Everything ties up nicely for the finish. I’m still trying to determine how Langridge made this take on The Rocketeer. He’s turned Cliff into a young doofus, added Groucho Marx as the narrator and so on… yet it’s definitely the Rocketeer.
There’s a big action scene to resolve everything. It takes most of the issue and Langridge has to fill it out with some minor twists and turns. Some of his intimations are still too vague for me–though I think maybe Doc Savage makes an appearance.
Without being identified, of course.
The Bone art probably does hurt the comic’s commercial viability–the non-realistic comic strip influenced art doesn’t scream sales–but it’s impossible to imagine the series without it.
Langridge and Bone should be very proud. There are all sorts of great little details, but the overall result is outstanding too. It’s an excellent series, start to finish.
A Night at the Altar; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Oh, Langridge is just having too much fun now. He reveals the narrator–Groucho Marx. It’s a hilarious little detail; it doesn’t make any sense yet (how he’s omniscient but he’s Groucho so who cares). There also might a slight Return of the Jedi nod as far as Betty’s outfit goes.
It’s a slower issue than normal, as Cliff has to figure things out. He’s not racing after Betty with believable speed–Langridge writes the characters differently. Cliff is a bit of a dunce. Betty’s the smarter one, which makes her constant peril an interesting contradiction.
The hero is the damsel in distress.
Even the villain’s big reveal scene works beautifully. Langridge and Bone work beautifully together.
The film has a lot of the Golden Age Hollywood feel to it. That Hollywood setting permeates throughout; it’s one of Langridge’s finest achievements on the book. He never forcibly includes the details.
In the Soup; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
Langridge really embraces the Thin Man tie-in. It’s without names, instead of him doing thinly veined homages. It’s a nice touch, sending Betty off on her own adventure without Cliff.
Actually, Betty’s got the much bigger story. She’s the one who has figured out there’s some creepiness with the Scientologist Cthulhu fan–sorry, Cosmicist–while Cliff’s basically just running around dumb. He’s on the run from Howard Hughes’s guys, who want to bring the jet-pack in for a tune up.
There’s some more great work from Bone this issue. He’s got a lot of Rocketeer action, some great reaction shots between Cliff and Betty; that whole vibe, from cartoon broadness to comic strip focus, continues here, if not amplifies.
While Langridge does follow the general IDW Rocketeer continuity, Hollywood Horror never feels forcibly tied in. They’re creating their own thing; so far, better than anyone else has done.
These Troubled Times; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
In the past, I think I’ve referred to J. Bone as some kind of Darwyn Cooke wannabe. I take it back. I regret making those statements, though Hollywood Horror seems to be a breakthrough for him.
He mixes old animation styles with comic strips to wonderful success. Even though she’s cartoony, Betty’s anger is real (and, since it’s Betty, her figure voluptuous). Cliff might be a square-jawed hero, but he’s real too–panic, excitement, aggravation.
As for Roger Langridge’s script, it’s unsurprisingly divine. There’s humor, there’s a fantastic “dear reader” narrative device, there are cameos from Nick and Nora Charles. Langridge and Bone also throw in a Einstein stand-in and some Lovecraft.
It’s fast and fun, with some amusing Rocketeer heroics–which the creators use to subtly add in direct references to the subplots.
There’s a lot going on–too much to even identify the main plot yet.
The Rocketeer vs. the Hollywood Horror; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.
It’s a book length story. Langridge and artist Ken Wheaton do a great job of it too.
Langridge probably could have rushed the story, but by taking the whole issue, he lets Wheaton’s art breath a little. The word balloons aren’t packed full of text. Wheaton is able to give conversations reaction shots, for example.
The story concerns Popeye and company going to Hollywood to shoot a movie about Popeye’s life. Popeye’s the consultant… until he has to star too.
So Langridge has time for three acts, even though he opens the issue with a flash forward showing Popeye in the picture itself. One reads it just waiting for Popeye and company to take over the film production. It’s a nicely paced wait.
