Tagged: Hanna-Barbera

The Ruff and Reddy Show #3 Review

The Ruff and Reddy Show 3 coverChaykin and Rey’s The Ruff and Reddy Show is one of the strangest comics I’ve ever been asked (oh, okay – volunteered) to review, but I think this might be the issue when I finally get some kind of handle on it. The last two issues have seen our titular pairing, after a long period of separation and obscurity, reunite in a bid to relaunch their careers. That it’s taken this long to reach that point is largely down to Chaykin’s decision to turn his ‘story’ (if that’s the right word for a narrative this threadbare) into a vehicle for a satirical look at the entertainment business, whose scattergun approach has yielded entirely predictably mixed results. The end of this issue marks the midway point of this story, though, and it looks light it might actually be moving a bit more purposefully. And thank goodness for that…

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2 – Review (DC Comics)

Snagglepuss 2 coverWell, this is better. The first issue of this reimagining of everyone’s favourite softly-spoken pink cartoon mountain lion as a softly-spoken pink secretly gay playwright in 1950s America didn’t exactly grab me for a number of reasons. I’m happy to say that, with a bit more focus and a lot more characterization, this issue sees the series begin to deliver on its premise. With the forces of cultural oppression focusing on him and a play to stage, will our hero manage to remain characteristically unruffled? There’s only one way to know for sure…

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Not Quite Ready – The Ruff and Reddy Show #2 (DC Comics)

The Ruff and Reddy Show 2 coverYou know, everyone has regrets: that girl or guy you wanted to ask out but never quite mustered up the courage to go and talk to; those winning lottery numbers you should have put on, but somehow forgot; the ultra-rare foil cover, poly-bagged edition of that 90s comic you bought seven copies of in the hope they’d actually be worth something at some unspecified point in the future. You know what I’m talking about. In the grand scheme of things, agreeing to review The Ruff and Reddy Show for the Weird Science DC Comics website isn’t exactly a huge regret, but that bitter-sweet pang when I think back to the enthusiasm with which I told Jim I’d gladly review this weirdest of the already bizarre crop of Hanna-Barbera titles just won’t go away. I wonder if DC regrets commissioning the thing. Who knows? Maybe they know something I don’t. Well, there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

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Exit, Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 – Review

Snagglepuss coverThe Hanna-Barbera comics continue to bemuse, frustrate and entertain in more or less equal measure. By now, you’ll be familiar with the concept. DC takes a fondly remembered franchise from your childhood, and reimagines it in a hopefully entertaining ‘edgy’ way in an effort to breathe some new creative life into it. Whether the concept actually needed new creative life is neither here nor there. This is the 21st century. The past is simply a resource for a never-ending parade of pastiche, nostalgia or subversion. I rather liked Snagglepuss as a kid. A minor character, to be sure, but he had an instantly recognizable look and demeanour and, voiced by the incomparable Daws Butler, a warmth and vulnerability that was all rather appealing. What does Mark (The Flintstones) Russell do with all that? There’s only one way to find out…

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Quicker Than The Human Eye? – Black Lightning and Hong Kong Phooey Special #1

Black Lightning and Hong Kong PhooeyVoiced by jazzman and prolific voice actor Scatman Crothers (he voiced The Transformers’ Jazz and the cartoon Harlem Globetrotters’ Meadowlark Lemon among many others), Hong Kong Phooey was one of my all-time favourite Hanna-Barbera characters as a kid. (Right up there, in fact, with Scooby Doo and Captain Caveman.) There was a glorious blend of patently stupid authority, hapless heroism and sly fourth-wall-breaking humour in just the title sequence alone and, although I preferred my superheroes to be just a bit more serious when I was growing up (Bat-Mite? What the hell was that all about?), Hong Kong Phooey had a charm that was utterly irresistible. So, when the latest round of H-B titles was announced and the feeding frenzy that regularly accompanies such news broke out at Weird Science Towers, I had no hesitation in diving in for this title – particularly on finding out that Bryan (The Wild Storm: Michael Cray and soon to be Detective Comics) Hill was on writing chores and that Black Lightning would be pairing up with our mystery martial artist. How does it all pan out? Let’s have a look…

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No Happy Endings – Dastardly and Muttley #6 – Review

Dastardly and Muttley 6 2Dastardly and Muttley has turned out to be one of the few winners in DC’s Hanna-Barbera range and, in many respects, I’ll be sorry to see it go. While other books mope around in the decidedly shallow waters of political and cultural commentary or attempt to impress with dark ‘gritty’ versions of beloved characters that are as charmless as they are tedious, Ennis and Mauricet’s creative take on our famous pigeon-hunting duo manages to be fun. This issue gives us a resolution and a couple of surprises along the way, including a coda that even now I’m a little uncertain about. Climb in, buckle up and strap on those goggles. We’ve got a pigeon to catch!

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Cartoon Chaos – Dastardly & Muttley #3 (DC Comics)

Dastardly and Muttley 3 coverGiven the distinctly uneven quality of DC’s Hanna-Barbera titles, Garth Ennis and Mauricet’s Dastardly and Muttley has been surprisingly fun. Having crossed paths with a reality-altering US military drone, their lives have become that weird mixture of absurd, terrifying and frenetic that can only really be described as ‘madcap’. The last issue ended with the President of the United States assaulting his political rival with a cartoon mallet live on national television, while Dick Atcherley and his dog-faced co-pilot watch on in horror. How things are going to play out is anyone’s guess. There’s only one way to find out…

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Great Cthluto Lies Sleeping – Dastardly and Muttley #5

Dastardly and Muttley 5 coverMy experiences with Hanna-Barbera comics have not been exactly great lately, and I was hoping that this issue would see me break out of “what the hell did they think they were doing?” mode and actually give me something that I could enjoy. I know, I know. It’s a radical concept, but, lo and behold, the Ennis/Mauricet team actually seem to embrace it, brazen innovators that they are. That’s not to say there aren’t problems this issue. There’s an awful lot of exposition going on here, but the issue is, for the most part, a lot of fun. Allow me to explain why…

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Ballbuster! – Dastardly & Muttley #4

Dastardly and Muttley 4 coverYou know, I love comics. Comics are the medium in which anything can happen, in which image and word can interact in quite startling ways and in which, apparently, a beloved Hanna-Barbera property can become an insane fusion of commentary on the military-industrial complex, sexism, and politics, and the kind of comedic sensibility generally found in, well, cartoons. Fancy that, eh? If all that sounds like your cup of tea, then step this way. I’ve got a comic to sell you.

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The Ruff And Reddy Show #1

(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

 

I volunteered to review this title. I just want you to know that.

 

The Ruff N Reddy Show - coverDC’s idea of updating old Hanna-Barbera properties for 21st-century comic sensibilities is not necessarily a bad one, but I think it’s safe to say that its execution has been decidedly mixed. For every Flintstones, there’s been a Wacky Raceland, and some of the concepts for the re-vamping have been decidedly ill-judged. So, what to make of this – a six-issue mini-series based on a cartoon show that first aired in 1957 and is culturally important more for what it led to than anything else? To be fair, I like Chaykin and I did volunteer. Time to jump in…

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