Friday, August 23, 2013

Comic Reviews 8/23/13

Here In Bongo Congo

     It's time for more summertime comic book reading recommendations, so let's get right to four new issue comic books that Good King Leonardo has checked-out for your end-of-the-summer-season comic book reading consideration:
Archie #645

Publisher: Archie Comic Publications, Inc.

Various Writers & Artists

     It isn't truly summertime unless I've reviewed at least one summer-themed Archie comic book, so this week I'm reviewing Archie #645, sub-titled on the front cover as "Archie's Ultimate Guide To Summer Fun!"  The giant-sized summer spectacular features three full-length tales; the first story is scripted by Tom Defalco with pencils by Rex Lindsey and inks by Rich Koslowski, while the second and third tales are scripted, penciled and colored by Dan Parent with inks by Rick Koslowski.

     The kick-off story is entitled "Summer Daze" and charts the misadventures of Archie on the first day of school break summer vacation.  Its a light slapstick tale in which from morning to dusk, any harmless summertime activity that Archie tries (waterskiing, carnival fun, a dance, etc.) ends with disastrous pratfall results for Archie.  The story concludes with a funny strategy that Archie adopts to try and get through the rest of the summer harm-free.  "Catch The Wave" is the brief, 5-page second tale and is a cute commentary on the pros and cons of video gaming, as Betty, Veronica and Veronica's parents, Mr. & Mrs. Lodge, become obsessed with playing a wi-style interactive surfing game on the Lodge's television.  "Surf's Up" is the third story with an actual real-world surfing plot, as Betty teaches Veronica how to actually surf so she might get hired for a reality-television series starring a hunky professional surfer.

      With every Archie comic book that I periodically check-out, it never ceases to amaze me how this old-school series maintains its relevance, stellar production quality and overall high level of reading entertainment.  The current issue delivers in that way on four counts.  First, the three story plots are balanced with a variety of themes.  The first tale delivers light-hearted Archie-as-endearing-goofball slapstick, the second provides social commentary on the potential obsessiveness of video gaming and the third delivers a meaningful and heartwarming life lesson on female empowerment and girl power.  Secondly, the production is very solid, delivering the familiar and consistent Archie Comics visual style among the various art teams along with a nice balance of appearances by the Archie storyverse support characters, including Jughead, Reggie, Midge, Moose and Principal Weatherbee.  Third, this seemingly old-fashioned comic book is anything but outdated, as each story is chock-full of effective references to modern technology and current-day pop culture.

     Fourth but hardly least, unlike any other current comic book series, the Archie Comics publishers stuff this comic with so many promos, sneak peaks and interesting samples of other Archie titles and series that its essentially as much an Archie Publications catalog as it is a stand-alone comic book.  And that's just as much fun as reading the three stories.  Among this particular issue's promo stand-outs that caught my eye are a set of three 400-page jumbo-sized "Best Of Archie" compilations for only $7.49 each, a beautiful, high-end "The Art Of Betty And Veronica" coffee table book and an "Everything's Archie" promo page that lists enough variety of Archie publications and products to last a year, at least.

     In sum, while we all started-out reading Archie Comics as kids, issue #645 proves once again that the world of Archie continues to be relevant to modern-day reading sensibilities, as well as a very entertaining comic book for readers of all ages.  So get-on over to That's Entertainment and check-out issue #645 as well as the rest of the store's wide range of Archie Comics inventory!

Six-Gun Gorilla #1 & #2

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Simon Spurrier: Creator & Writer

Jeff Stokely: Art

Andre May: Colors

     Boom! Studios has so far published the first two issues of a new six-issue comic book mini-series entitled "Six-Gun Gorilla."  While I initially read issue #2 first, I decided to also backtrack and read the premier issue and thus provide a more informative combined review for both issues combined.  The new title is the creation of writer Simon Spurrier, with art by Jeff Stokely and colors by Andre May.

     The series is a science fiction storyverse centering on the well-known plot theme of reality television run amok.  In a nutshell, the Bluetech Corporation ships suicidal volunteers off to the planet Blister, where they're filmed for reality t.v. viewers back home to view while they serve as very expendable cannon fodder in a corporate war against the Wild West-style Earth settlers of the planet, who crave independence from Earth.  Corporate hell breaks loose when a volunteer simply known as Blue is asked by a dying army general to return a watch to his wife back home.  Without being a detail spoiler, issue #1 climaxes with Blue handily rescued from the developing corporate intrigue shenanigans by the title's six-gun wielding talking gorilla, who is the result of a corporate biotech research project run amok.  Issue #2 finds our duo on the run from the corporate bad guys.  A good portion of this issue details the pair getting to know the unique and eccentric inhabitants of a small frontier town on Blister.  This issue ends in a very dramatic bridge to next month's issue #3, as Gorilla and Blue face overwhelming odds against a huge army force arriving in town looking for their respective heads.

