[Long before I began to Blog, I would periodically do reviews of stuff on my Facebook, frequently the subscription-crate services that were all the rage before we were consumed with actual rage by the 2016 election.
I thought it might be fun to share one here now and then as a peek into the past and a younger Bageler, if I can pry them from the actively hostile corpse of Facebook’s Notes system, it long having been my custom to track down stupid, pointless things that end up being nowhere near worth the work that finding them required.
I’ve cleaned them up formatting and accessibility-wise, but have otherwise left them undisturbed by my modern sensibilities; as you can see, the Bageler of that time was also a huge tryhard, but had yet to learn the restraint and understatement for which I am now renowned the world over.
Hi all my buddies!
So and also so, I recently subscribed to Comic Bento, a monthly-box service that sends you a selection of (mostly) trade paperbacks in accordance with the month’s chosen theme; my comics knowledge is reasonably deep but not very broad, so I’m hoping this will expand my horizons and can think of no one I’d rather inflict it upon than you, my good friends over at the Internet factory. So let’s go! Let’s go do the thing!
Penny Arcade, Vol. 1: Attack Of The Bacon Robots!
Okay so this month’s theme is Vidjagames and holy crap way to lead with your best foot flowered, Comic Bento. Start as you mean to go on, dudes, lady-dudes and others. This is impressive for a number of reasons, not least among them that the availability of webcomic paperbacks (especially short-form and gag-a-day strips like, y’know, Penny Arcade, the undisputed king of webcomics) ranks somewhere below that of newspaper-strip compilations and just above compendia of vintage drug advertisements for children’s cocaine toothache-drops and orally-administered heroin. This handsome volume provides for your pleasure the first two years of a strip that would eventually become one of the first self-supporting webcomics, father a yearly bicoastal expo and enormous children’s charity Child’s Play. High-quality book, high-quality content, helluva way to start this box off.
Sonic The Hedgehog / Mega Man, Worlds Collide Vol. 1: Kindred Spirits
Circle of Truth: This one threw me for a loop, but I’ll be damn’t to the Debil if this doesn’t look like a wonderful, frankly bafflingly unlikely evening of reading. I really hope there’s some Mega Man Legends stuff going on, and even as I type I realize that’s never going to happen, so I’ll bury my dreams and then my nose in this book.
Tomb Raider Vol. 1: Season Of The Witch
File this one under Huh, That’s A Thing? Tomb Raider has never been my thing, but as a video-gaming enthusiast I have from the periphery of my vision seen that the franchise has been trying to mature, and while it’s rare to see huge evolutions in games because a game takes forty billion dollars and six years to put together and thus needs to be familiar enough to sell but just different enough to seem interesting enough to buy, comics are a fine, relatively low-risk place for chances to be taken on new character ideas, new settings, new themes. And whether Season Of The Witch is a reference to Bob Dylan, Halloween III or by some incalculable chance both, the title certainly has my attention and I mean, come on, look at those ruins. Who doesn’t love ruins?
Marvel Super Hero Contest Of Champions #1
Alright, this one is a little different because, alone in the box, it is an actual individual issue of a thing and not a trade paperback, but I won’t mention it if you won’t, except I just did, so you probably should do. Whenever you get around to it. Anyway, a cursory glance at the back, upon which someone seems to have left the entire plot of the thing, indicates that two Powers of the grandest cosmological scale and implication agree to a contest. Of what, you might ask? Of Champions. So each Power gets some Marvel heroes to pit against one another, winner take The Thing. (The Thing of which they’re contesting ownership, not Ben Grimm The Thing, although he is apparently involved.)
Now, one of the reasons I took out this subscription in the first place is that my knowledge and experience of superhero comics in particular is almost nonexistent, and this seems packed to the parsnip with people I actually do know (at least two of the Fantastic Four, some X-Men, I’m actually pretty proud I know who Namor the Submariner is, etc.) and will hopefully give me some context for a whole slew of supers with whom I am unfamiliar (Top Left Purpleman, Painfully Racist Swami Caricature, Silver Gremlin and Well-Groomed Troll Doll, etc.), so it looks like I picked a good month to sign up for this whatsis
Box Grade: A-
Yeah, this is a pretty solid start; the Mega Man/Sonic deal isn’t something I would ever have chosen for myself but will gladly give a chance, the Tomb Raider is a complete blank for me and so has nothing but room to impress, Contest of Champions looks like a fun eight minutes’ reading (that will hopefully serve as something of a cheat sheet for people I’ve seen but can’t name) and let’s be honest, that Penny Arcade volume alone guaranteed this thing at least a solid B from the get-go, so overall I’m impressed. I know every box won’t be filled with stuff that caters to my interests specifically, but this is certainly a good enough first impression to keep my subscription.
Hey, wait a minute. Oh holy crap you guys, there was a secret item hidden in the box. Hold on, lemme take a picture.
~SECRET BONUS ITEM:
THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT~
NEW BOX GRADE:
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY
2022 Bageler here! I ended up reading all of those except the Sonic/Mega Man thing because look, I’m gonna die one day, c’mon.
What about you all? Which early webcomic do you think deserves the trade-treatment next, and why is it either Mac Hall, 1/0, or that Dr. Death series on the NeoPets forum? How do you think Namor’s steppers got so swoll? When was the last time you honored the Founders’ wishes, tore off your sleeves and raided a damn tomb?
Until next time, be good to yourselves, be good to each other, wear your masks or face my wrath, and next time you wanna collide two worlds just ’cause both of its main characters are the same color, consider: the Green Ranger and Larry the Cucumber.