The issue also reads a little different because more of the cast seems self-aware. Not Popeye or Wimpy, but definitely Olive and Castor. Oh, and Bluto.
The Popeye the Sailor Story; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Ken Wheaton; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizzia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.
It’s a parenting issue.
There are two stories concerning Popeye’s parenting abilities.
The first is a babysitting adventure. Swee’Pea goes missing, ending up on the wrong side of town and joining a gang. Swee’Pea, it turns out, is really good at knocking the fleas off dogs. While Ozella does a fine job with the art, the story’s strength comes from Langridge’s concentration on making the tale make sense in the comic strip mentality. He never encourages–or lets–one think too hard about it. To do so would be to miss the point.
He also doesn’t have a lot of supporting cast cluttering. In the second story, he does. Popeye’s drawing Swee’Pea a comic strip and the supporting cast stops by to help. That usage works though–they aren’t cluttering, but literally helping.
It’s a deceptively complicated issue, especially the comic strip in the second story. Langridge and Ozella excel.
The Wrong Side of the Tracks; inker and letterer, Bruce Ozella. The Adventures of Pete and Patsy; inker, Vince Musacchia; letterers, Ozella and Musacchia. Writer, Roger Langridge; penciller, Ozella; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.
The Popeye feature suffers a little from lack of intelligent characters. For a second, I thought Castor Oyl would prove smart; he does not. Wimpy does show intelligence… and never gets recognized for it. But Langridge never loses track of him, which is sort of a reward. Langridge loses track of everyone at some point in the story.
It’s a very busy tale of a small (microscopic) kingdom Popeye and friends have to save. There’s lots of dialogue; Langridge wraps the exposition into the jokes beautifully. It’s well-written, it’s just a war story mixed with a detective story mixed with Popeye. It’s amazing Langridge is able to keep track of it at all.
The Sappo backup is a beautifully simple day at the beach. The jokes are universally strong, Langridge paces them all carefully, Neely’s artwork is lovely.
It’s a good comic, the backup’s just stronger than the feature.
Good Night, Blozo!; artist and letterer, Vince Musacchia; colorist, Luke McDonnell. Hero of the Beach; artist, colorist and letterer, Tom Neely. Writer, Roger Langridge; editor, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.
I guess Langridge gives Snarked a very grown-up ending. It fits with the fable tone he’s established, but it also got me all teary-eyed. It’s a philosophically rewarding finish, which isn’t the same thing as being an immediately pleasurable one.
Langridge covers a lot of territory. There’s a lot more character development than one would expect for a final issue–he has something like three big scenes between the major characters. He also has time for the humor. I never mentioned the Chipmunk, who’s on the ship’s crew and is something of a ninja. She doesn’t do anything this issue, but she’s a great sight gag.
As much as I hoped it would go a different way, Snarked is an outstanding comic. Langridge established three and a half wonderful characters and gave them a lovely outing. I’m going to miss Scarlett, the Walrus and Snarked quite a bit.
Fit the Twelfth: For the Snark was a Boojum, You See; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.
Langridge goes all out this issue in terms of obviousness. It’s okay though, he’s earned the right to be forward. He deals with the Walrus’s character and the Royal Family’s family issues bluntly. And he makes great scenes out of them.
In terms of the former, it’s not as blunt. There’s a great twist to reward the reader (and the Walrus). But the family stuff is blunt because it needs to be. Scarlett has to carry too much and the weight reaches its apex towards the end of the issue. The beauty of Snarked (and Langridge) is the issue isn’t over yet. There’s the funny, touching soft cliffhanger after the big blowout. It’s fantastic.
The issue reads reasonably fast; there are a lot of laughs to it and there’s a lot of action too.
Langridge does outstanding work, but I’m guessing the next (and final) issue will be even better.
Fit the Eleventh: Smiles and Soap; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.
