The infamous 1980’s franchise returns, promising once again to deliver “freaky fun for everyone!” With a legacy of gross-out humor to fulfill, how does Roar Comics’ new miniseries perform? Your Major Spoilers review of MADBALLS #1 awaits!
Previously in Madballs: Being a child of the 80’s, I lived through the Madballs craze. These foam rubber balls were sculpted into all sorts of weird and grotesque shapes, making them both fun to play with and one of the first collectible toys I can remember (M.U.S.C.L.E. might have been slightly before the Madballs’ time though). Anyways, Madballs were immensely popular, spawning a comic book series at Marvel through its youth-oriented “Star Comics” imprint. Just as quickly as they burst onto the scene, the Madballs faded away until now, around thirty years later…
IS IT WRONG TO BE NOSTALIGIC FOR SNOT JOKES?
I don’t envy the writers of Madballs comics. It’s got to be difficult to create stories around floating toy balls, with nary a human being in sight. And yet, it is obvious that the love of McGinty, Smith and all of the other creators involved is deep for these disgusting orbs.
The book is actually an anthology of Madballs tales. The stories all exist in their own vacuums, so what happens in the lead doesn’t even try to reference what happens in the final chapter. Perhaps its best this way, as it feels like each creator is getting a chance to take their own trip down memory lane. The stories are not particularly deep…Which shouldn’t be surprising. They are filled with slapstick, hokey puns about bodily functions and gross-out gags. This is not an insult to the creators…this book knows what Madballs intrinsically promise, and it delivers throughout its 32 pages.
GORGEOUSLY GRUESOME ART
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the art throughout this book. Especially wonderful was Brian Smith’s art in the lead story. His depiction of Screamin’ Meemie (my personal childhood favorite) was a delight, but every Madball is rendered in loving detail and vibrant color. The presentation is very cartoony, with great uses of squash and stretch. It felt like I was looking at animation stills. Great work here!
BOTTOM LINE: A NICE TRIP INTO CHILDHOOD
Publishing Madballs as a four-issue limited series is probably the best scenario one could ask for. This kind of book probably won’t be a critical darling, but it doesn’t need to be. What the reader gets is a comic that isn’t afraid to have fun, and remembers a time where being gross was considered harmless fun. Worth a look.