Sunday, February 7, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Adventures of Digger and Friends #4 (IDW Publishing)

Pales in Comparison to the Animated Original

The Adventures of Digger and Friends is a series of computer-animated two-minute shorts that appear during the Fox Sports NASCAR pre-race shows. Digger is a NASCAR-mad gopher who lives and breathes the racing life along with his goofy pals. Kids can meet Digger at races and buy plush dolls and assorted merchandise, of which this comic book hopes to be a celebrated addition. But don't be fooled by this completely uninspiring excuse for a comic book because it's exactly that: an extra revenue stream for Fox and IDW.

Obviously no one is expecting Digger and Friends to be the next Watchmen but this is the sort of product that makes people look at comics as a throwaway medium to be relegated to newspaper strips and vaguely droll political cartoons. It's still possible to achieve greatness in kids comics: both DC Super Friends and Marvel Super Hero Squad deliver action-packed laughs and adventure month after month, to say nothing of the truly sublime work Carl Barks and Don Rosa have done on Uncle Scrooge.

The animated Digger and Friends shorts are genius. They deliver a slice of Americana and plenty of laughs in every episode. But so much of this hangs on timing, voice work and reaction shots, all of which are very difficult to convey in a four-colour comic. The animated Digger is a frenetic madcap gopher who steals every scene. Comic book Digger seems to be a slow-moving, aw-shucks, over-medicated and slightly confused critter. In other words, all the magic is lost in the transition from TV to printed page. In Digger #4 we're stuck with unbelievably unrealistic racing sequences and rather flat dialogue. The punchiness of the Marvel and DC kids titles is nowhere to be seen.

Another huge problem is that the comic never earns the heart of the reader because it cannot stand on its own. Having begun to read it with my five-year-old, we were forced to turn to YouTube to have any idea who these characters were and why they did what they were doing. After viewing the five shorts available on the DiggeronFOX channel we finished the comic but afterwards my son went right back to the shorts. The target audience for the comic book is obviously kids who are already beholden to Digger, which betrays a certain creative atrophy on behalf of the creators.

Even before this issue hits stands at $3.99, IDW has announced the four-issue collection for $11.99. Once technology like the iPad gets rolling, I would suggest that the entire series be made available for something like $3.99 because it is terribly disposable. Luckily IDW is pushing hard in its multimedia forays, because I cannot see the sustainability of such a high price point as the market becomes increasingly saturated with dull kids comics. The situation is akin to IDW's Doctor Who series: why pay $3.99 for a comic book when you can get a single recent episode for $1.99 from iTunes? With Digger available for free on YouTube, what's the point of such an anemic book other than to keep the kiddies quiet in the back seat on the drive home from the racetrack?

Written by Jack Briglio
Drawn by Diego Jourdan

In stores February 10, 2010

Adam Paige
Senior Reviewer

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Comic News: Boom Studios for 2/10/10

Boom Studios has released previews for their books coming out on February 10th.

Written by Andrea “Casty” Castellan, Alberto Savini
Drawn by Andrea “Casty” Castellan, Abramo Leghziel
24pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
COVER A: Andrea “Casty” Castellan
COVER B: Jonathan Gray and Jake Myler
COVER C: Magic Eye Studios and Jake Myler
Diamond Code: NOV090697

Suit up and fly the friendly skies as Mickey Mouse and Eega Beeva take an amazing journey through time. But will they be in time to stop a villain that rhymes? Big adventure awaits the world’s favorite mouse as BOOM Kids! brings you the third act in the Casty epic, “Mickey Mouse and the World to Come!”

Written by Phil Hester
Drawn by Brian Churilla
SC, 24pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Brian Churilla
COVER B: Phil Hester
Diamond Code: DEC090727

The Breeder and his monstrous offspring have been defeated, but the mysterious Wound has set his sights on The Anchor’s companion, Hofi. The Anchor must choose between finally learning the truth about his past or saving the life of the one he loves. Black Lips Part One is a perfect jumping on point for anyone who failed to get aboard the comic book juggernaut that is… THE ANCHOR! A new BOOM! ongoing series, brought to you by Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Phil Hester and fan-favorite artist Brian Churilla.