Langridge comes up with some rather unexpected turns this issue. He opens it with a couple asides, first a reference to the occupy movement with the evil royalty back home, then the Gryphon running the pirate ship, before catching up with the main cast on Snark Island.
This issue isn’t as full as the last one, but Langridge still has some major events before the pirates arrive. I’m not spoiling, it’s on the cover.
There’s a lot of nice character work with the Walrus. Langridge’s intentions with him are so clear, the captain can even see them and comments on them. Snarked is warm and fuzzy a few times this issue. Always with some bite, but definitely warm and fuzzy.
Even though there’s a lot going on, Scarlett’s still the primary lead. Langridge rightly gives her time to discuss the family–and political–issues at hand.
It’s another great issue.
Fit the Tenth: Beware the Cyberwock!; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.
This issue is gloriously full. The cast arrives on Snark Island and Langridge sets them out exploring. But the captain has been to the island before, which leads to him remembering geographic features. Then there are the bickering lion and unicorn guards, then there’s the missing king….
It goes on and on, so much so the cliffhanger comes as a surprise. Langridge has already put his characters through two major challenges; one would expect him to let up a little.
There’s a lot of great character work in the issue too. McDunk magically becomes smart on the island, leading to some good dialogue exchanges, while the Walrus reveals more of his tenderness. And Scarlett has a big scene too.
Technically speaking, this issue is Langridge at his best. His storytelling skills–the way he paces the story, how he layers in the subtleties–are amazing. Snarked is a great comic.
Fit the Ninth: The Lion and The Unicorn; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.
Langridge brings the arc–it’s a journey arc, which is somewhat unexpected since there are so few navigation references in the issues–to a close.
Once again, Langridge focuses on the action of the issue. The evil Gryphon finds the heroes and sets loose a sea monster on the ship. And, once again, Langridge uses it as an opportunity to develop the Walrus as a character. There are little character bits throughout the issue, but the end clarifies–it’s all about the Walrus.
For that ending, Langridge unexpectedly promotes one of the supporting cast to more of a main role. Snarked has been relatively static in its primary cast; Langridge inserts the new character deftly. He had already established more of a role for him at the issue’s open, before moving back to the heroes.
As the story develops, Snarked just gets better. Langridge takes full advantage of its opportunities.
Fit the Eighth: The Frumious Bandersnatch; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.
I didn’t count but I don’t think the North Pole-South Pole romance in this issue took Langridge more than seven or eight panels. Spread throughout the issue, of course. But it’s a devastating little romance. It’s sweet, heartfelt and melancholic all at once. It’s quite lovely.
This issue our heroes find themselves trapped on an island with the last surviving dodos. Everyone manages to get him or herself in a bit of trouble–except the usually troublesome little prince, actually–and Langridge keeps them moving.
It all takes place–the island stuff, so not counting the first act–in a couple days. Langridge never focuses on the time, but Snarked never feels rushed or not rushed enough. It comes from Langridge concentrating on making each moment, even if it is building to another (or none at all), as pleasing as possible.
It’s a great way to approach comic storytelling.
Fit the Seventh: Beautiful Soup; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.
Langridge presents the heroes with a single challenge–a single one they know about, Langridge opens the issue with the Gryphon’s plotting–and, over the course of the issue, creates a second one for them.
He creates it subtly, but on the page, during a big action sequence. This issue introduces a pirate ship, crewed by familiar characters from Alice in Wonderland. Langridge gives them a lot of funny dialogue, making up for his regular cast being too busy in the action scene to have a proper conversation.
It’s a rather good issue; the two crews give Langridge a lot of variety to draw and a lot of personalities to write. He excels at both. He even introduces new characters later on–crews are big, after all–and they come into the issue seamlessly.
It’s one of the better all-action issues I’ve read. Langridge knows how to do it.
Fit the Sixth: Yo Ho Ho and a Nice Cup of Tea; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.