The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Comic Book Reviews for the Week: April 1st, 2012

Written by: Kevin Hunter, Special to CC2K

Week after week, every Wednesday, there is a sudden influx of content in the comic book world. It’s CC2K’s job to sift through the garbage to find the gold. Every week we’ll be bringing you reviews on the widest range of books possible. This week: Hawk & Dove, The Simpsons, and from last week: The Peanuts

Hawk & Dove #6
Writer and Artist: Rob Liefeld
Colors: Matt Yachey
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Cover: Liefeld and Yachey

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Hawk & Dove comic. But Hawk & Dove #6 from DC Comics The New 52 had me right from the cover. It features not Hawk & Dove, but Batman & Dove, so you know this one was going to be interesting.

In a story titled, “One Night In Gotham,” by the great writer and artist Rob Liefeld, Hawk & Dove chase and are being chased by Blockbuster from their usual place of residence in Washington D.C. to Gotham City. Blockbuster is carrying The Amulet of Ra he stole from the Smithsonian that the practitioner Necromancer wants. Hawk already took a beating from Blockbuster in Washington D.C. and was in the middle of another one in Gotham City until he gets an unwanted help and a lecture from the Boy Wonder Robin and soon after Batman.

“One Night In Gotham” features one of my favorite lines of the year so far from Hawk on his description of Batman and Robin.
“I can’t believe that I’m learning from the Dark Knight. Dove takes it all in stride. She says we can learn from ‘a living legend.’ Me, I’m wondering how you pair a Batman and a Robin — a winged rodent and a state bird. Not exactly crackers and cheese.”

After a few more introductions and a few words, the four work together to subdue both Blockbuster and prevent Necromancer from casting her evil spell and save the day. And after being saved and bested by the kid Boy Wonder, Hawk wasn’t in any mood for anything else. But Batman decided that it was time for a lecture on how he and Dove on how they can be a formidable team if they use their powers to complement each other and be more effective the faster they blend them together, blah, blah, blah. But most importantly, old pointy ears makes it very clear to the always hot headed Hawk that Gotham is his city and anyone who enters it plays by his rules. Again, more blah, blah, blah and stuff we’ve all heard before from the Dark Knight.

“One Night In Gotham” is great and hilarious read. The ego clash between Hawk and Batman and Robin with Dove playing mediator, negotiator and peacemaker is great. It’s one of those issues where the lead characters and guest stars combine for a great story.



Simpsons Illustrated #1
Story: Ian Boothy
Pencils: Phil Ortiz
Inks: Scott McRae, Mike DeCarlo, Howard Shum
Colors: Art Villanueva

We love “The Simpsons” don’t we? We have for more than 20 years. Years ago creator Matt Groening and his legendary characters branched out into the comic book arena with a handful of long-running successful books. Now comes yet another new comic book from Groening and the folks at Bongo Comics, Simpsons Illustrated #1.

Not to be confused with the short-lived quarterly Simpsons Illustrated magazine that ran from 1991-92, Simpsons Illustrated #1 is a quarterly comic book and is sort of a Best of “The Simpsons.” Simpsons Illustrated #1 features stories from some of their earlier comic books as well as a classic tale from Groening’s very first Bongo Comics issue. Simpsons Illustrated #1 also has a story taking a look at some of characters in their younger days.

The first two best of stories are introduced by Principal Skinner with “The Permanent Record Room” and “And The Beatings Go On.” Superintendant Chalmers introduces an adolescent Homer Simpson in the story, “Truant Or False?”. Groundskeeper Willie gets into the act with a “What About” story titled, “What about if… Skinner Was Scottish” (very strange play on words for this title). There are three other stories, “Lisa Simpson in Reading Night,” and Ralph Wiggum in “Hill Of Beans.”

And last, and certainly least, Bart Simpson brings up the rear in “Lo, There Shall Come… A Bartman” from 1993.
Simpsons Illustrated #1 is a little odd, long and a bit confusing. It doesn’t say when and in what book(s) and issues each story was published, except for the Bartman story. And if you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were reading all new stories. That can be a good thing if you haven’t read these stories before. It’s also ideal for those, like me, who didn’t want to bother buying many of “The Simpsons” comics. I do find that taking a look at some of the characters as youngsters in their pre-“The Simpsons” TV show years is a good idea. Simpsons Illustrated 1 is a good concept and fun, but needs some work. At best It’s kind of like buying a best of CD by your favorite recording artist.




Peanuts #1
Stories: Charles M. Schultz and Vicki Scott
Artists: Charles M. Schultz, Vicky Scott and Matt Whitlock

When Charles Schultz passed away at the age of 77 in 2000, many of us thought that would be the end of one of the most iconic comic strip ever. With 50 years of strips under his belt, many newspapers around the country continued to run Peanuts daily introducing the legendary characters to a new generation of readers. You know what they say, it’s not a repeat if you haven’t seen it.

Last November Kaboom Studios released a preview of a new monthly Peanuts comic aptly titled Peanuts #0 for just a dollar. It featured all of the same characters we’ve all grown to love with a mixture of old and brand new material.

Peanuts #1 has a 1960’s look and feel to it. Some of the same characters from that era are featured such as Frieda, the girl with the naturally curly hair, Shermy, Violet, Patty (not Peppermint) and Pig Pen, along with standout characters Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, and of course Snoopy.

It’s almost as if Vicki Scott, Matt Whitlock and a team of very talented group are channeling Schultz. Their work is so unbelievably great and spot-on that you would think Schultz was still alive and drawing. He does in a way as his work is displayed on the cover and there are two Classic Peanuts strips in the issue. In the first original story titled, “Music Goes Round,” Lucy can’t seem to get “Take me out to the Ballgame,” out of her head. She passes it on to Charlie Brown and the boys and they think it’s the greatest song ever singing it and driving Lucy completely insane.
Lucy is also prominently featured in “Cat & Cash.” In these tough economic times, Lucy finds it hard to draw business to her Psychiatric Help booth, which she’s run for 50 years. So after seeing that a desperate Frieda has lost her cat, Lucy gets creative and rents Snoopy out for five cents and creates a new business called, “Bloodhound for Hire.” Frieda reluctantly takes Lucy on her offer, pays the five cents, and when Snoopy is involved in anything like this – chaos rules the day. Snoopy does his job in finding the cat, but Lucy loses her money in the havoc.

A nice extra for the kids is a How To Draw Charlie Brown feature also by Lucy as she gives readers a step-by-step lesson on how anyone can draw the famous blockhead.

As a long-time reader of Peanuts and someone who has every book, movie and television special, I was a little skeptical when learning that someone other than the great Schultz would be doing a monthly comic. The heads at Kaboom Studios must have felt the same way as each month they keep the memory of Schultz alive with old and new material all for a dollar. That’s less than you would pay for the daily newspaper in many cities. This is a brilliant idea as fans young and old can enjoy new and old material from an American staple. Charles Schultz would be proud.