     This very unique science fiction comic series reminds me more than anything of the many fresh and creative animation series that MTV pumped-out on a regular schedule back in the 1980's.  Like those shows, the plotline is a mish-mash of varied and disconnected plot themes, which in this instance include the wild west, interstellar warfare, corporate intrigue and reality television.  Yet in the hands of the very capable creative team, this seemingly random stew blends into a well-balanced and delicious meal of an entertainment.  There's some intriguing soap opera-style relationship drama among the players, as well as a lot of small tidbits about the dangers of the weird planet Blister, both from within the planet's oddball eco-system and imported to the battlefield by the warring human parties, enough to intrigue both the science fiction faithful and newcomers, alike.  The storyline also has a calm, measured pace to it that's rare to see in a six-issue limited series; in fact, the title's six-gun gorilla doesn't even make an appearance until the very last page of issue #1.  That's one bold and gutsy move that reflects the amount of story-telling confidence that the creative team has in its strong new series.

     I can't finish this review without a shout-out for the unique artistic style of this comic book.  The jagged, sharp-edged penciling and selected color palette deliver the perfect atmosphere of a dry, dusty alien planet run overrun with foolish Earthlings who bring their particular brand of meaningless violence and idiocy to this barren new world.  So a definite thumbs-up positive review recommendation for all good readers who are fans of science fiction, corporate intrigue and/or gorilla tales to check-out this very original new comic book series!

Revival #12

Publisher: Image Comics

Tim Seeley: Writer

Mike Norton & Art Baltazar: Art

Mark Englert: Colors

     Image Comics is up to issue #12 of a supernatural-themed comic book entitled Revival, sub-titled "A Rural Noir."  An inside-the-front-cover narrative summarizes the previous plot development: in the rural area around Wausau, Wisconsin, for one day the recent dead came back to life as non-zombie, living people and have resumed their previous lives.  The main character is police officer Dana Cypress, who is dealing with a multitude of soap opera-style issues resulting from the ensuing turmoil and basic weirdness.  The series is written by Tim Seeley with art by Mike Norton and Art Balazar, and colors by Mark Englert.

     Issue #12 advances the storyline by alternating between nine scenes populated by Dana and the story's additional characters.  There's Martha, Dana's sister who struggles with the knowledge of herself being one of the "Revivers." Other significant scenes address Dana dealing with her son's trauma of witnessing his aunt as both a Reviver and as his protector from a violent crime, a sub-plot about body part smugglers, plothreads featuring respective child and elderly Revivers and a murder-mystery storyline.  Issue #12 ends on a scene in which the extent of Dana's son's trauma is further revealed.

     In all of my many baby boomer years of comic book reading, I have never loved a comic title concept so much while simulataeously being so disappointed with its story quality.  I'm head-over-heels with the idea of this mysterious one-day rising of the dead, with the folks affected just resuming their old lives.  No zombies here, just regular folks who died recently, revived and went back to their lives with various degrees of puzzlement.  There's some great potential here for fine storytelling.

     The pitfall here is that writer Tim Seeley doesn't provide that fine storytelling.  Issue #12 is incredibly disjointed and jumbled; instead of the standard three-scene comic book story segment, we mistreated to the aforementioned nine quickie scenes which never allow the plot to hit a satisfying pace of story progression.  We're jerked in-and-out of too many scenes with too many characters and disconnected issues shmushed-together, thereby never establishing an enjoyable and entertaining storytelling atmosphere.  I still don't understand quite a bit of the story situation for some of these characters, given the jarring jump-around that we're forced to endure in this story lay-out.

     I thought about my reaction to this issue for a day after I read it, hoping that I'd be able to come around and recommend this really neat story premise.  But my gut tells me to be faithful to my initial reaction, and the "inner fanboy" deep down inside tells me to unfortunately praise the concept but recommend a negative thumbs-down pass for this well-meaning but seriously flawed and uncomfortable portrayal of this supernatural storyverse.  Here's hoping that the creative team gets its act together and can evolve this series into a better format, but until that day might come, for now I recommend looking to other comic books at That's Entertainment for your fix of an X-Files style of dark mystery spookiness.

