Maybe not more than Archie’s R/C Racers.

§ June 17th, 2015 § Filed under this week's comics § 6 Comments

It’s a weird thing when you have a second title start up that essentially duplicates the first title, which probably seems like an outdated commentary in an industry that throws a half-dozen Avengers or Batman titles on the new comics shelves at regular intervals. It just seems a little stranger here with a new Justice League title that’s featuring the same team that’s in the already-existing Justice League title, as part of a franchise that, historically, would at least present different casts across the various series. The promise of “massive widescreen action” almost implies a mild criticism of the other title, which doesn’t give you said “massive widescreen action.” The other novelty is that it’s tied to the vision of a particular creator, though as soon as that creator leaves that novelty is gone, leaving the title either to cancellation (i.e. Superman Unchained) or focusing on the vision of Another Big Name Creator, or just becoming a second regular monthly Justice League book, indistinguishable from the other.

Again, probably a dumb complaint in this brave new-ish comics world of Every Character or Team Stars in Two Titles or More, but there it is. This first issue was pretty good, however. It certainly delivers on the “widescreen action,” as promised.

This is almost even more…perverse (but not in a bad way…lemme ‘splain) than its line-crossing cousin Afterlife with Archie, in that it straight-up looks like an Archie comic. Afterlife at least is visually distinct from the rest of the Archie line, both covers and contents. Archie Versus Predator, at first glance, looks just like other Archies, at least inside (the cover pictured above is just one of the several variants available, and the only one that resembles traditional Archie). I do like that Archie is fully willing to do peculiar things with their bread-and-butter properties, probably inspired by the need to more firmly establish themselves in the direct market…hence Afterlife, the Sharknado crossover, another attempt at New Look Archie, and this very series I’m talkin’ about here. The comic is a hoot, though given that this comic contains a significantly larger amount of blood and exposed spines than most Archie titles, I’d definitely keep it out of the hands of young’uns. And for God’s sake, if you’re a store, keep it off the kids rack! Assuming you have a kids rack.

Hard to believe this series is just about done…only two volumes to go, and it was just announced that the final book will include Schulz’s early pre-Peanuts “Li’l Folks” strips! Of note is the introduction for this current volume pictured here, written by a couple of fellas from Rifftrax, which includes a few riffed strips from the founders of Rifftrax, former Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast members Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. A brief sample:

It reminds me of that long-ago missed opportunity when the MST3K gang were to delve into the world of comics, but cutbacks at Acclaim canned the book. (And I see the name of a certain stuffed bull‘s pal mentioned in that long-ago Usenet posting!)

Yet another installment in the ongoing saga of Superman’s No Longer Secret Identity that has yet to see the publication of the first part. A little annoying, yes, but I’ve been actually enjoying the story thus far…it’s a direction that the New 52 Superman needed, one where the character could be explored on its own merits rather than sloppily slapped together as something New and Different and Exciting!

I’m totally in the bag for the Minions, those cute little critters from the Despicable Me films (and their own movie, coming soon to a theater near you), so I thought I’d take a look at this little ol’ funnybook here. And surprise, it’s beautifully illustrated, with one-page mostly pantomime gag strips and a surprisingly detailed and hard-on-my-aging-eyes two-page spread of their secret underground lair. A couple of the gags are on the hokey side (oh no, the Minions are painting the floor and they ended up trapping themselves in the center of the room!) but I’m sure there’s a kid out there somewhere for whom those jokes are completely new. And it all looks so nice it’s hard to hold that against it.

6 Responses to “Maybe not more than Archie’s R/C Racers.”

  • Jer says:

    JLA and JLA:Classified both ran simultaneously, and often had the same line-up of characters in both books. I’m kind of thinking that this is the same sort of thing.

    I also think that your analogy to Superman Unchained may be apt – I suspect that this book will be a miniseries that has been solicited as an ongoing, and when Hitch is done with what he wants to do, it will end. I may be wrong about that, but it’s definitely got that “Superman Unchained” feel around it.

  • The new JLA clearly seems to me a miniseries posing as an ongoing, unless it’s a case of “we suspect Bryan Hitch won’t write and draw this series forever but we haven’t quite worked out when he’ll stop yet” kind of thing. You mentioned Superman Unchained as one example, which at least ended when it ended; Batman: The Dark Knight was another one of these, meant as a David Finch vehicle, which unfortunately DC wouldn’t kill long after it had died and so it lumbered around eating brains for a while after the fact. I’d as soon that kind of thing not happen again.

    As a retailer, do you find that there is some benefit in this miniseries fakery, in that customers are more likely to buy something they think is an ongoing series than a miniseries? I’d think DC could put Bryan Hitch’s name on a Justice League miniseries, let it be known that the story is generally in-continuity-ish, and get the same effect as releasing it as a series (and maybe save themselves some bad blood with customers), but maybe I’m wrong and that wouldn’t sell as well.

  • Andrew says:

    On a note unrelated to the previous comments, that Superman/Wonder Woman logo looks like something Gold Key might have cobbled together back in the day.

  • Casie says:

    Aww man! Peanuts, Archie and Minions? This so makes me wish I had a cat that shed money and not hair so I could buy such cool things. Someday.
    That was a fun read, Mike.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “the final book will include Schulz’s early pre-Peanuts “Li’l Folks” strips! ”

    I would think putting those in the FIRST volume would have made more sense!