Or – “His Brain’s Overloading!  It Has A Chocolate Coating!”

Long, long ago during a dark period called “The 90’s”, Otter Disaster and I worked in a very small-market television station in the plains of Kansas.  Part of the gig was aiming the satellite dishes the right way at the right time, allowing us to show the network programming that we were obligated to provide.  Of course, I often took advantage of this technology to watch the daily broadcast of “Freakazoid” (even though we didn’t actually air it) purely for my own enjoyment.  Recently, I learned of Dexter’s sole comic appearance, and discovered it to be a crossover with the Animaniacs as well.  This ought to be interesting…

ANIMANIACS #35
Writer(s): Jennifer Moore & Sean Carolan
Penciler: Leonardo Batic
Inker: Scott McRae
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Prismacolor
Editor: Uncredited
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $1.95
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $3.00

Previously, in Animaniacs: Come join the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister, Dot!  Just for fun, we run around the Warner movie lot.  They lock us in the tower whenever we get caught! But we break loose and then vamoose and now you know the plot!  We’re Animaniacs!  Dot is cute and Yakko yaks, Wakko packs away the snacks while Bill Clinton plays the sax.  We’re Animaniacs!  We have pay-or-play contracts.  We’re zany to the max, there’s baloney in our slacks!

We’re Animanie
Totally insaney
Here’s the show’s namey
Pinky and The Brainy
Come back, Shaney
The rain in Spainy
Cockamamie
Shirley MacLainey
How urbaney
Citizen Kaney
Andromeda Strainy
Where’s Lon Chaney?
Eisenhower Mamie
Miss Cellany
Chicken Chow Meiny
Dana Delaney
No pain, no gainy
Hydroplaney
Money down the drainy
Penny Laney
Tarzan and Janey
Novocainey
Here’s the Flamey
Meet Mark Twainy
Presidential campaigny
Hunchback of Notre Damey
Bowling laney
Bangor, Mainey
Frasier Craney
Mister Haney
Quiche lorrainey
Lake Champlainy
High octaney
Public domainy

ANIMANIACS!  And now, my brain hurts.  On with the hilarity, as we join our heroes on a tour of WB’s aforementioned movie lot…

I always have that slight moment of disconnect when a comic book not set in the DCU specifically uses a DC property instead of a pastiche.  I remember how jarring it was in ‘Joe The Barbarian’ to see real Batman toys among the other non-union Canadian equivalencies shown.  Either way, as is their wont, Freakazoid and Sgt. Cosgrove are playing tourist, bringing them to the Warners’ home turf.  The nice thing here is how the writers play fair with both of the characters’ worlds, as Cosgrove often fills his time with tourist traps or minor diversions.  Dot, for her part, is immediately smitten with Freakazoid, while her brothers act wacky, but it’s Cosgrove who does the absolutely unthinkable…

This marks, to my memory, the only time that the Warners have ever behaved, no matter how briefly, at least without ulterior motive.  Freakazoid sets off to find a souvenir for his girlfriend Steff, with Dot in tow, while Wakko, Yakko and Cosgrove stay on the tram.  Things take a turn when The Lobe (one of Freaky’s villains, in town to try and sell his cartoon series “Polyp and The Lobe” as part of the Kid’s WB block) shows up and highjacks the tourists to try and blackmail the executives into going along with his plan…

“You can’t blow up people with mohawks!”  Heh…  Freakazoid gives chase, but gets hit by a falling whale (for some reason) while The Lobe gets waylaid by Martians who transplant his head onto a chihuahua.  It’s a weird reference to the Mars Attacks movie, which I found pretty disturbing, and certainly not aimed at the same audience as this book is.  Then again, maybe I’m the audience?  Bygones…  Ninjas arrive, then a swarm of bees, then a trip through the backlot featuring Sigourney Weaver and Pris from Blade Runner, while Yakko and Wakko argue over whether to wake up Cosgrove…

On the far left, you might notice Emmit Nervend, a running gag on the Freakazoid cartoon, once again proving that the creators have done their homework.  There’s very little plot in the story, but that’s okay…  Both the Warners and the hero will fill the time with pop-culture references as necessary.

“It’s almost time for Buffy.”  Heh.  WB references abound, even in Cosgroves final line, and what the story lacks in…  well, story, it makes up for in enthusiasm and riffing.  The second half of the issue features Slappy Squirrel, a character whom I have never been able to stomach for more than a few moments, of which the less said the better.  However, I couldn’t help but enjoy a one-page gag featuring Chicken Boo that wraps things up here…

The Doctor Who references here are actually pretty  accurate, which is rare enough, and the gag about the cancellation of the series is pretty timely, given that the Fox movie featuring the Eight Doctor was, at the time, quite recent.  All in all, though, this issue doesn’t quite deliver the laughs of an episode of either cartoon (although the references fly fast and furious) but it’s not half-bad as issues of Animaniacs go.  Animaniacs #35 is mostly notable for the crossover guest-star thing, but delivers a few giggles here and there, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  In conclusion, Slappy Squirrel is awful… Just awful.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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3 Comments

  1. May 28, 2012 at 2:29 am — Reply

    Wow. How easily I forget how awesome Animaniacs and Freakazoid were. May I never forget again.

    Slappy the Squirrel was alright for me, though it certainly wasn’t my favorite segment.

    • May 28, 2012 at 10:39 am — Reply

      Slappy the Squirrel was alright for me, though it certainly wasn’t my favorite segment.

      Slappy was always too aware of her sociopathic tendencies for my taste. Early Woody Woodpecker and Daffy Duck at his worst were at least wacky enough to not feel like they were intentionally being jerks…

  2. b003
    May 30, 2012 at 12:13 am — Reply

    I miss REAL Saturday morning cartoons.

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