Quantum And Woody #1

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

James Asmus: Writer

Tom Fowler: Art

    As many readers know, Valiant Entertainment has been releasing over the past few years re-imagined versions of its 1990's stable of story characters.  The latest Valiant characters to emerge from retirement are the superteam of Quantum and Woody.  In the original series run, the duo were friends, while in the revised new series the pair are brothers, with Eric's (Quantum's) parents having adopted Woody when the pair were teenagers.  While the first two issues are on the new issues shelves, I decided to review issue #1 to get a feel for the new title's direction from the very start.  The new series is scripted by James Asmus with art by Tom Fowler.

     Issue #1 kicks-off a multi-issue revised origin story entitled "World's Worst."  Via alternating flashback scenes, we learn of the duo's family origins in their teen years.  Flash- forward to the present and the pair's scientist father is mysteriously murdered, bringing the now-estranged Eric and Woody together to investigate the murder mystery.  The trail of clues leads back to their Dad's research facility and the issue ends in a dramatic bridge to issue #2, as the duo accidentally trigger one of their Dad's energy research experiments, which clearly embues them with superpowers that will lead to Eric adopting the Quantum superhero persona in issue #2.

     I enjoyed this revision of the 1990's superduo for a few reasons.  First, James Asmus's script is extremely polished and of high quality, mixing the drama and humor in equal balance.  There's a lot of first-class and entertaining dialogue throughout this issue in which the pair wade their way through situations that are both serious and funny in equal portions.  Asmus also hits a homerun in structuring the personal dynamic between the pair, who clearly have a loving brotherly bond but are struggling with both past and present family dynamic issues.  Third, I liked the fresh spin of an African-American family (Eric's parents) adopting a troubled white street teen.  Its a nice break from the stereotypical and over-done pop culture template of the white family "rescuing" a minority kid from the streets.  Finally, the particular visual style of artist Tom Fowler is very appropriate and pleasing for this 1990's-style fictional storyverse brought back to life here in 2013.

     That last critical point was a key for me liking this comic book; it's nice to see a comic series that represented the best of the 1990's-era comics come back to life and again be an entertaining success, as a balance to so much of the modern-day dark-themed, lesser-quality new stuff floating out in the publishing world.  It proves that many older storyverses can have relevance for today's generation of readers and can continue to succeed in providing high quality entertainment for modern-day readers.

     So a definite and enthusiastic thumbs-up positive review recommendation for readers young-and-old-alike to check-out the return of Valiant Entertainment's Quantum And Woody, with both issues #1 and #2 currently available on the new issues shelves at That's Entertainment!

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

     Our latest contest took us back to the early days of television (that's the device that people used to watch before they had I-Phones).  Your challenge was to name the very first nationally televised children's show back in the pioneering days of t.v.  We had a few incorrect answers that made logical sense and came close (i.e., Captain Kangaroo and Kukla, Fran & Ollie).  And our contest winner with the correct answer is (drumroll, please...) Mike Dooley, who correctly identified the old Howdy Doody Show as that first national kids show that ran from 1947 to 1960.  Ironically, while some folks submitted Captain Kangaroo as their answer, the good Captain himself, Bob Keeshan, first played the original Clarabell The Clown on Howdy Doody before making his own debut as Captain Kangaroo in 1955.  Congratulations to Mike, who wins our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Challenge!!!

     We're in the dog days of summer, which means that we're also in the thick of the Major League Baseball (MLB) pennant races.  Which inspired our Bongo Congo panel of contest judges to challenge you with a baseball trivia question.  Only one player in the history of the game has completed the rare feat of winning the annual Most Valuable Player Award in both the National and American Leagues.  So your challenge is to e-mail us at no later than Wednesday, September 4 and correctly identify that player who won the award in both leagues.  As always, in the event of multiple correct entries, the winner of the first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment will be selected via a roll of the dice.  Please note that our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment is redeemable for regular retail merchandise or in-store, on-going specials, only.

     That's all for now, so have two great Red Sox watching (stay in first place, Red Sox!) and comic book reading weeks and see you again on Friday, September 6 Here In Bongo Congo!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Comic Reviews 8/2/13

Here In Bongo Congo

     Its Eclectic Week here again in Bongo Congo and as such, Good King Leonardo has decreed that we review comics this week that span a wide range of varied subjects and themes.  So let's get right to it and see how this variety-pack of titles stack-up against each other:

Red Sonja #1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Gail Simone & Walter Geovani: Writers
Adriano Lucas: Colors

     The heavily-marketed debut in Dynamite Entertainment's Red Sonja title of A-list writer Gail Simone kicked-off last week with issue #1 of a new Red Sonja title run.  While the credits also list Walter Geovani as the issue's writer, I suspect its a typo and Geovani is the artist, while Adriano Lucas provides the issue's colors.

