Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CRACKED #160 - Fly, Smythe, Fly!

by Pierre L.

Have a look at that cover! Awesome drawing. The ropes holding Sylvester up are great. But...stop looking there. Look up top. "Super Heroes! Roller Skating! etc..." Now, this is MAD Town. I'm not a fan of this sort of thing. It mars the cover. Severin always does such a great job...Are those blurbs needed? No. Of course not. Sigh. But...let's forget that and hop in.

POSTER: If this spot turns blue, evacuate area immediately. (Can you see where the rest of this poster is going?) Hooray! Pee Yellow backgrounds are back!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Seymour Errs - Here's our pruf rdder. Looks like a decent issue. I think. Let's step to the Lettuce...

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Your M*U*S*H was great!" (Can you guess the editor's response to that one?) Next issue - April 24th

SUPED-UPMAN - THE SATIRE: Seven pages! Almost as long as the movie. So...On the Planet Clipton, Klong and Whetola Gai Pan send their baby Moo Goo to Earth for some reason or other. They are plant people but the baby is Asian. But, he grows up to be a super Nerdlinger named Cluck Clone. He goes to the big city to work in a deli where his boss is an Indian named Running Water. (So, Cluck can call him "Chief".) A super villain named The Shoe hides all of the water in Smellville in a closet. Our hero saves the day and some of it is funny but some of it is just odd in the way that Star Wars II was odd back in #147. Sometimes the Cracked writers seems like they came from the planet Clipton.

CRACKED LOOKS AT RACING: Lots of "going really fast" gags. Lots of "really nice car" gags. Things like driving a mini-race car on the bumper car ride at a carnival. Whistling at a nice chassis. Things like that. I've never been a racing fan and this article hasn't changed my mind. Some great illustrations but a bit of a yawner.

A CRACKED EXPLANATION OF THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE NEW FIRST CLASS, REGULAR AND ECONOMY AIRLINE FARES: It's just what it says. Three pages of pretty funny stuff. First Class - Champagne Regular - Soda: Bubbly or flat? ECONOMY - The Stewardess turns on a house and has everyone open their mouths. Restroom facilities? First Class and Regular share a bathroom but...The panel has a man standing outside the door with a stewardess holding a megaphone. She is asking the regular passenger to exit the lavatory as a First Class customer needs to go. "But, I'm not done, ma'am!" "I'm sorry sir! You know the rules!" And the economy? There's an outhouse...on the wing. This ones pretty good. The landing procedure for Economy is great. The stewardess just lifts the bench everyone is sitting on and dumps them out the door in-flight. Great stuff.

AND YET AGAIN STILL MORE FROM THE CRACKED LENS: Two pages of quick photo-filled mirth. Going strong...

CRACKED GUIDE TO ROLLER SKATING: Hey! Racing and now Roller Skating? Get out of here! Oh, it's real. Well, this is OK. Better than the racing. Jokes about buying expensive skates and how to turn around on a roller rink. (Hold out your arm and when someone runs into you - spin.) There is a roller derby joke. There are old people skating. There is all this stuff and I used to love having roller skating parties in school so the nostalgia of this article is better than the article. Can't fault it there. Thanks, CRACKED.

THE CLASSIFIED ADS OF THE FUTURE: Aliens and robots! Psychotherapist for Demented Robots - "Must be able to deal with the following robot ailments - Oilcoholism/ Rustophobia/ Overloaded Brain Circuits/ and so forth" Do you know which mouth of a Jovian you stick the thermometer into? You better if you want to be a registered nurse! And, Klinker's Sells Used Rockets. Not bad. At three pages, it's a breeze.

PHOTOON: Not the best of these one-pager photo gags but not bad.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: Break Glass! At a barber shop, we have a toupee. At the health food store, we've got junk food. In the Cracked Editorial Office, we've got a book of old jokes. Stuff like that. At two pages, this is a quick scan and a smile.

THE LAYMAN'S GUIDE TO HOT AND COLD WEATHER: Hot on one side. Cold on the other...just like a McDLT. I love the art on this one but the jokes are so old..except the Abominable Snowman doubling as Santa because it's so cold. I feel like I've seen the "Cold" version of this in one issue and the "Hot" in another. Another quick read. This one is drawn with love but joked with less aplomb.

