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Bizarro Comics Paperback – April 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alternative comix artists meet corporate comics trademarks in this collaborative effort. Some of the most idiosyncratic of contemporary comix artists have created comical takes on the cash cows of the DC universe. And it's all done under the guise of Bizarro, DC's wacky, other-world dimension made up of a strange race of blockheaded Superman-like characters. In the old Bizarro comics series, characters (men wear the Superman uniform with the S reversed and women look like freaky Lois Lanes) did everything backwards from our own world. This full-color anthology updates the Bizarro legend but allows the usually super hero-snubbing underground crowd to cheerfully send up classic costumed heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Readers will enjoy Kyle Baker and Liz Glass's take on Ma and Pa Kent getting a babysitter for the young Superman (remember, superbaby can fly). In Jessica Abel and Dylan Horrocks's charming Supergirl story the girl of steel chats about guys with old girlfriend Mary Marvel, who's dropped out of the heroine business to raise a family ("Every time I meet someone nice they get sucked into another dimension," says Supergirl); in their story, Jeff Smith and Paul Pope send Superman to deal with a hilariously moronic, Superman-hating creature perched on an orbiting space station. This funny and unusual collection also features work by Chip Kidd, Chris Duffy and others. Many kudos to DC Comics for keeping a healthy sense of humor.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

In the overblown parlance beloved by the comic-book industry, "This is the team-up you never expected!!" And never would have got, except that DC chilled and allowed an impressive array of alternative-comics creators, including Dave Cooper, Bob Fingerman, and Gilbert Hernandez, to interpret Superman, Batman, and other hallowed, trademarked superheroes. The premise of the whole book is that Bizarro, an "imperfect duplicate" of Superman who does everything backwards, tries drawing comics, with the ensuing whacked-out results. Most of the stories resemble the parodies in Mad (fortunately, the '50s comic book Mad, not the bigger, blander "magazine"), but the best take off in other directions. The standouts include a grotesquely authentic Batman story, circa 1940; Wonder Woman's participation in a poetry slam; and Supergirl sharing girl talk with Mary Marvel at a neighborhood cafe, which is genuinely charming. Younger readers will delight in the goofiness at hand, and comics lifers will appreciate the irreverence. Bizarro might say, "This book am very funny, so nobody should buy it." Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563899582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563899584
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,852,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics (First Second Books), written in collaboration with her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden; and the graphic novel La Perdida (Pantheon Books). She's also the co-writer of the graphic novel Life Sucks. Previously, she published Soundtrack and Mirror, Window (Fantagraphics Books), two collections that gather stories and drawings from her omnibus comic book Artbabe, which she published between 1992 and 1999. She collaborated with Ira Glass on Radio: An Illustrated Guide, a non-fiction comic about how the radio show This American Life is made. Abel won the Xeric Grant, both the Harvey and Lulu awards for "Best New Talent" in 1997; La Perdida won the 2002 "Best New Series" Harvey Award. She teaches at New York's School of Visual Arts and is at work on a new science fiction comic series called Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars, for Dargaud France. Madden and Abel are also series editors for The Best American Comics. They live in Brooklyn, New York, with their two children.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Holmes VINE VOICE on July 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mainstream comics companies are not known to experiment much; sure, they'll kill off a main character to resurrect him/her in a later "special issue," and they'll insert cultural relevance from time to time in order to boost sales. Still, they don't dare radically change the big characters because (a) financially, those characters represent valuable properties and (b) the comics fanbase want the heroes to preserve their mythic proportions. For these reasons, BIZARRO COMICS offers a refreshing take on many prominent characters from the DC Comics Universe. Numerous comics creators from the smaller prestige presses and the remnants of the "comix underground" offer their interpretations of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash and others. Since these stories take place outside the current DC continuity, they should appeal to a wide range of readers. People unfamiliar with the various forms comics writing and art can take will discover a wide range of styles here. Regular comics readers will enjoy the interpretations of familiar, beloved characters.
