Let’s take a quick spin through this week’s ComicList, shall we?
I can’t remember if it was in Mad or Cracked or Crazy, but many years ago there was a great parody of Casper, the Friendly Ghost called “
Casper Kaspar, the Dead Baby,” where Wendy convinces Casper to take revenge on the irresponsible parents who let him die. I swear this comic exists somewhere. It lingers with me because it was a punchy, successful attempt to insert some kind of logic into a beloved children’s property. (Updated: Tony Salvaggio points to the story from Crazy, which was written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Marie Severin, of all people. Thanks, Tony!) AdHouse sent me a copy of Remake by Lamar Abrams, which is a venture into roughly similar territory. Abrams applies certain realities to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, reimagining him as a powerful but otherwise average robot kid called Max Guy. Max is an average little boy in the vaguely unpleasant ways little boys can be average – easily bored, self-indulgent, prone to tantrums, and given to sadistic curiosity. It’s a nice conceit, and Abrams executes it with a notebook-in-study-hall style that suits it well. Unfortunately, I’ve never found average little boys to be very good company, even when I was one. Your mileage may vary.
Much more to my liking is the sly, sweet, smutty super-hero satire delivered by Adam Warren in his ongoing Empowered series, now in its fifth volume from Dark Horse. This time around, our heroine continues to face the disdain of her obnoxious heroic peers and some fractures in her relationship with best-friend Ninjette and boyfriend Thugboy.
I’m less likely to love but equally likely to buy the fifth volume of Hiroya Oku’s violent guilty pleasure, Gantz. I’m not proud.
Enthusiastic praise from folks like Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey has finally penetrated my thick skull and driven me to check out Taka Amano’s Kiichi and the Magic Books (CMX). Its fifth volume is due out tomorrow, and I have a couple of the earlier ones winging my way via standard delivery.
Updated: I almost never look at the Marvel section of the ComicList, so I missed the listing for the collection of the Patsy Walker: Hellcat mini-series, written by Kathryn Immonen and illustrated by David LaFuente Garcia. I liked the first issue and made a mental note to pick up the trade eventually, as the shop cut back on its orders after the first issue and there were never any shelf copies by the time I got there. Anyway, it looks to be a refreshingly fun take on one of my longtime favorite C-list characters. (Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for giving the list a more careful perusal than I did. And thanks to Marvel for passing on the hardcover collection of this series and going right to paperback.)