Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Is a samurai helping the Aztecs to defeat Cortez?" Sergio Aragones Funnies#12

I may not visit the comic shop as often these days as I once did, but my infrequent visits at least tend to coincide with the infrequently-published (ie, bi-monthly) Sergio Aragones Funnies, which I've often blogged about on this site. It's a gentle ray of sunshine through the otherwise gray skies of Calgary.

And there, in issue #12, is the announcement of Funnies' cancellation.

Fortunately, in his introductory cartoon Sergio reveals Funnies is only ending its current run with Bongo Comics and will be moving to another publisher (unnamed but I assume rhymes with Mark Morse). Whew! Don't scare us like that, Sergio!

As usual for the series, this issue contains two multi-page tales, the first being "A Hero's Dream," the story of a man determined to become a costumed crimefighter, but repeatedly hobbled by the harsh realities of the real world. I wouldn't say this story is particularly funny - more melancholic. There is humour to be mined from people who expect the real world to work out as they see it in fiction, but this tale simply depicts a good-intentioned man being pummeled by his environment.

It actually made me think of a friend (no names) who once dreamed of being a crimefighter; one day as he was working out in the gym, the gym was robbed and the criminals got away; he remained completely oblivious of what had transpired. On another occasion, he saw a suspicious car in his neighbourhood and attempted a confrontation, only to learn it was a police vehicle - his neighbours were under surveillance for suspected crimes! I think an oblivious hero (such as my friend) would have made Sergio's story a little funnier.

Fortunately the other feature - Sergio's regular series of personal biographic material - never lets me down! This time, Sergio relates his fondness for the Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune and how he managed to meet his hero around 1960 when Mifune came to Mexico to film a feature. Sergio's first attempt at ingratiating himself to Mifune - hampered by Mifune's inability to understand Spanish and the duo's mutually poor English - is pretty funny. Surprisingly, Mifune's connection to Sergio's family lasted for more than two decades, as Sergio mentions how after his father's death, Mifune send a Christmas card to Sergio's mother every year until the end of her life. The collected anecdotes about Mifune & Sergio serve to humanize the actor, bringing him down from the pedestal Sergio set him upon (while simultaneously building a new pedestal). It's a very fine, warm, human tale.

As per usual, the issue contained activity pages and the single-page cartoons Sergio excels at; hopefully Sergio Aragones Funnies will return after only a brief absence!

No comments: