Each day in November, I will read and review/discuss/whatever one comic taken from a box of some of my childhood comics. Today, it’s What The–?! #16.
The Nostalgia November archive can be found here.
What The–?! #16 is the Christmas/Halloween issue of this parody/satire/humour comic that I’ve never found to be all that funny. But, hey, I’m older, wiser, my sense of humour has changed over the years and…
Yeah, still not funny.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t parts of this comic that aren’t enjoyable, though. There are four stories here, each of them with at least one moment that’s entertaining.
The first is a Christmas story meant to mimic “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and involves Doctor Octopus taking over Santa’s workshop and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) having to stop him. The story has some nice gags and wordplay, but really doesn’t rise above the level of mediocre. I do like when Ant-Man tries to summon ants to help him and we get a panel of the arctic tundra as he remembers that, yeah, no ants at the North Pole. Or, when he shrinks Doctor Octopus as if that will make it easier to beat him only to realise that it doesn’t help. It’s an entertaining story that’s more about the craft than the content.
The second stars… Cookies? A giant muscle-bound hero who’s made out of cookie. It centres around Hanukkah and someone stealing it. The culprit turns out to be a little boy named Myron whose parents only ever give him socks for Hanukkah and it’s driven him crazy. The strip ends with his parents giving him a toy, which makes him realise that none of it matters… and we see that the ‘toy’ is actually the Sockmaster 2000. Oh, and Cookies’s sidekick? A woman named Milk. Oh ho ho.
The third strip has Uatu babysitting another Watcher’s kid, Lavnic in a Calvin and Hobbes homage/tribute/rip-off. If you ever wanted to see a strip featuring a bald Calvin and a bald Calvin’s dad… It’s not too bad as we get a Spaceman Spiff, a panel where
Calvin Lavnic is a giant god-like creature looking down on a metropolitan area, and he even rides a sabretooth tiger. Until Uatu has enough and gets the Inhumans to babysit instead.
The fourth strip is a part Halloween, part Christmas strip as Forbush Man goes to a haunted house for candy, but, to get it, he must spend the night there. During the night, he’s visited by three spirits: the Ghost of Deadlines Past (aka Tom DeFalco), the Specter of Cancellation, and the Spirit of the Comics Code Authority. Ultimately, he’s put on trial for having sexy women and such in his comic when the CCA looks down on such things. Inoffensive but not quite funny humour. I do like the bit where Forbush Man chooses Alan Moore and Art Adams as his comic’s creative team and he’s told that that’s a mistake because they won’t keep to the schedule. Gotta love those pre-Image days when Art Adams was the ‘artist who’s always late’ go-to guy.
There are also two one-page strips, one showing us what certain heroes got for Christmas (Medusa got a shower cap) and one that has one-panel gags with monsters… like the Alien from Aliens getting braces… on both sets of teeth!
Not bad, but not funny… so, yeah, actually, kinda bad.