Thursday, September 22, 2016

Comic Shop Comics: September 21

Archie #12 (Archie Comics) Wait, this wasn't funny! Like, at all, really! Well, maybe for like a panel on that last page, and, to be fair, Archie Andrews does warn us on the very first page that he's "not feeling very funny right now."

It turns out that not only are Veronica and Sayid mad at Archie and Betty because they saw them hugging, but Hiram Lodge lost his election, and has decided to move the Lodge Family out of Riverdale immediately without warning Veronica ahead of time. And so most of the issue is concerned with Sayid being mad at Betty, and Archie trying to talk to Veronica before she leaves Riverdale...perhaps forever!

Well, probably not, but still! It is all very dramatic, and more drama-focused than gag-focused. I would really rather wash this down with an issue of Jughead than let this be my last impression of Riverdale for the week.

The art this time comes from Ryan Jampole and Thomas Pitilli, credited with breakdowns and finishes, respectively. It is very good.

The "Classic Archie" back-up is an unexpected one. It's a six-page from 1990 written by...Mark Waid! I didn't even know he had ever worked at Archie, let alone written for the publisher, but he did indeed, as he explains in his prose intro to the piece and, well, then we get the piece itself, drawn by Chris Allan, to prove it.

SuperF*ckers Forever #2 (IDW) James Kochalka's return to his 2005-2007 series about a bunch of super-powered teens this summer was pretty unexpected. How unexpected? Well, unexpected enough that I didn't even have time to ask my local comic shop to order me a copy of the first issue until the week it came out. That first issue still hasn't come in yet–they ordered no rack copies, and apparently I am the only customer who has ordered SuperF*ckers, because our world is a less-than-ideal one–but the second one was in my pull this week.

At first I wasn't sure if I should read it, or wait until the first issue of the now ongoing series came in so that I won't be lost. After all, I don't remember the original series all that clearly, only that it seemed like the most realistic portrayal of teenaged superheroes I had ever read, and that Jack Krak was the motherfucker. Did I need to know more than that to read and follow this issue?

No, it turns out I did not. Jack Krak is still the motherfucker and, in fact, refers to himself as such about once a page. While I have no idea what exactly happened last issue, in this issue Princess Sunshine and Jack Krak compete for Superdan's approval, Grotessa's boyfriend Vortex sleeps on a urine-soaked couch and Superdan accidentally eats all of the drugs.

There's a back-up story by Laura Knetzger, in which Grotus sips coffee, reads the paper and tries to enjoy a morning in the kitchen. Back-ups by people who are not James Kochalka are an ongoing feature in this ongoing series, and that's going to be weird, because the characters are so James Kochalka-y that they look bizarre when drawn by someone else. Knetzger draws four panels of Jack and two of Sunshine and they look so weird. Grotus, being a purple blob, not so much.

Oh, and if you're wondering why I'm typing "SuperF*ckers" instead of "SuperFuckers," it's because IDW uses the asterisk in the logo as well as in the fine print inside the book. So I guess "SuperFukers" is officially "SuperF*ckers" now. It's still pronounced the same though!

Treehouse of Horror #22 (Bongo Comics) Just as the annual Halloween "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of The Simpsons were traditionally the best episodes of any given season–although I confess it's been a long time since I've watched any episode of The Simpsons, going on probably five years now–the annual Halloween Treehouse of Horror specials are traditionally the best issues of Simpsons comics in any given year. They are, at the very least, the ones most likely to feature the most unlikely contributors and, of course they are the ones I am most likely to pick up and check out.

In the case of the 22nd Treehouse of Horror annual (oh my God I am so old), it was the cover got me: The Simpsons family in a Ghostbusters homage, with the ladies wielding the proton packs, since this is 2016 and all. Homer and Bart also just look remarkably...right as The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer. This cover is credited to Jason Ho, Mike Rote and Nathan Kane, and they all did their jobs admirably, as they convinced me to fork over $5 on the strength of that image alone.

Sadly, the insides of the comic aren't anywhere nearly as good or effective as the cover.

The story which ties to it is "Ghost Bashers," which, like all of the stories in this issue, are drawn in a style so close to that of what one might expect of a comic based on the show as to be boring–and eliminate one of the occasional thrills of the Halloween annuals. A parody of Ghostbusters in which Homer, Lenny, Karl and Professor Frink uses a device that Frink has invented–a combination of a proton pack with a sort of laser club–to deliver beat downs to ghosts. The most effective gag may be the fact that all of the ghosts that appear are of characters who have died throughout the TV series' epically long run. Writer Tony DiGerolamo wades into some criticism of the Ghostbusters reboot, when Marge and "The female Ghostbashers" appear to help them.
Homer: Um...That's okay, Marge. We already have The Ghostbashers.

Marge: But...we're all women.

Homer: Well, we got all the same dealies. Plus we were kind of doing it first... Seems kinda pointless and redundant really...
At least he the story takes a jab at Ghostbusters II in the last panel, when Frink says "Good Glavin, this is fun! I hope we get to do it again!" and Carl responds "Ya know, probably once was enough."

That's followed immediately by an X-Files parody starring Lisa and Nelson that would also seem completely outdated...were it not for the fact that the X-Files, like Ghostbusters, also returned this year. Two more stories round out the issue: "Retirement Castle of The Vampires," where a vampire takes over Grandpa Simpson's retirement home, and "Bart & Lisa Vs. The Red Menace," a Looney Tunes parody of sorts.

Trinity #1 (DC Comics) I was a lot more excited about this title when it was originally announced, and that excitement waned quite a bit when it became clear that DC was doing something rather weird with Superman (i.e. killing off the New 52 version and replacing him with an extra-dimensional doppelganger). I will discuss the book at much greater length in a few days, as it's part of DC's "Rebirth" initiative, but it is both written and drawn by Francis Manapul, so of course it looks great (actually, he handles colors too; Steve Wands letters, but otherwise this is all Wands).

The story is pretty simple: Batman and Wonder Woman come to visit Clark "White" and his wife Lois and son Jonathan on their farm for dinner. And that's it.

It's fine, although I did feel a little like I've read some version of this story a few times already in recent months, as the new Superman keeps meeting and re-meeting these characters and considering and re-considering and re-re-reconsidering his level of engagement with them and their team and the world. It's kind of a fundamental problem there's no easy way for Manapul to work around, as it is the very premise of the series.

There's a gag with Wonder Woman that's sorta funny, but turns dumb if you stop to think about it for a second.

It's far better than any issue of Batman/Superman or Superman/Wonder Woman that I can remember reading though, so there's certainly that.

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