Heroes and Villains: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Comic

In this week’s Heroes and Villains I’m going to be taking a look at all the TV show adaptations that are fit to print! Assuming I can tear myself away from Spider-Man on PS4 long enough to finish this column. The hype is real! It’s SO GOOD!

MSTDarkHose.jpgMystery Science Theater 3000: The Comic
Joel Hodgson, Harold Buchholz, Matt McGinnis, Mary Robinson, Seth Robinson, Sharyl Volpe (W)
Todd Nauck, Mike Manly (A)
Dark Horse Comics

MST3K no doubt has a spot in my personal pantheon of the GREATEST TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME so I was understandably elated when the show had its wagon hitched to the revival train during the last couple years. Even better, the new episodes were good! 

I’m sure I’ve written before that comic book adaptations of beloved shows can be a dicey proposition at best, so I always approach them with a fair amount of skepticism. How on Moon 13 can a TV SHOW famous for riffing on MOVIES make the jump to the printed page? Well, it’s easier than you may have thought.

*Ahem* “The riffing hilarity of Mystery Science Theater 3000 comes to comics when Kinga Forrester pairs her Kingachrome Liquid Medium with her latest invention–the Bubbulat-R! Jonah Heston, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo find themselves thrust into the 2-D world of public domain comics, with riffing as their only defense!

The mad science on this one checks out, I feel. However, if you’re too hung up on the details (and other science facts), then repeat to yourself “it’s just comic, I should really just relax!” Now that I’ve completed the mandatory amount of fan-service, on to the meat.

This comic reads just like an episode of the show, that’s about a plainly as I can state it. The humor of the book exactly what I would expect from the Murderers Row of writers assembled for this book and it’s true to the voice of the show. The writers are  definitely having fun with the new medium they’re in and the first issue clearly illustrates a love for the Golden Age of crappy comics.

Speaking of illustration, the choice to split the art in the book into both Host Segment and In-Comics was pretty inspired. Todd Nauck’s Host Segment pages are absolutely packed with a multitude of visual gags and MST3K fan wish-fulfillment. Mike Manly’s In-Comic pages are full of Golden Age comic lunacy and charm…and I’m forever changed having seen Servo’s head on human body. 

Advance Alert!

Stranger Things.jpgStranger Things #1
Jody Houser (W)
Stefano Martino (A)
Dark Horse Comics

Stranger Things will always hold a special place for me because it’s how I introduced my dad to the concept of streaming and by extension binge watching. Upon showing him the first episode, he said to me, “I really liked that. When’s the next episode on?” Well, it’s on in about 5…4…3…

The doors of his perception blown wide open, we opted to watch the show a couple episodes at a time over the next few Friday nights. He was subsequently introduced to the crushing depression of having to wait an undetermined amount of time for the next season to air.

So, if you’re like us and you’re absolutely crushed that we have to wait until NEXT SUMMER for the third season of Stranger Things the Dark Horse’s tie-in comic will hopefully scratch that itch until we all get to go back to Hawkins. 

Written by Jody Houser, who worked on one of my favorite Young Animal books Mother Panic (R.I.P), and with art by Stefano Martino, the book chronicles just what happened to Will when he was in the Upside Down during the first season.

I have to say, thanks to Star Wars I’m usually not a fan of “Hey what was (BLANK) doing when they were off-screen?” comics. No one is ever just reading a space-paper or sitting on a space-toilet. They have to be doing something that answers a question in the movie no one ever cared to ask. 

But with the Stranger Things comic, this is actually pretty fertile storytelling ground. Slimly, pulsating, Lovecraftian ground…but fertile ground nonetheless! What was Will Byers doing when he was stuck in the Upside Down that whole time? Well, it looks like we’re about to get an answer.

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