COMICS REVIEWS


All in Your P.O.V.
Contractual Desperation!
F'reeze a Jolly Good Fellow!
Louie's Ristorante
Shine a Little Light

Voodoo Baloo

The Volcano of Gold

The Why of the Beholder
 

 

All in Your P.O.V.
(short)
(1 out of 5 Krakatoa Specials)
Feb 95, Vol. 5, #4
Cover:  X-Men (cartoon)

Summary

Gidget:
While Wildcat tampers... er, tinkers with the engine, Baloo is fishing off the H4H dock.  Suddenly, he gets a bite! ("Nibble!  Nibble!")
(as Baloo) Not now, Becky!  I'm tryin' ta catch a big one!"
Rebecca: (seductively) So am I.
Cody:  Well, that would have made this comic more interesting.

Anyway, Baloo reels it in --- a good-sized blue fish.  Baloo is just about detach the hook when an evil-looking alley cat dashes by, snatching the fish in its mouth.  Still attached to the hook and reel, the poor fish is dragged along the pier, and still holding onto the rod, Baloo.  
Gidget:  I wouldn’t get too attached to that fish…
Cody: Bah-dum-ching.

"Hey--!!" The pilot shouts as he's dragged up and down the docks.  "Whoa--!!"

Kit passes by and sees the commotion.  He goes up to the mechanic and asks, "Wildcat, what's Baloo doing?"

"He's, uhh... cat fishing?"
Gidget: Ba-dum-ching!
Cody:  Being stupid is more like it. (pauses) But that's normal, ain't it?
Gidget: I hate to say it, but… yeah. 



Comments

Gidget:
Obviously, this is meant to be cute.   I call it lazy.  I really don't like these two-page comics.  There's no room to build an interesting story, and the joke --- if you can call it that --- it’s lame-o. The artwork is very good, however, so it gets one Krackatoa Special from the Angry Prom Queen.
 
Cody: I agree.  It's stupid.  Really stupid.  The artwork was all right --- the colors were a little off and the buildings had the usual cartoon slant to them that isn't visible in the show.

Gidget: Like the doomed fishie, this one was dead in the water.

May 2003

 

Contractual Desperation!
TaleSpin #4
Written by Bobbi JG Weiss
Pencilled by Oscar F. Saavedra


by Guest Reviewer Cynthia Gardener
5 out of 5 Krakatoa Specials

Cyndi:  Rebecca comes home to find Baloo off to get lunch but hasn't returned yet. (what else is new?)  Kit goes outside and waits for Baloo who has found a new client for Rebecca.  He thinks that by doing this, he will get a promotion into management, but the contract -- from a T. Bone Picker (where did they come up with that name?) -- has a catch that if Baloo doesn't return with the cargo by 10 am, H4H is his. 

Gidget:  At least it wasn't 'Nose' Picker...  

Baloo leaves to pick up the cargo, taking Wildcat -- who's been working on some invention --- with them. (if you read the comic through, you see Picker's henchmen, (both dogs) stashing a crate into the hold of the Sea Duck.  The first part of the delivery goes smoothly, but then things start messing up on the return flight.  Wildcat fixes everything, including his invention, a portable engine comes in handy when he has to put a pontoon back on the plane. 

Time marches on toward 10 am and Baloo stops at Louie's for a good cry.
Gidget:  Heh-heh... that's a great scene.  I like Louie's comforting words:
Louie:  There, there, Big Daddy!

Cyndi:   It's then that Wildcat runs into the club carrying a monkey caught in a board.  Louie reveals that it is a 'pieces' monkey "as in it takes things to pieces" -- quote from Louie.  The cargo is nothing but old suits and coats and Picker is revealed to be the culprit.

Baloo and Louie catch the rest of the monkeys and devise a plan to get Picker away from H4H.  Baloo comes back and tells Rebecca he had to round up a bunch of people, because if Picker runs the business he gets to handle all the debts.  The cloaked people walk up shouting "bills, bills!" and Picker and his cronies run to their plane.  Rebecca demands to know what was going and Baloo reveals the 'bill people' to be Wildcat, Louie, and Kit along with two others in disguise.  In the end frame we see the pieces monkeys tearing Picker's plane apart.

 

Commentary

Cyndi:  I give this comic 5 Krackatoas because I thought it was pretty good.  Although the storyline sounded like something I had heard somewhere before.  The comic was well written and well drawn.  I did have a few quirks about it though.  Why did Rebecca leave Baloo in charge of H4H while she was going to the bank?  She knew he was going to screw everything up and yet, here we see that she left him in charge.  At least Kit had sense enough to take the phone messages or Rebecca wouldn't have known who had called.  I can only imagine what she would have done if Baloo had taken a few messages for her.  Yikes!! 

The fact that she nearly wanted to fire him for getting a contract without her permission was classic enough, especially in one scene where you can almost see steam shooting out of her ears.  (This was where Picker tried to calm her down.  Baloo looks really embarrassed here.)

Gidget:  I know!  I just love her reaction when she finds out just how badly he screwed up:
Rebecca (draws him aside to whisper as Picker waits nearby):  Despite the fact that I should have known better, I left you in charge of Higher for Hire while I was gone, Baloo.  Legally, your signature had the power of my signature during that time... (pause, then strangles him, Homer style)  But you weren't supposed to sign anything!!

Cyndi:  It was also good to see Baloo show some remorse when he thought he had actually lost H4H.  Overall, like I said, pretty good and well-written.  I thought it was pretty funny when they said the name of the critter was a "pieces monkey."  It also made me wonder what would have happened if Baloo had succeeded in getting a contract with no strings attached to it.  Would Rebecca have to move him into management?  One may never know.

January 2005

F'reeze a Jolly Good Fellow!

A Tale Spin Comics Review by Guest Reviewer jb

4 out of 5 Krakatoa Specials

 

Tale Spin #6, November 1991, W.D. Publications, Inc.

Writer: Bobbi J.G. Weiss

Pencillers: Oscar F. Saavedra and Hector Saavedra

Inkers: Ruben Torreiro and Robert Bat

Letterer: Bill Spicer

Colourer: Jo Meugniot

 

Cover Art

Penciller: Jim Mitchell

Inker: Gary Martin

Colourer: Gail Bailey

 

Summary

 

    The Higher for Hire crew is taking a rare Saturday off with Baloo planning to snooze the day away (as usual) while doing babysitting duty with Molly listening to Danger Woman on the radio in her makeshift costume; Kit going on a hike with some of his schoolmates and Rebecca taking a day cruise around the surrounding Cape Suzette waterways.

    Rebecca is festively dressed up in a button-downed blouse, flamenco-styled skirt, heels and bolero hat with bangles along the rim and her hair is put up in a bun, which she proudly models for the others. While Kit and Molly shower her with compliments, Baloo can only muster up a snide comment much to his employer’s chagrin with: “So…where are yer castanets?”

 

    Baloo bemoans the fact that her outing is nothing more than to find her “Mister Right” on some fancy day cruiser and suggests she looks for a real man at Louie’s instead. The businesswoman then questions her pilot’s behaviour as a thinly-disguised bout of jealousy, which he staunchly denies, disappointing her somewhat.

    jb: Well, duh! Wasn’t this scene kind of obvious between these two?

   As she puts on a fringed shawl, grabs her purse and prepares to head off the cruise ship plus drop off Kit en route, Rebecca warns Baloo to take good care of Molly, to which the pilot nonchalantly replies that her offspring will be too preoccupied with the all-day Danger Woman radio marathon now playing. After they leave, Baloo prepares to catch up on his forty winks just as Molly hears the radio sponsor’s ad for her favourite dessert, Frosty Pep Ice Cream. She then jumps on Baloo’s stomach and begs him to buy some later on, making him realize this isn’t going to be as easy as it looks…  

Gidget:  Welcome to the Land of Sticky-Jam Hands and Runny Noses…  

Cody:  Yeah, I always need to pop a few Valiums before I go there.  

jb: Some people just aren’t meant to deal with children…;3

 

 

   Meanwhile, Air Pirate leader Don Karnage prepares to celebrate his twenty-ninth birthday – for the umpteenth consecutive year – by listening to his favourite radio programme: Danger Woman, until Mad Dog enters his quarters to tell him they’ve got everything on his wish list for his “surprise” birthday party for tonight except the cake and ice cream. Just when his lackey questions where to get some after some unsuccessful raids, when Karnage overhears the radio announcer mention the weekly cargo supply to Cape Suzette in the radio ad and states the great birthday rule: “What a birthday boy wants – a birthday boy gets!”

  Back at Higher for Hire, Molly’s quietly listening to the latest episode of the marathon and Baloo is still sound asleep when the announcer interrupts with the news that the Frosty Pep cargo plane has been hijacked by unknown perpetrators, horrifying the cub. She quickly wakens the pilot to tell him the news in the hopes they can track down the plane and recover the ice cream. Baloo tries to resist the little girl’s pleas, but eventually caves in.

   The Air Pirates have successfully taken control of the Frosty Pep plane and is readying to toss out the two pilots overboard when Gibber mutters in his leader’s ear to get a musical band for tonight’s entertainment, to which he places Mad Dog in charge of finding one. Pondering where he’s going to get the cake, Gibber whispers another suggestion that leads to another idea before the two of them shove the cargo pilots overboard with one parachute to share and take off in other direction in search of a bakery to make his cake.

 

 

 

    Baloo and Molly scour the skies in the Sea Duck for the missing Frosty Pep plane without much luck. The pilot comes up with an idea to head for Louie’s Place for some ice cream, promising the despondent little girl a big Krakatoa Sundae Special that Molly suddenly becomes enthusiastic over.

   Closer to the Cape , Rebecca is leading a conga line onboard the day cruiser S.S. Festivia. After a breather and much applause, she’s solicited by a handsome-looking (jb: translation – rich-looking ;)) dog who calls himself Taddy. Displaying fine gentlemanly manners, he suggests that they make a request to the ship’s quartet to play “Moonlight Melody” to slow dance together, delighting the she-bear.

   At that moment, Mad Dog’s squadron happens to be in the same area as the Festivia and finds their acquired target. Just as the band is about to honour Rebecca and Taddy’s request, the Air Pirates make their move by throwing grappling hooks and ropes and hauling off the bandstand, musicians and Rebecca by mistake, who was standing on the stage at the time. Slipping and losing her balance, she falls off the stage but is rescued by the quartet just in the nick of time and now ponders their fates as they head off to Pirate Island .  

 

 

   Louie greets the two newly-arrived bears at his nightclub and tells them of a catering job at the floating gambling casino at Pair-O’-Dice Island (jb: Not that original a name, but I love it!J), complete with a fireworks display that he’s providing. The simian then asks for a Krakatoa Special. In a frantic whisper, Louie tells the pilot that his own ice cream shipment didn’t come in either due to the skyjacked Frosty Pep cargo plane, but placates the child with a Pie-To-The-Sky Fruit Delight with whipped cream and a cherry on top.  

jb: Whipped cream?? Doesn’t he care about this kid’s fat intake? Look at Baloo!;3  

Gidget: Maybe he’s fattening her up for Thanksgiving.  

Cody:  She’d give everybody diabetes.  

jb: More good reasons to go vegetarian.  

   Don Karnage and his minions then barge in, making everyone prepared to defend themselves. The lupine leader announces his peaceful intentions and orders a large ice cream cake for his birthday which he supplies three generous crates of ice cream that he plundered from the Frosty Pep plane. Baloo gets incensed and begins to confront him, but is stopped when Karnage offers payment, telling the doubting orang-utan rather threateningly to have cake and twenty sundaes ready by five o’clock today or else. Louie then comes up with a plan to give Karnage a well-deserved birthday “‘spankin’’ he’ll never forget” with the two bears’ help.  

 

 

   That evening, the captive Rebecca and the Festivia quartet forced to perform for the Air Pirates in the mess hall party at Pirate Island . Mistaken – and unrecognized – for a dancer, the businesswoman worries that she’ll be discovered sooner or later and to make matters worse, she’s caught Don Karnage’s leering eye!

   The pirate leader praises Mad Dog for bringing the band and dancing girl for his party and in a smitten mood he orders his vassal to bring Rebecca to him. In the kitchen, the hippopotamus chef places the last of the birthday candles on top of the tall ice cream cake, unaware by anyone that Baloo and Molly are hidden inside the hollowed centre. Shivering with cold, the pilot feels a sneeze coming on to which the young cub tries to stop in order for Louie’s plan to work.

   In the mess hall, Rebecca tries to resist Karnage’s advances as the cake is readying to be rolled out. Blindfolded, he drags the petulant she-bear by the wrist to the centre of the room and the pirates sing in honour of their fearless leader. But Baloo violently sneezes enough to blow off the cake’s top just as the blindfold is whipped off of Karnage’s eyes. Stunned silence fills the room as the two bears are exposed to the world in general, bring out a roll-call montage of Baloo, Molly, Rebecca and Karnage, all of them unexpectedly surprised by the turn of events.

   Enraged by these uninvited guests, the lupine commander orders them to be captured. The pilot trashes what’s left of the cake as a stalling point against the pirates, grabs Rebecca and Molly and zooms out of the mess hall with the kidnapped musicians soon following them.  