     The untitled premier story segment provides two sub-plots.  The first storythread is a brief and revised Red Sonja origin segment.  In this retelling, Good King Dimath rescues Red Sonya from near-death as a mistreated prisoner from his defeated enemy's dungeons, whereupon she heads-off into the wilderness to become the familiar warrior-princess.  Flash-forward three years later and the main storyline kicks-in.  Sonya responds to a summons from King Dimath and learns that his army has been wiped-out by a plague deliberately caused by the barbaric Zamorans.  The King begs Sonya to rapidly train the remaining women of his court to defend his realm against the oncoming Zamoran horde invasion.  The issue ends in a surprise bridge to next month's story segment, as the horde attacks and Sonja makes a dramatic and startling connection pf the Zamoran horde leader to her previous imprisoned captivity.

     I've written in previous reviews that I've been disappointed in the below-par quality of the handful of Gail Simone-written titles that I've reviewed in the past few years.  I do like her well-known previous writing efforts with DC's Wonder Woman title and I was hoping that Red Sonja would again provide me with that high level of Simone-scripted reading entertainment.  So I'm very happy to report that I found this comic book to deliver that level of high quality script entertainment.

     Two significant elements of the story production stood-out for me as most responsible for this enjoyable reading experience.  First off, I enjoyed very much Simone's particular writing style, which brought a more human touch to Red Sonya.  Our heroine has often seemed one-dimensional in the previous Dynamite Red Sonya title run, over-heavy on the Conan-like dramatic battlefield pronouncements while swimming through pools of blood.  Those elements are more balanced here with some decent personality development and more routine comic book narrative and dialogue.  Secondly, there's a steady thread of light humor throughout this issue that's rarely found in a sword-and-barbarism comic book.  My particular favorite example are two naive and hapless teen warrior girls who Sonya takes under her bemused wing to mentor.

     The result of Simone's storytelling approach is a much complex and more fully fleshed-out tale that provides a richer and more satisfying read than many previous Red Sonya storylines.  So all in all, a very positive review recommendation is well-deserved for this premier issue of the latest red Sonja title run.  Congratulations are due to Gail Simone for her excellent writing effort on this title and here's hoping that she sticks around as the latest Red Sonya writer for a long time!

Day Men #1
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Matt Gagnon & Michael Alan Nelson: Writers
Brian Stelfreeze: Art
Darrin Moore: Colors

     BOOM! Studios recently released issue #1 of a new vampire-themed comic book entitled Day Men.  The concept here is that vampire families employ humans, the aforementioned "Day Men," to conduct both their legitimate business affairs and their vampire shenanigans well-into the daylight hours.  The new series is co-scripted by Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson with art by Brian Stelfreeze and colors by Darrin Moore.

     Issue #1 interweaves two storythreads.  In the first sub-plot we're introduced to David Reid, the young mortal Day Man for the powerful Virgo extended vampire family.  We get a feel for his general duties and work situation along with an introduction to various Virgo family vampires.  The second storythread introduces conflict between the Virgo and Ramses vampire families.  The two storylines interconnect when David is assigned to clean-up a murder by a partyboy Virgo family vampire of a female vamp from the Ramses clan.  A shaky truce between the clans implodes over the killing, resulting in an extended battle between a handful of vampires from the two clans with David stuck in the middle.  The issue concludes with the truce badly shattered and David heading with the rest of his Virgo "family" into an upcoming period of vampire warfare.

      This is a pretty popular new title that's getting some strong positive reviews out in the fan world and I can see why.  First, the concept of "Day Men" is a creatively fresh addition to the well-worn world of vampire fiction, one of those periodical new fictional twists that makes me wonder why someone didn't come-up with the new plot idea earlier.  Secondly, the co-writers succeed in delivering a strong plot that's rich in believable dialogue, suspense and plot details that pull the reader deep into this new approach to vampire storytelling.  And third, the character development is very strong, with a range of vampire personalities that offer wonderful soap opera-style story possibilities to be explored in upcoming issues.  Finally, I liked the idea presented of fifty vampire families in a world-wide network of the vampire society, which also opens-up some fun future storytelling potential as some of these clans no-doubt enter into the fray of this new intervampire war.

