Current Reviews


Looney Tunes #110

Posted: Friday, January 9, 2004
By: Ray Tate

"Skunk Smelled Around the World"

Writers:Sam Agro
Artists: Ty Templeton, Dave Tanguay(c)

"Door to Door Duck"

Writer: Solly Fisch
Artists: Howard Simpson(p), Mike DeCarlo(i), Dave Taguay(c)


Writer: Bobbi Weiss
Artist: David Alvarez(p), Mike DeCarlo(i), Dave Tanguay(c)

"No Pain, No Brain"

Writers: Earl Kress
Artists: Neal Sternecky(p), Scott McRae(i), Dave Tanguay(c)

Many of the Looney Tunes derive humor by breaking from established formula. For instance, while Daffy and Bugs have matched wits--although you can argue one of them was unarmed--each of their cartoons differs in some way before the stories end up with Daffy spitting out buckshot from his distended bill. The cartoons presented in this issue of Looney Tunes follow the refreshing pattern by hitting it with a sledgehammer, no doubt provided by Acme.

The adventures of Pepe Le Pew often follow the amorous skunk's pursuit of the hapless le femme chat who will somehow invariably gain a stripe of white down her back. However, in the toons, Pepe has pursued his object of affection in different ways. She has pursued him, and an escaped black panther has even replaced her.

"The Skunk Smelled Around the World" completely departs from the formula. Pepe is not in pursuit at all of Claudette--the occasional name of the cat--but instead a job. Sam Argo comes up with a very plausible career for Pepe, and he even finds a medium where the smell does not repel. The effects of Pepe's stench in fact occur until the punchline in liberal doses.

Mr. Argo takes Pepe on a surprisingly diverse tour of the same setting in different nations and cities. He furthermore includes a surprise, fitting cameo and shows a fascinating gamut of dimension from the usual single-minded stinker. The clever story is also funny in that Pepe is seldom on top of his game but never quite the victim.

Batman Adventures' Ty Tempelton infuses the artwork with a subtle style reminiscent of Chuck Jones. In one scene for instance, Pepe's fur becomes figuratively ruffled and leaves him looking Chuck Jones fuzzy. Mr. Templeton also brings his own ideas into the panels. He translates a scene for instance of animation into a simultaneous depiction of multiple Pepe heads in distress.

The second story has Daffy Duck contending against Porky Pig. These two have a long history together, but Mr. Fisch finds some unexplored territory using Daffy's persona as "the Stupor Salesman." This aspect also has been done to death, yet Mr. Fisch wrings gag after hilarious gag out of the setup.

The dialogue adds snap to Daffy's patter, and choice of words--even if read more or less--capture Porky Pig's stutter as well as his simple, unthreatening voice.

Howard Simpson and Mike DeCarlo bestow to Porky an air of the sublime to contrast the hyper Daffy. They bring out of their bag of tricks wild takes and help the story's authenticity with Rube Goldberg inspired devices. Dave Tanguay does some nice color matching with regard to Porky's outfits that characterize him as a pork chop about town, and through grass greens and sky blues, he brings a vista of reality to the setting that's important to the success of the final kicker.

In "Baa-Baa-Boo-Boo" Bobbi Weiss mangles the nursery rhyme through the criticisms of Foghorn Leghorn perfectly dialogued as a loudmouth--ah, say--critic. Mr. Alvares through a minimal use of setting and panels depicts the striking contrast of mood in the sheep while superbly rendering Foghorn Legorn's gesticulations, shoulder shrugs and flapping beak.

Two of Bugs Bunny's old foes return to split hares--or rather one pesky hare. These two have a long history. The Buzzard and Pete Puma are classically stupid antagonists who never the less caused Bugs no end of trouble. Earl Kress brilliantly employs that stupidity in a series of gags that Bugs ultimately lets the two play on themselves. Naturally, a "lump" joke appears, but even for this Mr. Kress finds humorous novelty.

Neal Sternecky does not disappoint with the contest of champion chumps. He makes use of fun slapstick and a more outrageous Bugs Bunny that runs these idiots through their paces. The inking by Scott McRae is noticeably heavier than other cartoons in the book, but the line is still smooth and gives the characters greater perspective and somewhat mimics the cel vs. background techniques of Warner Brothers animation.

Looney Tunes is not just a kid's books. Adults who found the cartoons funny will also enjoy these new episodes something at which they can laugh out loud.

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