Archive for Captain Carrot

Leapin’ Lettuce!


DC Showcase Presents Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew

I had no idea this was coming out. I didn’t think it was ever, ever, ever coming out. I went into the local comic shop yesterday and almost shouted in surprise and delight when I saw it. Finding this was the biggest pick-me-up I could’ve asked for.

So, here are the basics: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew was a DC Comics series that ran 20 issues between 1982 and 1983. It was created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw!, though there were plenty of guest creators. The stars included Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, Alley-Kat-Abra, Fastback, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, and Little Cheese, all against villains like Dr. Hoot, Frogzilla, Armordillo, the Bunny from Beyond, the Timekeeper, the Wuz-Wolf, the Salamandroid, Cold Turkey, and many more — and they even teamed up with the JLA — the Justa Lotta Animals, from an alternate universe.

There’ve been plans for years to release the entire series in a giant Showcase volume, but there were some sort of copyright issues gumming up the entire thing, and I figured we’d never see the series in print again.

I’m unbelievably happy to have this book in my house.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was just absolutely nuts for this series when I was a kid. I had almost every issue, barring the introductory insert in the old Teen Titans comic and the first issue of the “Oz-Wonderland War” miniseries. And I’d barely been able to read any of those comics in years — they were old and falling apart, so I could barely take them out of the longboxes without having more of the covers flake away.

But I’ve got them again! HUZZAH! I’ve been reading the heck out of these. I’d forgotten how much fun some of these stories were — and how weirdly sophisticated they were sometimes, especially for a funny-animal superhero comic.

The worst thing about this volume is the lack of color — but that’s a common element of all of these phone-book collections. And frankly, it’s a minor quibble, because GOOD GRAVY TRAIN, I am so glad to have these stories again!

If you love funny animals, superheroes, animal puns, crazy superheroes and villains, fun cartooning, and the occasional guest appearance by mainstream DC heroes and villains — all for just $20 — you should go pick this one up.

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Friday Night Fights: Jungle Boogie!

As work-weeks go, this one has been yet another gigantic vat of boiling-hot llama poops. But it’s Friday at last, and we all get to enjoy a couple mostly-blissful days of not having to go to work and endure workplace stress. And the best way to blow off steam before the weekend? We all know it’s… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from November 1983’s Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #20 by E. Nelson Bridwell, Joey Cavalieri, Rick Hoberg, and Carol Lay. It’s the final issue of the legendary funny-animal series, and Earth-C gets a couple of visitors from Earth-1. Gorilla Grodd shows up intending to enslave everyone and take over the world, and the Changeling gets dragged along in his wake and attempts to help the Zoo Crew take down the evil mind-controlling monkey. So Changeling decides to blend in with some of Grodd’s cartoon henchmen…








There we go, kids. Monkeys, green elephants, funny animals, and more puns than you can shake your trunk at. Now head out there and grab yourself some rest and relaxation this weekend.

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Friday Night Fights: Animal Cruelty!

There ain’t many things nicer than Friday, especially after a long, hard, stressful week of Workin’ for the Man — or in my case, moving everything I’ve got a few hundred miles away during a July heatwave. And the best way to kick off the weekend? Well, as always, it’s FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Okay, okay, I may be breaking some sort of unwritten rule here, but I’m going with a panel from the same funny-animal comic book series two weeks in a row. Hey, I haven’t had a lot of time to scan pages from my comics lately, so sue me. (Note: Please don’t sue me.) So here we go — from 1983’s Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #14 by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw! — Pig-Iron belts Armordillo clear into next week:


And our musical accompaniment this week: “Pig Iron” by the Anti-Nowhere League. Everyone have a great weekend!

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Friday Night Fights: Seeing Stars

Pfff, I’m too tired to come up with anything goofy to say today (and trust me, next week is going to be even more hectic), so let’s just go with: Happy Weekend! It’s time for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Today, we’re pulling a panel from 1982’s Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #1 by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw! (The “!” is actually part of his name), as the entire Zoo Crew teams up to put the smackdown on Starro the Conqueror:


Our musical accompaniment for tonight: “Star” by the Roots. Not that close thematically, but it’s hard to find songs about beating up on giant starfish.

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Friday Night Fights: Catfight!

Don’t have much time to get this one together, thanks to some serious goings-on in my rassafrackin’ off-blog life. So you know the drill — Friday night’s alright for fightin’, and Bahlactus demands FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight: from 1983’s Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #19 by Scott Shaw!, Joey Cavalieri, Rick Hoberg, and Larry Houston: Felina Furr, alter ego of Alley-Kat-Abra, demonstrates her mastery of the ancient art of kat-fu by unleashing on a bunch of arcade thieves at a mall.

