Monday, November 28, 2011

Tales from the Dumpster: Sifting Through the Unwanted Comics of Yesterday.

Alf: Issues 34-36

I’ve been trying to get kids hooked on my various vices (comics, board games, and Zagnut bars) in order to keep the demand up for these products through the next generation or two, so whenever I see some kiddee comics (at least when I see them for cheap, I’m not going to plunk down no 3.99 for an Archie Digest anytime soon) I pick ‘em up and distribute them (usually by mail because every kid likes to get a package in the mail and this way I don’t actually have to see the kids).

What I usually find are one of the umpteen Archie titles, but this time (besides some slightly valuable old Charlton Popeye comics), I found this three issue run of ALF from 1990. I had been holding on to the comics, so I can send them out in lieu of Christmas presents to the offspring of my breeder friends.

This morning, the trailer was cold and I knew I had a leaky faucet to take care of in the bathroom, so I dipped in to the stack of comics and hurried back under the blankets. I had never really taken a shine to the TV show, and had actually taken to punching my friend Mike in the arm every time he followed up a bad joke with ALF’s tagline “Hah, I kill me.” However, I was afraid of plumbing new depths of geekdom by utilizing pictures of Betty and Veronica to take care of my morning wood (or heaven forbid, Olive Oil) so I opted for the ALF.

These being kiddie-comics I just grabbed the top issue and started reading the issue on top, #36, which had a not too promising cover depicting ALF slopping around scoops of ice cream while saying “I’m keeping this issue in chocolate chip MINT condition for you!”

This was the level of humor that I remembered from the TV show. And Mike.

The first thing I noticed is that unlike most kiddie comics, the author Michael Gallagher (no relation, I hope, to the watermelon smasher) was using the editor-sub box to actually try for some series continuity refer back to previous events in the comic run, which I found kinda cool. The first story about a hypothetical past where two ALFs roamed the cosmos was pretty mediocre, but I found myself enjoying some of the extremely forced puns and word play, e.g. as ALF #2 is threatened by the tyrant into action he quips, “I fear and obey.”

The second story was the real surprise. It had ALF back on Melmac working as a police officer and featured a trio of characters who had escaped from “the underground.” The silhouetted figures were none other than the Fabulous Freak Brothers (complete with dubie) whom ALF greeted with the exclamation “Great Caesar’s Tokes!” ALF then went underground to figure out how they escaped and encountered Zippy the Pinhead and Mr. Natural who help him “dam” up (ALF had a censorship gun but he let that one slide by) the rivulet that lead to the mainstream.

The other two issues were good too. The puns referenced figures as obscure as Elia Kazan, had mock comic strips as good as those in DORK, and the sendups of Judge Dread (#35) and Gone With the Wind (#34) were almost as high caliber as some of the better Mad Magazine parodies.

So these might not make it to the mail. For one thing, I’m not sure the kids will like them due to the obscure references, and for another, ALF’s house mom is one smokin’ hot, red-headed MILF.

By: Frank McGirk

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