 

 

   Running through Pirate Island ’s tunnels, Rebecca scolds Baloo for bringing Molly into a dangerous environment while he angrily accuses her of holding hands with Karnage back at the party, to which she flatly denies outright and then they all discover the Air Pirates’ cache of stolen goods that take up an entire cavern. The pilot decides to take a few sacks of coins to first compensate the Festivia quartet for their being inconvenienced by Karnage, plus Louie’s time and expense in making the cake and the Frosty Pep cargo pilots’ losses. A search party led by Mad Dog can be heard approaching the treasury cavern, which suddenly Molly comes up with an idea to buy some time for their escape.

   Charging into the treasury, Mad Dog orders Baloo to drop the coin bags. As he refuses to, the young she-cub gives the command to spill pearls at the oncoming pirates. While they’re slipping and falling, the fugitives then charge at them, dropping a large tapestry rug on top and make a mad dash for the docking bay.

   Confronted by more pirates along the way, Molly accidentally discovers a large trolley cart in a side tunnel that they all clamber aboard and smash their way through Karnage’s search party and into a large guard at the end of the ride that brings them back to the mess hall, where Baloo executes the final stage of Louie’s plan.  

 

 

   The Air Pirates search the tunnels for the runaways when they hear Baloo’s voice coming from the mess hall. Barging in, they find a deserted place and lit candles on the sundaes making a strange hissing sound. Before they know it, the firecrackers explode and splatter the room and the brigands with ice cream.

   Shaking with cold and fright, Karnage looks at the scene and finds the motive highly unusual for Baloo to commit until Mad Dog warns of a lit firecracker atop a large wrapped birthday present from Louie himself. As he boldly attempts to put it out, the leader learns to his shock it’s just a hollow stick attached to a longer fuse that goes directly into the box and starts to rumble quite loudly…  

 

 

   Baloo and Co. finally make it to the docking bay and Frosty Pep plane, boarding it quickly. With Rebecca and Molly joining him in the cockpit, she praises her pilot’s actions as they take off for the skies. The flier, not yet confident they’re out of danger completely, tells them to brace for anything. When his employer asks why, Molly just tells her to wait and see.

   Afterwards, a fireworks display erupts from Pirate Island as they fly off from a safe distance with Baloo laughing: “We gave ol’ Karny what he wanted most of all – a real bang-up of a birthday party!”

 

 

Quibbles & Quips

 

- On the cover, Baloo’s fur is about a grey shade lighter and the frills on Molly’s underpants are lessened in comparison to the comic.  

      Gidget:  I hate cartoon girls with frilly panties showing. There’s something distasteful about it, IMO. And it looks like their clothes don’t fit.

      Cody: I hate frills, period.  

      jb: I sympathize with you, two, really. But back in the 1930s, girls’ briefs were purposely oversized to prevent wear, which probably explains why the original Minnie Mouse’s skivvies looked the way they did (even with the modern version now, which is still silly). On the whole, it is rather odd and sexist to be doing them in this post-feminist era, not to mention saccharine-inducing to the eye >_<. But IMHO, whether a woman wants to wear lacy underwear or not, that’s their prerogative. 

- The opening panel has Higher for Hire’s rooftop flag is coloured yellow instead of its customary red, the Sea Duck isn’t parked on the front landing and Wildcat’s floating shack is missing (page 1).  

- There’s a constant fluctuation on the objects around Rebecca’s bolero hat, one panel show they’re tassels, the next bangles throughout the comic.  

- Rebecca’s hair bun is missing on the bottom left panel of page 2, plus her shawl looks too stiff when she removes it from her desk chair.  

- Baloo’s head looks shrunken and chinless in upper right panel of page 2.  

- Second tier of staircase missing in centre-left panel; reappears on bottom-left panel (page 3).

 

- Karnage’s head looks a little compacted as he admires himself in the mirror on centre-left panel on page 4; his private quarters (Gidget: LOL!) looks rather toned down when it’s been shown as being lavishly decorated and wooden floorboards appear only once (lower left panel, page 4).  

- If the Air Pirates captured the Frosty Pep cargo plane (page 7), whey isn’t there the usual grappling hooks and lines on it like they did in “P&L Part 1” and later when they kidnap Rebecca and the musicians?  

- Dumptruck’s muzzle is missing some colour on the lower jaw in centre-right panel, (page 7).

 

- The Frosty Pep logos on boxes missing white circles except for one (first lower right panel, page 7) and the logo is not the same as the original seen in “It Came From Beneath the Sea Duck.”  

- Molly seems to have earned some height in the centre-left panel, then drops down to regular level in the next panel (page 9).  

- Lower panel has the quartet’s bassist hair is blond and trumpeter bandleader is brown, then is reversed for the rest of the comic and the guitarist’s guitar is grey, then white afterwards (page 9).

- The Festivia’s stairwell is beige (where Taddy kisses Rebecca’s hand) in the background while it’s white throughout (page 10).  

- The quartet’s jacket colour is turquoise in upper left panel and then is green in the remainder of the comic (page 10).  

- On the lower right panel of page 10, bassist looks like he had elongated eyelashes like a female character on one eyelid and the percussionist’s pointed hand is missing it colour (page 10).  

- There’s a microphone stand that suddenly appears on the upper left panel all of the sudden, as the Air Pirates hoist the bandstand above the ocean as the bandleader throws the cord out to Rebecca – it wasn’t there before the chaos happened (page 11).  

- Taddy’s pencil-thin moustache kind of disappears in the upper-right panel (page 11).

 

- ‘Toon physics defy real life: how can the Air Pirates lift the bandstand upwards and onwards away from the Festivia and keep it balanced all the way back to Pirate Island? Same illogic on their raid on Shere Khan’s plane in “P&L Part 1” (page 11).  

- Colour missing on percussionist’s muzzle; guitarist’s ear looks like a grey hairpiece (consistent thorough comic) and not an ear; plus a poorly-drawn bass turner on when they’re pulling up Rebecca back onto the stage (page 11).

 

- Louie’s holding a rather large rocket (looks like a big dynamite stick!); he’s more brown-coloured than usual reddish-brown and his lei is pink (lower panel, page 11).  

 

- Baloo’s palm colour missing on upper central and lower right hand panels (page 12).  

- Why do half the customers at Louie’s Place look like gangsters? (I know it’s a rough place, but it’s not Gangster Central, either, for crying out loud!)

Gidget: Well, it is rather disreputable, compared to Cape Suzette . And it is a bar.
 jb: You never know what Louie’s putting in those drinks, anyway. :)

 

- Rather odd-looking snarl on Karnage’s face as he shuts up Dumptruck (page 13).  

- Karnage’s eyeball colour missing (upper left panel, page 14).  

- Molly’s spatula appears for the first time in Louie’s Place (lower left panel) and a fourth Frosty Pep ice cream crate appears on the trolley as the pirates unload it – there’s only three in the beginning (page 14).

 

- Rebecca’s bun matches the colour of her fur in upper right hand panel (and again in centre-right panel) and Karnage looks more bored at her than lustful in upper panel (page 15).

- Rebecca’s front hair bang appears under her hat, then disappears afterwards; Mad Dog’s party hat missing, then reappears again (upper right panel, page 16).

 

- Trumpeter bandleader looks a little drowsy (is that supposed to be a worried look?) when Rebecca’s being dragged along with Karnage; plus her feet and shoes look tiny (page 16). Rebecca: If you’d been wearing those heels all damn day, buster, your feet would shrink too!;)  

- Why does Rebecca’s hat have a jaunty tilt then placed perfectly on top again (middle-centre panel, page 18)?  

- Molly’s toe colour is missing and Rebecca’s skirt is missing colour on the first and second tier – looks like she’s wearing an extra large blouse (lower right panel, page 18).

 Rebecca: I had to borrow one of Baloo’s blouses. They make great nightshirts!

 Baloo: Hope ya dry cleaned it afterwards, Becky. An’ no starch on the collar like last time!;3  

- For an upset mother, Rebecca doesn’t show her anger much when she’s lashing out at Baloo when they’re running from the pirates (page 19).  

- Why does the guitarist look overjoyed when Baloo’s shoving coins into the first bag (lower left panel, page 19)for? Weird…O_o (Gidget: He’s getting free money, isn’t he?)  

- For an evening sky, it looks like it’s daytime and a pretty under-coloured fireworks display from Pirate Island in the final panel (page 24).

 

 

 

Neat Little Details

 

- No debate – with the exception of those clunky-looking heels – Rebecca’s Latin-inspired outfit looks great on her.  

- Rebecca does a really neat pirouette down the H4H stairwell (upper left, page 2).  

- Love the way Karnage leans to hear Gibber’s suggestion in the upper-right and the co-pilot’s shocked look on his face and hand clasped over his mouth with his eyes on the pilot when he calls him “crazy” for doing this for his birthday party (centre panel, page 8).  

- Cute father-daughter moment in the Sea Duck (centre panel, panel 9).

 

- Trumpeter bandleader tossing cord to Rebecca as she tumbles off the stand is a good action scene (third panel, page 11).  

- The encased, blue-tinged cutaways of Baloo and Molly hiding inside the cake scenes.  

- One of the pirates grabbing onto a flag streamer above his head to avoid the cake that Baloo dumps on them and a sharp-looking silhouette of Rebecca looking on (lower left panel, page 18).

 

- Excellent move of Baloo grabbing Molly under his arm and Rebecca by the wrist as they flee the mess hall (lower right panel, page 18) and when they leave again linked in a hand chain (upper left panel, page 23).

Gidget (Baloo): Me Baloo, you Jane!

Rebecca: Oh, goody! I can break out that leopard print outfit I wore in “A Star Is Torn”!

Baloo: Hot diggity!!! Let’s go play “Rumble in the Jungle,” Becky!

jb: I’ve heard of swinging couples, but this is ridiculous! ;D

 

 

 

 

Funny Stuff/Dialogue

 

- Rebecca approaching Baloo to get his say on her ensemble:

   Rebecca: Well, Baloo? I didn’t hear you offering a comment!
   Baloo: So – where are your castanets?

   Rebecca: Hmph!

   jb: Gee, and she complains about Baloo having a large ego?

 

- Rebecca’s reaction to Baloo’s almost indignant denial:

  Baloo: “Jealous? Now why would I be jealous?

  Rebecca: (disappointed) “Oh, no reason! Never mind!”  

- Molly: (after jumping on Baloo’s stomach) Baloo, you’ll buy some Frosty Pep Ice Cream today, won’t you, huh? Please oh please oh pleeeease??

   Baloo: (groans) R&R…I think it’s gonna stand for run ragged!

- Karnage: (singing) Happy birthday to me! I’m as young as can be! If I never hit thirteeee – it will never hit me!  

- Karnage getting in Mad Dog’s face when he’s about to report on his wish list, believing it will be bad news.  

- Mad Dog looking a little miffed and crumples up the wish list when Karnage patronizes him as he plots to skyjack the Frosty Pep cargo plane.  

- When Molly pleads with Baloo to search for the Frosty Pep plane, why do her eyes look seductive at first, then by the next panel she kind of looks…stoned? O_o

Gidget: I noticed that too!  Esp. the ‘seductive’ part.
Baloo: Man, this kid is good.  She’s real good!

jb: Takes after her mother now, doesn’t she? (see “P&L, Part 4” and “My Fair Baloo” eye-fluttering scenes) :)

Molly: (stoner voice) What do you think gives the “pep” in Frosty Pep, dude? ;3

 jb: Maybe it should be called Frosty PCP. ;3  

- Baloo’s contorted expression of surrender to Molly’s plea equals to looking intoxicated.

  Baloo: Hey, I like Frosty PCP – er, Pep too, man!;3  

- Karnage is also a rabid Danger Woman fan too – who knew? And doesn’t it seem kind of ironic for a villain to listen to a crime-fighter radio adventure series? O_o  

- Karnage: (before he boots out the Frosty Pep pilots off the plane) “I am not crazy – I am just one heck of a fun-faluting guy, hee-hee!”  

- Taddy is a weird-looking canine. What did Rebecca see in that guy – other than the contents in his wallet? ;)  

- Taddy gets a second thought in helping Rebecca after she’s abducted.

   Taddy: Wait, what am I saying?? I’d ruin my suit!”

    jb: LOL! Some knight in shining armour… a “real” man would have gone to her rescue.

    Baloo: Tol’ ‘er she shoulda gone to Louie’s, but does she listen to me? Noooo…  

- Karnage: (grabbing Dumptruck after revealing his “age” at Louie’s) Remind me to shoot you when we get home!

   Dumptruck: Err— sorry, Captain!  

- Karnage: So what is your name, my prancing pigeon?
   Rebecca: None of your business!

   Mad Dog: Gee, that’s a funny name!

   jb: Old and corny, but classic a la Marx Brothers line.  

- Karnage: Where do you think you are going, lovely one? You must stay with me for the grand finality!

   jb (as Rebecca): I’ll give you a “grand finality” you’ll never forget, buddy – right in the pantaloons!

   Karnage: (getting horny) Ooooh…the girl of my dreamboat!

   Rebecca: (sighs) Men!  

- Baloo’s explosive sneeze and the pirate’s party hats popping up in surprise.  

