Happy New Year . . . Woo-hoo 2018
Ok, enough of that frivolity, it’s time to get down to business . . . I’M BACK!! And I’m excited for this new year. I’m excited to see what comic publishers and creators bring us this year, and I’m excited to write about what I find worthy of my love and of my disdain.
Let’s face it, it’s January and a brisk 10 degrees or so outside, so we have to find things to pull us, sometimes kicking and screaming, through the next 3-4 harsh winter months, right? Sometimes that’s not easy to do. I really think that’s why New Year’s Resolutions came into existence. People needed to find something to focus their energies on and attempt to make it through ’till spring. I’m not much for resolutions, though. I don’t like starting my new year by setting myself up for failure or disappointment.
So I start each New Year with a word. A word that I try to carry with me all year long and that guides me not just through these harsh winter months, but all year. This year’s word is mindfulness. And with that, let’s get started.
Love It Hate It Contenders: Jan. 3rd
So this reviews Love em/Hate em are:
- Exit Stage Left: Snagglepuss Chronicles (DC Hanna-Barbera)
- Rogue and Gambit (Marvel)
- Koshchei the Deathless (Dark Horse)
- Star Wars: Adventures Forces of Destiny Princess (IDW)
- Transformers Vs the Visionaries (IDW)
- Rise of the Black Panther (Marvel)
- Planet of the Apes Ursus (Boom)
- Batman and the Signal (DC)
LOVE IT: No. 1 Exit Stage Left: Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 (DC Hanna-Barbera)
Tough week for the first week in the new year. I gotta admit that Snagglepuss was the last comic I read of the 8, and until I read it, Rogue and Gambit was #1 with Koshchei the Deathless coming in a close second. But then I read Snagglepuss. And it was ok, until I got to about mid comic . . . then my interest skyrocketed and I began reading it with much more interest and intrigue. So, why?
Exit Stage Left: Snagglepuss Chronicles
So I grew up on Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry, and the list goes on. I loved these characters, and I remembered Snagglepuss as well. In his original creation, his greatest desire was to be a stage actor, and one of his catch phrases, often used to escape trouble, was “exit stage left.” So clearly, this comics’ title caught my eye. Never did I expect what I got though.
The story is by writer Mark Russell with art by Mike Feehan. I also have to throw a shout-out to the colorist, Paul Mounts for the gorgeous color pallets he used: absolutely perfect for this comic. The coloring matches what I would expect for the artwork; the lettering, by Dave Sharpe also matches what I would expect for the story and the artwork; it all works beautifully together. The layouts are clean with mostly crisp, white gutters and some nicely done overlapping of panels when appropriate.
The page to the right, however, is what grabbed my attention. Let’s back up a little bit though. The comic is set in early 1950s New York, and Snagglepuss has clearly made it, as he is now a famous playwright. We quickly realize that the world is a compilation of humans and humanoid animals coexisting peacefully. Snagglepuss is married to a likewise famous actress, Lila Lion. So far, it’s an interesting concept, but nothing to write home about. That is, not until the page shown here. The minute I saw the first panel of this page, I knew where this comic was going and my interest was piqued.
You can see in the background of that first panel the word “Stonewall.” Immediately I knew that this comic was so much more than it appeared on the surface. It wasn’t just written for nostalgia, but also to pay tribute to the turbulent history of the 1950s. I would love to break this comic down page by page, but that would totally spoil the comics, and this one is sooooo worth reading that I can’t do that to you.
Just know that this comic is a history buffs dream. It will also appeal to the LGBTQ community. And again, it doesn’t make the queer elements of the comic the focus of the content, but rather just as part of the story. A very important aspect for me when it comes to including diversity in comics. This is a comic worth the cover price!!
LOVE IT Runner Ups: Rogue and Gambit (Marvel) & Koshchei the Deathless (Dark Horse)
These two books were definitely in the running for the book I loved the most this week. I’m not a huge of the X-Men/Marvel fan, but I love Rogue and Gambit and their never ending/always ending relationship story. Creators Kelly Thompson (W), Pere Pérez (A), Frank D’Armata (C), and VC’s Joe Caramagna (L) do a great job of producing a fun and interesting comic.
And what’s not to love with a Mike Mignola story. This one is another one that I will be following. If you love Hellboy or BPRD, you’ll love this book as well.
HATE IT: Batman and the Signal (DC)
STOP IT DC!!!! Seriously, stop it already. Stop using the back of Batman to try to launch every other character you create. I’m sick of it. And they know they are doing it. Even the writers Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick voice these sentiments in the comic. The Signal tells the Bat Family he knows what they are thinking, “You’re thinking, Hell No. You’re thinking we have enough bat-people already. Look at this table.” And he would be right.
There are more than enough “bat-people,” as he puts it, and I’m tired of DC doing this crap week after week. So perhaps for the first time, DC takes both the top spot and the bottom. I know Batman has been DCs main staple since what, 1939? But they have to stop this crap. Let’s hope this comic is truly only 3 issues and let’s move on. Stop with all of these Metal tie-ins and stop with using Batman as a total cash cow. For those of us who LOVE and admire Batman, you are going to ruin it.
Ok, enough about DC. I’m excited to keep writing this year, and hopefully maintain more of a consistent schedule, posting every week or two. Here’s to a prosperous New Year to all of you and we’ll see ya in the funny books.
Want more? Check out the Love It Hate It archive!