Mee-yow! Looks like a cat-astrophe for the robbers, but just purr-fect for the kitty…

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5 If by C

So Kalinara proposed a little meme-game called the “Five Characters” meme, which I’ve decided to play around with. Here are the rules:

1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your blog or Livejournal. Or even here in the comments.

You’ll note it says “fictional characters” — you don’t have to include any comics characters if you want… but hey, I run a comic book blog, so I went with all super-people.

Anyway, the letter I was assigned was “C“… and here are the characters I picked.

1. Captain America – I’ve only recently started reading any “Captain America” comics, and it used to be that I didn’t even understand the appeal of the character. But in the last few years, I think I’ve started to catch on to why Cap is so much fun.

Granted, back in the day, he didn’t do much but wave the flag, fight Nazis, and be patriotic. But for the past several decades, lots of writers have realized that Cap is a perfect vehicle for exploring topics like the nature of patriotism and America’s strong and weak points. Heck, the guy’s basically a big living flag, and he’s just about the closest thing any comic companies have to an actual symbol of America — with that pedigree, he’s tailor-made for storylines dealing with the times when America hasn’t lived up to its idealistic promises.

There’ve been Cap stories dealing with the War on Terror, the dangers of knee-jerk nationalism and jingoism, national dissent over the Vietnam War, fascism, racism, and just about every other important national issue. Even the current storyline focuses on an attempt to destroy America by tearing it down from the inside, using a collapsing economy, an out-of-control security apparatus, and collusions between corporate and governmental conspirators. Talk about “ripped from the headlines!”

2. Captain Carrot – Aww, how could I resist! The lead character of my favorite funny-animal comic ever! Originally a mild-mannered cartoonist named, believe it or not, Roger Rabbit (DC changed his name to Rodney when Disney started working on their movie), he got his abilities of super-strength and super-leaping by eating “Cosmic Carrots.”

Actually, Captain Carrot may have been my least favorite character out of the entire Zoo Crew. Fastback, Pig-Iron, and Rubberduck had the powers I wanted, Alley-Kat-Abra and Yankee Poodle were easier on the eyes, and even Little Cheese had a more interesting backstory. But Cap was the glue that held them all together — without him, you just couldn’t see any of the rest of the Zoo Crew working as a team or even getting along that well.

In a way, that’s what leaders do best, at least in fiction — they may not be the most interesting characters, but they exist to make sure the other characters stay linked together and interacting with each other. Or maybe I’m over-thinking that. Cap is just a cartoon rabbit who makes a “SPROING” noise when he jumps…

3. Changeling – No, not “Beast Boy.” I always hated that name. I still don’t know why they went back to it, other than stupid Silver Age nostalgia. Gar Logan’s gotta be in his 20s by now — why would he want to be called a boy? I definitely preferred the “Changeling” name he went by during the Wolfman/Perez “Teen Titans” series in the ’80s.

Anyway, I’ve always liked shapeshifters and stretchers, because they can physically change their own identities. I guess I’ve always wanted to be different people, so I tend to gravitate to shapeshifters, like Changeling, Plastic Man, Chameleon Boy, Warlock, and Morph. I think it’s even why I enjoy werewolf movies so much. But Changeling was always one of my favorites. I liked his juvenile/goofball attitude, for one thing, and I think I’ve always liked comics characters with green skin. Heck, you should see my “City of Heroes” characters — you’ve never seen so many green-skinned freaks in yer life, I promise.

So yeah, I’m a complete fan of Changeling, and I can’t wait ’til they change his name back like it oughtta be.

4. Citizen Steel – So you got Nate Heywood, former football star, now drug-addicted, whiny amputee, and he gets superpowers that give him his leg back and give him superstrength. His powers have taken away most of his ability to feel anything, and he’s too strong to touch anything without causing damage. His costume is designed to slow him down and reduce his strength. I was not expecting to like this guy at all, but he’s turned out to be one of my favorite characters in the new “Justice Society of America” series.

What’s he got that makes him appealing? Personality. The guy is absolutely devoted to the surviving kids in his family, and it seems like half of his appearances have featured him hanging out his numerous cousins, just letting them crawl all over him while he makes them pancakes or something crazy like that. In the current JSA storyline, he’s clearly jonesing hard for Gog to grant his wish of being able to hug his cousins without injuring or killing them. It’s that strong attachment to his family that really makes Nate unique and cool.

5. Crazy Jane – And finally, there’s Kay Challis, from Grant Morrison’s late-80s/early-90s “Doom Patrol” series. Kay suffers from multiple personality disorder, and each of her 64 personalities has its own superpowers. The hyper-aggressive and super-scary Black Annis has claws, the Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter creates psychically-active paintings, Flit can teleport, Lucy Fugue has radioactive bones, Sun Daddy has a sun for a head.

