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Tag Archives: daily comics

The Saturday Comics: The Phantom Gets Good!

29 Dec

December 29, 2017

Let’s end the year by checking back in on one of the classics. It is the Phantom, a comic character from the Golden Age created by Lee Falk. He’s “The Ghost Who Walks,” but basically just a guy in a suit who fights crime. He’s the latest in a family line of crime-fighters to use that name. When we last checked in back in 2011, there was literally nothing going on. For an entire week nothing happened. And I mean that exactly as it sounds. Let’s go back and see, then we’ll check in with the strip today and see what’s up.

UPDATED from April 16, 2011DAY ONE:

OK, I get it. I came in at the end of an adventure. It looks like a happy ending. It is actually a good thing I came in now so I can enjoy the start of a whole new story tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

DAY TWO:

Well, that’s nice. Sort of the same thing as yesterday though. And it seems a bit of a waste, story-wise, to do it in one big splash but I guess it gets the emotion across. OK, let’s see where this goes tomorrow.

DAY THREE:

What the? What’s the point of this? Is the next arc about haircuts? If this were a play I could almost hear the stage manager hissing “vamp!” while the star desperately searches for her line. This is ridiculous, the big splash yesterday should have ended the arc. I’m getting a bit tired of this, hopefully things will move ahead tomorrow.

DAY FOUR:

Um, Ok. More wasting time. Maybe they haven’t hammered out the next script yet and just tossed this in? I can’t figure out a purpose to this strip, unless it is to reinforce their dedication to fighting evil? This isn’t much of a superhero strip, it is more like a bad show on the religious station with Kirk Cameron. I’m not hopeful for tomorrow.

DAY FIVE:

Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere.

DAY SIX:Huh? Where’s The Phantom? And isn’t that the guy who was supposed to be in jail? Who are these people? I sat through almost a week for this? That strip could have been told in three panels. And re-read the second panel. “Colonel Weeks met the unknown commander.” “Worubu doubts it.” There is a verb tense problem there, and I’m usually not that picky outside of a grammar blog but that is really annoying to read. I really hope The Phantom picks up but I’m losing hope.

DAY SEVEN:

UGH! Back to that? It’s like the Sunday strip exists in a different timeline, and maybe it might. Many strips do a separate storyline on Sundays because some papers only run the Sunday strips. So I can follow the annoying story on Sunday, or follow the slow and boring story during the week, or maybe wait and see if indeed that Sunday strip is part of the same story as the weekly though it doesn’t seem to be.

DAY EIGHT:

To Hell with The Phantom. Popeye never fails. I got more out of that strip than an entire week of The Phantom. And why not? It looks like they are running a classic Sagendorf strip.

That Phantom run may have been the worst week of a comic strip that I have ever read, and that’s coming from someone who read comics written and drawn by Rob Liefeld so you know I’ve read some bad comics. The artist of this strip, Paul Ryan, was the artist on one of my favorite runs of the Fantastic Four so this hurts all the more.

DECEMBER 2017 UPDATE!

Here are the current strips from Monday December 25 to Thursday, December 28: 

Whoa, what happened? First, you might notice a change in the art. Comic book veteran Mike Manley (another favorite artist, and cool name- “Manley”-) has taken over from Paul Ryan, who died in 2016. The strip looks great. I have to give credit to the colorist too. The explosion on day two really pops. But most notably,  the writing is top notch. It zips along! There’s action! I want to know what happens next. And look at the bad guy. Despite not knowing what the plot of the story is, I feel I know all I need to know about him at this point. As a new reader I’m already drawn into the action and fairly knowledgeable about the characters. Did they change the writer, you may be wondering? Nope, it is still Tony DePaul. So maybe the 2011 run was an aberration? Or maybe he simply improved. Either way, this week’s strip is a winner. I deliberately left out the Friday strip. And that’s today (as of the date of this posts publication) so go over to comicskingdom.com and see where this story is headed. I know I will!  

 

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The Saturday Comics: Mandrake The Magician (2012)

16 Jun

June 16th, 2012

We continue our look at past Saturday Comics features to see what they are up to now. The last time we checked in with Mandrake the Magician, I was a fan of the strip, including the art. This is what I wrote on March 26th, 2011, in the second ever Saturday Comics:

This is a classic strip that does everything right. The art is great- look at the coloring. Notice how Mandrake stands out? And the rest of the coloring works perfectly with the subject matter. The illustration is top-notch. The strip is atmospheric and moody and genuinely creepy. Even the lettering gives you an old-school vibe. That is no small feat to accomplish each day in three or four panels. And the writing? This was the first time I’ve seen Mandrake in years and it was easily accessible but got me right into the story.

It is a zippy little story that keeps the essential elements of Mandrake but successfully moved it into the modern era. Here is a week’s worth of Mandrake the Magician. Enjoy!

So what has happened in the fifteen months since? Let’s take a look at a recent run of strips.

Last year, my praise of the art brought a quick and passionate argument from the readers, especially Mac, who totally disagreed with me and violently hated it. And now, over a year, later, I agree with im. That art is pretty bad. It is the same artist and he is using the same color palate and effects but this run seems more rushed and less skilled. It really looks sketchy.

And the story? It doesn’t move. I’ve been through this before with other serials, but this is glacially slow. Remember you are seeing this all at once, but this actually unfolded over the course of six days, with a day out for an unrelated Sunday strip.  

The best Mandrake can do is a hippo illusion? This strip does not do comedy well. If Mandrake is such a great magician and illusionist I am sure he could get the information out of them some other way.

So the verdict on Mandrake one year later? This strip has gone downhill, both in terms of art and story. 

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