Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reprint This! Comico's Jonny Quest

Like so many things that I'd like to see reprinted, this one would get caught up in licensed property hell. Still, I always believe that if there is a will, there's a way. I certainly never thought we'd see beautiful hardcover editions of Kubert-era Tarzan, so there is always hope. In the 80s, fledgling comic book publisher Comico got the rights from H-B to produce a comic book series featuring Jonny, Race et al. It's a virtual Who's Who of comic book talent, with the likes of Steve Rude, Dave Stevens and Dan Spiegle getting in on the action. I believe that William Messner-Loebs handled most, if not all, of the writing chores and some of his finest work can be found in these pages.

These books are an absolute joy to read. If you are anything like me, these flew under your radar back in the 80s. I've been fortunate enough to pick up most of them in various bargain bins, but it seems unjust that they haven't been compiled into a nice collection. I'm sad to say that the law of diminishing returns kicks in after a while, and the last 20 or so issues of the regular run are all of the map in terms of quality. Too often the story strays from the proven formula and we're given a book dedicated to a single character, even Bandit. While some of these concepts may seem good on paper (such as those featuring a younger Race), they rarely live up to their promise. Truth be told, they are still enjoyable but they 'great' issues here set the bar very high.

While we're on a roll, I'll also suggest throwing in the three issues of Johnny Quest Classics; wcich adapted episodes of the TV show. These are Doug Wildey's babies, as he was responsible for the scripts and the artwork. The real bonus is that these stories are painted. The sheer beauty of Wildey's painted work is reason enough for buying a collection. There are also a couple of Specials and a Jade miniseries. I've never seen any of those, so why not throw them into the mix? I honestly think that a Jonny Quest Omnibus would been a consistently strong seller year in and year out. Dark Horse seems to be the best company when it comes to reprinting forgotten gems, so here's hoping they stumble across my blog.

4 comments:

MDG14450 said...

This was a title I really looked forward to when it was coming out. Loebs is probabaly one of my favorite writers, and like you said, they got some real top-tier artists to draw the stories.

Aaron King said...

I got the first four issues of the series at a library sale for practically nothing and was surprised at the quality.

If I remember correctly, though, the mystery of the ancient city in the first issue is never properly resolved...

Pól said...

This series is stunning.
I managed to pick up a handful of issues at a sale, but it was a real mixed bag of nonsequential issues.

I'd love to see this as a trade. And man, how can you go wrong with the talent on this title?

tonebone said...

I'm not sure the rights would be an issue with this stuff... WB owns all of the Hanna-Barbera stuff, and owns DC...

I would hope Comico itself would be a minor player in whether or not it could be reprinted.