There is no better treat than Scooby Doo Where Are You?
But the question is, have the writers run out of ideas? Have all the good Scooby Doo mysteries been solved? It seems like that may be the case from reading Scooby Doo Where Are You? #25. Under a pretty cool Fabio Laguna cover are two stories. The first, written by all-ages favorite Sholly Fish, with art by Scott Neely, finds the Mystery, Inc. gang invited to be part of a panel at Monster Con. The mystery seems how clueless the gang is about the invitation they have accepted. Walking around the convention floor, soaking up the ambiance, Daphne asks what kind of convention it is. In the second panel, Sheggy and Scooby are frightened when they come across an alien robot and an creature that looks like E.T. - both turn out to be cos players. Based on what they're familiar with, Shaggy jumps to the conclusion that the pair are involved in some wicked scheme. Really? Cos players as a convention. With help from Velma, the light bulb finally goes on above Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby and they realize that they are indeed, actually at a Monster Con. Huh, imagine that.
Soon they meet con organizer, Woody K. Wackerstein. While talking with Woody, a couple of con-goers mention The Phantom of the Con. Spooky! Woody takes the gang on a short tour of the con, starting at Walt Palace's 3-D Monster Movie booth. He's famous for movie gimmicks. He's developed a new 6-D technique for his latest film which looks like a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla...throwing pies at each other. Shaggy gets a pie in the face. He's not unhappy about that. Next, they stop by fantasy author I. M. Creepy's booth. She writes about teenage witch Carrie Watter. Creepy's booth is across from competitor Eddie Allenshmoe, who is obviously jealous of her success. He's disappointed that more people aren't reading his The Tell-Tale Tummy and The Kit And The Kettle-Drum.
Oh, look, is it that time already? Time for the appearance of The Phantom of the Con! Scooby and Shaggy run off with I. M. Creepy. But, Shaggy and Scooby take a wrong turn and end up in chairs at Ron Zamboni's Masks and Make-Up booth. Shaggy is made over as a werewolf and Scooby is remade as an Elvis Dracula, without the jumpsuit. That leaves Fred, Daphne and Velma to unmask The Phantom. They do. It turns out to be Woody. The whole thing is done to entertain the crowd attending the con. Scooby and Shaggy get a good look at each other and tear off away from the others.
This seems to be a trend with the current new Scooby Doo stories. Either good people doing mischievous, but ultimately harmless things; or, a "mystery" that turns out to be no mystery at all. All the surprises and menace have been stripped away and it seems like the stories have been tamed and watered down. That's a shame. Sholly Fisch is a much better writer than the material here.
The second story, Follow That Monster, by John Rozum and the legendary artist of legend Joe Staton, finds the gang spending the night at the Paul Bunyon Hotel in a roadside resort town. Startled by a tremor that feels like an eartquake, they are soon called on by the sheriff to investigate enormous foot prints in the woods. The town begins evacuating when an enormous Godzilla-like monster appears behind the town skyline. The Mystery, Inc. gang discovers something unusual about the monster's trail. instead of footprints, the tracks are tire treads. While the town is evacuating, a number of suspicious-looking moving trucks are heading into town. The gang splits up into two teams: Daphne and Velma follow the trucks, while Fred, Shaggy and Scooby keep following the monster. First, Fred, Shaggy and Scooby come across a giant monster foot. Velma and Daphne discover that the trucks are being used to loot the town! Next, Fred's team discovers the monster, which is just an upper torso mounted on two crains. They also see a number of heavy duty, military style helicopters heading toward town. Fred and Shaggy use the monster to thwart the helicopter crews, while the state police round up the truck crews.
It is amazing that this massive kind of operation is at work without so much as an inside man or a head honcho. This is a criminal operation that the Mystery, Inc. gang has uncovered, with no top person in charge of it. Which leads to the suspicion that the lessons, values or morals that are being passed along in Scooby Doo anymore is that there are no bad people, just bad deeds. It's a great lesson to teach kids not to express hate or bias or bigotry or to profile. But there are bad people. People do bad things. It's kind of a disservice to the characters and an insult to the reader to back away from that. And to back away from ending a Scooby Doo story with the famous line, "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids!"