Review: Spy Vs. Spy Follow-Up File

Spy Vs. Spy Follow-Up File
Spy Vs. Spy Follow-Up File by Antonio Prohias
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great Spy vs. Spy collection. One of the great things about these paperbacks is that since each page is a panel in a gag strip (or a solo gag), you really get to see and enjoy the artistry and draftsmanship skills of Antonio Prohias.

While the sensibilities of the strip are a bit dated, the humor is not. Prohias is one of those Rube Goldberg-esque masters when it comes to pacing his work. Always a great read!

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Review: Al Jaffee Meets His End

Al Jaffee Meets His End
Al Jaffee Meets His End by Al Jaffee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great paperback, but one of the few that has no Mad Magazine, though it’s obviously of the same style of the series spawned by the humor magazine.

This one is ALL Al Jaffee, right down to his distinctive logo on the cover. The strips and panels in this almost seem to be from an earlier era of Jaffee’s career – they’re all funny, but the artistic style is different on many, being somewhat more primitive than his usual Snappy Answer or Mad Guide artwork of the late seventies.

It’s an enjoyable read in any event, as Jaffee once again proves he’s a master cartoonist and a great gag writer.

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Review: Collision Course

Collision Course
Collision Course by E.C. Tubb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth Space 1999 novelization adapts a quartet of first season episodes into a seamless narrative. This one covers “Collision Course”, “The Full Circle”, “End of Eternity” and “Death’s Other Dominion”. E. C. Tubb was probably the best author to handle these adaptations, and he does a great job with these, particularly since most of them are more on the cerebral side, a hallmark of the program, rather than space-operatic action.

Tubb manages to add a good amount of detail and color to the stories without taking away from the essence of each tale. I like the blending of the shows into a whole, though I do wonder if there shouldn’t be more filler, or adventures-between-the-adventures, if you know what I mean. Considering the interstellar distances being traversed by Moonbase Alpha, one would think there would be a lot of downtime where the base was repaired and maintained. A book would’ve been an interesting way to show how that part of the crew’s survival went on.

Definitely worth a read if you are a Space 1999 fan. This one should also appeal to general science fiction fans (at least those that can get past the basic scientific fallacy of the entire series).

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Review: Mad’s Al Jaffee Freaks Out

Mad's Al Jaffee Freaks Out
Mad’s Al Jaffee Freaks Out by Al Jaffee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While about twenty years too late to cash in on the “freak out” subculture, Al Jaffee does provide some very funny moments in this paperback. Al’s got a unique artistic style and sensibility that allows him to pretty much do anything remotely funny and it will come out looking both a) great and b) funnier than most other artists could’ve made it.

Like Don Martin, Al learned to shine in this abbreviated comic format, using each page as a single panel of a story or gag. If you’re a fan of Mad, at least as it was when Max Gaines published it, this is a great book to add to your collection.

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Review: The Third MAD Dossier of Spy vs. Spy

The Third MAD Dossier of Spy vs. Spy
The Third MAD Dossier of Spy vs. Spy by Antonio Prohias
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s hard to go wrong with a quick read of a Spy vs. Spy book. Simple slapstick with fantastic artwork by Antonio Prohias. Don’t expect Woody Allen or Jon Stewart intelligensia humor here – this is Three Stooges with a Cold War twist.

Whenever I read one of these, I wish there was a collection of Prohias’ praised Cuban cartoons that he created before fleeing the Castro regime.

It’s a simple formula: 1 Spy vs. Spy paperback = Ten minutes of enjoyment.

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Review: Al Jaffee’s Mad (Yecch!) Monstrosities

Al Jaffee's Mad (Yecch!) Monstrosities
Al Jaffee’s Mad (Yecch!) Monstrosities by Al Jaffee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun collection of Al Jaffee’s cartoons, this volume features all original gags with a “monster” theme. Juvenile humor at times, but good for a bunch of smirks during the ten minutes it’ll take you to read it. Al was (and still is) a master cartoonist and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy his artwork on his quirky sense of humor.

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Review: A Comick Book of Sports

A Comick Book of Sports
A Comick Book of Sports by Arnold Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it’s been nearly forty years since I first read this book … back in fourth grade it was. I happened to be doing a search on Amazon and up pops this old memory. It’s quaint and fun – though not laugh-out-loud funny anymore.

Arnold Roth is a fantastic cartoonist, right up their with Jules Fieffer – though with a radically different style and approach. There’s a level of detail and absurdity to his work that’s still refreshing today. I wouldn’t recommend this particular book to everyone – it’s a tad dated in spots – but it’s a fun read and would be a fairly good kids-level book for anyone interested in cartoonistry.

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