December 10, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Muppets, Marvelman, Walt Disney and Guilala!

Happy Birthday to us! Happy Birthday to us! Happy Birthday From Friendly Ghosts to Gamma Rays!!! Happy Birthday to us!!!! And this week at From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays we turn a spanking 1 year old! Somebody better take us out soon ’cause our death is getting less tragic now! I’m gonna celebrate by downloading a bunch of old Sega Master System games on the Wii channel, like Sonic Chaos or Alex Kidd, so you won’t get to enjoy them reader, but I’ll rub it all in your face. Next week we are going to celebrate our birthday with a Top-10 list of the biggest Youth Titles from this past year, but for this week we have a lot of stuff for you!

Out on the Stands: Muppet Sherlock Holmes #4
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Patrick Storck
Artist: Amy Mebberson

When Gonzo as Holmes is investigating through a viewfinder and shouts out “Their gift shop has POGS!“, I have never laughed so loud before from a comic. This is the kind of screwball humor we have come to expect from the Muppet comics and writer Patrick Storck has done a stellar job of crafting a Muppet tale that feels, thinks, and breathes everything Jim Henson. Muppet Sherlock Holmes issue#4 is sadly the final issue of the mini-series, but I’ll wish on a star that Boom! brings the Sherlock Holmes Muppet line back. It is certainly the best Muppet take on a classic story yet with Storck’s witty writing and Mebberson’s fantastic drawings of the Muppets. In this last issue we get our investigators hot the trail of some missing butlers and maids. This madcap adventure leads them to the conclusion where they finally cross Moriarty while the laughs are non-stop. Read this issue! It will certainly be one of the funnest times you will have with a comic book this year!

Out on Stands: Marvelman: Family’s Finest #6
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mick Anglo
Artist: Mick Anglo, George Parlett, Don Lawrence, and Norman Light

And with this, the mini-series of reprints from Marvel Comics concludes with Marvelman: Family’s Finest issue #6. This final issue is packed full of gems. We get the origin story of Marvelman, Young Marvelman fighting Young Gargunza and his flying bombs, the trio that makes up the Marvelman family time traveling to the 14th century and going head-to-toe with some knights, then our family hanging out with some dragons, and finally the conclusion of the Great Gargunza Mystery that has been serialized over the whole mini. These stories are solid fun and a good time packed with yesteryear’s adventure and excitement. I suggest you pick up the entire mini-series and also the hardcover reprints that are printing the Marvelman comic in full starting from issue one (the mini-series reprinted random stories from Marvelman, Young Marvelman, and Marvelman Family). It’ll be interesting to see what Marvel does with this character from this point aside from the reprints, however only the future knows. Next up for now is the second volume of Marvelman Classic, coming soon.

Out on the Stands: Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #713
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Casty and Marcelo Milani
Artist: Casty and Aluir Amancio

Issue #713 of Walt Disney Comics and Stories brings us the best Goofy comic tale to date. Our first tale in the issue is titled Mickey Mouse and the Menace from the Future, a stranger from the future comes back in time to the present. Goofy and his family are trying to make the best soda pop for a competition, but one by one are slowly being hypnotized by someone they’ve nicknamed the De-Bubbler. Leave it to Mickey to jump on the trail, but after it turns out it isn’t our normal black sheep Pete, who could it be? Goofy never gets enough attention in these multi-issue stories from Boom! I feel, so to have a tale dedicated to Goofy is possibly the best thing to come to the printed pages of Walt Disney Comics and Stories in a while. The writing and art are solid and it’s a heck of  a lot of fun to get to see Goofy’s cousins. The second tale, A Goofy Look At Romance, is also a solo Goofy story that is laugh out loud funny. This little gem takes a look at the history of courtship, starting with amoebas and going into cavemen, Egyptians, and so forth, as boy meets girl fun ensues. The short has all that quick Disney magic you’d find in such memorable cartoons of theirs, like the History of Aviation short, which is filled with entertainment for a quick laugh. Issue #713 is on stands now.

Something to Watch: Monster-X Strikes Back – Attack The G8 Summit

This is one of those movies kids will enjoy but will actually go right over their heads, however this is a mega-treat for adults in disguise. Monster-X Strikes Back – Attack The G8 Summit is not just a giant monster flick, but also a political parody film (a first for these two genres combined)! Guilala, also known as Monster-X, was originally created in 1967 as Shochiku Studios’ answer to Toho Studio’s monster hero Godzilla, in the film X From Outerspace. However after that film, Guilala never appeared on screen again, but did developed a cult following in Japan and on American late night TV. Finally, in 2008, Shochiku decided it was time to bring Guilala back with Monster-X Strikes Back – Attack the G8 Summit. The plot is simple – while the G8 Summit is in Japan, a meteorite crashes and unleashes Guilala once again. Under the President of the United States’ cry “The American people expect me to stay and kick this monster’s ass!“, the world leaders, seeing this as an opportunity to put their names in the history books, decided to stay and stop Guilala. After several failed attempts and some comical plot twists, not to give anything away here, an ancient protector of a little village comes to life, destined to stop Guilala, the giant Take-Majin, demon warrior, who interestingly is played by famed Japanese actor Beat Takeshi. Plenty of political jokes run amok – France’s president sleeping and seducing translators, turns out Guilala’s return is China’s fault, and then all the countries begin to list off their problems with China, etc. Honestly comedy wise, good stuff if you’re into political humor, not as good as Colbert Report or The Daily Show, but close enough. Special effects wise, knowing it would be a comedy, Shochiku went old school. They didn’t make it look bad on purpose, but simply just used the same style of special effects with a high budget they used on the original, the results being a really good old-style filming take on a giant monster film. I loved Monster-X Strikes Back‘s “laugh with, not at” political humor, and although that type of comedy may not be for everyone, the fun this film embodies makes it worth a look no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on.

Purchase of the Week: City Lights Smurfs

So a few columns back I had the super-cool devil smurf, well this week I have these two Smurfs modeled after Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character and the blind flower girl from the famous 1931 film City Lights. If you haven’t seen City Lights, it’s up there with Star Wars, as it’s just one of the films you absolutely have to experience in your life, even if you don’t love classic cinema. These li’l figurines are produced by our friends over in Europe and can be found here stateside online or in select hobby shops. Pick them up now!

That’s it for this week! See you next week when we end our year here with the Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays column until January, with the top 10 Youth Titles of the past year, and more! See you then! And remember, Ultraman loves you!

Drew McCabe



  1. Billy

    I always wanted to but never did read Marvelman. 🙁

  2. […] them in this column). In the past few years Japan has churned out giant monster comedies including Monster-X Strikes Back: Attack The G-8 Summit, Big Man Japan, and most recently Death Kappa. Death Kappa is from the production studio behind […]

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