Monday, November 21, 2011

Kid Friendly comics! Snarked and Donald Duck

Snarked!

I finally read the first two issues of Roger Langridge's Snarked.  Well, I read issue 0 and issue 1.

Playing off the public domain status of Lewis Carroll's stories, Langridge has grabbed the briefly mentioned Walrus and The Carpenter and decided to spin a story from what we know of them from the poem (told by Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Through the Looking Glass).  If you can still track down issue 0, its pretty chock full.  Not just of story, but of the source material Langridge will hope you're familiar with as he mines Carroll's material for his own purposes.

He includes pictures by John Tenniel, Carroll's artistic accomplice, in appropriate places, but the art is the same mad cap, cartoony style I really liked in his work on The Muppets comics (also from Boom).

I suspect that, with issue 1, Langridge plans to make this a closed story, that has a beginning, middle and end.  Originally, I'd believed it would be a gag book, or have one-off stories per issue, but instead it seems we're headed off on a bit of an adventure.

You see, the Red Queen has passed, leaving two children Princess Scarlett and Prince Russell IV (aka: Rusty), but now the Red King has disappeared whilst on a sea-faring voyage.  And the kids (a) would like to find their father and (b) get away from the folks who want to seize power.  Our friend The Cheshire Cat has an idea who can help them, even if The Walrus and The Carpenter seem to be, by all indications, cheaters, liars and cons.

The Walrus, The Carpenter and the offspring of the Red Queen & King
Good stuff.

The writing is sharp, the characters archetypes but cleverly done, and its a book that you can hand a kid, but I suspect you'd want to sit and read it with them.  Its pretty fun, and the language is very well thought out.

And if you have a picture of what a "snark" (the much discussed but unseen beastie) looks like, you may send it in.

I think this is one of those books you're going to wish you'd jumped on early.

Walt Disney Treasury: Donald Duck Vol 1. and 2 (and more)

Oh, so!

Yes, I've been reading Donald Duck again.  I know, I know.  I came to Disney comics so late, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.

I've had both these volumes for a while, but I just dug them out of my stack of comics I haven't yet read, and I plowed through them with pretty great speed.

I don't think Boom! will be carrying on printing these books now that Disney owns Marvel comics (a shame, because Marvel's collections edition has never seemed as together as I'd like) and Boom! was just really getting themselves together on their Disney collections front.  AND it was a nice compliment to the really fancy (but expensive) work Fantagraphics was doing on their archive collections.

Hubris, thy name is Donald
The two Donald volumes are pretty reasonably priced ($14.99 cover for a lot of comics) and contain pretty good stories in both.  I finally got to read a Plain Awful story in Volume 1, and the Uncle Scrooge/ Donald go into space to collect satellites story in Volume 2 had me rolling.  Both volumes contain work of the American creator, Don Rosa, who is one of two comics creators associated with Disney's ducks that all comics people should know (along with Carl Barks).  And coming off reading the Disney Four Color Treasury, it was nice to transition to the more modern Ducks era.

Its tough to explain the appeal of a Donald Duck or Uncle Scrooge comic to the uninitiated, except to say that Duckberg is a very well realized place of goofiness and big hearted skinflint trillionaires and good-hearted crooks like the Beagle Boys, and its fun to see Donald in one story wrestling with space flight and in another trying to get the nephews to school.

Don Rosa is, in my estimation, one of the most creative talents in comics, with great understanding of narrative, gags, character, etc... and its just a huge pleasure to read his work.  And I suppose it says something about how under the radar the comics must have been for Disney for this to be one of the areas where any single creator was able to make a name for themselves.

 


2 comments:

Simon Mac Donald said...

So Snarked was pretty good then. I'd only seen one other review where it was panned. I'll see if I can track this down digitally now as I too really liked with Langridge did at Boom and on Thor: TMA.

There is never a bad time to read Duck comics. That Fantagraphic's book is the top item on my Christmas list this year.

The League said...

Boom did so much justice to their Disney license that its sad to see Marvel taking it away and not doing anything with it.

As great as those Fantagraphics books are, they're clearly not for mid-tier purchase or for kids. Hopefully Marvel will get on the stick and start publishing follow up volumes.

I can see how someone might not liked Snarked!. But it worked for me. Its a bit messy, but I'll take it. There's just lots of ideas that i think Langridge might be wrestling with as he gets going.