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Author Topic: King Comics  (Read 324 times)

Offline BentonGrey

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King Comics
« on: June 07, 2015, 03:07:09 AM »
Is anyone reading the King characters mini-series?  I was pretty excited about them, so I ordered all five.  I've just started reading them (because I get my comics mailed to me only when enough accumulate), so this is just about the first issues.

Flash Gordon: This was a fair story, though the art was a bit rough at times.  I'm not crazy about the comedy duo that's writing it.  Flash is a bit too dim, his relationship with Dale is a bit too weird, and the humor is a bit too present.  That said, it wasn't bad, and it may improve as the series goes on.  It was a fun story, I suppose, but the series that spawned this book was so good, and Flash is such a favorite of mine, that I wasn't really thrilled with it in comparison.

Jungle Jim: This was a COLOSSAL disappointment.  I'm probably one of the only folks on Earth who would actually have looked forward to a comic about Jungle Jim, who hasn't been in the zeitgeist for decades, but I did.  I really loved the old radio show, and Jim and his cast of characters were all old favorites of mine.  I was really excited to see an updated version of Jim, without the troubling racist undertones (and occasionally overtones!) of a 1930s radio show set in Burma...yeah, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it was often still pretty rough by modern measures. :P  Anyway, imagine my disappointment when Jim, his supporting cast, and everything that made him HIM, was completely tossed out.  All they kept were names, and they set the whole thing on Mongo.  From the first page I could feel my heart falling as the realizations sunk in one after another.  I'm sure I'm the only person this means anything to (other than, perhaps, Daglob, if he were reading it), but it made me really sad, especially because this was, perhaps, the book I was most looking forward to out of the bunch, precisely because Jim WAS such a longshot.  To cap it all off, I'm a fan of the writer, Tobin, so the disappointment was magnified by increased anticipation on that front.  On its own merits, the story wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either.  The characters weren't particularly likeable, though the central conflict set up in the plot could have been good in another setting.  Ohh, and for some reason we got a gay rhino-man....who spends a page day-dreaming about his hawk-man boyfriend...riveting stuff.

The Phantom: To my great surprise, the stand-out hit of these books, for my money, is the The Phantom.  I didn't really expect much out of this one, though I like the Phantom relatively well.  Interestingly enough, this is not the usual Phantom, a descendant of Christopher Walker.  The classic Phantom died saving the world in the previous series, and longtime sidekick to Mandrake the Magician, Lothar, took on the mantle to carry on the legacy until he can find the rightful heir.  Take note modern comic writers and show makers, this is how you add diversity to a cast in an organic and enjoyable way.  You give a character a good ending, and you have a reason to make a change.  This is vastly better than just saying 'ohh, and the Phantom is black now.'  Instead, we've got an interesting take on the character and the basis for a lot of good stories.  This story, in particular, was fun and sets up a good dilemma for the series.  We've got an interesting villain, good action, and a nice update of the setting.  Overall, I was quite impressed.  This is the book I enjoyed the most out of the ones I've read so far.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: King Comics
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 10:41:26 PM »
Is anyone else reading these?  My summer is finally BEGINNING to calm down a bit, though I'm not sure if it will last, and I had a bit more time to delve into my massive backlog of comics.  I thought I would add my thoughts on the other books of this set (this is still just first issues):

Mandrake the Magician: I know a little about Mandrake, having listened to his radio show a bit (there aren't many episodes available, or weren't, last I looked), and I liked him reasonably well.  He's the quintessential pulp magician character, and that's a genre I haven't read nearly enough of, so I was quite willing to be impressed by this book.  The story opens with a flashback to "five years ago," and we see SOMETHING transpire.  The scene is silent, no dialog, and I was left pretty confused by what was going on and what I was supposed to know about it.  Bringing in my knowledge of Mandrake from the radio show, I at least recognized the players, but as to the plot, I was lost.  The actual meat of the issue focuses on Mandrake coming out of retirement to throw a fundraiser.  The original King's Watch mini-series left the Earth in pretty rough shape, and Mandrake wants to help out.  I like his motivations, as well as his perspective on the importance of art to humanity.  In general, I like the portrayal of the character, and there's plenty of implied backstory to explore.  We also learn a bit about why Mandrake retired.  It seems his abilities come at a price!  While the story is pretty engaging, setting up lots of interesting angles, the art leave a great deal to be desired.  At best, it is mediocre, cartoony rather than atmospheric, a real misstep for a book like this.  At worst, it is downright ugly.  There are several pages that make a good attempt at making the book visually interesting, but the execution is just so poor that it doesn't really work.  All-in-all, I'm definitely looking forward to the next issue, but I'm also wishing they had chosen a different artist.

Prince Valiant:  I'm actually probably less familiar with Prince Valiant, despite having had much easier access to his stories than Mandrake's.  I remember reading the little chunks of story in the Sunday funnies when I was a kid, but I was never able to actually follow them coherently or get a real sense for what was going on, but the beautiful art and daring-do was always one of my favorite things about the comics page!  This book isn't quite so pretty.  The art has that muddy, overly inked style that seems to be popular today (I'm looking at you, IDW), but it still does manage some pretty pages.  As seems to be the approach for several of these books, the story attempts to complicate the character, and the bold, heroic Prince Valiant of the funnies has become a wildly reckless, foolish, and arrogant braggart.  He isn't really all that likeable.  I'm imagining that the story will probably follow his evolution into a hero, but this first issue didn't exactly grab me.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 10:43:14 PM by BentonGrey »
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Offline daglob

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Re: King Comics
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 10:13:58 PM »
I'm interested; a friend who works at a comic shop and who is even older than me has suggested them.

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: King Comics
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2015, 12:26:42 AM »
Some of them are definitely worth it, DG. :)
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Offline dudalb

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Re: King Comics
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 07:10:45 PM »
Quote
Prince Valiant:  I'm actually probably less familiar with Prince Valiant, despite having had much easier access to his stories than Mandrake's.  I remember reading the little chunks of story in the Sunday funnies when I was a kid, but I was never able to actually follow them coherently or get a real sense for what was going on, but the beautiful art and daring-do was always one of my favorite things about the comics page!  This book isn't quite so pretty.  The art has that muddy, overly inked style that seems to be popular today (I'm looking at you, IDW), but it still does manage some pretty pages.

The artwork in the original 30's and 40's Prince Valient is just plain gorgeous;that of the current revival is bland.
King Features was always primarily a Newspaper Comics company with Comic Books as a secondary branch.