Comics read on 6/29/13 and 6/30/13

I read the following comic books over the past two days, for a total of 69 comic books read since I started this experiment.

SNARKED #5 – Another fantastic issue. The humor in this issue is a lot more raucous and gross than in earlier issues; there is a lot of toilet humor and a lot of what might be interpreted as cruelty to animals. The star of this series, I think, is the Walrus, who reminds me a bit of Phoney Bone or Uncle Scrooge except that he has not even a shred of morality or conscience. Maybe a better comparison is Wimpy, who stole the show in some of Langridge’s Popeye stories. The letter column reveals the hidden message in the previous issue: the first letters of each of the pages spelled “Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.” I would never have found that on my own.

BLACKHAWK #273 – This is not my favorite Evanier/Spiegle collaboration; I prefer Crossfire or even Hollywood Superstars, partly because of my lack of interest in war stories. However, this issue was very readable and featured some gorgeous artwork. The story is not particularly well plotted but is notable for its portrayal of Chop-Chop as a courageous hero, rather than an offensive stereotype, as was often the case in earlier versions of the series. The “Detached Service Diary” segment was illustrated by Mike Sekowsky in what must have been one of his last jobs for DC, but I don’t think he was ever that great of an artist, and this segment was not an example of his best work.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #32 – An excellent follow-up to the previous issue. The humor in this issue is even more disturbing and excessive than in #32 (e.g. Master Pandemonium leaving a human head in the fridge), but I’ve come to expect that sort of humor from this series. Nick Bradshaw’s artwork is as fascinating as ever. I look forward to future installments of this story.

PLOP! #2 – This issue of one of the most bizarre comics DC ever published features a number of gags by Sergio Aragones, as well as slightly longer stories by Sergio, Alfredo Alcala, and Nick Cardy. Alcala’s stories for this series were among the most beautiful things he did for DC; the draftsmanship is on almost the same level as that of his masterpiece Voltar. The story by Cardy is also quite well-drawn, in a style similar to that of Bat Lash. As for the writing, though… I have a suspicion that the horror stories in Plop! were originally written for DC’s more serious horror comics, and that it’s only the artwork that actually makes them funny. I could easily imagine these exact same stories appearing in House of Secrets or Weird Mystery Tales, and in that context they would not have been particularly notable. Maybe the best thing about this issue is the gorgeous Basil Wolverton cover.

WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #208 – I actually liked this issue a lot. The story is a fairly standard Superman/Dr. Fate team-up, but Len Wein’s writing and Dick Dillin’s artwork make it quite readable. Among all the good but not spectacular superhero artists of the ’60s and ’70s (e.g. Heck, Ayers, S. Buscema), Dillin is perhaps my favorite. This issue also includes two Golden Age reprints which are not worth discussing.

MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #6 – I didn’t read this when it came out because I was kind of underwhelmed by the previous issue, although admittedly, Katie Cook and Andy Price are a tough act to follow. However, I found this issue to be surprisingly well-written and well-drawn, particularly the sequence where each of the Mane Six (besides Rarity) confronts her worst fear. Pinkie Pie’s line “In space, no one can hear you squee” was the highlight of the issue. I have #7 and will get to it in a day or two.

PALOOKA-VILLE #18 – This comic is a beautifully designed artifact with gorgeous artwork, but Christ, what a depressing story. Simon Matchcard’s meditations on decay and entropy are rather bleak, although the issue ends on a more hopeful note with a dream sequence in which Simon imagines himself visiting a beautifully drawn city from the past. I wonder if the reason Seth hasn’t finished “Clyde Fans” is because it’s not really a story, just an ongoing meditation on nostalgia. I think Seth is better at creating a mood — which he does extremely well in this issue — than at telling an interesting story.

DR. STRANGE #18 – This Englehart/Colan collaboration gets off to kind of a slow start, but quickly becomes more interesting as a time-traveling Clea, feeling neglected by Stephen, has a fling with Benjamin Franklin. (Didn’t he like older women though?) Englehart’s dialogue is witty and often hilarious, even though his captions tend toward purple prose, and Colan’s artwork is as masterful as ever.

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