It was a different time, the 1950s…  Your Major Spoilers review of The Ruff And Reddy Show #1 awaits!

THE RUFF AND REDDY SHOW #1

Writer: Howard Chaykin
Artist: Mac Rey
Colorist: Mac Rey
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in The Ruff And Reddy Show: “In the Golden Age of television, Ruff and Reddy were on top of the entertainment world… until the world turned, and they were forgotten.  Now, Ruff is a washed-up television actor.  Reddy is a clerk in an upscale grocery store.  Can a hungry young agent convince the two one-time partners to make a comeback-and convince the world that it wants to see the famously infamous dog-and-cat comedy team back in the spotlight?”

I’M NOT SURE I TRUST CHAYKIN CURRENTLY

So, the last Chaykin joint I read was an utter train wreck, full of nationalistic fervor, bone-headed stereotypes and a truly off-putting urge to offend as many people as possible.  This book, on the other hand, was pretty charming, starting with our titular team in an approximation of their actual 50s cartoon adventures, albeit set in a ‘Roger Rabbit’-style world where humans and cartoons (‘celimates’) awkwardly co-exist.  As the years go by, our team rubs each other all the wrong ways, eventually tearing into one another with the kind of vehemence you can only use to attack people you know inside and out.  The act breaks up, the show gets cancelled, and our twosome drifts, with snarky cat Ruff becoming one of those eternal guest star types, while dimwitted dog Reddy gets out of the business entirely, until a young talent agent brings them together with a plan to put the metaphorical band back together.

I ALWAYS LOVED DAWS BUTLER

My biggest complaint with this comic is the fact that, several times in this issue, words are “bleeped” out with curse-symbols without enough context to know what it is being censored.  The art is beautiful, angular and impressionistic throughout the issue, which helps to carry the courser or less coherent bits of Chaykin’s script, something that helps to overcome (but never entirely erase) the mess that is “Divided States Of Hysteria.”  I’m 100% the target audience for these DC/HB revivals, so I may be a little bit biased, but I enjoy the world-building and interpersonal conflict of this issue greatly, and it’s even more amusing remembering Daws Butler voicing our cartoon duo in the reruns I watched growing up.

THE BOTTOM LINE: BEAUTIFUL AND ENJOYABLE

This is one pretty comic book, and my fears about Howie’s scripting weren’t realized, as his trademark act of not pulling even the punches that a person should pull make the story that much more realistic and compelling.  The Ruff And Reddy Show #1 is reminiscent of the stories you hear about the breakup of Martin & Lewis, with incredible art that looks cell-shaded and gives life to the animated characters of yore, earning a better-tha-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m enjoying all these titles, and I’m really interested in seeing where this one is going to end up…

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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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