Sunday, November 10, 2013

Three days of reviews Part 3: "The old napkin trick never stopped working..."

Is it redundant to keep talking about Sergio Aragones Funnies? Here's a comic book which is of the same uniform greatness every month; each month features silent 1-page gags, activity pages, a comedic feature and a biographical feature from Sergio's life. So, we should all stop talking about this wonderful comic book, right? We can all take its assured quality for granted and instead discuss Trademark Protected Man#23 and what the new potato salad recipe means for the citizens of Knight City.

Then again, perhaps a comic book like Sergio Aragones Funnies should be talked about whenever it comes out. Perhaps if we started ignoring the old "sound and fury" brigade and never stopped talking about the fun, intelligent and well-made books it could make a difference to someone out there. Such is the premise of my reviewing Sergio Aragones Funnies#10.

This issue's comedic feature is "Titanic Tales," about a robber who boards the Titanic just in time for its catastrophic voyage. Ordinarily a story about someone evading the law only to wind up on the scene of a great disaster like the Titanic sinking (or the Hiroshima bombing) is where the story ends; here, Sergio prefaces the story by discussing the Titanic before introducing the robber. This was a pretty neat swerve - clearly, the surprise ending was not "but the ship was the Titanic! ha-ha-ha" so I was left uncertain of where Sergio was going with his joke. As it should be.

Of greater interest was "My Second Peso," the autobiographical story. Really, I follow Sergio Aragones Funnies primarily for these tales. This tale is a sequel to one from issue #2 where Sergio described the first time he was paid for his art. In this tale, we learn how a young Sergio would barter his artistic talents to businesses across town by decorating their windows in exchange for goods/services. Eventually, Sergio's abilities are noticed by some older boys who invite him to accompany them as they prowl for girls, figuring Sergio's artwork could be the answer to a maiden's prayer.

"My Second Peso" was well worth the cost on its own - it's a very genuine, human story as Sergio tries to fit in with an older crowd and be appreciated as an artist. Ultimately, it's a story of disappointments, but Sergio insists one trick he learned from those older boys - passing along sketches on napkins to beautiful girls - is one he kept using for years to come.

If you aren't reading Sergio Aragones Funnies... my gosh, why are you reading this blog post? There's so much you're missing, friend! To the comic shop, quickly! I'll always be here, but those back issues are already commanding a small fortune!

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