Posted: Sunday, April 16
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Writers: Bob Fingerman/Joe Edkin
Artists: Joe Staton(p)/Eric Doescher(p),Andrew Pepoy(i)
Two bucks, full color, twenty-four pages that have the look and feel of a comic book, Scooby-Doo happens to be better than most of the contenders on my list. I know what you're saying. Scooby-Doo has a much more easier task than other books. It's a title that doesn't need to concern itself with continuity, characterization and plot. It's a funny book. You cannot be more wrong.
The plots to both mysteries--one by Joe Edkin and another by Bob Fingerman are quite clever. My initial hypothesis regarding Mr. Fingerman's story proved to be incorrect, and the internal plausibility of the solution lent credence to the plot. My next deduction regarding the second short also fell far from hitting its mark. The writers take advantage of the cartoon genre's reputation, and in turn, the reader seriously underestimates just how complex the gang's adventures can be.
Each of the authors have models for their characters, but it is very easy for lazy hacks to write what they please and rely upon the artist's abilities to capture the appearance of the actors. Mr. Edkin and Mr. Fingerman do not allow the picture to solely tell the story. Mr. Fingerman draws on the black holes in Shag's and Scoob's stomachs to not only generate quips from the rest of the Mystery Machine but also to provide motivation for the plot.
Mr. Edkin for his story uses Shag's and Scoob's cowardice to backfire them into a tradition of the cartoon and to make sly commentary on some of the subtext regarding the gang's relationships.
The writers also pay attention to continuity. The gang have a reputation, but when they come into contact with somebody who is unfamiliar with that rep, they in a refreshing display show no ego. Rather they charm their way into helping people who deserve their care. In the second mystery, the gang fail to live up to their reputation, and it's nice a extra twist against the formula.
Joe Staton is never off model for this issue, and his work goes beyond the limited animation of Hanna Barbera. The body language is portrayed more convincingly. I like how on page four Velma leans casually on the countertop, Daphne tapping her lips on page five, and Fred's burst of enthusiasm on page eleven.
Eric Doescher creates a different but still valid look for the gang, and his work particularly stands out when Daphne shoots Shag and Scoob a dirty look and when a boy and his dog do a Doctor on pages five b. and six b. Mr. Doescher also succeeds in endangering two of the Mystery Machine, and that's quite a feat considering they really cannot "die." Never the less, the scale of that cliff sends down a chill.
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