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Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. 9

posted on February 20, 2020

Okay, Gang, it’s like Christmas in February! The latest volume in the ongoing Funky saga has just dropped on Amazon! If you were suffering through the winter blahs and wondering how you were going to make it through the rest of flu season, this hefty tome should keep you safe and happy at home and easily carry you through to the Spring. It’s loaded with stories about the Funky cast making their way through young adulthood. Some stories that can be told over a cup of coffee, and others that require a full-on Roman feast. But that’s not all, this volume marks the first book in the series to present all of the Sunday strips in stunningly spectacular and staggeringly sublime living color. There’s a reason for why this is happening now that’s a little too long to go into here so I’m saving it for another blog post. But suffice to say, the beautiful color really takes things to the next floor, as the Sundays appear with the very best and most gorgeous printing that they’ve ever seen (or, if you’ve only experienced them on newsprint, that you’ve ever seen). All this at no additional cost to you. Plus it’s all topped off with a foreword by Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella and an intro by yours truly where I lay out the heretofore untold story of the Cartooning Commandments. The best news is that it can all be yours by visiting the book section on this site and letting Amazon know that you want can’t live without one. No need to thank me, it’s my job.

Cover Me – 94

posted on February 16, 2020

A really striking cover made even cooler by the fact that you just know a gorilla has to be lurking in the shadows.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #245

posted on February 14, 2020

This issue marks one of the lower spots in the Flash’s Silver Age career. It’s hard to know where to start because it pretty much fails across the board. It unfortunately puts on display some of writer Cary Bates baddest habits. So rather than trying to recount this wearisome story, let’s take a look at some of those bad habits.

To start with, this isn’t the first time that Bates has come up with a simply bad super villain team. This gang’s only claim to fame is a “zinger” gun that dissolves walls and allows them to commit robberies. They have no personalities and no interesting backstory. They are virtually characterless characters. They don’t even wear masks because they’re so pointless that nobody cares. As he’s done before, Bates has created a throwaway villain team that we will never see again, which is good because we don’t ever want to see them again.

The Zinger Gang only exists to provide some gimmicky reason for the Flash’s powers to go awry, which they do thanks to the “zinger” gun. This trope that Bates has made his own has become tiresome and boring. Boring is something that you don’t want to write into a comic book. These gimmicky gimmicks give gimmicks a bad name.

And, while we’re talking about giving things a bad name, there’s a brief interaction between Barry and Iris that’s kind of baffling. Actually what’s baffling is their sex life. Barry/Flash returns home quite late explaining to Iris, who’s already in bed, that he ran into trouble on the way home. Iris’s response is to roll over and proclaim: “Well, you’ll get no trouble from me!”. At the end of the previous issue when Barry, feeling a little frisky, is about to chase Iris into the bedroom she responds: “Barry, you wouldn’t!”. Those two incidents are thrown out there with no context or explanation or anything. And there’s no follow-up to either. Bates seems to be clueless about relationships between men and women, and seems to draw most of his understanding from bad 50’s TV sitcoms.

Even the attempt to set up some bait to draw the reader to the next issue is forced and contrived and bears no relationship to anything else in the story.

But, hey, it happens. They can’t all be blockbusters, and I’m sure that writer Bates will return to better form in the next issue. I certainly hope so because we have over a hundred issue left to go.

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