causticlad: Matter-Eater Lad doing his cracky thing (Default)
[personal profile] causticlad2011-09-11 08:54 pm

They protect! They serve! They run away!

The most peculiar '80s comic event was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle boom. Or rather, it was the flood of knock-offs inspired by TMNT's incredible success (for a while issue #1 was selling for a couple of hundred bucks). Pretty much every publisher put out something black-and-white involving funny animals, most of which didn't make it past the first issue. A lot of them skated dangerously along the "parody" line -- a quick poke around the web to refresh my memory turned up Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils, Adult Thermonuclear Samurai Elephants, Naive Interdimensional Commando Koalas, and Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos. It felt like Blackthorne Publishing printed nothing but them for a while. It was a weird time, kind of similar to the record companies' rush to Seattle after Nirvana hit big...hmmm, Stone Temple Pilot Turtles? Nah.

Anyway, one nice side effect of it was that for a while other more original B&W funny animal stuff would get printed, and a lot of very non-mainstream stuff snuck through. The quality was pretty uneven, to be kind, but there were gems. One of my personal favorites, forgotten by me until I stumbled across their one-shot from Eclipse this afternoon, was Weasel Patrol.

Ken Macklin has dropped off the map, unless he's this Ken Macklin, which I have a funny feeling he might be -- I vaguely recall he was Canadian, and so's this sculptor. Whatever happened to him, it's a shame he's apparently stopped making comics because the guy had serious talent. His signature work was Dr. Watchstop, a Vaughn Bodé-esque SF strip that started out in Marvel's Epic magazine and then became a back-up series in Eclipse Comics' Fusion. It was beautiful.

On the other hand this collaboration with fellow Fusion artist Lela Dowling was a throwaway. But it was funny and the art was nice, which is two more points than many of the funny furries of the TMNT Land Rush had.

For no obvious reason their one solo outing sent them to the Old West. Well why the hell not? We'll begin with their recurring villain, Reefer Rick:

Even the crime of cattle rustling hadn't changed, until one day so many cattle were missing that folks noticed, and the local sheriff appealed for help... )