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CSBG Archive

Month of Women in Comics – Saved By the Bell #1

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by female creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here‘s a list of all the books featured so far this month.

I apologize for no comic yesterday. The blog had server issues when I was trying to make my post and it never got through. I’ll just do two today.

So we continue with Lion Forge Comics’ Saved by the Bell #1, by writer Joelle Sellner, artist Chynna Clugston Flores and colorist Lisa Moore…

savedbythebellcover

This is one of the first releases in Lion Forge Comics’ new “Roar” line of all-age comics. It is, as you suspect, a comic book adaptation of NBC’s hit teen sitcom from the 1990s, Saved by the Bell. The first issue is a loose adaptation of the show’s first episode, although the reboot here is so complete that I imagine that the book will soon go off on its own path, as the TV series quickly detoured away from the Zach Morris/AC Slater fight over Kelly Kapowski while the comic book seems to be geared up to stick with that plot.

Sellner does a really great job distilling the characters down into a line or two right away so that we can instantly “get” the personalities of everyone involved…

savedbythebell1

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Zach and Slater’s efforts to undermine each other make up the rest of the comic.

This type of comic is so in Clugston Flores’ wheel house that I bet she could have drawn an awesome looking comic book in her sleep, but whether she did this comic awake or not, she did an excellent job. Such personality, such verve – all while maintaining her trademark strong storytelling skills. And I love how she made every character match their original actor so well without doing actual likenesses for any one of them.

Moore’s colors give the book a nice bright and retro vibe.

Top-notch creators paired with a concept that translates well to comics (essentially a modern day Archie Comics) results in an entertaining comic for all-ages. If you want to buy a copy, you can get one on Amazon for just $2.

39 Comments

Travis Pelkie

March 5, 2014 at 1:38 am

Looks good, and Chynna Clugston is great no matter what she does. Even this ;)

Although I gotta say, it’s a bit hard to distinguish between the woman that was in Showgirls and the one that was in From Dusk Til Dawn 2. Those two look just a little too similar to me, especially on the “cover”.

Hands down the pinnacle of the medium.

Annoyed Grunt

March 5, 2014 at 3:08 am

The writing seems pretty dead on. I could hear the laugh track in my head.

Bill Williamson

March 5, 2014 at 5:10 am

The art is great, although Kelly Kapowski was much hotter than that. The writing is, for better or worse, exactly like Annoyed Grunt said.

Interesting that for Women in Comics Month, we would start with a female-creator series focusing on a creepily manipulative guy who lies to his friends and trades on gender stereotypes (his lie to Lisa successfully manipulates her through her obsession with fashion) in order to win a date with a girl he is attracted to solely for her looks and who repeatedly invites other people along so that she’s not left alone with him. Was Zack that disturbing on the actual show?

@Citizen Alan –

Dude, calm down.

“… as the TV series quickly detoured away from the Zach Morris/AC Slater fight over Kelly Kapowski…”

We must’ve been watching different shows, because I remember that going on for quite a bit before Slater got paired with Jesse. Although it’s possible the fact that I saw every episode so often out of order in syndication blurred my memory a tad.

I think @Citizen Alan’s comments about Zack were kind of bang-on. The show was kind of bizarre in that respect. Less so in context of the late 80s/early 90s, but definitely played up stereotypes/archetypes. Maybe I’m just biased after reading the profoundly disturbing autobiography of Dustin Diamond.

I’m not gonna say that this is a book I would buy, but the writing on these is much better than it should be. It seems like it’s kind of trying to cast ‘Saved by the Bell’ as an “Archie” of sorts, and it makes a lot of sense.

Why are internet commenters on comic sites becoming so humorless and extreme in their feminism lately? I’ve been noticing it more the past few years. Is it because the sexism and misogyny was so rampant for a while that there’s been an over-correction. I really hated the type of commenters before who would reduce all female characters to sex objects and rave about lowest common denominator cheesecake pinup art, but this new breed of progressive prig is almost as annoying in some ways.

