Let’s start with a non-comics story from my youth. I was scolded
by Bozo the Clown. Though Sts. Phillip and James Church, which was
also where I attended elementary school, I was a member of the Cub
Scouts. Just about every kid my age did so because it was thought
to be a good thing for helping us grow up into fine young Catholic
men. The actuality was that the good kids were the good kids and
the bad kids - though never as bad as those public school kids who
were certainly going to burn in Hell - were still the bad kids. I
was generally considered a good kid.
Bozo the Clown was something of a TV franchise in those days with
many cities having their own version. Our troop went to a taping
of the Cleveland edition. One of the activities was a contest to
see which scout could blow up a balloon to bursting the quickest.
The prize was forgettable. Or, at least, I forgot about it within
hours of the contest.
There’s always going to be the kids who cheat even when there’s no
good reason for it. In this case, some of those bad kids I talked
about above were blowing up their balloons and then squeezing them
between their knees to pop them. Sharp-eyed Bozo caught them in the
act and had the taping stopped.
Bozo then proceeded to scold us Catholic boys, good and bad alike,
for cheating in this solemn contest. I wasn’t one of the cheaters,
but I was really embarrassed for my troop, my school, and my church.
I feared Bozo would have us tossed out of the scouts.
An, the innocence of youth. There were far worse scandals going on
in our churches and schools, but I would not learn of them for many
years. At that time, I couldn’t imagine too many things worse than
to be chastised by Bozo the Clown. When the episode aired, I saw
that the contest had been cut from the show.
I graduated from the Cub Scouts to the Boy Scouts and was excited
about that. The Boy Scouts held their meetings in that strange old
house at the end of the school parking lot. But I lost interest in
the Boy Scouts when I realized the bad kids were not just still in
the scouts, they were the big shots of the troop. Decades later,
my son Eddie would likewise lose interest in the Boy Scouts for the
same reason. From my youth to his, from Cleveland to Medina, some
things never seem to change. More the pity.
Recommended manga: Bakuman [Viz Media; $9.99 per volume]; story by
Tsugumi Ohba, art by Takeshi Obata. If those names look familiar,
these two talents are also the creators of Death Note.
I’ve reviewed Bakuman previously, but six volumes in, this tale of
two young men determined to become manga legends is as thrilling as
ever. In the latest volume, having achieved their goal of landing
a series in Shonen Jump, the team faces personal and professional
problems that could put an end to their dream.
Bakuman is compelling reading that offers a fascinating look at the
Japanese comics industry. I urge you to give it a try.
The Best of Archie’s Weird Mysteries [Archie; $9.95] reprints five
issues of the 2000-2001 comic book based on the animated cartoon of
the same name. Written by Paul Castiglia with art by Fernando Ruiz
(pencils) and Rick Koslowski (inks), the stories are good fun for
readers of all ages. However, the gem of the trade paperback is “A
Familiar Old Haunt,” a clever and very funny send-up of Scooby-Doo.
The volume also includes bonus features like a “Guide to Fighting
Vampires” and a cool interview with Castiglia and Ruiz. Definitely
a good buy for your ten bucks.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2011 Tony Isabella