CRACKED PRESENTS SUPERHEROS OF THE FUTURE: Love it! Sideways...tilt! Fun. Five new goofy superheroes for folks to enjoy. They are:

1) Souperman - He's a guy whose body is a can of soup. He fights a giant can opener!

2) The Miraculous Mosquito Man - He looks a lot like Spider-Man except he's a mosquito fighting a giant can of RAID!

3) AUTO MAN! - He's a car. He fights crime. Ricardo Montalban loves him!

4) SUBMARINE MAN! - He's a man with the body of a sandwich! Two Italian peppers dance and sing "I'm a Pepper! You're a Pepper!"

5) THE BULK - Something about burping.

Funny Junk.

ONE AFTERNOON AT A STOP LIGHT - Not a bad one-pager but they've done better.

LYIN' BEAT: All your teen heatrthrobs and some Osmonds load this one up. It's loaded with gags and photos and lies and has a great fourth page...Peter Criss-related? You bet your ass!...This article's fine but it feels a bit too thick and a bit too predictable. The jokes don't really grab me. They've done things like this before (but I don't remember when) and it's been done better. Let's keep on movin' on...

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE I.Q. KING: It's a real smart, snotty kid. Nanny brings her nephew Dickie and he's real stupid. Jokes about how the kid was really smart from the day he was born mix with Dickie's awful puns and Nanny doesn't really do much of anything. I'm not sure why they brought her along. Oh, the kid gropes her on the final page. That must be it.


1 - Rat!
2 - Fat!
3 - Rat-a-tat-tat!

Total: It's Shut-Uperrific!

BACK COVER: Great Moments in Sports - A convict pole vaults over the prison walls. Is this comedy?

Not a bad issue. The hit and miss ratio is pretty solid. A fun read for a cold evening with a mug of cocoa. Oh, extra points for using "Clone!" as an insult, like "Nerd!". Merry Christmas everyone! CRACKED loves you!

Next issue: I don't remember. Something funny, no doubt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

CRACKED #159 - Space! Oh, that place.

May 1979
by Pierre L.

Folks, I apologize. It's been so long. I've been reading and I've been loving but I ain't been writing. I'm sorry. I will try to put up a few before the end of the year. Starting here...

Oh boy! Battlestar Galactica! Take it down! Great Cover! It has a real epic feel but Sylvester brings it all right down to the special place, the CRACKED place.

Let's step in...

CRACKED POSTER: "We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties. Do Not Adjust This Poster" And, the words are all wobbly. Nice. And...the background is black! What happened to the Pee Yellow we're so used to?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Luke N. Cee - pruf rdr" Can there be more love here? Awesome. Looks like a good line up although it's always tough to gauge from here. I think it will be fun...fun...fun.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: March 13th - Next issue! Pretty straight forward lettuce. I'm anxious to hop in to the fun. Let's go...

BATTLETSTAR GARLCTICA: Awesome title! You got it, guys! I always used to wonder about their breath on that ship! Nice! This is a swift 6-pager. With a lot of jokes about how they repeat the premise of the show a lot and how cheap the effects were (but they weren't...which is odd) and how they ripped off so many things. My favorite bit: The main guys crash on an unknown planet and it turns out to be...the Planet of the Apes! When one of the guys thinks this is going a bit far, the other says "When your show has the sets and effects of Star Wars, the plots of Star Trek and the intelligence of Lost in Space, no one's gonna notice one more little steal." He's right. I never liked this show but this parody is fun. Read on!

CRACKED MODERNIZES SONGS OF CHILDHOOD: MAD Ahoy! Oh man...Little illustrations alongside modernized versions of poems dealing with the Olympics, broken down cars, overspending wives, lazy farmers and Lawrence Welk...And more, of course...Here's one:

Ride Our White Ford
("Ride a White Cock to Banbury Cross")

Ride our white ford to Banbury Cross,
To buy jewelry, lipstick and cranberry sauce,
Plus panty hose, and dresses with bows--
My wife can spend money wherever she goes.