The impressive roster of creators for this book all deserve mention, but readers should pay special attention to the award-winning story "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter" by the creative team of Kyle Baker and Liz Glass; imagine a teenaged girl sitting a super, invulnerable baby as depicted by a Tex Avery cartoon. "Inside the Batcave" by Paul Pope and Jay Stephens explores many kids' fantasies--to actually make it into the Batman's real lair. The Wonder Woman story by Bob Fingerman and Dave Cooper, "One-Piece, Two-Piece, Red Piece, Blue Piece," should appeal to the fashion-challenged frustrations in everyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Lev on July 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book, which, as other reviewers have said, features indy talent doing mainstream comics. I liked the framing story, which has Mr. Mxyzptlk, mischievious imp from the 5th dimension, waking up to find himself declared president of his home dimension. Unfortunately, the great dimension conquering gamesmaster A invades and challenges Mxy to a duel. After disqualifying himself, Mxy is allowed to picked a champion to represent himself from a catralogue which has every single version of every single superhero. Figuring that Superman does such a good job kicking him out of his dimension, Mxy selects him. But after the real Superman blows him off, Mxy accidently selects Bizarro, Superman's weird, backwards (and possibly insane) clone. Given 30 minutes to train him, Mxy exasperatedly gives Bizzaro a bunch of comics to read. But this makes the mixed-up Bizzaro to decide to defeat A by drawing comics...

And this is the result. Many of the short vignettes are quite good, Some are funny ( the Metal Men one, the Solomon Grundy gets bored one, the Superpets, the green lantern boot camp, the Aquaman in the bath tub, etc.), some are poignant (Supergirl and Mary marvel, the Bat cave, the sidekicks, etc.), and some are just cool. There a re very few stinkers here (the only one I can think of is the pointless Hawkman story. My only problem is that a lot of the stories are too short ( one or two pages) and that several writers or artists are iinvoloed in a huge amount of the stories, while others are barely there at all. Overall, a good book, and I'd read something like this again (sequel, anyone?)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Heering on August 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book features DC comics characters in stories by alternative cartoonists. The stories are not part of the regular DC continuity, so the artists are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want with them. This is not just a series of short stories, though. The book has a framing story where 5th Dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk has to defend his dimension by playing a series of games with a creature called "A". After he gets himself disqualified, Mxyzptlk is forced to find a "champion" to play on his behalf, and he accidentally picks Superman's imperfect duplicate, Bizarro. Mxyzptlk tries to teach Bizarro how to be a hero by showing him a bunch of comic books. So, Bizarro draws his own comics, which are really the ones created by the aformentioned alternative cartoonists. As for the comics themselves, well, they are different, that's for sure. Some are funny, some are serious and some are just plain weird. The most notorious story here is "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter", By Kyle Baker. It was originally supposed to be in a comic called "Elseworlds 80-Page Giant", but that comic was recalled and destroyed because some people at DC got cold feet over the comic's contents. (I don't want to give away what happens, but the story involves baby Superman having things happen to him that would kill an ordinary baby). This is a fun book that features interesting interpretations of super-heroes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By miles@riverside on April 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
The variety of storytelling styles by the dozens of creators who worked on this book almost guarantees that no reader will like every single story (or, conversely, hate every one). The types of humor vary widely also: there's MAD- and PowerPuff Girl-style parodies, Ren-and-Stimpy-type weirdness, also some outright slapstick. The Kyle Baker story reads exactly like a Chuck Jones cartoon. One of the Aquaman sketches reads like Spy-Vs-Spy. A few, like the Eddie Campbell story, manage to be extremely bizarre without being particularly funny.
The stories are all 10 pages or less with the exception of the two-part 75-page framing tale involving Mxyzptlk (which is entertaining although not quite as funny as the best of the shorter works). The creators are generally people who have worked on Vertigo and "indy" comics.
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