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‘Sham Comics Vol. 2 # 1’ (review)

Scripted by Tim Fuller
Art by Bob Powell, Wayne Reid,
Doug Wildey, Jack Kirby, Jay Gee
Published by Source Point Press

 

Sham Comics Vol. 2 # 1 is a nice-looking package but it just didn’t work for me. Apparently there was an earlier series but I’d be willing to bet it didn’t work, either. This kind of thing—taking old comic book stories and rewriting them with silly dialogue—never really does.

It’s been done before, of course, in various places, perhaps most prominently in Marvel’s Crazy back in the 1980s.

The problem is that while many of the old comic book stories can be genuinely hilarious when read the way they were originally written, the attempts at crude modern humor and adult language are just too out of place to be actually funny.

Many stories can be MST3K’d, mind you! (Is MST3K a verb?) When my son was little, I’d read him Jerry Siegel’s over-the-top tales of Archie’s Mighty Crusaders and friends, or Myron Foss’s Captain Marvel, or even the is-it-crazy-or-is-it-brilliant Herbie! But to just take and completely rewrite a once-serious story takes a particular skill. Even Proctor and Bergman had to edit segments from different serials together to end up with the great movie, J-Men Forever.

Sham Comics offers up public domain stories beautifully drawn by Jack Kirby, Bob Powell, John Giunta, and Doug Wildey, from 1940s and ‘50s comics published by Quality, Harvey, and Avon.

As near as I can tell, none of the art has been touched or rearranged. Likewise, none of the dialogue is the original, replaced by silly toilet humor that might have been amusing when I was 10 but probably wouldn’t be to today’s 10-year-olds, who probably won’t be reading this anyway.

What I did find amusing were some fake ads for the likes of X-Rated Specs, Right-Wing T-Shirts for ex-hippies, and particularly a jarring full-page jab at Mickey Mantle, who was a baseball hero back when the real versions of these stories were being published.

As I said in the beginning, Sham Comics is a nice-looking package, but that doesn’t make it funny.

 

 

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