Review: Tales from the Bully Pulpit graphic novel (Image Comics)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

[This review comes from Doug Glassman:]

I thought it might be entertaining to do some non-superhero reviews while covering for Collected Editions. So in the next few reviews, you’ll see giant robots, pirates and ducks. Yes, ducks. But first, time travel, and one of the funniest OGNs I’ve ever read. It’s Tales from the Bully Pulpit from Image Comics by Benito Cereno, Graeme MacDonald and Ron Riley.

Visitors to scans_daily have seen scans of this book, but if you haven’t seen it… well, it’s the definition of high-concept. Essentially, Teddy Roosevelt and the ghost of Thomas Edison team up to fight Nazis on a future Mars. That seems like a lot for a 64-page OGN, but it works surprisingly well. Teddy Roosevelt is surprisingly realistic—he was very athletic and quick in real life, and putting him in a Captain Marvel Jr. outfit doesn’t seem entirely out of place. His companion, Edison, is a little anachronistic, but it’s a comedy, so I’ll let it pass. He’s certainly the sane one in the equation, and the love-hate relationship between Roosevelt and Edison drives the book when the plot gets too crazy.

The writer is certainly fond of puns, working in the term “Arean” to denote Martian allies of the Nazis and even throwing in a reference to “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” At times, the writing gets a little too silly, especially where the villain, Jorge Hitler, is concerned. He speaks in a mangled SpanGerGlish that eventually gets the point across.

MacDonald joins in the fun with some great sight gags. (Look for a mouse from Maus in one scene.) His art is surprisingly accurate when it comes to depicting real people; Teddy Roosevelt is pretty spot-on, although his figure has been increased to superhero portions. This comes to light during the battle between the army of fascism and the army of democracy. I won’t spoil this too much because it’s definitely the funniest segment of the book, but Lincoln is now one of my favorite superheroes. (And if you’ve read Invincible, you’ll know that he actually is a superhero.)

Tales is over-the-top, but it’s intentional. If you’re a fan of Action Philosophers or Five Fists of Science, you’ll love this book. Mainstream superhero fans might be a harder sell, but look at it this way. For only $7, you get a fun little book that is a throwback to dime novels and pop adventures. That is, if you can find it. Tales sold quite well and they’re working on a sequel, but I’m not sure how big the print run was. Pick it up if you get the chance, you won’t regret it. [OGN. $6.95]
Collected Editions 2014 Comic Book Gift Guide
Get the Collected Editions scoop before anyone else -- on Facebook!

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review; I'd never heard of this title before. Unfortunately Amazon only shows one copy and it's going for 80 bucks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nobody -- I noticed that, too. Anyone know where we can find an affordable copy of this book?

    ReplyDelete
  3. It shows up occasionally on eBay, and usually sells in the $50-70 range. I've had a saved search running for months, and finally managed to win a copy for only $27 a little over a week ago. I'm still not entirely sure how I managed to win it at that price. (I actually found this article while looking for reference for my finally-got-a-copy! post.)

    Right now there's a fixed-price listing on eBay thats asking for $44. More than I paid, but a lot less than that copy on Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just got a copy from my local comic shop for $10 from a sale bin.

    Reading this post, I am very very glad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey, that's a great deal. What did you think of the book?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Particularly when you consider that's $10NZD, and we pay huge mark ups on books over here.

    I love it, my flatmate declares it to be too silly, but I think he just fails to appreciate true majesty.

    ReplyDelete