- Karnage has this simpering look on his face on centre right panel (page 17) – or is he just intoxicated? O_o

   Karnage: I am not the only one who is liking Frosty PCP – um, Frosty Pep!;3  

- Molly’s cheeks look plumped up, almost cherubic in a comical style (third upper panel, page 18).

    Gidget: Looks fat to me.

    Cody:  She’s been hanging around with Baloo too much.

     jb: Time to lay off the Frosty Pep, I guess. Besides, don’t all women have an extra layer of fat everywhere? (ducks space shuttles)

     Gidget, Cody, Rebecca, Molly: Watch it, buster!!!  

- The roll-call montage at the fake cake revelation (reads like a Three Stooges/Marx Brothers tribute):

      Karnage: BALOO???
      Rebecca: Baloo!?!

      Molly: Mommy!!
      Baloo: Becky?!?

      Karnage: Becky??

      Rebecca: Molly?!

      Karnage: GET THEM!

- Molly’s plan of attack on the Air Pirates in the treasury cavern – humorously choreographed. :)

- Baloo and Karnage colliding into each other (centre-left panel, page 21)

  Baloo: Okay, maybe I need a map!

  Karnage: You will need more than a map when I am through with you, you uninvited party crasher!

   jb: (singing old Kenny Rogers song) Every time two fools collide…;)

 

- The trolley cart ride looks something like a tribute to the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom tunnel escape scene. :) 

 Gidget: For sure.

  jb: Call George Lucas’ lawyers (lawsuit!).

 Baloo: (leaving the mess hall again) Now, we make our getaway!

  Rebecca: But this is the wrong door!

  Molly: No, this is the right door, Mommy! He took the wrong door last time

  jb: My favourite line here! :)

 

- Karnage’s expression on his face in the mess room during the sundaes/present melange:

   Karnage: And who lit all the little birthday fuses? (pauses, then realizes…) FUSES?!

   Karnage: (In the aftermath of the sundae explosions) That was it? A few little boom-booms in the ice cream? That Baloo, he is one very estrange fellow!

 

- The pirates’ looks on their faces when Louie’s “present” activates – totally priceless.  

 

 

 

Commentary

 

   This story was a rarity in the TS comics collection, managing to do a B&B- and Molly-centric tale rolled into one. It balances both the oft-kilter relationship between the two adult bruins and the father/daughter bond Baloo has with Molly in practically the same vein of the episode “Flight of the Snow Duck.”

   Among the many things in F’reeze that it puts out Baloo’s feelings placed with Rebecca. In the opening scene at H4H, he rants off about her wanting to meet decent men suggesting his own place-of-call, Louie’s Place, instead of those of more sophisticated tastes to her style. Seldom in the TV series did Baloo ever express jealousy – with the possible exception of Captain Stansbury wooing Rebecca (“Her Chance to Dream”); his somewhat emotionless “sympathy” to her when Covington’s true nature is revealed (“Mollycoddled”) and open despair with the possibility of her taking another date to the Pilot’s Ball (“Gruel and Unusual Punishment”) – compared to his employer’s openly reactionary behaviour in “A Star Is Torn.” F’reeze was the perfect outlet to showcase this side of the pilot be seen and becoming verbally apparent in the escape when he accuses her of holding hands with Karnage at the cake ceremony. We see he is upset by this – and amused, is Rebecca only to be disappointed in his denial at the office.  

Gidget: Baloo the romantic…  

Rebecca: (mutters) …Or unromantic.  

Baloo: Hey, I’ma pilot, not a poet.  

   While not an openly popular TS character, Molly stands out in playing the heroine role that was constricted in the TV series, seen as less precocious and more Nancy Drew-esque in wanting to solve the disappearance of the Frosty Pep plane and give the bad guys their due. As in “Mollycoddled,” her resourcefulness proves to be an asset to the storyline and situation instead of being a liability (okay, even if she was a bit more interested of getting her favourite brand of ice cream ;3).  

Gidget: Sort of like Baloo wanting to earn his diploma in order to be invited to his reunion party.  

jb: Yeah, but in the end he really did learn something more than just to party, so there’s some credibility there.

   As rip-roaring an adventure it is, F’reeze falls a bit short of being one of the best TS comics. There’s no further explanation of the B&B relationship after their escape from the Air Pirates and into Baloo’s jealousy (what a missed opportunity!); Rebecca’s continued shallowness with her gains for materialism and prestige (hooking up with a guy named…“Taddy”? What’s up with that?? ;P); the aforementioned artwork flaws (see Quibbles and Quips) and a somewhat mediocre colour scheme except for the cover art, but that can be blamed on the Disney Company’s part in the early 1990s by dismantling the Gladstone publishing division and running it themselves cheaply.  

Gidget:  I agree… it was a missed opportunity to explore the possibility of change in the B&B relationship.  Only a passing mention of his jealousy and then it gets snowed under the theft of ice cream!  It really could have had more dimension, even for a comic book.  Started out great and then lost its way.  I'd give it 3 Krakatoa Specials.

Cody:  I’m the odd one out.  I really don’t care for this comic.  It’s too silly and I don’t care about B&B or Molly.  The only good part about this particular one was Karnage singing “If I never hit 30, it’ll never hit me.”  

jb: (sighs) There’s one in every crowd…;)

  Failing a point from greatness, F’reeze A Jolly Good Fellow! gets 4 Krakatoa Specials out of 5, yet it remains a highly enjoyable read for all TS fans, both of TV and comics alike. 


April 2006


Louie's Ristorante
(short)

A Disney Adventures TaleSpin Comics Review by Guest Reviewer jb
3 ½ of 5 Krakatoa Specials
 

Disney Adventures Magazine #1, November 1990 (cover: Rick Moranis & Baloo); also reprinted in Colossal Comics #2 (both W.D. Publications)

Writer:  Bobbi J.G. Weiss
Penciller:  Cosme Quartieri

Inker: Robert Bat & Ruben Torreiro

 

 

Summary

 

It’s just another night at the popular pilot’s refueling stop/water hole, Louie’s Place, with an old-fashioned bar brawl has broken out, caused by Baloo over some khaki outfit-clad boar’s atrocious table manners.

Baloo and Kit make taillights back to Cape Suzette and arrive late as usual with the cargo.  

Busted by the awaiting Rebecca at Higher for Hire, she berates him on his constant visits to the nightclub and then grills him on what makes him go there all the time. Fumbling between half-truths that he can’t explain it to her; she demands that she be taken there tomorrow night for dinner.

Realizing that if she discovers that it’s really a rough-and-tumble nightclub instead of a restaurant as she believes it to be, he’s sunk so he warns Louie ahead of time to “expect” a special guest with him tomorrow.  

The next evening, Baloo and Rebecca look very much like a couple on a night out with the pilot in a bomber jacket, dress shirt and tie (!) and the businesswoman decked out in a strapless gown, a mink stole, matching heels and purse.

Gidget: A big improvement over that horrible pink mess she wore in ‘My Fair Baloo’ and ‘Gruel and Unusual Punishment’.

jb: Agreed. But if you’d notice, the dress in “Gruel” is the same one used in “Her Chance to Dream.” Damn, those designers at Disney are so lazy! :-)

Rebecca: Err…budget cuts?

Edna Mode (from The Incredibles): Next time, dah-ling, call me.

 

Obviously nervous about what she might find, Baloo suggests that she tone down the flashy jewelery “because Louie’s may be a little…”
Gidget:
  Lice-infested? ;)
Louie: Hey, I do all the delousing around here myself!
Baloo:
Yeah…see the hair salon in the back? :-)
Cody (as Louie):
I don’t have a business license for that yet, so keep it quiet.

 

But before he can finish his sentence, the ursines enter the establishment to discover…an upscale Italian (to the best of its ability) restaurant. Everyone’s in their best threads and behavior – even Louie’s wearing a suit – and the house band’s playing soft music associated with eating places.  

After being seated, Rebecca’s impressed and apologies to her pilot, but little do they realize that two suspicious characters, one suave wolf in a three-piece suit and his heavy-set bear partner in a trench coat, have entered the place with their eye on Rebecca.  

As a relieved Baloo heads to the bar for a couple of drinks for them, the wolf makes his move on the she-bear, working his charms on her and easily persuades her to take a moonlight stroll with him outside.

jb:  How do you like that? Some date she is. A few frilly words and she’s ready to count ceiling tiles! :-)

Gidget:  LOL!!
Cody (as Becky):
I was not! (muttering) He would have had to show me some green before I’d be ready to do that!
Gidget:
  Becky’s a Supertramp!

Kitten Kaboodle: Hey, I’m the original Supertramp around here!

jb, Gidget, Cody, Becky: No arguments there!  ;3

 

As they head out the door, the wolf’s partner rises to follow, only to be aggressively confronted by other concerned patrons.

 

When the pilot returns with their drinks, he discovers to his surprise that the booth is empty. Louie then informs him that his employer stepped outside with “some shady-looking Don Juan [that had just] come in…and swept her right outta here.” With that, Baloo makes a quick dash for the exit and things begin to get ugly with the other patrons and the bear partner inside…

 

Meanwhile, the wolf pitches his woo over Rebecca on the pier to which she falls hook, line and sinker, only to have her necklace violently lifted off her, much to her shock and horror.

 

Ridiculed over her foolishness and helpless position, her shock quickly turns to fury. Baloo runs to her rescue, she then gives the mugger a good wallop with a nearby bucket (jb: Oh, how convenient), which surprises the pilot.

 

The enraged mugger then flicks a switchblade and threatens to cut up the she-bear. As she screams in fear, the large bear charges at the would-be assailant in a football-style slam into the mugger like a freight train, sending the lupine and knife into the water.

 

Rebecca rushes toward Baloo in relief over saving her, then confesses that she “maneuvered” (jb: why not just use the word “tricked” or “lied”?) him to taking her to Louie’s out of loneliness without realizing its unruly environment and didn’t want to look like it was a date “date” thing with him.

Gidget:  Poor little lonely businesswoman… *sob*  ;)

jb:  Well, maybe if she wasn't such a hard case all the time and loosened her chastity belt once in a while... ;3
Gidget (as Molly):  Hi!

 

Magnanimously, the pilot understands her need for a little recreation every now and then, proposes they try Louie’s again without the false pretenses from both parties, much to each other’s relief. Re-entering the premises, there’s another bar fight in progress. As the businesswoman looks on, Baloo explains in a slightly embarrassed tone: “I think we’ll have to start from the beginning. Uh…welcome to Louie’s!”

 

Quibbles and Quips

 

-     In the opening bar fight scene, there’s a group of private dancers in the background seemingly dancing to a slow beat (one couple in particular look pretty intimate) while the fight goes on. Now it’s always been known that once a bar fight goes on, it spreads like wildfire – as it does in the last panel – but not here. Why doesn’t this occur?

 

-    Louie’s Hawaiian shirt is red, as opposed to the usual green colour, not to mention an ugly colour on his lei.

Gidget:  I hope you mean his flower necklace… ;)

jb:  Yes, you perv. Boy, do you need to get out more often! :-)

Gidget:  That’s what I keep telling the people in the white coats, but they won’t loosen these darned restraints!  ;)

jb: Which ones…the straightjacket or chastity belt?;3

 

-     Why did Baloo pick on the boar’s table manners for? His table etiquette isn’t exactly out of Emily Post either.

 

-     Kit’s silhouettes at Cape Suzette are painfully skinny.

Gidget:  Um… Baloo doesn’t let him eat?

Cody:  (as Baloo) Hey, food’s expensive and I’m a growin’ boy!  The kid can just forage for himself.

Kit: That’s it. I’m calling Child Services.

 

-     At Higher for Hire, there’s a mélange of pipes, boxes and junk lying about. For someone as meticulously tidy as Rebecca is, she sure let the place go.

-     Throughout the story, Baloo never uses the nicknames “Becky,” “Beckers” or “Boss Lady” (but does call her boss at the end).
Gidget:  I never noticed that!)

 

-    Some H4H scene drawings make Baloo look like he’s intoxicated.
Gidget:  LOL!  I gotta check this out!  I suppose he had googly eyes and a lolling tongue?

jb:  Only when Rebecca wears sexy dresses. ;-)

Cody:  You mean she actually owns something sexy? ;)

 

-     Rebecca’s got her own place, yet she spends the night at the office, as we see her in that hideous purple bathrobe and white fluffy slippers. Were Baloo and Kit that late? She could have easily gone home.

Gidget:  I know.  My complaint exactly in War of the Weirds!

Cody:  Let’s face it.  The woman has no life.  Waiting around for Baloo is probably the highlight of her day.

 

-    Why does Baloo hope he has a tie? He hates ties like the plague! (plus it’s pretty ugly too)

 

-     Lack of planes at Louie’s island – even the Sea Duck is missing!
Gidget:  Wow.  Didn’t see that either.

 

-     Rebecca’s hair is longer than it should be in “the next evening” panel before going back to its regular length; her earrings, ring and bracelets are missing in a few panels; the ring band is brown-coloured in “the next evening” panel and the pattern on the bracelets disappears every few panels.

 

-     In the first “ristorante” panel, Rebecca’s gown goes from strapless to some colouring near her shoulders that makes it look like she has a plunging neckline gown with straps, and then returns back to regular strapless number.

