June 24, 2011

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Toriko, Reed Gunther and Young Samson!

No witty intros this week, gang. Sorry. You know last year when this column was bi-weekly it wasn’t too hard to come up with good intros. Then the all-ages comic industry started getting better and we expanded to weekly back in January of this year. You’d think it would be easy and I could just write something about how every episode of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are now on Netflix, or about the holy Hanna-Barbera trinity known as Space Ghost, The Herculoids, and Bird Man. Well, not this week. This week I’m just going to let you know you are reading From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays and let’s get down to it!

Out On Stands: Toriko volume 5
Publisher: Viz
Art and Writing: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

Toriko is a wacky adventure like no other. When I read the first volume last summer, I thought it wasn’t that the title was crazy, I thought I was just swept up in the bustle of living in Los Angeles at the time where everything seems a little zany. Taking a read a year later ┬áto review the latest volume coming out from Viz’s Shonen Jump line, I was wrong: it is perhaps the most bizarrely entertaining manga out there on comic shelves, and I mean that in the most positive “you should read this title“-way possible.

For those of you unfamiliar, Toriko tells the story of Toriko, a gourmet hunter who travels the world fighting bizarre beasts unknown and dangers untold, as he gathers the most rare and delicious foods for both customers and his own practically bottomless stomach. It’s not just a food comic as it is filled with non-stop fighting, bizarre monsters, and odd stories along the way. The latest volume of Toriko finds Toriko, Rin, and their friends on an island quickly competing against Gourmet Corp and their GT robots to hunt down the Regal Mammoth. The Regal Mammoth is a gigantic, nearly mountain sized, mammoth that contains what is known as the “jewel meat,” a rare cut of meat that is nearly magical in that it tastes like every cut of meat combined and goes on the market for ridiculous sums of money. The battle and race heat up with every chapter until our parties come across the Regal Mammoth, when….

The writing and art by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro is great in this weird little title. I love his monster designs and admire his creativity for taking such an odd pairing of ideas and blending them in together to make a comic that works magic and is a fantastic read! His battle sequences, from Toriko’s to the wolf Terry’s, are all excellently drawn and laid out, and his humor from Rin’s crush and so forth give us plenty to smile about in this interesting action-comedy. To sum it up, it’s a title you have to read to believe (and you better believe it’s awesome!). Toriko volume 5 is out on stands now! [Ed. Note: Bento Bako reviewed volume 4.]

Out On Stands: Reed Gunther #2
Image Comics
Writing: Shane Houghton
Art: Chris Houghton

Grade-A adventure and excitement that anyone can enjoy! Page after page of Reed Gunther is pure quality entertainment that’s shaping into one of the best surprise titles of the year for comics!

In this issue Reed makes his way into a small town where there is strife over the old caves by the town. Seems some townsfolk feel people should stay away from the caves and their secrets, while others feel the caves could be prime pickings for gold and such treasures. Reed and his trusty bear Sterling (if you are unfamiliar with Reed Gunther, he rides a huge brown bear with hip attitude) get caught up in searching the caves, where it turns out the secret they have been keeping is a killer race of demonic demon creatures by the hundreds.

The Houghtons do a fantastic job as we enter into issue 2, not slowing down from the first issue, but expanding upon it, while at the same time giving us a story anyone can pick up, read, and enjoy without knowing anything else about the series. Shane’s writing is fantastic as he creates a wild west Twilight Zone-esque tale with not just adventure and suspense, but charm and laughs, as well. Brother Chris’s artwork is still a treat of cartoon fun, and his action sequences, especially when the town is exploding apart and it’s up to Reed to save the day in the last few pages, are great.

Reed Gunther #2 is a much recommended read that you should run (not walk) to stands and buy!

Something To Watch: The Space Kidettes/Young Samson

There are plenty of Hanna-Barbera action cartoons out there and when you think of the top classics, most people think of Space Ghost, The Herculoids, and Bird Man. However, plenty of other characters are fondly remembered, including the half-hour action block which featured the duo of The Space Kidettes and Young Samson.

The Space Kidettes tells the adventures of Scooter, Jenny, Snoopy (not that Snoopy), and Countdown, as they hang out in outer space in their clubhouse with their dog Pupstar. Seems this group of kids have a hidden treasure and every episode they are caught up in a plot by the mean Captain Skyhook as he tries to steal it from them (all filled with plenty of laughs). The animation for this is the more cartoony-type like The Flintstones, and done well. The variety of space aliens and backgrounds make it worth the watch alone for the art style.

Young Samson is really where the money is at and is always the second show in the block. It tells the story of Young Samson who travels around the globe (usually on his bike) with his dog Goliath. When danger happens he clanks his bracelets together and transforms in a larger, semi-barbarian, cool version of himself, and his dog Goliath turns into a giant lion (sounds familiar to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe? Young Samson had He-Man beat by 15 years to the air). Young Samson in these episodes battles a slew of mad scientists, evil organizations, and plenty of giant monsters in theses episodes of awesomeness. To add to the coolness, the characters of Young Samson were developed by comic book legend Alex Toth, and his voice is provided by Tim Matheson (who also provided the voice of Jonny Quest).

All twenty fantastic episodes of The Space Kidettes/Young Samson are available now on a 4-disc DVD set from the Warner Archive line.

That’s it for this week, see you next, and remember, the Beetleborgs love you!

Drew McCabe

A copy of Toriko vlume 5 was provided by the publisher for review.




  1. Billy

    lol, Young Samson, I used to watch that.

  2. […] [Volume 5 review.] […]

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