MANY HAPPY RETURNS 2008

MANY HAPPY RETURNS 2008
Written and Drawn by Various
Published by
About Comics

Mark Evanier, William Messner-Loebs, Dan Spiegle, and Nat Gertler are joined by singer Heywood Banks and a host of young talents in this short comics anthology that is notable for a couple of reasons. Reason one is that Evanier and Spiegle deliver the first new CROSSFIRE in over a decade, which is cause for an old-time comics fan to rejoice. But if that wasn’t enough, Messner-Loebs delivers his first new JOURNEY story in over fifteen years. So with very little fanfare, you get the return of two classics to the page.

And nicely, both of those stories do indeed satisfy the reader. Gertler also provides four new LICENSABLE BEAR bits, and three of those also work quite nicely as well. Throw in the cute adaptation of the Banks song, and this is a decent enough effort overall. The four dollar price tag doesn’t feel like a burn.

However, the piece by newcomer Dan Schneider, “General Chatters,” is out of place. There’s one amusing concept in it, but artistically, Schneider doesn’t have a grasp on blacks and shading, leaving the art without dimension and texture. It is also hand-lettered and looks poor in comparison to the rest of the book.

Gertler and About don’t publish very frequently, but when they do, it is usually worth a look, even if just for a sliver of what’s being offered. MANY HAPPY RETURNS is no different.

Marc Mason