One of my absolute favorite pastimes is perusing the tabloids at the grocery store. Yes, I majored in English in college, and I’ve read (and subsequently analyzed) the classics. But there’s something so delightful about checking out the headlines of the trashy magazines in the checkout lines. It’s something I’ve done since I first learned to read (much to my grandmother’s chagrin, especially when I started reading everything out loud). Probably the most fun to read is the Weekly World News, just because it’s so far from reality. The fine folks at IDW have taken that idea and turned the Weekly World News into a limited comic series. Given my love of the source material, I thought it only fitting to give this comic a whirl.
The first thing that caught my eye was the cover—Cover A is Alan Robinson’s careful adaptation of the kind of cover you might see at your local supermarket, complete with familiar faces Bat Boy, Ed Anger, and even Manigator (whose headline made me laugh out loud)! It’s one of the few times I actually dig Cover A more than the other covers. Cover B is Joe Corroney’s version of Alex Ross’s Obama as Superman, except this time the hero is Bat Boy. Cover C is also by Alan Robinson, but this time Bat Boy is Rodin’s Thinker. Though often you could get burned by judging a book by its cover (especially a comic book), this is one time you’re safe. If you like what’s going on on the cover, you’re going to like what’s inside.
The main story (penned by Chris Ryall) is the plight of pseudocolumnist Ed Anger. If you’re familiar with the guy in WWN, you know that he’s the curmudgeonly gent who has had a letters/commentary column in the mag for years. In this story he’s very much like my grandpa: angry that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and upset that the liberals, freaks, and aliens are taking over the planet (although in Anger’s case, it’s actual extraterrestrials). He’s a disenfranchised Charlton Heston-type, and at every turn the world is telling him he needs to calm down. One of the loudest voices is Ph.D. Ape, the world’s smartest primate. You see, he’s Anger’s shrink, though this fact is not a happy one for Ed. Ed’s main beef is that he’s always pitted against a gray alien in TV debates, and that Bat Boy not only attended Obama’s inauguration, but he also saved Ed from a freak accident. Seemingly, the guy can’t catch a break, but that’s a good thing for us.
One of the most interesting parts of this comic is the easter eggs. They were all easy to spot for me, but lucky for readers, there’s a handy-dandy guide in Ryall’s column at the end of the book should you miss something. Ryall assures readers that this issue was just the beginning, as subsequent issues are going to be chock full of goodies for readers to enjoy. The issue also includes a couple of Peter Bagge’s Weekly World News comic strips, and a reprint of stories from the magazine itself (including some Ed Anger columns).
All in all I highly recommend this book. It’s a fun read, and let’s face it, we could all use a fun read in our stacks after reading Blackest Night. If you’re a fan of the old magazine, it’s a creative way to revisit it, and if you’re not, you may find yourself reading this and thinking, “Wow, they actually printed this stuff as news?” Either way, you’ll have a good time.