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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 172

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at one of the more overlooked Ambush Bug stories – the last new Ambush Bug solo comic for sixteen years – 1992′s Ambush Bug Nothing Special #1 by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming and Al Gordon!

Enjoy!

1992 was a weird time for Keith Giffen and DC Comics – he had been working for the comic company steadily for a decade, and in fact, he and Ambush Bug scripter Robert Loren Fleming were actually in the MIDST of DC’s 1992 Summer Crossover, Eclipso: The Darkness Within, when this special came out. And yet Giffen was less than eight months away from departing from DC for a few years (he had already ceased writing Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes).

So Ambush Bug Nothing Special #1 had a certain sort of “this could be goodbye” feel to it. Luckily, if it WAS goodbye, it would have been a proper send-off to the character as it was a very funny one-shot filled with a ton of gags (and great Giffen and Gordon artwork).

The opening of the book is a fun series of one-page bits based on the premise of Ambush Bug trying to find work from various DC characters including Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol…

This sequence is notable for also including an appearance by Morpheus, in a rare non-Gaiman-penned appearance of the character during Gaiman’s original tenure on the title…

Giffen then turns the rest of the book into a fight between Ambush Bug and Julie Schwartz (with lots of random wackiness mixed in, of course).

First, Ambush Bug vies with Schwartz for his “position” as DC’s Goodwill Ambassador. Thing is, the job can’t be his until Schwartz dies.

So Bug goes into the future…

Schwartz shows that he will stop Bug wherever he goes – WHENever he goes!!

this leads to the brilliantly harsh Image Comics parody…

Ultimately (after a lot of other great bits, including a flashback to Keith Giffen’s youth and the origin of his 9-panel-grid format), the book ends on a Silence of the Lambs parody with Sugar (from Sugar and Spike) as Clarice, Ambush Bug as Hannibal Lector and Schwartz as Buffalo Bill…

Hilarious stuff.

This was a strong product with good dialogue and impressive art (especially how Giffen changes styles throughout). I believe this is available in the Showcase Presents Ambush Bug black and white trade. Go get it!!

13 Comments

I tried the first Ambush Bug mini-series and hated it. This one seems better but still I honestly can’t understand why the character is so well loved. Different strokes, I guess.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a big Keith Giffen fan (who, from reading his columns here on CBR, seems kind of a douche).

It’s probably my fave Ambush Bug romp (probably bacause the parodies are from “my” time) and I’ve always thought it was a terribly underrated book, even with Ambush Bug fans!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I hate the term Funny Books…but the Ambush Bug comics are really Funny Books.

If you don’t like them then you have no soul and are not a true comic book geek.

Travis Pelkie

June 22, 2010 at 7:11 am

Gotta find this sometime. Was this before or after Heckler? I definitely see the art style similar to that.

It’s funny that Giffen went to Image after that, and actually worked with Liefeld, one of the bigger of the “offenders” of the Image style parodied here.

Of course, Trencher is great, and that Extreme Christmas Special Giff wrote isn’t bad.

“Seven Covers later….”

Funny and sad that this joke works again today just as well.

I almost died at the tiny feet in the Image parody… I’ve got to go dig this book out of my longboxes.

I’ve meaning to buy the Showcase book since it was released, but somehow, something always got on the way (the fact that I’m a broke guy).

Now that finally I’ve got a decent job, this sucker’s onna topa mah list!!

I love this book. Easily one of the funniest things Giffen wrote at the time. Also, Julie Schwartz was nice enough to sign my copy on the page right after the Image parody (where the floating Julie head explains what the power of the editor truly is…brilliant). For that, this book is one of the books I’ll never part with in my collection.

Aside from Sandman, Death also makes an appearance, I believe (as do some others), and the one off bits (like the re-occurring artists versus writers bit that goes on or the calls from Al) are well done. Re-read it recently, and it holds up well, so if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, do so.

I just got another copy of this from “the bins” to replace the one I own that’s living on the East Coast.
I think the reason some folks don’t “take” to the AB character is its insistence on gags over plot.
In today’s continuity obsessed market, just having a fun romp to laugh at isn’t enough for most of us.

Yes! I remember picking this up the day it came out after being completely obsessed with the first two minis and the Christmas special. This might be the single most endlessly quotable comic I’ve ever read even though no one I reference it around has any idea what I’m talking about.

I had high hopes for Ambush Bug: Year None, although that wound up being a tremendously laughless disappointment.

Heh, I use the last line on the comics (“Never go anywhere whithout going first”) all the time.

No one ever gets it…

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Woah, the take on the early Image Comics era was hilarious !
“Look how far my legs can go !! Is that advantageous or what ?!!?”

Giffen’s a great plotter – loved his weird-ass style ever since Defenders.

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