This week on The Wednesday Club, hosts Amy Dallen and Matt Key were joined by guest Brittany Walloch to talk about the comic books that always makes them laugh, sometimes make them cry, and once in a while even makes them cringe.
“We’re going to talk about a lot of different comics that make us laugh today,” said Amy. The show kicked off with a long and happy discussion of the current run of Marvel Comics’ Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
College student and programming major Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl, part girl, part squirrel, and all-around unbeatable. “At her core, she’s just a really great person,” said Brittany. “She’s actually quite diplomatic in the way that she speaks to people. She’ll talk her way out of fights sometimes.” In fact, that’s how she took on Galactus and won.
Amy is a big fan of the character and the series, and said it strikes the right balance. “You can take the story seriously and the consequences matter,” she said, “but it always stays fun.”
When you pick up a Squirrel Girl comic, be sure to read the footnotes for extra jokes and comic commentary (literally).
(Marvel Comics, Ryan North and Erica Henderson)
Squirrel Girl made her debut in the pages of Marvel Super-Heroes #8: Winter Special and later became a member of the Great Lakes Avengers. Mr. Immortal, Big Bertha, Flat Man, Doorman, and Dinah Soar were part of the original team and aren’t what you’d consider A-list heroes. “Mr. Immortal is the worst hero ever,” said Matt. “He’s virtually no help on any fight.”
The team eventually got their own mini-series written by Dan Slott. “It’s a fantastically funny book,” Matt said.
(Marvel Comics, Dan Slott, Paul Pelletier, Rick Magyar, John Byrne, Will Murray, and Steve Ditko)
While this Japanese manga isn’t at all what you’d consider to be a comedy, the gallows humor is what makes Berserk stand out for Brittany. “It’s one of my personal favorites,” she said. “At its very core, it is a hyper-violent, gruesome fantasy story.”
The “most beautiful gore you’ve ever seen” is often followed by a crude joke to balance out the intense imagery of the previous scene, said Brittany. “Horrible things happen to these characters,” she said, “and yet if the comedy’s there, I’m good.”
(Dark Horse Comics, Kentaro Miura)
Archie’s had his share of problems over the years, but none of them have come close to this one. “It’s Archie in a zombie apocalypse,” said Matt. There are funny moments, agreed Amy, but the book is legitimately scary.
“Archie doesn’t belong in this situation,” said Matt. “So every single page, as scary as it might be… is certainly ironic, but it’s certainly absurd at the same time.”
(Archie Comics, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla)
Gert may look like a sweet little girl, but don’t let that fool you. She’s been trapped in Fairyland for almost thirty years, and she just wants to go home no matter what it takes. I Hate Fairyland is written and drawn by the talented Skottie Young, who is well-known for his Marvel baby variant covers.
“She can’t die… But she can kill everyone else,” said Matt. “It is so almost completely absurd that you almost don’t care that you don’t love [the characters]. It speaks directly to me. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did.”
(Image Comics, Skottie Young)
Giant Days follows four girls who are brought together as college roommates. “It is unique from anything else you’ll read because of John Allison’s comedic voice,” said Amy. “[It’s] dry and whimsical, which aren’t things you should be able to combine.”
“I remember reading the first page and thinking, ‘Well, this guy’s a genius,'” agreed Matt.
(Boom! Box, John Allison and Lissa Treiman)
Other titles recommended for a guaranteed smile included Howard the Duck, Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi, Afrodisiac, Preacher, Bee and Puppycat, and Step Aside, Pops. Taliesin wasn’t able to make the show this week, but sent along his recommendations for Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad, The Sensational She-Hulk, and What If? #34.
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What comic book makes you laugh more than any other? Tell us in the comments.
Images: Geek & Sundry, Marvel Comics, and Image Comics