heads, magic, giant bugs, feminist armies, boys turning into girls, and much more!

Something To Watch: Atragon

Atragon is a fantastic adventure film produced by Toho, the minds behind Godzilla and Mothra, in 1963. Based off the serialized stories written by Shunro Oshikawa and illustrated by Shigeru Komatsuzaki, the Atragon stories have a very Jules Verne feeling to them, and it chronicles the adventures of the giant battle submarine Gotengo. The film plot is pretty much straight forward: the lost civilization of Mu has lain under the ocean hidden, powering their land by the energy of Earth’s core for thousands of years now. The kingdom decides to attack the planet and destroys cities one by one. No army on Earth seems to be able to stop them. However, for years now a renegade crew from the Japanese navy, who declared themselves sovereign and hid in the Pacific after World War II, have been building the world’s most unstoppable battleship Gotengo, waiting for a moment when the Empire of Japan would rise again.  However with the world slowing being turned into ash, and after being attacked themselves by the kingdom of Mu, the crew is out to take the lost civilization down. The special effects are the fun Toho ones from the 1950s-1970s we have come to love. The film would mark the debut of monster-hero/villain Manda, who would go on to have cameos in Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla’s Revenge, and Godzilla: Final Wars. Although his scene is only about ten minutes, it’s memorable and always good to see a giant monster on film. The battleship itself would reappear in Godzilla: Final Wars, as well as have an anime retelling in the early 90s titled Super Atragon. The film was seen on TV for many years, but never released for home until a couple years ago on DVD. My pick for you this weekend is Atragon!

That’s it for this week, see you in two! And remember today, watch for what lurks in the shadows, for as the movie trailer dubs him, “Dracula’s soul brother” Blacula is sure to be out and about!

Drew McCabe



  1. I thought Billy would have been all over that Blacula comment since I’m pretty sure that somewhere on his person is a Blacula tatoo lol

    I’ve been meaning to check out the Oz books because I think that Skottie is a great artist and I’ve heard nothing but good about Shanower’s work on the adaptations. This is what happens when I wait for the trade, sometimes I just forget to pick it up when it comes out 🙂

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Archie Comics, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: From Friendly Ghosts to Gamma Rays: #Disney, #Oz, #Archie, and Atragon! #comics #kids […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master