Tuesday, May 10, 2011

31 Days of Comics #10

Sergio Aragones Destroys DC
by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Sergio Aragones is the God of snappy cartooning, and his work is always profoundly entertaining. In 1996, he did two comics for Marvel and DC where he went in there and messed around with these highly lucrative franchises, bringing his weird humour and that groovy doodling to all these self-important characters.

There is little difference in the quality between the two comics, but the DC one is strangely more satisfying. Ever since the days of Not Brand Echh, Marvel has been taking the piss out of its characters, and there have been plenty sine, including the occasionally entertaining What The-!? and that Fred Hembeck book where he killed off the entire Marvel super canon.

But DC is different, and while there have been plenty of spoofs and satires featuring the DC characters, few of them have actually been published by their own company. After all, the best of these joke comics are undoubtedly the Superman and Batman spoofs that ran in the early days of Mad magazine.

Sergio Aragones Destroys DC sees the man himself try to change his style, and with the reluctant aid of the ever-dependable Mark Evanier, he does super-heroes the way he sees them.

The results are almost exactly what you’d expect: Superman is a raging buffoon, Batman is a dim-witted detective and Wonder Woman is gleefully sexist. The only thing that really dates it is the appearance of the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes, and there is no real plot, as Sergio keeps telling us, with the final appearance of a grim n’ gritty Johnny DC a mere formality.

But the jokes are still funny. And this is why Sergio is a god - it’s not just that he perfected his line at a ridiculous young age and had a long and mind-bogglingly productive career over decades - his humour is universal, and he dumps massive amounts of it into his comics. There are a good half dozen jokes on every page, a few goofy expressions and some terrifically wonky body language. This is what makes Aragones comics always worth buying.

And there is often just one joke that hits all the right buttons, somewhere in this beautiful avalanche of jokes. In this comic, it's this one - Superman rushes off to save the day, and a kindly old couple on the apartment balcony calmly watch him go:

“Kent’s flying around again, Agnes.”

I was reading this on the bus last night and that bit made me laugh out loud again. God bless Sergio Aragones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think most of the jokes, including the one for which you want God to bless Sergio Aragones, were jokes written by Mark Evanier.