 

-     What’s with the cheesy Italian décor in a Polynesian-themed nightclub? Besides it would be a very usual location to place one in the middle of near-nowhere to be profitable (not that I’m against the proliferation of Italian eateries…).

 

-     Tiger patrons tails are missing in “ristorante” panel

 

-     Noticeably, Rebecca is the only woman in the place as opposed to the private dancers in the first panel. What happened to them – or is this a gay nightclub in disguise? Hmmm…;3
Gidget:  Well, it does have cross-dressers… ;-)

jb (as Baloo):  Hey…what’s that supposed ta mean?!

 

-    Rebecca’s nose and muzzle colour missing as Baloo gets the drinks.

 

-    A really goofy grin on Rebecca’s face as the wolf pitches his woo before snatching her necklace; plus her purse disappears, and then reappears at the realization of his true intentions.

 

-     When the mugger takes the necklace, it a) looks like he’s lifted it over her head and b) the hook looks released. Despite it being a thick one, he could have snapped it off her neck.

 

-     At the pier, the wooden bucket that she uses to bonk the mugger with is filled with water, only to be bone dry when she puts it to action.

 

-     The pier looks unusually wide in the panel when the mugger pulls a knife on Rebecca.

 

-     Mugger’s tail is missing in a couple of panels during the pier fight scene.

-    As Rebecca rushes to embrace Baloo after the fight, his dress shirt is missing in the panel, then returns back after she confesses her real reasons for going out with him.

 

-     In the final scene, Rebecca has this somewhat bemused look on her face as she sees the bar fight. Does any woman find a bar fight that interesting (unless she’s participating in it)?

Gidget:  That bugged me too… she even has her hands clasped together as if she’s enthralled!

jb: I think it’s the way she’s holding her purse, like she did with her briefcase in Mommy For a Day. After all – once robbed, twice shy.

 

Bones of Contention

 

-     Since when did Rebecca acquire a small cleavage (and shapely figure), when it’s never been shown on the TV series or in other comics? While it’s true the strapless evening gown came out in the late 1930s, the strapless bra wasn’t invented until circa 1951. Until then, women had to go around bra-less and the gowns were fitted with a stiffening support in the chest area to give support to the bustline, which is why some of those dresses looked stiff back then (not to mention the faces J). Even so, Rebecca couldn’t achieve a chest cleft with her small bust irregardless. Perhaps the penciller Cosmi Quarteti felt sorry for her and wanted to give her one, I guess (plus the “cleavage” disappears and reappears throughout).
Gidget (as Baloo):  Er, Becky… I dropped my pencil… would ya be a doll and bend over and pick it up for me?

jb: Gee, I hope she’s not wearing thong briefs.

Rebecca: Only if I was Jennifer Lopez.

Baloo: Yeah – an’ that baby’s got back!
Rebecca: WHAT??!!
Cody:
  jb, the fact that you know so much about lady’s lingerie is somewhat… disturbing. ;)
jb:
Why – jealous?;3

 

-     How did Rebecca go from hero to zero at the sight of the mugger’s switchblade after hitting him, declaring she could defend herself pretty well much to Baloo’s surprise. It just made her look more like a damsel in distress and gave the pilot something heroic to do, but it just was plain contradictive and sexist, given her tough stance in the series (see Commentary for more on this). 

Gidget:  I agree.  Just put the mouse ears and the pink bow on her head already…
Rebecca (singing):
 M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! :-) 

 

-     Why, when she come clean on her real reasons for going out with Baloo, says that she doesn’t know anybody around here when in TV ep The Time Bandit claims she was born and raised in Cape Suzette? Doesn’t anybody bother to study TS lore first before writing?  
Gidget:  I noticed that immediately.

Cody:  Me, too.  There are a few inconsistencies in ol’ Becky’s history.  In The Time Bandit, the commentator also claims that she’s inherited ‘a small courier service’ from her father where she ‘quickly learned to enslave the workers.’  Yet in Plunder and Lightning, she tells Baloo that she’d sunk her life savings into Higher for Hire.  Does that mean that she actually had a business before she bought Higher for Hire?  And if so, what happened to it?

jb: Probably she either a) inherited her father’s money combined with her savings and plunked it into H4H or b) drove it into the ground with one of her get-rich-quick schemes.;3

 

 

Neat Little Details

 

-    Got to admit, Rebecca does cut a svelte figure in a strapless gown, fur stole (kind of ironic, a furred-covered animal wearing another animal’s fur – but that’s the animal rights activist in me talkingJ) and pumps. Woo!

Cody:  Actually, I thought she looked like she raided Minnie Mouse’s closet. Those shoes were hideous!

jb: I don’t know. Compared to the bathrobe and slippers she had on at H4H, her ensemble at Louie’s was an improvement.

Rebecca: I resent that, Cody! I took those shoes from Daisy Duck and the dress from Myra’s closet – oops! (slaps hands over mouth)

Daisy: So that’s where my shoes are!

Rebecca: Uhh…I…needed to colour co-ordinate with the dress?

Daisy: (rolling up sleeves) I’m going to colour co-ordinate your bruises, bruin…

Myra : (smacks fist into palm) Need a extra hand, Daisy?

jb: Don’t you just love catfights?;3

 

-     Patches on “ristorante” tablecloths are quaint with a touch of tacky.

 

-     Only the waiter and one “patron” wink at Baloo to know about the ruse.
Gidget:  I love the ‘wink’!

 

-     Devilish features on the wolf mugger when he snatches the necklace are totally priceless. 
Gidget:  He was freaky!

 

-     Silhouette imagery of B&B on the pier in the fight’s aftermath is almost romantic in a sense.

Gidget:  *sighs*

jb: Only thing missing is a mandolin and a gondola.

Don Karnage: I can be doing that – did it in P&L Part 2! But I charge a big fee, yes-no?

Baloo and Rebecca: Uhh…we’ll take a rain check.

 

 

Funny Stuff/Dialogue

 

- The opening fight scene, one canine pilot swings a fox patron around to knock-out three other patrons.

Boar: Where’d that fat bear go?! (jb: Look who’s talking. He could lose a few pounds himself! :-))

Louie: Out the back door…if he’s smart! “Just calm down, cuz! How ‘bout a root beer on the house!

Boar: I don’t wanna go outside! I want the bear – and the drink – in here!

 

Kit: You shouldn’t have picked on his table manners, Baloo!

Baloo: But, Kit, he ate like a –

Kit: I know, but you shouldn’t’ve said so!

jb: LOL! That’s my favourite line here.

Cody:  Those first couple of panels were the only good things about this comic.

 

- When Baloo escorts Rebecca to Louie’s, she notices: “Baloo! I didn’t think you owned a tie!”

“I didn’t.”

jb:  So where’d that tie come from?

Gidget:  Probably some dead guy. 

 

- After being seated in the Ristorante, Rebecca says while studying the menu: “Well, maybe apologies are in order.”

“Uh, okay…I’m sorry.”

“No, silly, I mean I should apologize to you! This place is fantastic!”

jb: An oldie, but a goodie – and it works here, too.

 

- All the mugger’s “romantic” lines (sample: “…and when your hair catches the moonlight, you become a silvery dream of loveliness”)

jb: Yuck!>_< Where’d he pick his material from…a Harlequin romance paperback?

Gidget:  What’s really embarrassing is that she bought it!

Cody: (as Rebecca) Well, it’s better than Baloo’s ‘You look better than a bag of doughnuts’ line.
Gidget:  LOL!! 

 

- In the close-up panel of B&B coming to an understanding, it looks like the pilot’s looking down at Rebecca’s chest instead of meeting her eyes.
Gidget:  *giggles*

jb: What for? She’s really got nothing to look at down there.

Baloo: You can say that again, bub!

Rebecca: Hey!!!

jb: Sorry – but you got to call a spade a spade.

Rebecca: And maybe I got to call a black eye a black eye!!!

jb: And maybe I should quit while I’m behind! :-)

 

- Look closely at the last panel to the left and you’ll see a silhouette of Louie in the background aggressively holding a club! 0_o

Cody:  Guess the bouncers had the night off.
 

 

Commentary

 

Judging by the pace and characters of the story, Ristorante probably takes place sometime shortly after the events of Plunder & Lightning, for there seems to be no judgmental attitude on Rebecca’s prejudices over Louie’s that, more or less, dulls over time even though Baloo’s overextended visits to the nightclub interferes with company matters.

 

Then there’s the ever-complex B&B relationship here. We see the establishment of the two growing beyond employer/employee and becoming friends that would later be demonstrated in the TV series (A Star Is Torn; War of the Weirds; My Fair Baloo, etc.).

 

One of unfortunate things about Ristorante is that out of the comic series, this story and to a certain degree the full-length F’reeze A Jolly Good Fellow!; is the only one to focus on the two ursines’ relationship. Why the artists/writers didn’t work on that theme more is a wasted opportunity (and mystery), but it does make for interesting speculations in the TS fandom.  

Like most B&B stories, Rebecca’s humanity comes to the surface of being single and alone in a large metropolis, we see that she has needs for contact like the rest of us, instead of the usual harried, ambition-driven businesswoman and devoted mother to her daughter.  

Why does she try to hide this from Baloo instead of just asking him to take her out? Most women in the 1930s, hardened by the Depression, changes to the status quo in between the two World Wars and societal norms (the advent of jazz to Mae West’s sexual brashness on- and off-screen); wouldn’t have been that shy in making the first move on men back then.

Gidget:  Because not all women were that ‘modern’.  Even in the 70s, it was considered forward and unladylike to do the chasing.  And Becky, despite being a modern woman for the time, is still a romantic.  It’s unlikely that she would feel comfortable in asking a man out unless there were business contacts at the other end.  Notice how methodically she calls each guy on that list in My Fair Baloo --- she probably wouldn’t do that for a date-date.
Cody:
  I’m with Gidget on this one.  Becky is a romantic---she’s not the type to aggressively chase after men.  Look at the type of guys she falls for ( Covington and Captain Stansbury).  She wants to be swept off her feet, not have to do the sweeping herself. 
jb:
If she wants to be swept off her feet, then give her a broom. (*snickers*)
Rebecca:
Good idea. (Smacks broom over jb’s head) Take that, you smart-aleck!;3

 

One could joke that she was desperate, but on the other hand the love-hate relationship starts to become more protagonistic and less antagonistic that is warm, but cordial at this point in time.

 

With Baloo, he’s kind of surprised to see a different Rebecca who likes to dress up and isn’t totally a business case (and can look better in a dress than him!  :D), as he thought she was in the initial first impressions that he’s carried about her – and Rebecca learns too that her pilot can be graceful and a gentleman on occasion. 

Gidget:  Yup!

jb: She should be so lucky. Another guy would have been peeved and said: “You’re lonely? Get a dog! You’re swimming home tonight, baby!” Sheesh! ;p

 

The major weakness of Ristorante is the state of helplessness Rebecca shows after slamming the mugger with the bucket, contradicts her strong woman persona. Although she has her average frailties, this display of the damsel-in-distress is difficult to accept.

 

It’s also the most violent TS comic shorts made with fist fights galore, the use of objects for weapons, choking, threatening to use a deadly weapon and the victimization of women is highly uncommon here, even in the full-length comic books and/or TV series.

 

There has to be kudos given to the innovative resourcefulness of Louie to protect his best friend and customer to be able to pull a con job over Rebecca, however as good comedies of this magnitude to keep up the pretense for very long with good timing.
 

While not one of the better TS comic or B&B-themed stories – the artwork and plot are okay – Louie’s Ristorante is an entertaining story about relationships, the complexities involved and a possible beginning of a B&B romance. So that’s why it gets 3 ½ of 5 Krakatoa Specials – could have gotten 4 if the “hero to zero” Rebecca wasn’t used here.

 

 

January 2005

 

 


Shine a Little Light  


Writer:  Cherie Wilkerson
(0 out of 5 Krakatoa Specials)
Disney's Holiday Parade #1
Cover:  A really ugly cover with several Disney characters singing Christmas carols, including Baloo, Rebecca and Kit. Rebecca's hair looks barely attached to her scalp.

 

Reviewed by Gidget and Cody

 

Some Thembrians are decorating for Christmas.  Spigot is freaking out over the preparations…
Spigot

Are you sure this is the biggest tree in all of Thembria?  A man of my stature must have the biggest and the best!

Gidget (Shrek voice):  Ye think he’s tryin’ te compensate for somethin’?

Cody:  Yeah!  He’s got a really small… brain! :D

Gidget:  Maybe he plans to be the ‘angel’ at the top.  That’s about the only reason I can think why he’d care about the size of the tree.  ;)

 

Dunder

Oh, yes, Colonel Spigot, this tree towers over all others --- just as you do!

Gidget:  Oh, just give him a great big kiss and marry him, you big suck-up.

Cody (as Dunder): He’s out of my social ranking.  Too bad.  Having my very own air conditioner in the winter would have been nice…

 

Spigot

Bring it more this way!  Do I have to tell you everything?
Gidget:  Pillow talk?  You smooth-talker, you…

 

Dunder

But Colonel --- it’s leaning!

