Saucers of Mud

November 18, 2009

How To Revitalize Old, Tired Comic Strips

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 11:22 am

So I was reading the Wikipedia entry for Wendy and Marvin:

Wendy Harris and Marvin White are two sidekicks who were created in an era in which many cartoons featured main characters with sidekicks who were supposed to serve two purposes: comic relief and viewer identification…. Neither Marvin nor Wendy had any special abilities. However, once on the cartoon, Marvin was shown “practicing” flying, though not very well. In fact, on the cartoon, although very nice and very bright, Marvin was shown to be somewhat bumbling, often needing to learn the day’s moral, such as looking up “photosynthesis” for himself rather than having Robin tell him. In the comics, however, Marvin and Wendy’s cleverness and resourcefulness made them invaluable to the other Super Friends. The one notable resource Marvin provided to the Super Friends was his pet dog, Wonder Dog (or just “Wonder” for short) who was preternaturally intelligent, though bumbling as well, much like Scooby-Doo….
In 2006, in Teen Titans #34, a new version of the Wendy and Marvin characters appeared…. In Teen Titans #62 Wendy and Marvin meet a stray dog that Miss Martian names Wonderdog. In reality, Wonderdog is some sort of demonic monster in the service of a new villain called King Lycus, who appeared at the end of the issue after the beast killed Marvin and severely mauled Wendy. As seen in Teen Titans #63, she survived the attack, but is apparently in a coma.

And this made me think; you know what would be great for the tired old legacy comics? A gritty reboot! Let’s see Hagar the Horrible really address the realities in the life of the pillaging Nordics. Blondie could turn into some mix of Dirty Sexy Money and Arrested Development, where we hear about the fraudulent machinations that cost Dagwood his billions, if that doesn’t hit too close to home. Beetle Bailey could get an infusion of Catch-22 (or just a deeper exploration of Beetle and Sarge’s forbidden love), while Hi and Lois, well.

On the other hand, we’ve already seen Garfield turned into an exploration of madness and alienation (though have you seen this [sound]?), The Lockhorns doesn’t need to get any bleaker, and if someone tried to do a gritty reboot of Dick Tracy it’d cause some sort of singularity of violence and gore that would probably turn the whole world into a place of unicorns and kittens through antipathetic reaction. Which would be a good thing, I guess.



  1. I read that the Disney Corp is going to update Mickey Mouse because he doesn’t have much appeal to younger people. I think along these lines, really. Well, probably not as an exemplar of Thug Life, but maybe some tattoos and piercings and shoplifting. I wish they would just promote Morty and Ferdy instead.

    It was bad enough when I heerd that Superman had slept with Lois Lane.

    While on the subject of comics, have you seen Monty Kane’s Saturdays?

    Comment by Matt's mom — November 18, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  2. In a video game, “Epic Mickey,” the Mouse will traverse a wasteland…

    Comment by Matt's mom — November 18, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  3. Judging from that “Epic Mickey” screenshot, the design team overshot “edgy” and landed on “nightmare-inducing serial killer.”

    I protest against this sentence, though: “[Mr. Mouse’s] static nature has resulted in a generation of Americans — the one that grew up with Nickelodeon and Pixar — that knows him, but may not love him.” I’m ten years older than Nickelodeon and I feel exactly the same way. Mickey never did anything cool at all, outside the “Sorceror’s Apprentice” sequence in Fantasia. Looney Tunes 4eva!

    Yes, I realize that the New York Times no longer refers to him as “Mr. Mouse.”

    Comment by matt w — November 18, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  4. The Pop.

    Comment by ben — November 30, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  5. […] in a world of gritty reimaginings (btw, you know what’s long overdue for one? Hogan’s Heroes), it’s sometimes worth […]

    Pingback by I Am the Borax, I Speak for Febreze « Saucers of Mud — February 5, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

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