Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Comics I Read Last Week - Week 4

Welcome to week four of my weekly blog feature "Comics I Read Last Week" in which I talk about the comics I read last week. Pretty simple really.

Bone Volume 2
Jeff Smith

I talked about the first volume of Bone back during the first one of these. I resisted the urge to read the second volume straight after, seeing as it likely won't be until the end of the year before I get to read the rest and I wanted to make it last at least a bit.

Bone is a lot of fun. The protagonists are fun. The monsters are fun, both genuinely threatening and fantastic comic relief at the same time. The cow race is brilliant. The whole thing is just a great read and a whole lot of fun.

Ryan Estrada

Cartoon Coup
Ryan Estrada

There's a bit of dialogue in an episode of Jonathan Creek where a publisher finds out that the author she's talking to didn't make Jonathan up, but has really been working alongside him to solve murders. The moment she finds out that Jonathan is a real person he's suddenly a much less believable character.

I'm not entirely sure that Ryan Estrada is a real person. I mean, I've interacted with him on Twitter, he's commented on one of my comics,  but I'm still not entirely convinced that he isn't a character out of a series of ever more over the top comedy movies. The kind that start off semi-believable but by the third instalment the main character's found himself sleeping in the open during a typhoon and accidentally entering a foreign country as an illegal alien.

Did you know that Ryan Estrada has slept out in the open through two typhoons and once entered Burma illegally? Like I said, I'm not sure if I really, truly believe that Ryan Estrada is real.

Plagued by Ryan Estrada is the true story of how he survived a disaster that mostly existed within his own mind and also the true story of a man who survived a real one not long before that. It features a plague of insects, frogs falling from the sky and incident with a naked man running around in the middle of the night. And it's a true story.

Cartoon Coup is a collection of different stories including those two typhoon incidents, the time he set himself on fire, the time he found himself in the middle of a corporate coup orchestrated by crazy people he'd never met before, the time a homeless man offered to kill for him and the first time he ever got paid for producing comics.

Ryan Estrada is a character out of a series of increasingly ridiculous comedy movies, only the movies are comics and non-fiction.

They're also very good.

You can check out his comics over at

Duckula #5-7
Various (uncredited)

Yep, more stories about the vegetarian vampire duck. I think I said pretty much all there is to say about the comic as a whole last week. These three issues are very much more of the same. There's one story in issue six that's a bit disappointing, like someone had a great idea for a story, didn't really know where to go with it, but went ahead and wrote it anyway.

The Marlin the Magician story that started in issue one wraps up in issue seven, which is lucky really because my copy of issue eight has been missing for years, though I do have issues nine to twelve still., so that's good.

Dennis the Menace annual 1976
Various (uncredited)

This book is old and smells funny.

Finally here's one that's seven years older than I am. I can't remember if I got this one for a pound in a charity shop or for 50p in a different charity shop. Either way it was a bargain.

Dennis seems to have stayed largely the same since he was created back in 1951 and many of the strips in this book could easily be redrawn for publishing today with very few changes. The art however...

Yeah, some of the art is interesting to say the least.

It's basically what you'd expect from Dennis and Gnasher with the exception that almost every strip ends with a panel of Dennis getting hit with a slipper. Dennis's dad become a much better character when the editors decided he couldn't just hit Dennis whenever he thought he'd done something wrong. He had to start actually thinking when it came to punishments and that always makes for a much more interesting strip.

Bizarrely in one story Dennis questions why his dad bought a dog lead, because they don't have a dog. They don't have a dog? Did he forget poor old Gnasher?

Dennis is Gnasher's favourite person in the world and he forgot he has a dog.

Either this strip is from before Gnasher was introduced in 1968 or that's just mean.

Slimer! #9, 12 and 13
Hilarie Staton, Howard Bender, Michael Hawkins, John Stangeland, Joseph Allen, Tammy Daniel, Michele Mach, Katherine Llewellyn, Tony Caputo, Gordon Morison, Dan Nakrosis, Mark Braun,

Slimer! was published by Marvel UK in the UK and Now Comics in the US. These issues are all from 1990 and each one contains one eight to nine page story, two short stories and an unrelated single page comic called The Daily Howl about a newspaper by the same name staffed by various horror movie monsters with help from Douglas the tea boy, the one and only human staff member.

Being a go-fer is a dangerous job.

The Daily Howl and all but one of the six shorter Slimer comics come across a bit DC Thompson-like to me. There's something very Beano and Dandy about them. Obviously that's not a complaint, because I love those comics. It's these pages, and a spot the difference where Slimer has great big piles of bangers and mash that look like they came straight out of a Bash Street Kids strip, that make me think that it was actually Marvel UK as opposed to Now who were responsible for this comic.

None of these comics are at all weird.

Actually, I do have one complaint about one of those stories and it's, well is it just me that thinks that maybe someone should have thought twice about putting in a strip with this as its punchline?

If I'd asked you to guess where I'd be most likely to find dodgy and kind of offensive stereotypes, a 1990s spin-off comic about a wacky sidekick ghost or a 1970s collection of strips about a juvenile delinquent would you have guessed the wacky sidekick ghost? I know I wouldn't.

The three main stories involve Slimer going up a pack of wolf ghosts, a dodgy looking pair trying to collect Slimer's slime to sell as engine coolant (they discovered it's cooling properties when one of them accidentally drove through him during a ball game) and a slightly Garfield-esque story about Slimer eating too much.

The other story is a bit of an oddity. It's the first part of a tie in with the first movie, in which Walter Peck (Yes, the man who according to the film version of Peter Venkman has no dick) is trying to ruin everything for the Ghostbusters again. Now that it's been thoroughly proven that ghosts are real and he's an imbecile he is trying to get them shut down for keeping a pet ghost around. That guy is really an arse.

What's weird about it is that it's as much a bit of prose as it is a comic. As much of the story is told in the paragraphs of text at the top of the pages as is in the actual panels. It's a really weird half hearted way of doing a comic. 

And on an unrelated note is it me or does one of the kidnappers in this panel look a bit like Andy Capp?

Join me again next Wednesday for some more Ghostbusters related stuff, volume 1 of Battle Angel Alita, 88 Blues by Nam Dong Yoon and whatever else I feel like reading between now and Sunday.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I am the lead admin for Ghostbusters wiki. I'm wondering if by any chance you could give a list of the stories in the "Slimer!" comics you have. Those Slimer! UK comics don't have the same covers as the American (NOW Comics) unlike some of the earlier comics that show up on ebay a little more often. Thanks for sharing the information you already have to the Slimer! UK comics #9, #12, and #13.