Sure Lisa is a female stereotype, but Jesse is also the smartest, hardest working girl in the school, while Kelly is normal and quite balanced. Also, Zack’s manipulations end up biting him in the butt quite often. He’s a trickster character, an archetype that can be seen in African myths like Anansi the Spider-God or in Bugs Bunny Cartoons or in Ferris Bueller or Kirk Cameron’s character in growing pains. It’s not a “creepy” antifeminist manipulation, and it’s not meant to be totally flattering. His schemes are shortcuts that often backfire and get him into more trouble than if he just played it straight and followed the rules. Another similar example is Black Adder TV show.

We must’ve been watching different shows, because I remember that going on for quite a bit before Slater got paired with Jesse. Although it’s possible the fact that I saw every episode so often out of order in syndication blurred my memory a tad.

Slater was paired with Jesse at the beginning of Season 2, so episode 17 out of 86. That’s pretty quick.

@T. –

They’re even worse really. White (usually middle class) people looking for something to feel “persecuted” about.

@Brian Cronin —

Your knowledge of Saved By The Bell is truly impressive.

The art and writing on this is awesome. Props to Lion Forge and Joelle Sellner. Definitely worth the price. I laughed out loud a few times.

I’m not sure what you’re referring to as extreme feminism, T. I read the comment about how creepy Zack was as another knee-jerk masculinist reaction of “oh great, another women creator who portrays men as horrible people.” Either way, I’m not seeing it. This comic looks pretty fun and humorful to me.

Slater was paired with Jesse at the beginning of Season 2, so episode 17 out of 86. That’s pretty quick.

Wow, I remember it going on a lot longer too. That’s surprising.

I’m not sure what you’re referring to as extreme feminism, T. I read the comment about how creepy Zack was as another knee-jerk masculinist reaction of “oh great, another women creator who portrays men as horrible people.”

Interesting. My take was that he was saying that he’s surprised women creators would work on something so blatantly antifeminist, but your interpretation is plausible and just as annoying.

I’ve been a fan of Chynna Clugston back when she was doing Blue Monday and her last name was still Majors. Nice to see she’s still in the comics business.

Wow, I remember it going on a lot longer too. That’s surprising.

If I recall correctly, the main “problem” was that Lopez and Gosselaar had such good chemistry that the rivalry just didn’t work anymore so they just said screw it and had them become friends.

Interesting. My take was that he was saying that he’s surprised women creators would work on something so blatantly antifeminist, but your interpretation is plausible and just as annoying.

Yeah, I believe you are correct.

And as to the point, yes, Zach was pretty creepy early on. The dude tried to brainwash Kelly into dating him!!

Nah, if you read some of the Cracked articles about the subject, it becomes clear that Zack Morris is a manipulative sociopath with godlike powers, who toys with everyone for his own amusement.

I remember Saved by the Bell, and Citizen Alan’s interpretation is a fairly good way to look back at the show…which was slightly more innocent at the time.

This comic looks to be a rather good flashback to the show. I’m slightly scared by that.

Travis Pelkie

March 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Well, regardless, we didn’t START with this one. Month of Women in Comics is a few days old now (and featured some AMAZING stuff, so check it out!)

Nah, if you read some of the Cracked articles about the subject, it becomes clear that Zack Morris is a manipulative sociopath with godlike powers, who toys with everyone for his own amusement.

I do believe a case could be made for Zack as a sociopath if you wanted to really look at it that way, through a less innocent lens. For an example of how Zack played straight with more realistic consequences would be, check out the show Skins from the UK, specifically the character Tony Stonem. He’s a Ferriss Bueller/Zack Morris type, except instead of the manipulation being winked away as harmless mischief, it gets acknowledged as borderline sociopathy and he gets a hell of a comeuppance. That said, even if you do call him creepy or sociopathic, the guy manipulates EVERYONE, not just women. I’m sure he would have brainwashed Slater just as easily as he did Kelly if he needed to. I’m just addressing the previous poster who tried to turn this into a feminist issue and made it out to be as if Zack Morris specifically targeted women with his antics and exploitative manipulation and that the comic above is purely trading in female stereotypes.

As much as I hate to agree with Cracked or even be citing them for anything, their take on Zach Morris and how utterly ludicrous he is as a character is basically spot on.

Bill Williamson

March 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I think the keyboard warriors here need to lighten up a bit. Yeah, Saved by the Bell had its problems. It had the problems stated. It wasn’t the greatest show. But it also wasn’t as bad as people here have made it out to be. Also, if you’re going rail against one of the characters for anti-feminism/misogyny, rail against AC Slater. The actor who played him is an accused rapist/attention whore who has seen no retribution for his crimes.