Gidget:  *laughing too hard to comment* 

Cody:  *muttering* Stupid While You Were Sleeping flashback…

 

Spigot (interrupting)

Do it!!

 

WHUMP! The tree falls on top of him.

 

That’s it!  The holidays are cancelled!  Colonel Spigot has spoken!!

Gidget:  Aww… he’s so cute when he’s being dictatorial!  But how come the High Grand Marshall doesn’t get a say in this? 

Cody (as Spigot): Because I am Spigot!  Perhaps you’ve heard of me?  And if you haven’t… you will be shot!

 

 

Unfortunately, Colonel Spigot isn’t the only one who has no love for the holidays…

 

At Higher for Hire, the gang is also decorating the office.

Rebecca

It would be so much more fun if Baloo would join in, Kit!  The holidays aren’t just for kids!

 

Kit (decorating Baloo with lights)

Oh, he’s sort of getting into the holiday spirit, Miz Cunningham.

 

(phone rings)

 

Rebecca

Higher for Hire!  Holiday deliveries a specialty!  Oh, hello, Mr. Fox!  Yes, we can fly a shipment to Thembria --- no problem!  Baloo is on the way!

Gidget:  Sure, he might get shot or brained by a falling bathtub, but hey…

Cody:  And who'd really care if he was? :D 

Gidget: Yeah, it's not like he'd lose much with brain damage.  :D

 

Baloo (wakes up and finds himself bear-deep in tinsel)

Did someone mention my --- hey!  Becky, I didn’t sign on to be no Christmas tree!

 

Soon after…

 

Baloo

Stupid holiday!  Who invented it, anyway?
Gidget:  You know, I would actually think Rebecca would have been the Scrooge, not him.  Khan, definitely.

Cody:  I know.  But it's just one inconsistency in a whole string of stupidity.  This comic was written for an alternate universe y'know.

 

Mr. Fox (an elderly client who helps Baloo load the cargo)

Please be very careful to make sure these arrive safely.  They are for my family for the holidays.

Gidget:  It’s a bomb!!

 

And sometime later…

 

Baloo (flying the Sea Duck)

Heck, what’s there to be careful about?  This flight is a piece of cake! I got the whole runway to myself!

Gidget:  As big as he is, why is that a surprise?

Cody:  And why didn't Kit come along for this mission? 

Gidget: Yeah, that was strange.

 

 

Baloo (suddenly notices something’s wrong)
Hey, what the ---?!?  Get outta my way, you bozos!  Swell!  Just my luck to run into a bunch of deaf bellboys!

Gidget:  LOL!  Actually, the Thembrians do look like bellboys!  Never thought of that before…

 

C’mon, Seaduck!  Let’s get this puppy off the ground!  Hey!  Quit with the bullets already!  You’re ruinin’ the paint job!

 

Ooops!

Gidget:  Baloo let one go?

 

Whump!

Gidget:  Baloo let one drop?

 

Baloo

All right!  The world’s best pilot has done it again!  The intrepid Baloo leaves his pursuers in the dust!

Gidget:  Okay… how’d he learn about the word ‘intrepid’?  That’s way too big a word for him!

Cody:  Had to be the Rick Skye comics... 

 

Twang! The Sea Duck gets caught in a tennis net and Baloo is captured by the Thembrians (again).

 

Baloo:

Huh??  Who put this stupid thing here?
Gidget:  And how come a tennis net can do what pirates can’t?

Cody:  Tennis net has more brains.

 

Spigot

A net to spot criminals!  Wasn’t that clever?  I thought of it myself!

Cody:  The net 'spots' criminals, huh?  That's a new one. 

Gidget:  New, but not clever.  *sigh* 

Cody:  Not really a surprise here, though, is it?

 

 

Baloo

I should have known you were behind this, Spigot!  What’d I do this time --- forget to brush my teeth??

Gidget (as Rebecca):  Yet again…

 

Spigot

You have disobeyed my order – no holiday, no gifts, no celebration!  But I am in a good mood --- I will not exterminate you!  I will just take your plane until you give much, much money!

Gidget:  Ooga-booga!  Me Spigot, you Jane!

 

 

Soon, at the home of Mr. Fox’s son and his family…

 

Father Fox

Now that private holiday celebrations are banned, I don’t know what to do!

Baloo

Ya think you’ve got problems?  I’m stuck here for a whole week until Becky can come up with the money!

 

Father Fox

We don’t have any gifts to give anyone!

Gidget:  Not even… *sniff* … love?

 

Sarah (little fox girl)

But we can still make things, Daddy.  (to Baloo) I decorated this handkerchief for you, Mr. Baloo.

Gidget (as Baloo, unenthusiastically):  Oh, boy, --- a square piece of cloth.  How did you know?  Have you been readin’ my diary?

 

Baloo

Aw, Sarah, ya shouldn’t have!  I’ll keep it in my pocket forever, li’l honey!  Or at least until I wash this shirt --- whichever comes first.  Hey, what’s this?

Gidget (as Rebecca):  He’s the same way about his underwear… when he bothers to wear it at all.

Cody:  I didn't think Baloo owned any underwear. 
Gidget:   Except in 'My Fair Baloo'... and even then, just an undershirt. 

Cody:  You sure he owned that?

Gidget:  Probably not.

 

 

Baloo (cont.)
How’d one of Kit’s ornaments get in my pocket?!  And it sounds like there’s something in it!  Hey, it’s oil!  There’s some oil left!

Gidget:  Why is there oil in an ornament?  And wouldn’t you notice a big bulging ornament in your pocket before now?

(as Joanna):  Hey, Iron Paws… is that an ornament in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?


Cody

(as Baloo):  Didn't you hear?  It's an oil filled ornament that for some reason is magically in my pocket.

(as Big Al:  Besides, Janey, that's kinda high up for that kind of joke, isn't it?


Gidget: (as Joanna):  Hey... I'm that good.  ;)

 

 

Sarah

It’s beautiful!  Thank you, Mr. Baloo!

Gidget:  This kid’s easy to buy for.  Who needs Christmas?  Just give her some bubble wrap to pop.

Cody:  I always liked boxes.  Especially appliance boxes.  They made nice hideouts.

Gidget: They did.  Especially the ones for stoves. 

 

 

Father Fox

There’s only enough oil for one night, but we can enjoy it while it lasts!

Gidget:  LOL!!!  Oil for one night… *dirty laugh*

 

 

But, the next day…

 

Sarah

Look!  The lamp’s still burning!

Gidget:  Oh, sure, let a lamp burn all night!  It’s only a fire hazard, after all.

 

Baloo

Well, Sarah, if it can hang in there, so can I!  I’m gonna fight this holiday ban!

Gidget (as Rebecca):  He fights Ban tm, period.  It’s like he and deodorant are mortal enemies. 

 

Kids

Fox boy

Great!

 

Sarah

Yayy!

Gidget as Sarah:  I’m the favorite.  I’ve got a name.

 

Father Fox

I wish you the best of luck, Baloo, but I’m afraid Colonel Spigot isn’t going to like this.

Gidget:  What a wimp.  His wife could do so much better.

 

Thus, at Colonel Spigot’s…

 

Baloo (storms upstairs to Spigot’s office)

No problem!  If my cool voice of reason doesn’t change his mind, I’ll just stomp him!

Gidget:  Me Baloo, you pancake!

Cody (as Donkey):  And if that doesn't do it, your breath will certainly get the job done!

Gidget:  LOL!

 

 

Some guy (crowd with family)

You tell ‘im, Baloo!

 

Baloo goes boom down stairs until he goes THUD!

Ouch!  Ouch!  OUCH!

 

Sarah

Isn’t he stomped yet, Baloo?

Gidget:  Sarah is special

Cody:  Well, she is the only vixen in Thembria...

Gidget:  Besides Mrs. Fox, you mean?

Cody: Oh, yeah.  Forgot about her. 

Gidget:  It’s a natural mistake.  J

 

 

Spigot

Me?  Get stomped?  No one has a big enough foot!  Why are you sitting on my steps, Baloo?  I’m going to have you arrested!

 

Kids throw apples (that splash like tomatoes)

You oughta be arrested!

Gidget:  Oooh, zinger! 

 

Spigot

Ow!  If you’re going to be that way about it, I order you to ignore what I just said!

 

Several days later…

(Baloo and the Fox family are still standing around the table, drooling over the stupid lamp)

 

Fox Boy

So have you come up with a plan yet to save the holidays?

Gidget:  Does any member of this moronic fox family have a working brain cell among them?  They even voluntarily live in Thembria!  On purpose.

 

Baloo

I’m thinkin’, I’m thinkin’!

Gidget (as Rebecca):  Sometimes that takes all his energy.  I’m lucky if I get any.

 

Sarah

Even after all this time, the lamp still hasn’t quit!

Gidget:  Oh, just give her a piece of used dental floss to play with.  It’ll keep her busy for months.

 

Baloo

And neither have I!  I’m gonna write an I.O.U. to Spigot and get my plane, and go get ya some holiday stuff!

Gidget:  Just steal the toilet paper off the trees from last Halloween.

 

Thus…

 

Baloo
Yoo-hoo!  Anybody home?… Guess not.  Well, I think I’ll just mosey on over and see how my plane’s doin’.

 

Seems to be doin’ fine!  But ya never can be too sure about these things.  I’ll just take it for a little spin and--- hey!  Who’s the wiseguy turned on the sirens?

 

Spigot

What is the meaning of this I.O.U.?  You can’t give me a little piece of paper for your plane!

 

Baloo

So what’s the meaning of all these lights and sirens?  Didn’t ya know ya can’t celebrate the holidays?

 

Spigot

Oooh, how dare he talk to me like that!  Troops, get him!

 

Baloo

I’d love to stay and chitchat, but I think I hear my mother calling me!

Gidget:  Bionic ears?

Cody:  Or he's a medium.  I thought his mom was dead.

Gidget:  In Jungle Book.  But in On a Wing and a Bear, he tries to bribe the she-cop by offering to buy tickets for his mom to the Air-Police Ball. 

Cody: I didn't take that seriously---just another Baloo excuse, like all those sick aunts he has in Idol Rich.

 

 

Armed Thembrian guards chase him.

Dunder

Stop!  Come back!

 

Baloo

Not on your life!  Or my life!  Or anyone else’s life for that matter!

Gidget:  Guess you told him.

Don’t shoot!  I’m just an innocent bystander!

 

Guard (Dunder)

Shoot you?  We’re trying to help you escape!  For once, we’re on your side!  Happy holidays!

Gidget:   Awww, they didn’t shoot him.  That’s the greatest gift of all… life!

Cody: *gags*

 

Thus, later…

 

Baloo

Thanks to my big mouth, Spigot turned off all the electricity!  Everyone gets just one candle!

Gidget:  *dirty laugh*

 

Sarah

Cheer up, Mr. Baloo!

Gidget:  Somebody please give her a piece of string to shut her up!  Or better yet, solder and a blowtorch!

 

Fox Boy

Yeah, even after all these days, we still have the light from the lamp!

Gidget:  Wow!  He’s as special as Sarah!  Let’s give him a name!  He’s earned it.

Cody:  ‘Moron’ has a nice ring to it.

Gidget:  Doesn’t it, though!  Morons who discovered fire! 

 

Baloo

Hey---that’s it!  The holidays are for sharing, aren’t they?  Well, I’ve got a great idea!

 

And, that evening…


People are lining up inside the Fox home to donate to the cause.

 

Thembrian Matron (adding a few coins to the paltry poker piles of coinage on a table)

Please accept these few coins to help you get your plane back.

Gidget:  Hey, there’s how Baloo could buy his plane from Becky!  Go begging in the streets of Thembria!  (raises glass) To Baloo, the richest bear in town!

 

Kit

Wow!  Guess we didn’t need to bring you the money after all!

Gidget:  If Baloo couldn’t get his plane, how the hell did the H4H gang get to Thembria?

 

Kit (Cont.)
But I thought holiday celebrations were banned in Thembria!

 

Baloo

Yep, but ol’ Spigot said we could all have a candle and we’re gonna let it shine!

 

Spigot

What lowdown traitorous imbecile said these people could have candles?

 

Dunder (holding candle!)

Why, you did, sir… and if you’ll excuse us, we have an important – uh—meeting to attend!

Gidget:  Oooh, subtle!

 

Baloo

Peace on earth, good will toward men!

 

Rebecca

And women!

 

Kit

And kids!

 

Wildcat

Why be so chintzy, man?  Happy Holidays to everybody in the entire universe!

Gidget:  That covers the Martians…

Cody:  And Tribbles!

 

The End

 

End blurb: Journey into high-flying adventure with Baloo and Kit Cloudkicker every month in TaleSpin.

 

 

Quibbles and Bits

Gidget:  Okay, how can a tennis net catch a sea plane?  It would’ve been torn right through, especially with propellers.  Why is there oil in a glass ornament?  And why is this fox family so freakin’ thrilled over a burning lamp?

jb: As to while the oil continued to burn with so little in it, did it not occur to anyone that perhaps the Foxes were Jewish and it was a slight undertone to Hannukah, according to the story? All in all, Shine A Little Light did suck, now reflecting on it now.

