More Fun Comics

Seems like most comics these days are just smothered under a ton of drama and angst. So let’s check out a couple of recent comics that are just plain awesome, well-written fun.


Biff Bam Pow! #1

Yay! Comics by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer! If you’re familiar with Dorkin’s outstanding “Dork” comics, you know you’ll get great artwork and outlandishly imaginative stuff, but with this, you get some more kid-friendly stories, too. Like One-Punch Goldberg, space-boxer and crime-fighter, and Nutsy Monkey, a very bad monkey with a scheme to get mango sherbet, and Kid Blastoff, a not-very-competent crimefighter and his team of monkey helpers, and Billy and Super-Rad, a superhero and his pesky kid brother! Have I already said this is fun? Because it is fun, and that’s the best recommendation I can come up with.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Go get it, and keep your fingers crossed that Dorkin and Dyer produce some more of these.


Doctor 13: Architecture and Mortality

It’s weird that this, one of the very best stories of the past year, made its debut as the backup story of one of the worst comic books around. “Tales of the Unexpected” was supposed to be a spotlight series for the Spectre, but the Spectre story was meandering, dull, irritating and, for a story about God’s Avenging Angel, morally unhinged. I mean, the Spectre was killing people for merely witnessing murders they had no power to stop, and standing by idly while maniacs killed children. And the writers really seemed to think he was awesome for behaving this way. Gaaah. It’s criminal that a story as incredible, funny, and imaginative as “Architecture and Mortality” was stuck as the backup feature instead of the lead.

Anyway, this is the trade paperback collecting the entire Doctor 13 story. The doctor is a detective and extreme skeptic who doesn’t believe in any sort of magic. He and his daughter Traci, who has secret spellcasting abilities, run into a bunch of obscure and unfashionably cheesy DC Comics characters, including Andrew Bennett, the main character from the ’70s series “I… Vampire,” Anthro, the first caveboy, Captain Fear, Genius Jones, J.E.B. Stuart and the Haunted Tank, and Infectious Lass, from the Legion of Super-Heroes. All of them have been marked for elimination by shadowy overseers called The Architects, who want to remake the universe and get rid of unfashionably cheesy comic-book characters.

A lot of the audience for this one is going to be comic book geeks who remember and love these old comic book characters, but if you don’t know these characters, you should go pick up the paperback anyway. Brian Azzarello clearly had a blast writing this, and Cliff Chiang draws some awfully purty pictures to go with it. A huge part of the joy of this comic is the dialogue, which is playful, fun, and funny. From the outrageous accents of Julius, the talking Nazi gorilla, Captain Fear, the Spanish ghost pirate, and that one bald-headed Scottish Architect, to Traci’s pop-culture spells, to the many puns that get tossed around, this is a comic where reading the dialogue is a real pleasure.

Verdict: Big thumbs up. This was one of the best stories DC has produced in years, and it’s great that they collected the whole thing into one book. Go pick it up.

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