But back to the comic: I remember seeing Chynna Clugston’s work back in an issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. It was the one where Peter Parker and his social circle run into some of the X-Men at the mall. I remember that I wasn’t too fond of the artwork, it seemed like Clugston was one of those American artists who had superficially adopted the manga style. I figured that she, along with many other manga imitators would basically just fade away. Well, I’m glad to see that her style has matured, it no longer has the clunky awkwardness of that Ultimate Team-Up issue, and that she hasn’t faded away.

As for the writing, while the source material does have its flaws the adaptation is very competent and does indeed feel like a modern day Archie comic book.

Keyboard warriors, prigs – you guys are funny.

Read the Dustin Diamond autobiography, it’s a pretty funny/depressing read.

Bill Williamson

March 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm

@MarkBlack I’ve read excerpts, and from what I’ve seen it’s funny in a depressing kind of way.

Also, the amount of obviously made up stuff is almost staggering.

Of course, behavior that would be creepy/stalky in real life is often presented in fiction as a sign of romantic obsession and True Love, so it’s not like Zack’s unique.

Of course, behavior that would be creepy/stalky in real life is often presented in fiction as a sign of romantic obsession and True Love, so it’s not like Zack’s unique.

Yes, very true. A good gender-swapped example is the show Felicity. The whole premise of why Felicity moved to NY was creepy and stalkery as hell.

@Bill Williamson – there’s a serious case for libel/slander to made for the claims in that book. It’s kind of great how full of loathing he is.

Dobie Gillis, Eddie Haskell, Ferris Bueller, Zach Morris….a long line of manipulative trickster characters. What’s not to love? Does this generation even have a pop culture version of a Zach?

The comic seems very nice and gave me a nostalgic buzz of my youth.

But if you would show each of the characters without any identification and tell me that they are based off a 90′s teen show. I would probably guess Zach and Screech….but I doubt I would get the others. Slater really doesn’t remind me of Mario Lopez.

Bill Williamson

March 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm

@MarkBlack There is, but Dustin Diamond honestly isn’t worth the effort. He tried to claim that he wasn’t Screech in that book and really just ended up looking even more like Screech than he did before.

@Bill Williamson – Screech was for the most part kind and unassuming, Dustin Diamond is a bitter, misanthropic human. The book is a pretty interesting train wreck. I got it second hand so I didn’t feel like I was supporting Dustin Diamond financially in any way.

“Sure Lisa is a female stereotype, but Jesse is also the smartest, hardest working girl in the school, while Kelly is normal and quite balanced.”

I think that, as backwards as it looks now, Lisa was conceived in a sort of “See, kids, this African-American girl is just like all the white girls!” She eventually developed to me more than just the stereotype, but a little more belatedly than the other two, and I think that’s why.

I think that, as backwards as it looks now, Lisa was conceived in a sort of “See, kids, this African-American girl is just like all the white girls!” She eventually developed to me more than just the stereotype, but a little more belatedly than the other two, and I think that’s why.

Never realized it, but that makes a lot of sense and I agree. Great insight. She was a female stereotype in some ways, but if evaluated as a black girl she actually was defying stereotypes in a major way and was almost progressive.

Yeah, I also get the impression T. speaks of in his first post here.

Some Internet feminists seem to battle one extreme (the Essentialist notion that all women fit all the “feminine” stereotypes) appealing to another extreme (that no woman can possibly have even one foot in one single feminine stereotype ever). It’s some sort of extreme Simone de Beauvoir feminism, that defends that gender is a total cultural construct.

To whoever told me to calm down, I wasn’t upset by this. More like amused that this would get cited for “Women in Comics Month” or whatever when the actual comic focuses on a creepy manipulator who casually lies to his friends just to engineer some alone time with another girl he thinks is cute. I’ve never read it, but I feel confident that the SBTB comic had at least a few issues focusing on the female characters that might be more appropriate to cite for WiC Month. Or maybe not.

I’ve never read it, but I feel confident

That sums you up pretty well. Ignorant, but confidently so!

Hi!
Are there going to be more women-in-comics reviews coming up?
Thanks!

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