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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #239

Not only could I not get on the interwebs for days, but this is also the busiest week ever. Bah. Anyway, today’s Reason is the world’s strangest TV tie-in! No, really. (Archive!)

8/27/07

239. Mad Dog

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Mad Dog (or “Mad-Dog” if you’re being specific), believe it or not, was a spin-off of the Bob Newhart sitcom “Bob,” in which the comic genius played a comic book artist. Yes. To make things even odder, this comic was a flipbook. One half was the “classic” Mad Dog of yesteryear, the one by “Bob McKay,” and the other was the “edgy, kewl” big-hair-and-bad-attitude ’90s Mad Dog, the one by the, er, other guy who was not Bob. That half was not good at all. We shall not speak of it.

The good half, however, was really good. Written and drawn and even lettered by Ty “the Guy” Templeton, it was tongue-in-cheek cartoony fun, a pastiche of various eras of comic bookery. Witty dialogue, sharp, energetic art, and some fun situations and stories (cat aliens! robot monkeys! taking the mickey out of the Image era!) made it a good comic and a worthwhile send-up of superhero stories.

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“Bob” did not last very long on the air, and the Mad Dog comic was only six issues. Still, it was six issues of zany fun! It was also six issues of really bad comics. You win some, you lose some. Templeton’s work is a wonderful reason to search for this in your local cheapie bins, however, because it’s a kitschy reflection of various eras of the superhero. It starts with ’50s sci-fi and segues into classic Marvel drama and eventually has a bunch of Image-y dudes and baddies with big teeth.

Plus, seriously: robot monkeys.

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Honestly, I would’ve bought more issues of this comic. A lot more. The old-timey Mad Dog was just darn fun. And me, I like my comics to be darn fun.

How ’bout you guys? Anybody remember this series?

15 Comments

Oh man! Not only am I first, but I was TOTALLY showing/telling some people about this book just a week or so ago! I’m giving myself a cool point or 5 for that. At the time it came out it was the only book I was buying (a not long story, but not appropriate for this board). I saw in in the local OMNI supermarket and I just HAD to get it! It’s a shame Mad-Dog gets confused with Mad Dog Rassitano (the other MD Marvel character) and the DC Mad Dog.

Question: was the grim-n-gritty 90s half supposed to be serious, or a parody of that genre?

Er.. yeah! I was talking about it yesterday? Give me cool points now!

I loved the “Bob McKay” style side–I’m not sure I read the other side after the first issue or two. Templeton’s stuff was classic–it was spoofy, and yet reverent of the past. The art was perfect for what he was doing with it.

I even liked the show.

Too bad it was only 6 issues (I have them all.) I too, would have continued to buy this!

Great inclusion…

I got the complete series for christmas one year.
Issue one is the best, but it’s all fun.
And I thought/hoped the awful side is a parody.
HOPED

Hi Bob.

“So who’s he tearing apart with his…teeth and…claws?”

“Why, his faithful sidekick, Buddy!”

I remember the show fondly.

I’m impressed. You made it 228 days before digging up something I’ve never heard of. Congradulations: you’re a bigger comics nerd than I am. I bow to your obscure knowledge.

Thank you! You helped clear up a discussion I was having the other day. I was trying to remember the name of the comic character on “Bob” and all I could remember was “dog something…” He he.

I forgot there was a Marvel comic for it too, but you’ve brought back the memories of it. Looks like it was fun but very anachronistic for what else was coming out from Marvel at the time…

I had no idea this existed. I should get it.

Bob was not nearly as good as Newhart, let alone The Bob Newhart Show, but it deserved better than it got. And it had Cynthia Stevenson as Bob Newhart’s daughter, which is just awesome.

I remember really liking Bob when I was 9 or 10 or whatever because it was about comics. I thought that was soooo cool, who cared how tangential that was, it was still comics.

Never read any of the comics though.

You left Richard Starkings off of your list of letterers.
Sure, you may view the modern Comicraft as the devil, but in the day, Starkings was known as one of the finest letterers out there, and he created the first guild for letterers looking for work. He’d hire them, get contracts from the major comics companies, then farm out the talent who’d signed up with him. It was a good way for letterers and other professionals without work to earn some money. That’s what Comicraft USED to be.
They still do that, albeit to a lesser extent.

[…] 237. Coming soon! 238. See 237. 239. Mad-Dog More to come! Look for a new Reason every day! […]

Back in jr high, I got an issue of Mad-Dog from this kid who was actually named Michael Myers and I thought it was one of the weirdest comics I ever read. Had no idea it tied into a tv show, least of all anything related to Bob Newhart.

The Grim and Gritty part had to be a parody because even while publishing comics, the big publishers know when they are involved in riding a trend.

In the 90’s the Care Bears would have had Battle Armor and patrolled the streets at night seeking justice and the Care Bear Stare would have sent mean people straight to hell.

For the record, Doc Midnight is one of the people I was showing Mad-Dog to.

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