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Take a trip back to the golden-age with this reprint of Erik Larsen’s Popgun strip’s and his 24-hour comic “Guy Talk.” There are plenty of problems that can be scrutinized with this comic due mostly to its age, but it is still a fun read – the only question is whether or not it is worth the five dollar price tag and if you can withstand the other half of the comic that is offensive. I will be mentioning how the art works with the story but I will refrain from rating it for one simple reason – all art was similar to this comic back in the Golden Age, so if you’re familiar with the style and either like it or don’t care you should be fine.
The first and longest story in the comic is “Guy Talk,” a story flashing back and forth between two brothers having a bite to eat at a restaurant and talking about one’s upcoming marriage and two super-powered beings going at it. Larsen’s story flows nicely throughout – the switching between the brothers and the fight across the street does not distract the reader and it’s clever how their conversation mirrors the fight, like when one brother say’s “you can’t hit a woman” and the male super-powered being can’t bring himself to hit the female. However, the only reason the fight is in the comic is to mask the fact that the brother’s conversation is very realistic and not something you would want to read about when you can just watch it on some lifetime movie. The fight manages to make this entertaining, but it is just a cover-up for a slightly boring conversation that does have an entertaining surprise conclusion. It is impressive that Larsen could make such an ordinary conversation entertaining with a completely unrelated fight – a genius strategy.
The colors used in this story are water-colored and remind you right away that this story is an old one. It does not detract from the story and is a nice change of pace from the usual color schemes in today’s comics but does not add any beauty to the basic artwork. The artwork is old and just shows us how much artwork has improved today – I would not take the artwork into account when reading this. The only real problem is that the words in the panels are sometimes so scrunched together they become hard to read and it takes a second to fully understand what the character’s are saying – if you’re not just skipping over their conversation to see some chick beat up on a guy, which is still fun in its own right.
Next up is “Cheeseburger Head,” a story of a man that wakes up with a cheeseburger as a head and no idea how it happened. At first I could not believe what I was reading and dismissed it as stupid, but after a page I found myself laughing at how stupid the situation was and how funny Larsen managed to make it… the problem is it ended as quickly as it started with no resolve and I was disappointed that I never found out how his head turned into a cheeseburger… which just reminded me how abnormal this story was and got me laughing all over again! Larsen’s artistic style is pretty much the same here as it was in the last story, but with more detail and without the color.
The rest of Larsen’s stories are smaller strips, the first being a one-paged story on a Bacon Mummy that is simple and fun, followed by a slightly confusing tale featuring Lotta Malarky and a Superman reject story featuring Carl Cosmic that is both appalling and hysterical. The next story about Don Brake is just a rip-off of the previous “Cheeseburger Head” that is slightly funny. All these previous stories range from confusing to hysterical, mostly both, Larsen’s art style changing often into basic old-school styles.
The next two stories are both confusing and only last a page, forgettable and far from the laughs I was hoping for. The next “stories” featuring the same thing over and over “Reggie the Veggie,” a character with no legs. I was immediately offended and flipped past these in an instant – they are composed of nothing and are insulting. Then Mickey Mouse in a concentration camp. Enough said there on why that could be seen as offensive to specific audiences.
If you prefer reading newer comics based solely on the artwork and stories that actually lead somewhere, avoid this one. But if you enjoy picking up the paper and laughing at the Sunday Comics you will laugh even harder at these. Just don’t take the last couple stories personally or you could get very offended – remember, back then it was not as big an issue as it is now – unfortunately, even I could not think in this mindset and would refuse to pick this up based on these offenses alone. And a $5 price tag is too much. You may not get the same experience from other cheaper comics, but if you are content with your Sunday comics. Maybe you should not waste your money on something you will probably only enjoy half the time when you are not being offended (though considering some of the offensive material seen today probably this pales in comparison) and enjoying the genius that is Erik Larsen.