Hello, 1959! Oh well. Strong start grinds to a halt. I always thought my own personal "Best of Cracked" might be fun but I think you need everything from each issue to really appreciate CRACKED, even the articles that stink.

A CRACKED LOOK AT INDIRECT MESSAGES: You know...a cop in one panel says "Please step out of the car" but he really wants to draw his gun and say "You look suspicious so get out slow or I'll blast you!" Things like that. The way people are indirect and how CRACKED can simplify things. There's one funny one where a beautiful woman asks a man at a party what he does for a living. The direct method has her asking how much he makes so she'll know if she's wasting her time. This one's OK but I have a tough time getting too excited. Maybe it's warm in here and I'm getting logy.

THE CRACKED BOOK OF GAMES AND PUZZLES THAT ANYONE CAN SOLVE: Best article in this issue. One intro page and four sideways pages of puzzles like: Can you find the dog cleverly hidden in this picture? We see a suburban street and several houses. In between two of houses is an enormous dog. There's a crossword puzzle with three up squares and three down squares. DOWN: "If you followed the letter 'L' with an 'E' and a 'G', you would have the word ___" And, there's a game of Blind Man's Bluff where everyone is blindfolded except the person doing the looking. It's funny stuff and deserved to be the centerpiece of this issue. It almost is.

CLONE ADS OF THE FUTURE: Clone yourself so you can cheat on your wife! Clone yourself so you can work multiple jobs and make big bucks! Use the "Clone Coloring Service!" Clone yourself Ebony Black! "Find what it's like not to have to spend money on suntan oil." I like the art. The gags must have seemed 1,000 years old, even in 1979.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN A CRACKED HOSPITAL WHEN: Some pretty funny illustrations but the lead-in lines (above the pictures) are pretty blah. "...the crutches have termites." "...the nurses dress in black." "...the doctor starts doing the Hustle while listening to your heart." "...the scalpel is an old pizza cutter." Actually some of the drawings are really funny. But, the article is...ah...not much.

AND YET STILL MORE FROM THE CRACKED LENS: Four pages of charming still gags. These are generally fun and this batch is no different.

THE SCUBA DIVER: Pretty funny one-pager. Read and smile, I won't ruin it.

THE CRACKED HANDBOOK OF ACTING: 4 pages of gags about becoming an actor. Being an extra in a Raisin Bran commercial. (3rd Raisin) Practicing all your emotions. Finding an agent who won't rip you off. Stuff like that. Projecting on stage. (That looks like yelling!)A fun article. maybe a little text-heavy but it surfs along.

CRACKED'S ABSURD ALBUM OF MORE APPROPRIATE ACRONYMS: A pager. A bunch of wonderfully goofball acronyms...such as L.A.T.E. - Legion for Airline Travel Efficiency and J.U.N.K.F.O.O.D. - Just Unhealthy Nibbling Keeps Fatties Off Overdue Diets. There is one for Cracked Magazine but it's lengthy. I'll let you hunt it down.

M*U*S*H - Wow. What is this the 3rd or 4th MASH parody? This one features Winchester and a lot of really corny jokes but it's still fun. Almost like a vaguely reoccurring thing now. Some laughs in here. I may go back to the previous appearances and collate everything into a big ball of comedy...with a K!

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON KING - Joe Banal is interviewed. He's asked why the animation in his shows is so bad and why the stories are so boring. But, he just gets defensive and yells at Nanny. I can't condone that, Jack! Banal, quite bein' a peckerhead! Pretty good interview. It really works if you remember how bad most Saturday Morning cartoons where back in the day.

1 - Tattoo
2 - Old Ladies
3 - Bank Robbers
Tattoo Lady Robbers!

Grade - Fun in your pants!

ONE DAY IN THE TROPICS: Back cover. A decent one-pager although the art is a little funky.

A decent issue. Nothing fantastic. Really has the feeling of coasting along, passing time. But, I think, things will pick up soon. (Trust me.)

Next issue: Super Huh?