      While this comic book deserves a positive review recommendation, two negative elements do keep it from getting a totally top-notch rave in my review opinion.  The first is the artwork, which is too crude and has an element of unfinished stiffness to it for my taste.  A comic of this fresh storytelling quality deserves a better visual palette.  For some reason, BOOM! Studios is marketing artist Brian Stelfreeze's work in this issue as the second coming of a Neal Adams or Jack Kirby level of talent, and that's hardly the case, here.  While Stelfreeze is acclaimed for a wonderful published portfolio of front cover artwork, that quality doesn't translate into the interior of this particular comic book.  I suppose it's all in a typical day's work of marketing a comic book for sales, but it's still inaccurate and at the end of said marketing day, we're still stuck with clunky interior artwork.

      Secondly, while it's a minor criticism, it seems illogical to me that each of the 50 vampire families employs only one lone Day Man, a sort of solo Alfred The Butler to the family's wide-ranging daytime needs.  It makes no sense, given the large size of these vampire families and their extended activities/needs that they each employ only one multi-tasking day-helper; hopefully, the creative team will evolve this item in future issues and add many more Day Men (and hopefully some Day Women?) to the limited cast of Day Guys.

     But these constructive criticisms don't damper too much the decent quality and entertainment of this new comic book series, for all of the positive reasons outlined above.  So whether you're a horror comic book fan or just looking for an entertaining fresh comic book story theme, either way Day Men is a worthy addition to your mid-summer new issues comic book reading pile!

The Rocketeer & The Spirit #1
Publisher: IDW Publishing & D.C. Comics
Mark Waid: Writer
Paul Smith: Art
Jordie Bellaire: Colors

     IDW Publishing has partnered with DC Comics to present a new comic book title pairing-up their respective pre-World War II pulp-era heroes, The Rocketeer/Cliff Secord and The Spirit/Denny Colt.  I'm a big fan of both characters and have reviewed previous issues of both of them in their respective solo titles.  As such, I was very interested to read the details of this new pairing of the duo.  The series is scripted by A-list comic book writer Mark Waid with art by Paul Smith and colors by Jordie Bellaire.

     Issue #1 is the kick-off segment of a multi-issue story arc entitled "Pulp Friction."  The plot setting is February of 1941 in The Spirit's east coast hometown of Central City.  When a City Alderman is murdered, his body mysteriously turns-up a day later in sunny Los Angeles, prompting The Spirit, Police Commissioner Dolan and the Commish's beautiful daughter (and Spirit girlfriend) Ellen to hop a plane for a bumpy, 1941-style flight out to L.A.  Hijinks quickly ensue between our two heroes, as their respective entourages mistake each other for criminal suspects.  Without going into details, after an extended action-adventure sequence, all misunderstandings are ironed-out.  The issue #1 story segment ends on a comedic note, as The Spirit and the Rocketeer's girlfriend Betty meet and Betty goes cartoony ga-ga over the visiting sleuth, to the fury of Ellen Dolan!

     I truly don't believe that you have to be a devoted Spirit and/or Rocketeer fanboy or fangirl to love this new comic book.  The series hits a grand slam on four major strengths.  First-up of course is the expert scripting by Mark Waid, who brings the perfect pitch of dialogue and personality to the plot.  More importantly, Waid captures the heartwarming and comical aspects of our favorite characters from these two respective storyverses and seamlessly blends them into one flawless script.  A newbie reader would assume that these folk have all been created together and live in one storyverse as opposed to meeting each other for the first time in this new pairing.

     Third, the art is just plain great, with an engrossing color pallette, great penciling and an overall entertaining visualization of the world of Los Angeles in the pre-World War II years.  Finally, the issue is peppered throughout with small comic stylings and moments that overshadow the bigger plot picture to provide the real fun of this read.  Among my favorites are the Archie Comics-like "Betty and Veronica" personality clash between Ellen and Betty, the funny connection between Commissioner Dolan and The Rocketeer's sidekick Peevy, and the perfect comment that Commissioner Dolan remarks upon de-planing after a bone-shaking cross-country trip in a 1940's-era passenger plane.

     I would love to ramble-on-and-on about the many pluses of this new title, but enough already.  You need to stop reading this review and get down to That's Entertainment to pick-up a copy of this new team-up comic book for your own great summertime reading enjoyment!

