Friday Funny Pages: Watch Your Mouth Red

“Oh . . . . shoot!”

You’re soaring through the air holding on for your life dangling from a haphazard chain of pokemon as they desperately attempt to escape the suction of a raging typhoon below.  I’m sure if any of us were in this situation we’d have the exact same response.

I am a huge Pokemon fan.  As much as I love the various games, I think the real gem of the franchise is the cartoon series, especially the original production which was brilliantly goofy and hilarious.  I always liked that, from start to finish, Ash never really had his shit together and in many respects was a horrible trainer, as Brock and Misty would often point out.

I’m not well versed in many other anime series, or manga for that matter, but because of my huge devotion to Pokemon I long ago bought the Pokemon Adventures manga collections written by Hidenori Kusaka with art by Mato.  There are some major differences between the cartoon and the comics.  Firstly there is the whole reading flow of manga which still confuses me on occasion.  Secondly the main character Red.  Despite his general appearance Red is not Ash.  Red is not simply an alias for our pal Ash, and the storyline of the manga is pretty intricate, not just a black and white take on the show.  Taking some main points from the games and the cartoon, the comics really expand upon those familiar touchstones and blow up Pokemon into an epic saga that sees rivals uniting against a common enemy, widespread conspiracies slowly unraveled, begrudging respect earned for the main character, and an alliance of unlikely heroes brought to bear on a villain who was attempting to suppress the inherent goodness and pleasant competitive spirit of the pokemon trainer lifestyle for his own personal gain.  Oh, and it’s still goofy and amusing.  Trust me it’s pretty entertaining, and a bonus: Red doesn’t arbitrarily throw his Pikachu into every fight.  You actually get to see a much wider array of pokemon taking it to the streets then you ever do in the old cartoon.

The above image comes from Pokemon Adventures Volume 3, towards the end of the entire arch when Red, Blue (Red’s rival who is still pretty much Gary, verbatim.), and Green (an original chick trainer who is not based on any other familiar characters) find themselves in the deepest of the trouble they get into.  We can see that Red is having a time of it here.  I just think it is incredibly amusing that they decided to translate this with simply “Oh . . . . shoot!” and not just a scream, or maybe a “Hang on!”

Just “Oh shoot!”

Funny.

Anyway until next time go find the old Indigo League Pokemon series and watch through it, you won’t be disappointed.

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Has Anyone Seen Dr. Doom?

This has been a busy week for me, well I guess I should say it’s been a busy/lazy week for me.  My wife has been out of town the past few days so when I haven’t been busy doing something, I’ve made sure to be busy doing nothing at all.  I have sat in front of the television this week longer than I have in a very long time.  I’ve taken this opportunity to rewatch some Babylon 5, perhaps the best run of the show, the third season.  I’ve been alternating B5 DVDs with those of the the show Extras, starring Ricky Gervais.  It’s been a nice mix of dramatic sci-fi and uncomfortable humor.  All that being said I’ve been a bit lax on my blog posts this week, but fear not!  As you can see of course I did not forget about the Friday Funny Pages, and I already have a few blog ideas lined up for next week and, spoiler alert, I’ve been working on the last phase of the Terrordrome Renovation project!  So fear not loyal readers (reader), you’ll get your Wits fix, as I like to call it.

Anyway onto this panel from the classic Silver Age pages of the Fantastic Four.  Continuing our Dr. Doom theme this week brings us one of the earliest days of the bad doctor.  This of course is brought to us from the Mega Marvel Masters themselves Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  I really enjoy this panel because it encapsulates so much of Dr. Doom’s personality in one little rectangle.  First off whenever Dr. Doom is looming around in an open doorway you know nothing good will come of it.  Many a brave soul have met there end after laying their eyes on such a scene.  Also I just really like his line here, “Did someone mention my name?”, every good villain has that line at some point and it shows how self centered they are and just how bloated their maniacal egos have become.  When not planning revenge based plots, or building evil robots Dr. Doom keeps an ear out for people talking about him.  Classic.  I love it.

This panel comes from an issue that is full of zany goof, Fantastic Four #10, The Return of Doctor Doom.  In the issue the story stops mid-way to cut to a scene of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves, suffering from a bout of writer’s/artist’s block.  In a very meta-before-there-was-meta, style the two comic book creators are feeling somewhat at a lose chronicling the adventures of the Fantastic Four because several issues back Dr. Doom seemingly was launched into space and lost to the infinite void.  Recognizing Doom’s grand style of villainy Lee and Kirby feel there’s nothing exciting left for the FF to undertake and doubtlessly worry about sales dropping as the Fantastic Four fall into a peaceful life free of Dr. Doom.

Too bad that Doctor Doom was lost in space!”  Says Stan ‘the Man.’  “He was possibly the greatest villain of all!

Next to Stan Lee Jack Kirby ruefully sits at his drawing table, his face buried in his palms.

Yeah!”  Kirby adds.  “We sure can’t come up with a menace like him everyday!

And then, it happened!

That of course leads to Doom’s appearance.  Dr. Doom, under threat of death, forces Stan Lee to call Mr. Fantastic on the phone and ask him to come over to their studio to supposedly work out some plot details for an upcoming issue.  Of course when Reed Richards arrives, Dr. Doom is waiting for him with a gas gun of some kind and the whole plot of the issue takes off again.  Long story short Dr. Doom somehow joins the FF and Mr. Fantastic is the villain of the issue.  But what I really like about this issue is that within the universe, of the Marvel Universe Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are big enough properties that Dr. Doom would think to work them into his plans and Mr. Fantastic apparently drops whatever he’s working on to come over when they call.  Those guys are big shots!

Anyway, I need some coffee and a few more episodes of Babylon 5!

That is all!

Here's a little bonus for you, from the first appearance of Lee and Kirby! This issue is worth a fortune! A fortune I tells ya!

Friday Funny Pages: They Grow Up So Fast

     More from the Marvel/DC Crossover Classics!  Today we get a sampling from the X-Men/Teen Titans team-up.  Written by Chris Claremont with art by Walter Simonson, this tale had a hell of a creative match up as well.  There was a great deal going on in this story, Deathstroke of course makes an appearance, and there’s a great X-Men training scene in the Danger Room, but the main gist of the story revolves around an epicly cosmic pairing of Darkseid and Dark Phoenix armed with a plan to conquer the entire universe!  With such massively powerful supervillains working together you’d think the various comic universes would send their heaviest hitters like Superman and Thor or at the very least Green Lantern and the Fantastic Four, but no.  Instead DC/Marvel send in the angsty teen squads to clean up this mess!

     There really isn’t anything inherently funny in this full-page spread.  Here we have the moment when the Teen Titans and the X-Men officially join forces, we see the two leaders, Cyclops and Robin, of course hashing it out with a handshake, while the other heroes have a few individual moments.  What I do find funny is that looking back at this page, nowadays none of these characters are portrayed as kids anymore.  For the most part all of these heroes have taken their rightful place in the pantheons of Marvel and DC and sadly many of them have been relegated to teachering positions, instructing their hipper, younger, and even angstier team replacements.  Of course some of them have gone on to do other things, Storm and Nightcrawler occasionally manage to get away from the X-Mansion, and Dick Grayson and Cyborg are now brushing shoulders with the big guys. 

     Basically I’d like a huge framed print of this, with no dialogue, to hang at the entrance of my house.  That way people would walk into my home and the first thing that would catch their eye would be the Teen Titans shaking hands with the X-men on a giant asteroid in the middle of an insane cosmic weirdscape.  I think that would really get some good conversations started, don’t you?

That is all!