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Scooby-Doo #38

Posted: Monday, July 17
By: Ray Tate
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"Curse of the Jungle Tomb"

"Techno? Heck No!"

Writer: John Rozum, Bob Fingerman
Artists: Joe Staton(p), Dave Hunt(i), Bill Wray(i), Paul Becton(c)
Publisher: DC

Plot: In the first story a Mayan Temple is seemingly haunted by a Jaguar spirit. In the second story, a Luddite ghost seems to strike.

John Rozum once again treats readers to a fairplay mystery where everything has a logical explanation. It's funny how in that respect Scooby-Doo is more realistic than any other book on the rack. Every ghost Mystery Incorporated has investigated turns out to be a human in a mask. It's not a formula. It's taking the detective genre into the cartoon realm without losing the very essence that distinguishes the field from its cousins, horror fiction and science fiction. In a way, Scooby-Doo, when compared to Batman, shares more in common with Sherlock Holmes.

Mr. Rozum fortifies his tale with some interesting facts known about Mayan temples. His transposition of a well known monkey habitat to that of the jaguar further strengthens the foundation of his story, and the interesting motive shows just how easily a smart writer can find flexibility in the old "I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids." Finding Professor Quatermass in an unusual habitat is incidentally is a very nice touch and a novel way to pay tribute to the classic character.

The artwork by Joe Staton is simply awesome. He draws jaguars and architecture with equal aplomb. He evokes a mood with curling shadows and contrasts it with an opening sight gag involving hot peppers and Scooby's astounding appetite. What's more, and this is by no means a minor point, Daphne wears a bikini. Please note however that Daphne's beauty is in her proportion and grace not solely in the amount of comic book flesh exposed.

Bob Fingerman in the next story creates humorous misfortunes through the stretching out of the Mystery Machine's slow death, and he also injects originality in the story by making Freddie the usually competent, grounded and happy detective the unwitting dupe. The attack on Bill Gates though certainly obvious none the less captures a weasel-like dependence on theft that rings true, and Mr. Fingerman doesn't make the mistake in over-stating the Luddites' effects on the industrial revolution.

Joe Staton once again handles the artistry. Notice how Velma's cousin while bearing a resemblance to Velma does not become Velma. Velma though a plain looking young lady when compared to the delectable Daphne, still bears a feminine poise. It would have been very easy for the artist to simply copy Velma and turn her into a man for the visual characterization of the cousin or disguise less accomplished artwork by changing Velma's visual characterization to make the cousin look different.


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