Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's Not All 400 Page Novels--Daniel Reads a Comic Book

I was buying second hand books a few weeks ago, and came across The Best of Josie and the Pussycats. We don't generally have Archie stuff in the store, but surely there's a customer out there who would be as interested in it as I was (I pretty much read the whole thing on my break). While I had read some pre-Pussycats "Josie", knowing full well that Valerie was an African-American variation of an earlier character named Pepper, for example, I had no idea that in the first few issues, Josie's haircut was positively Ronnie Spector-esque. Happily, or perhaps sadly, it sold almost immediately. Josie, I miss you already.

My appetite whetted, it was only a week or so later when we received The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis, by Matt Groening et al, by “Matt Groening” et al (Abrams ComicArts, April 2010, $24.95). It's a nice keepsake package (you had me at "slipcase") that I’ve been looking forward to since Golden Age Flash met the 60’s incarnation and the Flintstones met the Jetsons.

The plotline involves Futurama’s giant brain attackers sending the Planet Express gang into a Simpsons comic book (the only one still being printed, by the way) where Mayor Quimby is campaigning for mayor against Snowball II. After we get bored of that, a rip in reality sends most of Springfield into the world of New New York.

It’s all good fun, with lots of referencing from old episode plotlines, but mostly, you realize just how similar the shows are, particularly in terms of archetypes. Kent Brockman equals Morbo, Mr. Burns is equivalent to Mom, Groundskeeper Willie begat Scruffy and so forth.

Like the Simpsons movie, it went a little faster than I hoped, but you can always return and try to play who are the famous English icons chasing the town when they eliminate the second amendment, and who is who when the complete works of Stephen King are let loose in New New York.

The other thing that is weird about comics (and have been since I started reading them at six) is that who actually wrote and drew the stories is buried, if revealed at all. I must have had over 500 Archie Comics, but I didn’t learn who Dan DeCarlo was until I was well into adulthood. That said, the script is by Ian Boothby, the pencils by Ian Lloyd, plus being a comic, someone is also responsible for the inks, colors, and letters. What, not a robot?

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