Batman '66 #1
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Jeff Parker: Writer
Jonathan Case: Art & Colors
Michael & Laura Allred: Front Cover Art

     DC Comics has just expanded its wide-ranging inventory of various Batman titles with the debut of Batman '66, a deliberately campy comedy series based on the style of the pop culture phenomenon wacky Batman television series that ran for three seasons (1966 to 1968) on ABC.  The new comic book series is scripted by Jeff Parker with art and colors by Jonathan Case.  In addition, the popular art team of Michael and Laura Allred created the issue #1 front cover.

     The premier stand-alone story is entitled "The Riddler's Ruse."  When the Riddler steals the well-known "Lady Gotham Statuette" from a public dedication ceremony, our campy Dynamic Duo arrive on the scene and fight the Riddler and his gang in pop art-style (lots of Bam! Pow! Poomf! sound balloons!).  The plot thickens when the Riddler escapes and our heroes begin to follow his riddle clues in hot pursuit.  Without being a detail spoiler, in a very fun way, Catwoman has become a legitimate nightclub owner and gets involved assisting Batman and Robin against The Riddler.  After much sleuthing, comedy and a second round of "Biff! Bam! Pow!" action, the Riddler is defeated, Catwoman returns to being a harmless goofball version of a baddie and the Bat-Signal announces "The End" of our issue #1 tale.

     I could write a very lengthy list of what makes this new title a great read, but for the sake of time I'll list here my "Top Four Favorite Reasons Why Batman '66 Is Not To Be Missed!"  Number one is the plot.  Writer Jeff Parker provides a surprisingly rich, detailed and quite complex storyline that mixes mystery, action-adventure and comedy into a brilliantly entertaining read.  Secondly, the creative team scores a "Perfect 10" in exactly duplicating the campiness of the acclaimed television show's wacky campiness.  The nutty riffs and homages to the show are non-stop, including the personalities of secondary characters (i.e., Chief O'Hara and Alfred The Butler), the Laugh-In style comedy that ensues when the Dynamic Duo pass apartment windows as they scale building walls and the stuffy/nutty dialogue between Batman and Robin in the midst of all the fistfighting.

     Third, I'm blown away by how well the art team duplicates on these comic book pages the features of the famous actors from the t.v. show; we're treated here to exact facial replicas of the actors Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler and a purr-fect facial and sexy body replication of Julie Newmar in her famous skintight Catwoman suit (Rowrr...!).  Fourth, the creative/editing team made the right decision to emulate the t.v. series with a stand-alone story that has a neat end-of-issue conclusion, as opposed to altering the atmosphere of the series with a multi-issue story arc.

     It's ironic that the "DC Comics All Access" column in the back of this book highlights several other new issue DC titles with typical modern-day dark story themes and visuals.  It emphasizes even more how much the modern-day comic book sensibility has drifted away from its 1960's light-hearted campiness roots.  We really need the occasional dose of comic book warmheartedness and nutball humor to balance this drift to the dark side.  Creator Keith Giffen is our usual standard-bearer who lets some light into this dark comic book world, and its nice to also have this brave new edition that's both entertaining in its own right and a wonderful homage to one of the greatest superhero t.v. shows of all time.

      So if you're in a tight situation right now, my review advice is for you to "Biff! Bam! Pow!" fight your way down to That's Entertainment and relive the joy of the great 1960's televised version of Batman, Robin and their cast of wacky friends and foes in "Batman '66!"

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

     Our latest contest  challenged you to tell us the answer to an interesting history trivia question.  Portland, Oregon was named in a famous coin toss, in which the winner named the city after his hometown of Portland, Maine.  We asked you to tell us what the other New England city name was in that coin toss.  And our contest winner is (drumroll, please...) Keith Martin, who correctly identified Boston as the alternate name in the contest.  So somewhere in an alternate universe the coin toss went differently and there's a Boston, Oregon out there!  Congratulations to Keith, who wins our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Challenge!!!

     The Bongo Congo Panel Of Contest Judges has decreed that we go back to our baby boomer television viewing roots with our latest contest challenge.  Your challenge is to e-mail us at no later than Wednesday, August 21 with the correct anser to the following question: What was the very first nationally broadcast children's television show back in the pioneering era of early t.v.?  As always, in the event of multiple correct entries, the winner of our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment will be selected via a roll of the dice.  Please note that our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment is redeemable for regular retail merchandise or in-store, on-going specials, only.

     That's all for now; we're taking our annual summer vacation next week, so have three great Boston Red Sox-watching (stay in first place, Red Sox!) and comic book-reading weeks and see you again on Friday, August 23 Here In Bongo Congo!