Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rayboy's Review: Scooby-Doo! #140 (DC Comics)

Hot comic book artists come along every year or so. Skilled comic book writers happen along once in awhile. New characters occasionally grab the attention of our entire industry, too. Still, comic books have dramatically changed over the years.

Manga influences and formats are prevalent, enhanced (& speedier) computer techniques have replaced many of the old “by hand” methods of coloring, lettering, etc. Many younger readers [and the “actual” age of these readers is irrelevant] think that anything other than full-page-bleed artwork is archaic, antiquated or “old school”. Traditional panel borders and other recognized tools of the comic book storytelling format – like gutters - have largely fallen by the wayside.

DC Comics Scooby-Doo! #140 (March 2009) filled me with an abiding joy as I flipped through its terrific pages over the past weekend. This was a "real" comic book folks! Writer John Rozum penned all three wonderful short stories within the issue and each of them was interesting, entertaining and true to what I recall of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon show upon which this series is based. Rozum’s partners on the first two tales are veteran penciller Joe Staton & inker Horacio Ottolini. There are no cheats within either of these stories; the reader is treated to lush, full artwork that cuts no corners. The backgrounds are fully realized, Staton's visual characterization enhances the script and even at only 8 and 6 pages in length, the two adventures have a recognizable beginning, middle and end. The third story illustrated by Robert Pope & Scott McCrae is also loads of fun, but simply not of the caliber of Staton and Ottolini’s stuff.

Heck the book even smells like a comic book!

Why the devil the main comics publishers insist on using that spray-painted, shellac-coated junk for the majority of their comics these days is beyond me. DC has wisely chosen to keep overhead low, by using a more affordable interior paper and cover stock on the comics they publish for all ages. This stuff not only looks like a comic, feels like a comic and SMELLS like a regular old comic book. It is one!

The talent that’s behind this book is far and away superior to the angst driven, mega-crossover, marketing-minded, bullshit banality of what is passing for both DC and Marvel’s standard fictional universes at the moment.

Buy this book people, I just added it to my pull list, and now I get to go on an egg hunt for many wonderful back issues of Scooby-Do!

1 comment:

Wayne Skiver said...

I've enjoyed a few of the DC "All ages" and/or "Johnny DC" supposed kid oriented series. Though not a fan of the "look" of the Teen Titans Go! title my 10 year old son reads, I was surprised to find a very enjoyable Captain Marvel back up story in an issue. Many of these series (and I like Scooby Doo!) are well written and I think its a shame that some readers pass them by as kids stuff. Granted some of it is geared towards that but some is merely non-angsty, non-gore, good old fashioned storytelling. Theres nothing wrong with that!