June 19, 2009

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What Were They Thinking?!

Re-Written by Keith Giffen, Mike Leib, Kevin Church, Chris Ward, Joe Casey, Johanna Stokes, Andrew Cosby, and John Rogers
Illustrated by Various, including Wally Wood, Steve Ditko, and a lot of guys who probably were better served being anonymous
Boom! Studios

Remember the gag on Whose Line Is It Anyway when they'd pick a scene from an old movie and re-"write" the dialog? Well, picture that in comic book form, and you have this collection, with the primary ringleader being the man that co-wrote the "Bwa-ha-ha" years of the Justice League, Keith Gifffen.

The fare is what I can only assume are public domain comics, the lead of which is by poor Wally Wood, who at least is dead and can't see them making fun of him. (The same can't be said for Steve Ditko, whose story here gets turned into a set of bestiality and anal sex jokes.)

There's a lot of funny stuff in here--a "rescue" mission goes awry, an island people try to avoid an American JI's best attempts at "help," and one story really gets in the digs at George Lucas. That's always a grand time! But the best work, to me, was Church's take on Cowboy comics, noting their ludacrous plots and making in-jokes about how the characters are portrayed. I think I laughed longest at his parts, which surprised me because I'm usually a big Giffen fan.

However, overall I wasn't quite as into this as I'd expected to be. One bite on the "hey, I bet if we make 1940s characters act gay it'll be a riot" apple is funny. Two bites is okay, and by the time we're at three or four, I'm kinda ready to pass. Taking piece by piece, the jokes are pretty funny, if often not my style. But after about the 10th scatological joke, I'm with the character who holds his head to his hands and says, "Stop it! No more! No more lame metro-sexual humor. I can't stand it!"

If you like Adam-Sandler or American Pie-level humour (I can only take it in small doses), you'll think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, however. As with all comedy, it's a very personal thing.

I did appreciate the names of the "artist" when they didn't know--that was also a clever touch. In a classy behind the scenes moment, we get to see how they created the comics, and also the source material for the Wally Wood sections. Boom's production of this was quite classy, even if some (okay, most) of the jokes weren't

I think this is the type of material best read a bit at a time, and sadly, having it out from the library kinda rushed the job a bit (see my upcoming thoughts on a similar Marvel project). If you see it, though, definitely give it a look. If you're more of a "poopy" joke fan and less of a Groucho Marx type, I think you'll definitely love it, and even the latter folks will find parts of this laugh out loud funny.