Sunday, March 19, 2017

On The Shelf: The Hardy Boys go noir, and DC hits the Badlands

Dynamite Entertainment contracted with the Strathmore Syndicate to adapt The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew for a brand new series, done in more of a noir style, from the looks of things, that enables the characters to grow up just enough to satisfy the most hardcore of fans.

Not only that, but, in part 1 of "The Big Lie", other Strathmore characters, particularly Tom Swift and the Bobbsey Twins, are name-checked, and Swift appears in a flashback sequence, meaning they'll be pivotal to the story as well. As was the case with Papercutz's ill-fated Hardy Boys series a few years back, the characters have been brought forward to the present day, with the use of modern tech also vital to the plot.

Speaking of the plot, it seems that Frank & Joe's dad, Fenton, was railroaded into jail, and made to have committed suicide. The challenge to the reader, then, is to figure out the truth, which might actually be easier than watching certain CW shows. I think what Dynamite is ultimately hoping for is that someone in Hollywood can take another crack at the Hardys & Drew, whose last TV adaptations were just a few years ago, half-hour series that didn't air in my market, and didn't last long. It wouldn't hurt.

Rating: A.

AMC's Into The Badlands begins a new season tonight. To mark the occasion, the network contracted with DC to produce a preview special, which was issued with a select group of titles, such as Green Arrow, with the two books bound in a polybag. Into the Badlands is drawn with a 3-color scheme--black, white, & red---that creates the appropriate mood for the show. Not fond of the concept, however, as it isn't my cup of tea. Meh.

Rating: C.
Should it surprise anyone that Adam Hughes' rendition of Betty & Veronica is running mad late? Of course not. You know what they say at the carnival. You pay your money, you take your chances.
In the last On The Shelf, we referenced the pending DC-Looney Tunes specials due starting in June. Before anyone gets into an uproar, I suspect very strongly that characters like Harley Quinn will, in fact, interact with the WB menagerie. The Flash raced Speedy Gonzales and Road Runner in the 2000 miniseries I referenced last time, but if the more realistic depictions of Wile E. Coyote and the Tasmanian Devil are any indication, a more realistic Speedy could be coming, too.
Youth horror icon R. L. Stine makes his comics debut with a bizarre take on Marvel's Man-Thing. Seems that Ted Sallis, the scientist-turned-monster, regained the ability to talk recently, and is trying to make his luck in Hollywood. I look it thusly. This is a veiled satire of DC's Swamp Thing, who was adapted into two feature films in the 80's, followed by a pair of television series, one animated, the other live-action, in the early 90's. Manny made it to Hollywood well before the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in a low-budget film that has aired maybe twice on SyFy or Chiller, then disappeared. Stine's script is a reflection of Hollywood's attitude toward Manny, but you can't help but chuckle at the whole idea of Man-Thing talking and, inevitably, cracking jokes, as most Marvel heroes were wont to do back in the day.

Stine is also writing short back-up pieces that recall the horror anthologies that date back to the later years of the Golden Age, even name-checking Marvel's Chamber of Chills. Is this actually worth $4 per issue (it's a 5-issue miniseries)? Yep.

Rating: A-.

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