Written by Keith DeCandido, Rockne S. O’Bannon
Drawn by Caleb Cleveland
SC, 24 pgs, FC,(3 of 4), SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Chad Hardin
COVER B: Caleb Cleveland
Diamond Code: DEC090734

There might be one thing that D’Argo hates worse than working with Raxil. One thing in the Uncharted Territories that could give the mighty Luxan warrior a heart attack where he stands. That would be….Raxil behind the wheel of Lo’La, his cherished Luxan ship! Written by FARSCAPE’s Keith R.A. DeCandido and Executive Produced by show creator Rockne S. O’Bannon.

Writen by Paul Benjamin and Patrick Storck
Drawn by Dave Alvarez
SC, 24 pgs, FC, (1 of 4), SRP: $2.99
COVER A: David Peterson
COVER B: Dave Alvarez
Diamond Code: OCT090803

Many have sought the Holy Grail, and many have failed. Now the Muppets present some very good reasons why, as they recount the fantastic quest of King Arthur and his Muppets of the Round Table! This classic tale of adventure, romance, and magic is told once again, but this time with more frogs, chickens, bears, and Whatnots than you can shake Excalibur at! In the words of Fozzie, it will be a ‘knight’ to remember!

Written by Roger Langridge
Drawn by Roger Langridge
Covers A & B by Roger Langridge
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
Diamond Code: NOV090692

Roger Langridge’s celebrated run on THE MUPPET SHOW continues with this first issue of the new ongoing series! With the theater in disarray after the events of PEG-LEG WILSON, the Muppet gang decides to take their show on the road! Is the world ready for traveling Muppet minstrels?

Written by Phil Hester
Drawn by Brian Churilla
SC, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $9.99
ISBN13: 9781608860043
Diamond Code: DEC090728

THE ANCHOR. Holy warrior, unholy war. Freak of nature, beast of burden, medieval prizefighter, Viking raider…God’s own leg-breaker. One thousand years ago a hulking outcast sought refuge in the crumbling ruins of an ancient monastery and offered in return

the one thing he had to give — his fists.

Transformed into an immortal warrior monk to stand at the gates of Hell itself and keep our world free from its invading armies, The Anchor was mysteriously tricked into centuries of slumber. But today, this holy warrior must rise again to battle all the unholy monsters unleashed during his slumber!

Cataclysmic action, quirky humor, and profound pathos, for fans of HELLBOY and THE GOON. Brought to you by Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Phil Hester (GREEN ARROW, SWAMP THING, THE COFFIN) and fan-favorite artist Brian Churilla(REX MUNDI, THE ENGINEER, CREEPY).

Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Drawn by Declan Shalvey
SC, 128 pgs, FC, SRP: $19.99
ISBN13: 9781608865055
Diamond Code: OCT090768

The film that changed horror forever continues here! Connecting the movie 28 DAYS LATER to its sequel 28 WEEKS LATER, this original graphic novel continuation focuses on Selena, one of the three survivors of the first film, as she embarks on an epic journey to return to Great Britain. Joining a team of American war journalists hell bent on venturing into the heart of Infected territory, they must learn the cold, hard truth of what it takes to survive in the U.K. after the Infection has spread.

Scripted by HEXED and FALL OF CTHULHU’s Michael Alan Nelson and drawn by newcomer sensation Declan Shalvey.

Written by Grace Randolph
Drawn by Amy Mebberson
HC, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $24.99
TPB, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $9.99
HC ISBN13: 9781608865314
TPB ISBN13: 9781608865079
Diamond Code: OCT090802

It’s the Peter Pan Story – Mupppet-style! When Peter Pan (Kermit) whisks Wendy (Janice) and her brothers to the magical realm of Neveswamp, the adventure begins! With Captain Hook (Gonzo) out for revenge for the loss of his hand, Wendy and her brothers may find themselves in a situation where even the magic of Piggytink (Miss Piggy) can’t save them!

Written by Stefano Ambrozio
Drawn by Lorenzo Pastrovicchio, Marco Gervasio, Marco Palazzi, Alessandro Perina
HC, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $24.99
TPB, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $9.99
HC ISBN13: 9781608865413
TPB ISBN13: 9781608865413
Diamond Code: DEC090765

The epic tale WIZARDS OF MICKEY starts here! In an age of legends and heroes, the Wizard’s Apprentice, Mickey Mouse, loses a magic talisman he has been charged to protect. To win it back, Mickey must gather a team to compete in the Great Wizard’s Tournament…but with Donald and Goofy as his teammates, does he really have a chance? Especially when his opponents are Peg-Leg Pete and the
Phantom Blot? Join Mickey Mouse and his friends in a tale of magic and wonder!


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