Robotman is the best superhero, Rebis seems to know the answers to everything, but Crazy Jane was the heart and soul of the Doom Patrol. Her madness was the perfect mirror for everything Morrison was doing in this comic. And she was actually better at holding the entire team together — Rebis always seemed about to vanish somewhere to contemplate his/her radioactive navel, and Cliff Steele tended to want to stay home and avoid trouble. Jane motivated Cliff to act, and Rebis usually tagged along for the ride. And she still turned out to be a pretty good superhero — she often lasted longer against the Doom Patrol’s weird bad guys than either Rebis or Robotman.

I wish they’d bring her back. I don’t know if she’d be as good if someone other than Morrison was writing her, but I still think it’d be cool.

So there are my five characters. Gimme a shout in comments if you wanna play, and I’ll assign you your letter.

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New Zoo Review


Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #3

I was really, really worried about this issue. I thought for sure that DC would decree that, like most of their comics with connections to the much-despised “Countdown” series, it would end in a bloodbath. I’m glad I was wrong.

Anyway, after their undersea adventure, the Zoo Crew has lost their powers, except for Pig-Iron, who is able to save the whole team when they fall off a building. And the whole world is flooding, thanks to the plots of Starro the Conqueror and Rash Alpaca. How can the day be saved when there’s just one superhero left on the planet? Rodney decides to contact the Justa Lotta Animals team on Earth C-Minus… by creating a comic book?! Everyone gets busy loading Gnu York’s flood survivors onto a multibillionaire’s cruise ship called “Boa’s Ark”.

By the time the JLA shows up (including Batmouse, Green Lambkin, the Crash, Zap-Panda, Elongator, and Hawkmoose), a plan is in effect to transport the ship and the survivors to Earth C-Minus, but Starro interferes. Pig-Iron throws himself overboard with Starro while everyone else makes the interdimensional jump… but then the ship runs into the New Dogs, including Orihound, Lightstray, and Muttron. In the confusion, the ark and the Zoo Crew fall into one of the New Dogs’ Kaboom Tubes… and end up on our familiar New Earth. But with a very unexpected twist — the Zoo Crew and everyone else on the ship have been turned into normal, non-cartoon animals! What now?!

Okay, I was actually surprised that there were so many good things about this comic. It’s funny, with lots of good goofy puns — Rodney’s plan to contact the JLA is wonderfully Silver-Age, and the New Dogs deserve a comic all of their own. It’s also dramatic, as the looming end of the world cranks up the suspense a lot more than you’d expect from a funny-animal comic. Of course, it’s wonderful to get to see Scott Shaw!’s fun artwork again — why no one’s ever thought to give him a good all-ages comic, I don’t know. Best of all, rather than an end to the Zoo Crew, I think this series has actually set them up for a return. Sure, they’re not in their familiar cartoon bodies and their powers have been suppressed, but that could be changed easy. Even Pig-Iron’s sacrifice could be reversed without too much trouble (and it should be, because he and Fastback have always been the team’s two best characters).

Verdict: Thumbs up. I think all three issues are currently in stores now, or you can wait patiently for DC to release this (and hopefully, the rest of the Zoo Crew’s ’80s archives) as a trade paperback. But either way, go pick it up.

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Light Meat vs. Dark Meat

No, we’re not talking about the turkey you’re gonna be shoving down your gullet tomorrow — we’re talking comics with light-hearted themes and comics that are wallowing in the bleak and horrific side of things. Let’s go with the light stuff first…


Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #2

Frogzilla’s back, and the Zoo Crew’s best chance of beating him lies with… Alley-Kat-Abra?! But isn’t she in prison for murder? Turns out that the evil wizard Feline Faust created an evil doppelganger of Alley, and she did all the bad stuff while the real Alley was trapped in a prison dimension. Umm, yes, sounds likely, ya think? Once Frogzilla is turned back into J. Fenimore Frog, the Zoo Crew head for the ocean depths to track the undersea terrorist Salamandroid. Unfortunately, it’s a trap, and the team is attacked by Starro the Conqueror’s face-hugging starfish. On top of that, Vicuna Pacos is revealed as the mad environmentalist immortal Rash Al Paca, and he has plans to flood the entire planet!

Verdict: Thumbs up. The art is wonderful, the puns are wonderful, the jokes are funny, and I’m still pretty happy with the story — though I gotta admit I’m worried about the conclusion next issue. This is a “Countdown” tie-in, and all the “Countdown” comics seem to be designed to be depressing and horrible. I hope this series bucks the trend.

Now for the dark stuff…


B.P.R.D.: Killing Ground #4

Okay, this one’s got more shocks than a toaster in a bathtub. Brace yerself, kids.

