Comics

Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #30

By Nick Gazin

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Hey Pallsies,

It's your Internet comic book-loving chum, Nicholas.

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There are a few items of comic-related interest this week. One of them is that alt comickers redrew Fantastic Four #9. That's the one where Namor tries to kidnap Invisible Girl, as I recall. Some of the artists clearly aren't up to snuff and rely on one or two visual tricks to get by, but Brandon Graham and Chester Brown take the material in interesting places, because they're hyper capable illustrators. Chester Brown takes the weird proportions drawn in the first panel and really goes where eagles dare.

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Polish Spiderman is making things a little less stupid in Poland. What a guy! Shooting people at McDonald's with Silly String and shit like that. Fucking awesome. I love you Polish Spiderman. You are the Polish person I hate the least.

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Also, Katie Cook came up with this hilarious idea for a Batman story in which Batman believes he is actually a bat. Everything else is a figment of his imagination. The Riddler is actually a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and the only real villain is Alfred, who steals all of Bruce Wayne's money.

I'm looking forward to potentially going to Dragon Con and SPX this year, so if you're at either and see me feel free to say hi. If you would like me to give your comic a good review in this column I WILL ACCEPT BRIBES, so please bring me money, pills or blow, and I will rave about whatever it is you made on this very site.

Other things I will accept as bribes in exchange for a positive review:

- Lacoste shirts
- Books on the occult
- Moonshine
- Moonlighting merchandise
- Moons over My Hammy
- Hammentaschen
- Knishes
- Other assorted Jew food
- A trip to the Clairmont Lounge
- A John Waters-themed tour of Maryland
- A tour of the inside of John Waters home
- A tour of the inside of John Waters
- Favor crystals
- A KFC Triple-Down sandwich
- Rape whistles
- Police whistles
- Slide whistles
- Copies of “Whistle Bait” by Lorrie and Larry Collins on 45rpm
- Warriors of Plasm trading cards
- Pornographic playing cards
- Porno that was found in the woods
- Ninja stars
- Toy handcuffs
- Real handcuffs
- The threat of arrest

That's it. See you at the cons!

Your pal,
Nicholas

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The World of Smurfs
Matt Murray
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The Smurfs are pretty great and they deserve this book, but I think the main impetus for this book's existence was that new Smurfs movie, which was about as ugly and misguided as a movie could possibly be. It seems like the people who made the movie said to themselves, “Man, I really hate the Smurfs and have no idea why they were once very popular with children. I know, I will make a movie that perverts every facet of the Smurfs and people will like it more!

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Taking two dimensional characters that people love and making them CG with realistic eyes and skin textures is gross, weird, and in one fell swoop manages to tear away the single strongest portion of a traditionally animated or drawn character's appeal. These characters are appealing because they don't look real.The strength of their universal appeal is founded on their iconic nature.

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For some reason, the filmmakers decided that children don't really like Smurfs, so the movie is mostly about Neal Patrick Harris's work stress and his disagreements with his wife about whether or not they should have a child. Also, it is set in New York, which is a move that the Masters of the Universe movie did in the 80s because it was cheaper than creating a believable fantasy setting. I don't know what the fucking Smurfs movie assholes problem was. A big part of the idea of the Smurfs is that they have those little mushroom houses and live in a cute teeny village.

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So they've removed the familiar and well-established look of the Smurfs and the friendly environment that reading the Smurfs puts you in, and inserted a story that no child will relate to or care about. On top of that, when the Smurfs speak they use their gibberish word, ”smurf,” to replace curse words a lot of the time. It was funny when Rachel Dratch as Smurfette asked another Smurf to “smurf all over my smurfs!” in an SNL skit in the late 90s but the idea is really offensive when put into a movie meant for kids. The whole fucking movie seems like it was made by monsters who hate the Smurfs and children.

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This book is pretty great, though! It briefly details the life of Belgian cartoonist Peyo, the comics he did before the Shtroumpfs, as they're called in Europe, and then the explosion of Shtroumpf popularity. There are lots pretty pictures of package design and merchandise, early drawings, and toys and shit. There are also a lot of reproductions of posters, stickers, and other similar ephemera that can be pulled out of the book. It's similar to the Star Wars Vault that Harper Collins put out. The only thing that mars this nice little pal of a book is the chapter devoted to the shitty movie at the end. But if you love Smurfs then it's not too bad. You can just razor blade out those pages. I give it a solid B+.

See you next week! Or not if you don't read this again!

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