Gidget:  I'm not familiar with all the rituals of Hanukkah, but I've seen South Park, so I've heard of the daedal, the Menora (nine candles) and the eight days of celebration. ;)  According to Google, there is a custom to have Hanukkah parties and to eat foods fried or baked in some kind of kosher cooking oil(s), preferably olive oil, as the original miracle of the Hanukkah menorah involved the finding of the small flask of oil used by the Jewish High Priest (the Kohen Gadol).

Cody:  Why are there foxes at all in Thembria?  And why was Baloo all buddy-buddy with them?  

Gidget:  And why don't the foxes eat the warthogs?  Sarah’s design isn’t consistent either… the earlier panels are okay, then (in the Miracle lamp-burning scenes) she sort of morphs into a freak with a huge forehead.   Also, Mrs. Fox’s hair keeps changing.  In her first scenes:  First she has bangs, then it’s parted in the middle, then by the end she has bangs again!

 

Also, Dunder is genuinely surprised that Baloo runs away from the armed guards in a panic before he assures him that they’re on his side.  And on the last page:  When Baloo hands out the candles to the citizens, Rebecca, Kit and Wildcat are in their usual clothes.  But in the last panel, Baloo, Wildcat, and Kit are all bundled up for the freezing temperature in Thembria.  Baloo has a different coat here --- with a fur collar.  Wildcat has a yellow scarf and Kit gets a blue jacket. But Rebecca has no coat at all.

(as Rebecca, shivering):  Maybe I could sell matches…

 

Gidget:  Grandpa Fox not only supervises, but helps Baloo load the cargo for Thembria.  Isn’t that unusual?  Where’s Wildcat and Kit?  Why are they letting an old man risk injury?  And since his family didn’t get their presents, wouldn’t H4H be liable?  And another peeve of mine… instead of ‘Merry Christmas’, they carefully say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead --- obviously to pacify the politically correct.  I mean, they’ve got the tree and everything else --- why not just say “Merry Christmas”?

 

 

Funny Stuff

Gidget:  Other than Baloo’s comment over his hanky present, nothing really.

Cody:  This comic was a complete waste of paper and ink.

Gidget:  I agree.  A lot of poor helpless trees and baby squid died in vain.  *sniffs and blows nose*

Quotes

Gidget:  I liked it when Baloo gets shot at by Thembrians.
Baloo:  Hey!  Quit with the bullets already!  You’re ruinin’ the paint job!

 

Gidget: 

Baloo: I’ll keep it in my pocket forever, li’l honey. Or at least until I wash this shirt --- whichever comes first!
Gidget:  Then he shoves it into his pocket to join the lint and moldy sandwiches that probably live in there.

 

 

Commentary

 

Gidget:  Sickly-sweet Sarah mades me barf.  Foxes in Thembria is just plain wrong.  And what are those generic ‘Disney dog’ characters doing in there?  It’s like they plugged in a few TaleSpin characters, added Carl Banks’s rejects and mixed well.  If you want a good TaleSpin holiday story, watch Jolly Molly Christmas instead.   
Soup Nazi voice:  Back of the line!  No Krackatoa Specials for you!

Cody: Or just make up your own.  Both holiday stories are pretty sickening.  Personally, I'd like to see one where a 50-foot fanged gingerbread man attacks Cape Suzette and squashes Molly like a bug.
Gidget:  You're so good with children.  :) 

Cody:  *sticks out her tongue*

 

 

May 2005  

The Volcano of Gold

 

A Tale Spin Comics Review by guest reviewer jb (with snarkisms from Gidget and Cody)

4 ½ of 5 Krakatoa Specials

 

Originally published in Disney Club Vacanes (Edi-Monde/Hachette Presse), circa February 1992; reprinted in “Disney Club” #4 (Dargaud) in France/European Union and Disney’s Colossal Comics #5 (W.D. Publications), 1992 in North America .

 

Writer: Regis Maine; translated from the French, Super Baloo: Le Volcan D’Or by Dwight Decker

Dialogue: Bobbi J.G. Weiss

Art: Comicup Design Studio and Mario Cortes

Lettering: Bill Spicer

Colouring: Isabelle Lebeau

 

Summary

 

“Wo-oh-wooh! I got those aviator blues!

Wo-oh! All the way down to my shoes!

Flyin’ broke my heart, ‘cause my plane fell apart – ”

 

Louie is busily sweeping his nightclub in the morning and singing the blues when he hears Baloo moaning and crying the real blues, going on about losing the Sea Duck and Higher for Hire over a humongous mistake of his own doing...

Gidget: Gee, that’s never happened before!
Cody:  What originality.  

 

Sitting down, he regales in a flashback about a shipping contract he got in the mail which he signed and delivered back for an order of two thousand fir trees to ship to Cape Suzette for some anonymous client. Kit questions such an arrangement as they break over hot cocoa, although the pilot feels that it’s nothing to worry over.

 

After delivering the trees to the tropical climes of the Asia-Pacifica entrepot, Baloo and Kit finally meet their mystery client arriving by helicopter to be…Shere Khan!

 

He presents the copy of the signed contract through his subsidy S.K.I.N. (Shere Khan Imports and Novelties – clever initialsJ) to Baloo, promising them to be in mint condition upon arrival for Christmas. The business magnate decides to test the trees, already withering in the heat; with his helicopter’s wind force that blows off all the brittle and dry pine needles, rendering them useless and a breech of contract – which demands that he be compensated with a ridiculously high sum – therefore threatening Rebecca’s ownership of Higher for Hire and impounding the Sea Duck; unless the pilot can pay the penalty in one week’s time.

Gidget: Khan is such a dick…

jb: I’m assuming you mean he’s a private investigator, G. ;3

 

By the time he finishes his hard luck story, Rebecca’s voice angrily bellows out his name. Baloo panics and begs his best friend to hide him quickly. The petite businesswoman storms into Louie’s, demanding that the nightclub owner reveal the whereabouts of her pilot.

 

Louie feigns ignorance, so she decides to wait out and plays the jukebox not knowing that Baloo’s hiding inside it. When a record gets stuck inside his mouth and makes no sound play, the ursa gives the contraption a swift boot, causing it to explode and exposes the huge bear out in the open.

 

Louie: Hey! Somebody’s gotta pay for that!

Rebecca: Shut up, you walking hairy carpet or I’ll give you a swift kick in your jukebox!!

Louie: (backs off nervously) Ulp! Uhh…never mind, never mind, sweet cheeks… ;3

 

The businesswoman rains fire and brimstone on Baloo’s incompetence as the orangutan tries to be a peacemaker between the two until a voice from beneath a table tries to order another round. Louie picks up the straggler off the floor, a handsome light grey bear who then gets macho around Rebecca and drops a gentlemanly kiss on her hand, introducing himself as the famous news journalist Ted Burrows from the NBCBS Radio Network – then faintly collapses back onto the floor after telling them in horror that he’s returned from “The Inferno.”

 

When he regains consciousness a minute later, Burrows recalls his latest assignment south of Cape Suzette on investigating the disappearance of the legendary aviator Klaus von Cockpit, who tried to fly over the top of the tropical Mount Fogtop thirty years ago. Fighting the elements and a local band of scrap-collecting pirates, he then fled from the sight of von Cockpit’s ghost airplane when he got close to the mountain.

 

Deciding to retire in disgrace, he gives the trio a journalism award to pay his bar tab and the contract in bringing back the story, then departs. While Louie questions the worth of the trophy’s value, Rebecca looks over the contract and finds the monetary worth in getting the von Cockpit story is enough to pay off Khan’s penalty.

 

Proposing they go out and get the story, the pilot is heavily reluctant to go on this adventure citing they have no camera or plane to get to Mount Fogtop, until Louie “saves” the day by loaning his camera from Aunt Louise for his birthday and to repair the old junker that Baloo’s been trying to fix for a month, much to the pilot’s dismay. By the next day, Baloo and Kit have repaired the plane to the best of their abilities, while Rebecca leaves a disappointed Molly in Louie’s care while their gone. Soon, the three bears are off and southbound to Mount Fogtop.

Gidget: (Rebecca):  Hey, I ditched the kid again!  Let’s party!
Cody:  Some people aren't meant to be parents...

 

Little do they realize that Air Pirate Gibber has overheard the Higher for Hire’s mission to save their business and informs Khan about his findings at his high-rise office building. He’s less than pleased, revealing to the surprised brigand his dastardly plot to run the independent air cargo businesses in Cape Suzette into bankruptcy, with Higher for Hire as the first causality; in order to gain monopoly over the industry. He then decides to take out Baloo permanently and hires Don Karnage for his mercenary services.

 

Arriving near Mount Fogtop, Rebecca become wary over the place when Baloo explains his real fears in coming, claiming the mountain is cursed with “all the spooks on Earth hang out there” according to folklore. Preparing to land, the plane is then water-bombed by Karnage in order to crash into the jungle below. Despite having to fly blinded by water and some opaque “material” covering the windows, the team survives – and discovering a triple threat of problems facing them: 1) Their plane is beyond repair due to the crash and being clogged with jellyfish that must have been fished up in the Air Pirates’ water bomber tank; 2) they’re near a graveyard of planes (jb: oh, how fitting) and 3) they’re surrounded and captured by the local Scrap Pirates.

 

Hanging upside down by their ankles after Rebecca antagonizes their leader by plopping a jellyfish on his head when he called her “Cutie Pie,” the team plan their getaway as Kit pulls out his hidden Swiss Army pocket knife to cut their ropes. Accidentally dropping the knife from out of their reach, the situation looks hopeless when out of the jungle appears Molly who retrieves the knife and helps them escape.

 

After a distance away from the pirates’ camp, her mother demands what she is doing here, which the males patch up her story in stowing away in their now-crippled plane to which they all praise her for her bravery and cleverness.

Gidget: And her amazing ability of not wetting her pants.
Cody:  Don't forget the helmet hair.
jb: Isn’t it kind of strange that Molly constantly disobeys her mother and doesn’t get punished at all?

Gidget (as Rebecca): Go to your closet and pray! 

The businesswoman suggests they rest up before they reach Mount Fogtop , but Kit alerts the others that the Scrap Pirates are in pursuit. Baloo tries to defend himself until a spear chucked at him forces the pilot to run for his life. The scavenging pirates are on their heels when von Cockpit’s ghost plane comes out of nowhere and scares them off. The heroes catch up on some much needed sleep after a lengthy hike up the mountain.

      

Waking up in a thick fog, Kit calls out to his companions and wanders about until he falls though a trapdoor and pummels down below, knocking him unconscious. Awakened by Molly, the navigator finds himself with the others in a cell until their Native captors orders them to be seen by their god-like leader known as the Great Krakatoo. Marching through bright, hot tunnels, the bears discover a secret civilization living inside Mount Fogtop by a lava-filled crater, the “Ghost Plane” is just a white-painted Fokker from the World War I era and a strange-looking totem pole in the centre of the shining lava lake.

 

Hustled into a dark cavern, they face an imposing masked figure sitting on a throne, introduced as the Great Krakatoo. Demanding the reason for their presence, Baloo tries to explain their dire situation which the Great Krakatoo accuses them of being after the lost city’s Treasure of the Lake of Fire . Fed up with the mystery, Kit tries to unmask the leader, but is restrained and returned back to their dungeon.

 

Some time passes, the prisoners are then visited by a lion stranger who claims to be a friend who is met with scepticism, until he dons the Great Krakatoo’s mask and reveals himself as the long-lost ace pilot Klaus von Cockpit. He explains that he crashed into the crater thirty years earlier and was rescued by the Natives who deem him as a god, thus deciding to stay on as their protector of their well-kept secret of the Treasure of the Lake of Fire – the lava lake is made of pure molten gold!

Gidget (Rebecca):  Last one in’s a rotten egg! *dives into the lake*

Von Cockpit: Augh! Our golden idol has been tarnished!

Baloo: It’s gonna be hell to clean out the bear fur outta that lake.

Rebecca: C’mon in! The lava’s fine!

All: Ahhh – pass. J

 

Just then, the Air Pirates – thanks to being tipped by the Scrap Pirates – invade the lost city and Karnage marches the bears and von Cockpit to the lava lake, gloating over in capturing the team for Khan and gaining the biggest booty of his pirating career. Deciding to destroy the totem pole with a bazooka, he unwittingly causes a chain reaction that invokes the volcano out of dormancy, ready to explode. The pirates flee for their lives, while von Cockpit and the Natives prepare the evacuation of the lost civilization and themselves with an enormous Hercules-like cargo plane, the Ark of Krakatoo.

 

Taking the controls of the plane, Baloo skims along the lava lake surface – thanks to the lava- and fireproof coating beneath the Ark – flying upwards and away from the volcano, just as the golden lava explodes into a fiery blaze, sending it all into the atmosphere and beyond. Saying goodbye to von Cockpit and the Fogtop Natives, the Hire for Higher team parachute themselves from the plane and make the long trek home.

 

Arriving in Cape Suzette several days later, they race back to the office with two hours to spare to get the article on their adventure and collect the money from the NBCBS Radio Network to beat the deadline, only to find themselves locked out of their property, seized by Khan Industries. On cue, the tiger CEO arrives by helicopter, arrogantly claiming the place to be his, even though the team still have legality. As Khan dismisses their ability to save themselves in time, by coincidence; the remains of the Mount Fogtop molten gold lava has been orbiting Earth suddenly gets knocked by a passing meteor that sends its trajectory back through the atmosphere and plunges right toward Cape Suzette , smashing his helicopter into oblivion.

