Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Mighty Marvel Mutts 2

The week of July 21-27, 2014 the comic strip "Mutts" ran a sequence involving superheroes. This isn't the first time Patrick McDonnell has riffed on the targets of his acorn-bombing squirrels (see The Mighty Marvel Mutts).

Before, the sequence built up to a Sunday panel that enlarged the theme. This time, the buildup is deliberately anti-climactic. The daily sequences follow the same pattern with the squirrel's comment in the last panel referring to the superhero either by name or attribute. (click on images to enlarge)

This series starts out with an interesting variation on the theme. Superman is invulnerable, and therefore the only character unaffected by the acorn bonk (as the second panel shows). But just in case he does get angry, the squirrel decides to hide his identity (and reference Supe's own alter-ego Clark Kent in the process).

The Flash, like Superman is a DC Comics superhero.The squirrel must have pretty good reflexes to nail the Flash's noggin as he runs at supersonic speeds!

O'Donnell breaks the trend here and goes with a Marvel instead of a DC Comics superhero -- Dr.Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. The second panel reaction pays homage to Steve Ditko, the first artist to portray the doctor and his mystic effects.

The hero formerly known as Captain Marvel had his name changed to the phrase that turns him into a superhero -- Shazam. DC Comics changed the character's name after Marvel comics (who also have a Captain Marvel) sued and won.

The victim is Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic Four, another Marvel Comics character. Perhaps a little foreshadowing of Sunday's sequence?

The daily sequence wraps up with another DC Comics icon -- Batman. And note that there are two acorns tossed this time.

What makes this different than McDonnell's earlier squirrel/superhero sequence is that the action's
changed. Rather than having the squirrels drop an acorn once again, O'Donnell shifts the scene to have Mooch and Earl contemplate the nature of superheroes (or at least that of their nemesis, Butchie).

The Sunday sequence is clearly tied to the week's theme. The first two panels reference Marvel's classic masthead, and the Fantastic Four, issue 49. The original Jack Kirby cover features the arrival of Galactus, with the Fantastic Four fleeing before him.

Another great sequence from Patrick McDonnell that not only can be appreciated by the average newspaper comics reader, but one delivering a richer form of humor for the comic book fan as well.

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