World Comic Book Review

3rd December 2023

The Beautiful Fools

Bill and Ted Go To Hell 1 (of 4)
Writer: Brian Joines
Boom! Studios, February 2016
Review by DG Stewart, 2 March 2016

American film actor Keanu Reeves made his fame in two quirky films produced by US film company Interscope, entitled, respectively, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989) and “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure” (1991). The two titular characters, using now very dated youth slang which would be incomprehensible to teenagers in 2016, formed a guitar rock band called “Wyld Stallyns”, the philosophy of which would very improbably become the foundation of a future utopia. In the two movies, the characters become romantically involved with two medieval princesses, are killed by evil robot versions of themselves, and travel backwards in time to meet, amongst others, Socrates, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Joan of Arc. This is accomplished with a combination of silliness and beguiling naivety. The movies were, at the time of initial distribution, simultaneously each an instant cult classic, as well as commercial successes. It is fair to say that the movies now generate nostalgia amongst those who grew up in the 1990s, and are impossibly incomprehensible to anyone born after that.

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Not Just Another Princess

Another Castle #1 (review)
Oni Press, March 2016
Writers: Andrew Wheeler
Review by Neil Raymundo, 8 March 2016

It seems appropriate that we are reviewing this title on International Women’s Day. At first blush, Oni Press’ “Another Castle” seems targeted exclusively towards children. The art style features Manga-esque large eyes, exaggerated facial expressions that bring to mind a healthy mix of classic Disney artwork and anime, and the panels use pastel colors liberally. Even the title hints that it was inspired by Japanese game company Nintendo’s retro video game “Super Mario Bros”. This game has in each of its “end levels” a notice telling the eponymous plumber that he must soldier on, because the princess he wants to save is in “another castle.”

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A tale most clearly from long ago

“Dejah Thoris” # 1 (review)
Dynamite Entertainment, December 2015
Writer: Frank J Barbiere
Review by DG Stewart, 24 February 2016

US comic book publisher Dynamite Entertainment have sensed the change in the demographics of comic book readership, and tried to refresh some of its licensed female character concepts by:

a. employing female writers, who are likely to write female characters as women rather than as objects of desire (and in turn, lending an air of respectability to the title – female writers are more likely to be identified by their full names in promotional copy so as to make it plain that a woman is writing the script); and

b. covering the bare skin and ample breasts of characters best known for titillation of a male readership. “Red Sonja” (Dynamite Comics), “Vampirilla ” (Dynamite Comics), “Wonder Woman” (DC Comics) and “Tomb Raider” (Dark Horse Comics) are titles each best known for displaying a manifest abundance of cleavage on their respective comic book covers. But in 2016 these characters feature a new modesty. DC Comics’ flagship character Wonder Woman now wears very modern-looking full body armour. Red Sonja’s small chainmail bikini top is gone and replaced by a chainmail shirt. Vampirilla’s notoriously skimpy red swimsuit is now replaced by a red Steampunk riding suit. Lara Croft, the character featured in “Tomb Raider”, now wears practical attire for exploring, instead of a low cut singlet.

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The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw (review)

The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw (review)
Writer: Kurt Busiek
(Image Comics, July 2015)

Talking animals as the protagonists for adventures for children have a long tradition. In the twentieth century, this manifested sometimes as the printed extension of cartoons (Disney’s Mickey Mouse, and the Looney Tunes characters of Warner Bros), or as serialized comic strips (Snoopy, Calvin and Hobbes) which have usually been read as collected works. Talking animals are an absurdity and accordingly the adventures of such characters tend to be comedic (thus, “comic” books).

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