Gidget: (Khan, stamping his feet):  No fair!

jb: So? You can always get another one, Mr. Moneybags.

Khan: (pauses) Mmm, yes. But first, I must send a lawyer to sue for damages.

jb: Yeah, but it’ll be hard to send a subpoena to demigod. ;3

 

Leaving a medium-sized pool right at the onlookers’ feet, Baloo deducts there’s enough gold there to pay off the contract penalty and his employer’s bills for about a year, leaving the magnate bewildered by what had just happened and being foiled again as the pilot states triumphantly: “Face it, Khanny – you’re a mover an’ shaker in the business world, but somebody up there can move an’ shake the whole world! The Great Krakatoo!”  

 

 

Quibbles and Quips

 

-     Opening narration: “Ah, springtime in Cape Suzette! There, spring is a magical season like nowhere else in the world!” 1) The place is a sub-tropical area where the climate is sunny all-year round 2) Louie’s Place; the panel it’s shown in, is off the Cape Suzette coast and 3) who wrote this lame-o introduction, the Cape Suzette Tourist Authority? >:P
Cody:  Or a writer high on... caffeine!

 

-    For a place that (supposedly) serves non-alcoholic beverages, why was the “Flappy” character that Louie asks to raise his feet to sweep in one panel, looks intoxicated – and wouldn’t be a little early to be hitting the bottle in the morning? O_o
Cody: Hey, whatever helps get you through the day!
Baloo: Whaddya think I down those Krakatoa Specials for? ;)

 

-    Baloo, deeply depressed, becomes offended that he lost everything in a card game: “What kinda lousy remark was that?! You think I’m irresponsible or somethin?!” Is that supposed to be a trick question? ;3

 

-    The Sea Duck’s big, but how can it hold 2,000 medium-sized fir trees? O_o

 

-    “An hour later, when the cargo was delivered…” From the looks of the pick-up place, it looks like Alaska . How would they fly all the way from there to the Cape within an hour, unless 1) the trees came from Thembria (no chance – the paperwork bureaucracy would take forever) or 2) the air currents would be too strong to make it back in such a short time.

 

-    Why would Baloo and Kit still be wearing their bomber jackets when they arrive back home? It would be too warm to wear in it in the tropics.

 

-    Khan’s helicopter is too modern-looking for the 1930s, unless Buzz built another Quazanark that quickly.

      Khan: Why do you think I make my employees work twelve hours a day? ;-)
      Cody:  They didn't have hamburger places until after WWII, but that didn't stop 'em there either!

 

-    Khan: “I ordered Christmas trees, after all;” “I’ve come to inspect the merchandise that you are to deliver five months from now…”   
    Check your calendar, Khanny – i
f it’s spring according to the storyline, Christmas wouldn’t roll around for eight to nine months from now. Do they celebrate Christmas in the Cape that early or something?                                                                                                      

       Khan: (menacingly unsheathes his claws) When you’re this rich, you can celebrate Christmas any time you want.  

       jb: (nervously) Uhh…yes, Mister Khan, sir!;3

 

-    Red colour missing on exclamation dot on “VLAM!” when Rebecca charges through Louie’s door.

 

-    Sound missing from Baloo’s scream when jukebox explodes.
Cody:  ??Your comic makes sounds?  ;)
jb: Yeah, and it cost a bundle to get it, too! ;3

 

-    Louie: “Now, now, Reb – let’s talk about this over a cool Papaya Fizz!”

      jb: Reb??! Since when he got into nicknaming Rebecca? That’s Baloo’s job.0_o

 

-     How could a tough, macho journalist like Burrows brave the elements and Scrap Pirates be too afraid to investigate von Cockpit’s disappearance after being spooked by the ghost plane at Mount Fogtop ? Some hero.

 

-    Burrows’ platinum award trophy is coloured gold here. O_o

 

-    What was Gibber doing at Louie’s for and how’d he acquire speech? He’s usually an ear-mutterer. O_o

Gidget: Or a Karnage-whisperer. J

 

-    Why didn’t Wildcat work on Louie’s plane and why does Louie need one for? Other than in “A Touch of Glass” and “For Whom The Bell Klangs,” he doesn’t do that much flying. 
Gidget: Don’t forget “The Old Man and the Sea Duck”.

 

-     Why would Gibber inform Khan, believing he’d be pleased about it? Did he expect some kind of reward?

Gidget (Khan):  When you’re this wealthy, everyone wants a piece of you *adjusts prosthetic arm*.

 

-     There’s an intercom on Khan’s desk. These things weren’t around in the 1930s – and why’d he contact his secretary for Karnage’s services instead of demanding it from Gibber right in front of him?

 

-     Those two-way communicators Khan and Karnage used wouldn’t be invented until 1941 and they were huge compared to the current compact walkie-talkies and cellular phones; plus the range on those things wouldn’t be powerful enough to speak to each other clearly. But then again, Khan is one ahead of his time.

Gidget: What about Dick Tracy and his two-way wrist radio in the ‘30’s?

jb: Khan must have stole – er, acquired the plans for it then. J

 

-    Rebecca plucks off a jellyfish off the plane with her bare hands. This is something no one should do – there are certain species in the Asia-Pacific region, namely the irukandji; that are lethally poisonous within a couple of hours of their stings.

Gidget (Baloo): Good to know…

 

-    Kit holds an unusually oversized Swiss Army pocket knife.

      jb: Now that’s a knife! (Sorry, Crocodile Dundee )

      Kit: Hey, it’s not what size’s a man’s got, it’s what he does with it! ;D

 

-    When hanging upside down, how come Baloo has to hold onto his hat with one hand while Kit’s cap stays firmly on his head?

-    Rebecca looks taller when she’s hung upside next to Baloo – she’s almost as tall as he is.

      Rebecca: Hooray! Finally, some height!

      Baloo: Yeah, but still no build.

      Rebecca: I’ll take what I can get, Fly Boy!

      Baloo: Then buy some elevator shoes, Becky. ;)

 

-     Why did Kit call Louie’s trashed plane the Sea Duck? It’s impounded back at Cape Suzette.

 

-     Baloo’s constant heroic/cowardly moments appears too many times in the story than the average norm.

 

-     Why did the Fogtop Natives only capture Baloo, Rebecca and Molly in their sleep and left Kit behind only to fall into some booby trap?
Gidget:  Come on... wouldn't you?

 

-     Kit: Do you know who captured us?

      Rebecca: No – we were couldn’t see them in the fog!

      jb: Um, weren’t you captured in your sleep just a couple of sentences ago? Was she awake at the time?

 

-     If this is the Asia-Pacific area in the Tale Spin world, why do the Natives look  like Incas? Are they a long-lost tribe?

 

-     This may be a comic, but even logic and physics should know 1) It’s impossible to sustain a living society or vegetation inside a live volcano, 2) no amount of spring water could produce that amount of steam to cover the top of a mountain and 3) no stone totem pole can withstand boiling lava.

 

-     Kit becomes impulsive and decides the unmask Krakatoo/von Cockpit when they’re surrounded by spear-toting natives. Isn’t he usually the cautious ( Gidget: or cowardly  ;) ) type, while Baloo ventures where angels fear to tread?

 

-    After meeting with the Great Krakatoo and sent back to their holding cell, Baloo calls the situation hopeless. Since when did he become a defeatist (except in “A Bad Reflection On You” Part 2)?

 

-     Why would the Scrap Pirates inform Karnage on the H4H team’s whereabouts? Pirates are usually territorial types – unless Karnage paid them off.

 

-     How could von Cockpit, an engineering expert, know the volcano would erupt with one rocket-propelled grenade? Does he hold a degree in geosciences too?

-     How come nobody warned Karnage not to destroy the totem pole before he knocked it out (not to mention a pretty modern-looking grenade launcher for the 1930s)?

-    Von Cockpit says he sent the natives to get the necessary plane parts to create the Ark of Krakatoo from the Scrap Pirates. Wouldn’t they have been suspicious to figure out why they need the parts and if they were paid in gold? 

-     In the cockpit of the Ark of Krakatoo:

      Baloo: Good grief! I’ve never flown anything like this!

      Von Cockpit: Who has, Baloo?

       jb: Excuse me, ace pilot – have you already forgotten larger planes like the Spruce Moose (My Fair Baloo) and the Titanium Turkey (Bearly Alive)?

-     Strange that Rebecca and Molly have been reduced to air stewardess roles as the Ark of Krakatoo begins its take-off (Sexist!!).

Gidget: I noticed that too.  And how come the natives all look like canine fugitives from Duckburg?

jb: Budget cuts?... ;3
Cody: Livin' near all that lava disfigured them and turned them into hideous mutants?

-     Molly’s nose colour missing as she assists a Native woman with her vine seatbelt. 

-     Narration: “High in the sky, the time has come for a tearful farewell…” yet, nobody’s crying in this panel.

-     Molly’s allowed to have her own parachute as they jump out of the plane. Wouldn’t it have been more responsible for Rebecca to strap both of them together instead?

Gidget (Rebecca):  Sorry, kid.  I’ve been meaning to drop a few pounds anyway.

Baloo: ‘Bout time ya went on a diet. I get tired of havin’ ta lift ya up all the time when we’re dancin’, Beckers. ;3

-    Why didn’t von Cockpit drop them off closer to Cape Suzette instead of having them walk back home for several days? (Okay, I know they wanted to remain a “lost” tribe, but…) 

-     Why is H4H located on a tropical island? What happened to the Cape Suzette skyline, seawall, harbour and cliffs (except in the final panel)?

-     Khan’s helicopter pilot looks more canine. Doesn’t he usually hire panthers to fly his personal aircraft?

      Khan: Affirmative action lawsuit. Damn civil rights lawyers. ;3

-     Tale Spin’s set in the Asia-Pacific tropics, yet as the gold meteorite pummels toward Earth, why does it look like it’s heading toward the European continent?

      jb: The comic was made in Spain . What did you expect? ;)
      Cody: I thought it was made in France.
      jb:
See the Commentary section for this one.)

 

-    How could Baloo calculate that the remaining molten gold at their feet would be enough to pay off Khan’s contract penalty and Rebecca’s bills for a year?  He’s a pilot, not an accountant.

 

     Neat Little Details

 

      -     Kit looks at Baloo indignantly over his ignorance over the fine print of the S.K.I.N. contract as he tries to find it on his person.

-    Good action sequence of Burrows’ quest toward Mount Fogtop , fighting off the elements and Scrap Pirates.

-    A good perspective of Molly presenting the pocket knife back to Kit and she looks cute from this angle. (You Mollyphobes may now retch in disgust) ;D
Cody: *gags*

Louie:
(grabs bucket) Hold it! I need that for my special sauce in my chili!
All: EEWWWWWWW!!! ;D

-   While the bears sleep on Mount Fogtop, Molly cuddles up to Baloo like a father-daughter relationship bond.

      jb: Aww, isn’t that sweet? (Mollyphobes can retch again) ;D    

 

-    Neat psychedelic effect in the panel when Kit regains consciousness in the Native’s jail cell.

-    Gorgeous cloud formation of the Great Krakatoo totem pole over H4H and Cape Suzette’s cliffs in the final panel.
 

 

Funny Stuff/Dialogue

 

-     Baloo slaps Kit on the back hard as he’s sipping his hot cocoa, causing him to spew all over the place.

      jb: Well, it’s a good thing it didn’t go out of his nose. Ouch! 0_o

 

-     Khan going nose to nose with Baloo on the cargo holding deck on the “first inspection on the fir trees.

 

-     Rebecca grabbing Louie by the lapels.

      Rebecca: “If you’re lying, I’ll jam that hat down your throat!”

      Louie: “Why would I lie? heh-heh.”

 

-     Rebecca: “Louie, tell me where Baloo is before I really get mad!”

      jb: Aren’t you really mad now? 0_o

 

-    Baloo hiding in the jukebox and getting abused by the machine when Rebecca tries to play her selection.

Gidget: How the heck did he get into the jukebox?

Baloo: ‘Mazing how one can get inta small places when under stress now, ain’t  it? J

-     Baloo looks intoxicated rather than dazed after the jukebox explodes when Rebecca discovers him.

 

-     Baloo finding all kinds of excuses not to go to Mount Fogtop, only to be countered by Louie’s help...    Baloo: Afraid? Me? ‘Course not! It’s just, uhhh, we don’t have a camera!
Louie: No sweat, cuz! My Aunt Louie sent me one for my B-day! You can have it!           

     Rebecca’s face show delight, Baloo’s in shock.
Baloo: Louie! I thought we were friends!

     Rebecca: Okay, let’s go!! We got an expedition to organize!

     Baloo: But the Sea Duck’s been impounded!

     Louie: Take the old heap I got! Y’know, the one you’ve been tryin’ to fix all month?
Baloo: Louie, who’s side are you on?!

-     Khan crushing the model plane on his desk in intimidation and anger with his bare paws after hearing the news that H4H has got a new plane.

