Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Reads You Review: SCOOBY-DOO Team-Up #1


STORY: Sholly Fisch
ART: Dario Brizuela
COLORS: Heroic Age
LETTERS: Saida Temofonte
EDITOR: Kristy Quinn
COVER: Dario Brizuela
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (May 2014)

Rated “E” for “Everyone”

Batman created by Bob Kane (with Bill Finger)

That famous Saturday morning cartoon dog, Scooby-Doo, and his human companions:  Shaggy Rogers, Velma Dinkley, Daphne Blake, and Fred Jones, first appeared in the Saturday morning animated series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1971 from Hanna-Barbera).  This quintet is known as Mystery Inc. (or the “Mystery Inc. gang” or the “Scooby gang”).

The second Scooby-Doo animated series was The New Scooby-Doo Movies, which premiered on September 9, 1972 and ran for two seasons on CBS until 1974.  It was the first Scooby-Doo cartoon series that I ever saw, and it began my life-long love of Scooby-Doo and his pals.  It also began my life-long love affair with Batman and Robin.  The Dynamic Duo’s appearance on The New Scooby-Doo Movies marked the first time I ever saw them, and I was immediately fascinated by the mysterious Batman and his colorful young sidekick.  I can say that once I discovered that Batman was a comic book character, I became attached to DC Comics.

An hour-long series, The New Scooby-Doo Movies featured a rotating series of special guest stars.  Each episode guest-starred a real-life celebrity or well-known fictional character that joined the Mystery, Inc. gang in solving the mystery of the week.  Some celebrities were living at the time of an episode’s first airing (Don Knotts, Tim Conway, and Dick Van Dyke, to name a few).  Some were deceased or retired (The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy).  There were real-life celebrities who would become cartoon characters in other series (Harlem Globetrotters).  Some were stars of other Hanna-Barbera animated series (Josie and the Pussycats, Speedy Buggy).

I watched The New Scooby-Doo Movies every chance I got, even as an adult.  Now, DC Comics is producing Scooby-Doo Team-Up, a follow-up comic book series to The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and I have nothing but fanboy love for them for producing this new comic book.  After the comic book shops within driving distance of me sold out, I turned to Mile High Comics to find the first issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1 (“Man Bat and Robbin’”) teams Mystery Inc. with Batman and Robin to solve a mystery and to stop a crime.  Mystery Inc. is in an unknown city investigating reports of “a giant bat creature.”  The gang meets their old pals, Batman and Robin, who quickly inform them that the bat-creature is really tragic Batman adversary, Man-Bat.  But the group soon finds that their investigation is complicated by multiple “man-bats” (or “men-bats” as Shaggy calls them).

Over the years of reading articles, essays, reviews, etc. written about comic books, I have come to understand that some believe that in order for comic books to gain more new readers, especially those of elementary and middle school age, is to make comic books and graphic novels that are fun to read and are less engrossed with sometimes decades old plots, concepts, narratives, mythologies, etc.  Sometimes, it does seem as if the same few stories are being told over and over again.

On the other hand, DC Comics, for well over a decade, has been producing a line of children’s comics based on various Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network animated properties, like Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and Scooby-Doo Team-Up.  They’re good; they’re fun to read.  I really can’t remember reading one that I did not like.

And I absolutely love Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1.  I figured that a comic book that matched Scooby-Doo and Batman and Robin could not possible please me because I would expect too much.  Please, please me, I asked of Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1.  It did, and it is the fun comic book that some of us believe American comic books need in order to attract more new readers.

In this brief, 21-page story, writer Sholly Fisch manages to give each character his or her own moment to shine, and Fisch makes them seem familiar – the way we’d expect them to be.  Fisch also offers a clever exchange acknowledging one of Batman and Robin’s appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies.  There is even a nod to Burt Ward’s Robin, from the old 1960s Batman television series.

In addition to the smooth manner in which he turns Fisch’s story into a snappy Scooby-Doo comic, artist Dario Brizuela recalls the ghosts of Hanna-Barbera past.  Brizuela’s art and graphical storytelling puts truth to DC Comics’ declaration that Scooby-Doo Team-Up is a successor to The New Scooby-Doo Movies.  Brizuela makes this comic book look like its source.

If this review reads like a declaration that (1) I am a big fan of this first issue and (2) I will continue to read Scooby-Doo Team-Up, then, you, dear reader, have impeccable reading skills.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


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