A bomb has blown up in Ben Daimo’s room, and the mysterious man who’s been stalking the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense’s compound… well, he stands there and lets Abe Sapien shoot a hole through his chest. What the heck did he want? We don’t have time to find out, because Daimo comes out of the bombed-out firestorm that used to be his quarters… and he’s turned into a nine-foot-tall ravening monster!

Liz Sherman goes catatonic while the sinister mastermind in her head tells her stories of armageddons. The Daimonster starts tearing soldiers apart until Johann Straus, wearing his superstrong body, shows up to beat the stuffing out of it. Unfortunately, the monster manages to rip Johann’s throat out. His body’s dying, but he’s really just a spirit inside of a body — his ectoplasm emerges and — wait a minute, that’s not Johann Strauss! That’s… Lobster Johnson! Then he runs into the infirmary and shoots Liz!

You are probably now asking yourself, “What is this amazing spicy sandwich I’m eating? What is this sammich with a kick like a mule and all the sweet, confusing joy in the universe crammed inside?” My friends, that is one of Mike Mignola’s signature OMGWTFBBQ sandwiches, and your taste buds will never be the same again.

Verdict: Thumbs up. No, I have no earthly idea what the heck was going on. But holy moley, what a ride! Is this Mike Mignola’s best year ever? And one more issue of this storyline to go? Do not miss out on this one, folks.

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Animal Crackers

I’ve got a lot of reviews to catch up on this week, but we’ll start off fairly slow with just one.


Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1

I’ve really been looking forward to this comic, because I was a big, big fan of “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew” back in the day. I think a lot of folks were. It’s gotten a real cult following over the years, even though DC has generally thought of it as the ugly stepkid they hid in the attic. Funny animals weren’t cool. Well, Marvel didn’t act particularly embarrassed by Howard the Duck or Spider-Ham, but DC couldn’t stand to be reminded about their moderately popular and well-received funny-animal superhero comic.

Then it seems DC changed its mind overnight a couple years ago. The Zoo Crew made a guest appearance in a “Teen Titans” comic a while back, DC announced they were going to release the old series as a nice, fat anthology (which then got cancelled, blast the luck), and they announced this new miniseries on the team. And they’ve made it a tie-in with (yeeech!) “Countdown,” and have even designated it as “Earth-26,” which means the Zoo Crew is now officially in-continuity for the first time since “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”

So, here’s what happens: The Zoo Crew are back in costume, but it’s still illegal on their earth to be a superhero, so they’re just making a promotional appearance at the Sandy-Eggo (that’s “San Diego” for the pun-impaired) Comic Convention. There’s also a great deal of tension between the land-dwelling animals and those that live in the ocean due to an incident where a young goldfish was killed by toxic waste. Alley-Kat-Abra is still in prison for killing Little Cheese and framing Captain Carrot, and American Eagle has joined the team. President Mallard Fillmore resigned in disgrace, only to be replaced by the equally shady Beneduck Arnold.

And yeah, believe it or not, that’s all just background.

As for the story itself, while the Zoo Crew are at the comic convention, they’re attacked by the Salamandroid, a heat-generating cyborg who they end up completely unable to catch. Later, the Salamandroid appears on TV to make a terroristic threat against Gnu York City. The heroes try to track down the threat, but are surprised when the monstrous Frogzilla makes an appearance on the beach at Corny Island.

Okay, on the bright side, Scott Shaw!’s artwork is as great as it ever was, and the puns are of the same wonderfully low quality as they were in the original series. I’m not too overjoyed with the thin plot — sure, they had a lot of backstory to go through. But really, that backstory is another problem. Basically, they’re tying the Zoo Crew into the grim-and-gritty DC vision of comics, where cartoon cats kill cartoon mice and aquatic species are an oppressed racial minority. It’s a fine background for a normal comic, but the Zoo Crew should be a more lighthearted book.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m still a big fan of the Zoo Crew, and what we have in this issue is still a lot of fun to read. I’ll go ahead and pick up the other two books in the series…

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Why Does DC Comics Hate Me?


It Wants the Precioussss

Clearly, DC Comics wants me to show up on their doorstep some dark night with a buzzing chainsaw.

On Tuesday, DC Comics announced cancellations of these Showcase volumes:
Suicide Squad

Secret Society of Super-Villains

Jonah Hex Volume 2

The Great Disaster

Captain Carrot

No “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew” Showcase volume?

Why must DC deprive me of my funny-animal superheroics? WHY MUST THEY MAKE ME CHASE THEM WITH BUZZING CHAINSAWS?!?

In other important news: Dude, Labor Day isn’t even here yet, and I already love it so much I want to marry it.

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