 

-     Baloo’s censored profanities after Karnage water bombs him and screams into Karnage’s headphones.

      jb: LOL! My favourite scene!

 

-     Karnagese moments…    

       Augh! That abominating bear ouchied my tender eardrums!”

 

-      “Attention noble pirates of the Iron Vulture! Your incredibly good-looking captain has an announcement!” 
jb: LOL! What an ego!  

- *sighs* How has such a master-minding genius like myself become surrounded by idiotical fooligans?

  Baloo, Kit, Rebecca & Molly: “Don Karnage!!”

   Karnage: “In my flesh! I am delighted to announce that I have just conquered this charming land!”

    

- “Run for your hides!!!” (After destroying the totem pole)
   Cody: Karnage always gets the best lines...
Karnage: That’s because I am so marvelloussimo, si? ;3
    

- While hanging upside down by the Scrap Pirates:

         Baloo: “It’s gonna be tough gettin’ out of this!”
         Rebecca: “Not only that, but my hair will look awful!”

         Gidget: Those sexist comic writers…why don't they just sew a big pink bow to her scalp?

         jb: I agree. They’re trying to capture the type of comedy “written” for TS’ time period. But, 1) who’d want to fuss over their hair at a time like that and 2) who did you expect to write this – Alan Alda? ;)

 

-  After their escape from the Scrap Pirates:

         Rebecca: “Now we’d better get some sleep! We’ll be in rough day tomorrow!”

         Kit: (spotting the Scrap Pirates coming after them) “Tomorrow?! I think we’re gonna get our rough day early! Look – !!”

-    Baloo putting up his dukes before being frightened by a near-miss by one of the Scrap Pirates’ spears, then sprinting faster than the others.                                          
Baloo:
Alright – enough runnin’! You’re just a bunch of guys carryin’ pieces of junk anyway! (After the spear chuck) 
Kit:
What did you say?
Baloo: I said junk like that can hurt ya! LOL!

 

-     In the volcano:   

      Kit: (pointing to totem pole) I wonder what that totem pole out there in the lava is supposed to mean?  

       Baloo: I dunno – but I’d hate to meet the guy who modelled for it!

 

-     Khan’s helicopter gets demolished by the golden meteorite and him getting defeated by the H4H crew with revelling looks on their faces.  

 

Commentary

 

A slight remake of the Tale Spin #4 comic Contractual Desperation!, Volcano of Gold is a much better version and one of the best Tale Spin comics made. It has all the points for a TS story: action, adventure, comedy, friendships and family – the basic components concerning the ursine unit of sticking together and seeing things through like they did in episode “The Incredible Shrinking Molly” and the return of the strange bedfellows’ axis of Khan and Karnage as seen in “On A Wing and A Bear.”

 

Had it not been a comic before, Volcano would have been the primary example of a TS fan-fiction story, paying tribute to the series by amalgamating all the aforementioned elements and references, turning it into a genuine and original story, so to speak. There’s the constant battle between big and small businesses in the continuing war of competition and dominance in capitalism that show in the words Rebecca stated in Feminine Air:

 

“The better businessperson will always prevail.”

 

The artwork is highly superior in structure and colour, all done in the aesthetics of European comics’ artistry, like Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny of Asterix and Obelix. The faces and body language/movements convey a full range of emotions while maintaining the Disney-style traditional art form, done by the Spanish-based Comicup Design Studio in Barcelona.

 

Even more astonishing is Dwight Decker’s masterful interpretation and TS comic writer Weiss’ dialogue clean-up to the script for TS fans to relate to make it more adaptable to North American/English readers.

 

Volcano of Gold, however, gets half-a-demerit from achieving a 5 Krakatoa rating, mainly due to the artists’ failure to check the composites of Cape Suzette ’s harbour and lack of city buildings (as questioned in Quibbles & Quips). Whether this is an oversight on the artists’ part or an attempt to be original is anybody’s guess, so it gets its 4 ½ Krakatoas. Otherwise, it’s an excellent story.

Gidget: I agree.  Though the artwork is a bit quaint for my taste (not the clean lines of the cartoon, but the detail is marvelous), I adore this comic.  It's also a good-sized comic (over 40 pages, I think) and takes up about half the book. 
jb: 41 pages, actually – I counted.

Gidget: *coughanalretentivecough* Still, it's well worth buying for the serious collector.

September 2005
 

 

 

Voodoo Baloo

A review by Gidget and Allie Ann

of 5 Krakatoa Specials

 

Writer: Bobbi JG Weiss
Artists: Jorge Sanchez / Roberto Bat
Lettering: Stan Sakai
Colouring: Tom Luth

Disney Adventures June 1991, Volume 1, #8
Colossal Comics #6 (reprint)      

 

Summary

Rebecca, Baloo and Kit are in some foreign country (Mexican equivalent?) busy shopping – namely, Rebecca shops while Baloo and Kit carry Her Majesty’s packages, obviously a gag borrowed from It Came From Beneath the Sea Duck, when Baloo had to suffer the same fate during a white sale.  

Allie Ann: Reminds me a little of Destiny Rides Again.  I almost expected Una to pop out of one of the shops.    

Rebecca: Isn’t this fun? Oh, I want everything!

 

Baloo: Oh, c’mon, Becky… y’mean you’re not done yet?

 

Rebecca: Baloo, we just finished a very profitable delivery job. This is our reward!

Baloo: Lady, What kinda reward is bein’a pack mule?!

 

Kit: Give it up, Baloo!  

Allie Ann:  If Rebecca always goes on a shopping spree after a profitable delivery, it's amazing H4H isn't in constant financial trouble.  Maybe that's why she's always trying to line up extremely well-paying, but dangerous, jobs.  

Gidget: That’s a good observation.  Sort of like Baloo checking out the ol’ job board in P&L (big bucks if the job is nasty enough).  I like Becky’s cute hat and sunglasses.  

Allie Ann: Better than that ugly snood and eye shade she wore in The Balooest of the Blue Bloods.   

Gidget: *shudders* Get thee to a Victoria’s Secret shop… pronto!  

 

Allie Ann (as Baloo):  Victoria sells secrets at her shop?  Now I've seen everything.

(as Yakko Warner):  *kisses hand*  Good night, everybody!  

Allie Ann: And the B&B bickering is always good!
(as Kit):  Says you.  You don't have to listen to it.  

Baloo spots a group of male tourists gathered around and laughing at something, so he and Kit take off to shake off Becky’s girl cooties. 


Allie Ann (as Baloo): *scratching* That explains this itchy feelin'. 

   

Gidget: LOL!

 

Allie Ann:  Hearing some strange music, Rebecca is lured to a booth hocking voodoo dolls.  Though we as readers are shown that the voodoo doll is a hoax, Rebecca honestly believes that it will make Baloo an employee of the month.  Armed with the doll plus some personal articles of Baloo's - fur, fingernail clippings, and a button from his shirt - she sets to weave her spell over her lazy employee.  She'll do anything to make a profit.

 

Coincidence after coincidence increases Rebecca's faith in the voodoo doll's powers.  Baloo agrees to fly a man-eating Hokspitui jungle cat to the island of Longweyov after Rebecca straps the doll into the pilot's seat, he punches the jungle cat right after Rebecca hits the cat with the doll, and he falls out of a tree after Rebecca drops the doll.  It's not only until the very end, when the Hokspitui eats its own voodoo doll does Rebecca learn her lesson.

 

Quibbles & Quips  

 

Allie Ann:  I liked these lines:

(Baloo): "I don't haul around anything that wants me between two big sesame seed buns!" and "You play dirty pool, lady."   

Allie Ann: I liked the punny names - Longweyov and Hokspitui.  And the line: "Maybe that your hocus was pocus all along."  

Was Rebecca's line "I'm closing!  I'm closing!" a ref to "I'm running!  I'm running!" from The Bigger They Are...?  

Gidget: Makes sense to me!  

Allie Ann: "Don't trouble yourself with trouble" - a ref to P&L?  

Gidget: Has to be.  

Allie Ann: Liked Karny's line - "No, no, you are wider than I.  I insist you stand in front."  The fearless pirate, Don Karnage. :P  

 

Commentary

Gidget: So, out of 5 Krakatoa Specials, I give it a 3½ . The artwork is very good.  Clean, crisp, and true to its animated counterpart.  

Allie Ann:  *nods*  I'd give it 3 out of 5 Krakatoas.  Even though the artwork was first rate, "Voodoo Baloo" didn't cast a mesmerizing spell over this Spinner.  It started out with a good premise, but the potentially magical storyline vanished when the H4H gang stumbled upon a plot by Don Karnage and crew, thus shifting the focus towards the pirates.   

Gidget: I have to agree with you there.  I feel like saying, “Enough with the bloody pirates already!  Can’t we have a really cool Raiders-like adventure like in Colossal Comics #5?"  I can’t believe I remember that…

Allie Ann: The Volcano of Gold, according to your review page.  There pirates are in that one too.  They're everywhere! 

(as Karnage): *modestly buffs nails*  But of course.  

Gidget:  I want an adventure with magic, intrigue, death-traps, giant ants!  

Allie Ann: Um, minor point - the ants were in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, not Raiders. ;)

 

Gidget: (clamps hand over Allie Ann's mouth)  Very minor. ;-) Genuine danger instead of pratfalls?  I like them in the right setting – say, the sky or Pirate Island, but Karnage and his crew just aren’t that formidable compared to their debut in P&L.   

Allie Ann: True.  Most of the time, they're comic relief and not very threatening.  

Gidget: Maybe I should just watch Raiders again and get my swashbuckler fix that way.  :-)

 

Allie Ann:   *cracks whip*  

 

Gidget:  *yelps off-stage*

 

Allie Ann:  Sorry!  *drops whip like a hot potato* Yeah, as I was saying, "Voodoo Baloo" was cute, and there were a couple of good lines, but I was kind of disappointed in the plot.  I mean, they could have done more with the voodoo aspect, but since it was meant for kids, it couldn't have gotten any darker.  What did you think of it?

Gidget: I liked the beginning (Becky making Baloo carry packages for her, pulling his hair, clipping his nails and his button! The B&B exchanges were good, but as the story got more complicated (pirates, Kit, natives that stepped straight out of a Carl Banks comic) it was weakened and didn't really go anywhere.  I think it would have been cool if voodoo actually worked on Baloo, making him a model employee until Becky feels guilty for stripping him of his free will.

Allie Ann: I think it would have taken her days, maybe weeks, before feeling guilty for using voodoo on him, especially if he turned into the employee of her dreams. But you're right.

Gidget: Always!  ;-) 

Allie Ann (gives Gidget a stern look): … that would have been more interesting than bringing in pirates and natives, etc. I guess you could say the moral of the story is that those who do voodoo might end up crying boo-hoo.

 

August 2008

 

The Why of the Beholder
(short)
Writer:  Bobbi JG. Weiss
Penciller:  Horacio Saavedra
(3 out of 5 Krackotoa Specials)
Colossal Comics #3

Summary

This is a very simple story.  Wildcat is busy tightening a wrench in the Sea Duck's engine.  When he's done, wipes his greasy paws on the rag and puts his tools away.   and hangs it up in front of his houseboat, with the rest of his laundry.  As he puts his tools away, a passing customer --- a chubby bespectacled canine (who resembles one of Don Rosa's generic dog characters) happens to see the rag hanging, which is covered in paint, dirt and greasy and God knows what else.  The stains resemble abstract art, and the man is so impressed that he insists (in mime) on paying Wildcat lots of Shaboozies for his 'masterpiece'.  He walks away, holding the rag by the edges, obviously excited by his latest 'discovery'.  Bemused but much richer, Wildcat watches him go.

The final panel takes place at the Cape Suzette Museum of Modern Art.  Baloo, Rebecca, Kit, Molly and of course the artist himself looking at the now handsomely-framed rag, dubbed, "The Great Unwashed".  Nobody gets it --- Baloo, Rebecca and Wildcat all have these expressions that plainly say, 'what-the-hell-is-that-supposed-to-be?'  Kit looks embarrassed and Molly gives her honest opinion by blowing a big raspberry.

Commentary

You may wonder why I gave this three Krackatoas; it's not a great story by any means.  If you've seen as much TV as I have, you can pretty much see this gag coming a mile away.  It's an old joke that artists can use body paint, splattering or just puke on a piece of canvas and pronounce it 'abstract art'.  The art community will study it, analyze it and declare the artist a genius, especially after he dies --- then it's worth millions.  This reminds me of an old Murphy Brown episode where, she hangs up a doodle by her two-year-old son in a gallery as a joke.  Everyone raves about the artist's passion and anger, blah, blah, blah and a particularly obnoxious patron declares that he will buy it from Murphy --- the artist's 'representative', as it were --- $20,000.

Deciding the joke has gone far enough, Murphy tells him, "Sir, I should tell you that this is the work of a child."

He insists on buying it, giving her a scornful look.  "You know... everyone was right.  You just don't get it."

Shrugging, she takes the money.  "Oh, I think I do."

They scorn 'ordinary' people who react like the H4H gang and see a mess.  The artwork is very good and the colors deep and vibrant.  This short comic has a modest ambition and succeeds on a small scale --- it completely relies on conveying its story in pictures without dialogue.

May 2003  

 

 

 

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