Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by Steve Bennett on August 1, 2019 @ 4:05 am CT
Last week, I confessed in a world with an ever-increasing number of new streaming services, I didn’t have time to watch the content I already had (see “Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy - The Inevitable Comic-Con Recap”). Take, for example, Netflix. I have every intention of watching The Umbrella Academy, but I couldn’t tell you exactly when that was actually going to happen. I still haven’t quite gotten around to watching Stranger Things from 2016 which is about as close to a “must-see” TV series as we get these days. I've never seen a single episode of this cultural touchstone, but I still know the names of the major characters and have a fairly decent grasp on what the "Upside Down" is. Of course, there is the Dark Horse Stranger Things comic book as well as the merch, there’s so much merch (see “Netflix Plans More Merch”).
Not surprisingly, there are several lists of shows you should watch next if you liked Stranger Things or projects which are described as being "Stranger-Things-esque." Like the comic book series Paper Girls. Earlier this month, it was announced that Brian K. Vaughan’s Paper Girls is coming to Amazon (see “Amazon Orders ‘Paper Girls’”). It's a convenient comparison to make, seeing as how both Paper Girls and Stranger Things are science fiction stories about kids growing up in the 80s. Not having seen Stranger Things, I can’t make the comparison myself. However, I’ve read Paper Girls, and I can definitely say you should be reading it, whether you like Stranger Things or not.
Del Toro has said he was inspired by the cartoons he grew up watching, like Johnny Quest, Kimba the Lion, and The Amazing 3 (based on manga by Osamu Tezuka), and that’s evident in the episodes. Both Trollhunters (ordinary boy uses a magic amulet to defend the worlds of humans and trolls), and 3Below (after a coup two teen royals and their bodyguard take refuge on Earth) are prime examples of what in less enlightened times were known as “boys adventure” shows. Both series have a lot of great action, there’s your Jonny Quest, but they’re also smart, funny, full of heart, and often bittersweet. It is the kind of qualities you get with any of Tezuka’s manga.
As good as Trollhunters is, and it's very good, 3Below is that much better in every regard; the second, and unfortunately final, season began streaming on July 12. If you haven’t heard of either series it's understandable, given that neither has had much in the way of merchandising. So far the only thing I can find for 3Below is a single paperback, Arcadia-Con (Tales of Arcadia: 3Below) which is set for release on August 13. But there are no comics yet, which seems like a real missed opportunity to me.
Netflix Adds Five New Animated Kids Series"). It was only after I’d finished binge-watching it that I learned it was based on a series of British graphic novels for children written and drawn by Luke Pearson. So far, I haven’t been able to find any of the books in the series, but two volumes, Hilda Netflix Novel Book 01: Hilda and the Hidden People and Hilda and the Mountain King, are shipping from Diamond on Sept. 4. Final orders for both are due Aug 2.
'Doom Patrol'"). I had been considering watching an episode of their revival of the Young Justice animated series, but the maybe became a definitely when I read Young Justice Delivers a Wonderful, Gender-Bent Mystery Inc. Crossover. The most recent episode, First Impressions, does feature characters who share “some subtle visual cues” with the Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Incorporated version of The Scooby Gang. But as far as I’m concerned they’ve buried the lede, that they’re a modern version of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Golden Age kid gang The Newsboy Legion. They’ve been revamped into The Newsgirl Legion, a trio of young citizen journalists who stream events via their cell phones. I realize it’s just supposed to be a nice nod to some classic DC characters, but given the upcoming Paper Girls TV series, it might not be a bad idea to put The Newsgirl Legion (Tommi Thompkins, Gabby Gabrielli, and Big Words Rodriguez) into some comics. This sounds like a job for Michael Bendis!
Sometimes life can be good.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.