Story – Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell & Jim Lee
Pencils – J. Scott Campbell
Inks – Alex Garner
Ink Assist – Peter Guzman
Colors – Joe Chiodo with Martin Jimenez
Letters – Bill O’Neil
Computer Colors – WildStorm FX
Assistant Editor – Gigi Barbes
Editor – Sarah Becker
Cover Price: $1.30
With the (somewhat) recent revelation that Warren Ellis is going to be reimagining the WildStorm properties for DC in the near future, I decided it may be a good time to take a look at some of the old WildStorm properties. I’ve somehow found myself in possession of more of these things than I ever remember buying!
Not sure this will be a regular feature here, but I think it will be a fun “change in scenery”… for readers and myself. Anyhoo… today we’ve got an odd gimmicky issue of Gen¹³ … one which is broken up into three parts! Seems like a pretty interesting one to check out… at least the first part. Is that Jughead in the corner box? What in the hell have we gotten ourselves into?!?
EDIT: To include Cosmic Treadmill Episode where we discussed this story
We open with the Gen¹³ kids as they are dropped off at the Horton Plaza Mall in downtown San Diego. They are all complaining that their “allowances” for this excursion are so small. We get Roxy checking out a swimsuit and Rainmaker checking out Roxy… because, she’s a lesbian and this is a comic from the 1990’s… subtlety wasn’t really a thing at this point. Fairchild is looking at a book… Burnout is looking at a Fender Strat (signed by Dave Navarro! What decade is this again?)
Grunge ain’t into all that garbage… he beelines it to the comic book store… which is packed like they were giving out black-bagged versions of Superman #75. What they are actually giving out is a… ahem… limited edition Captain Pyro chromium cover. There’s only one in the shop… nay, the city… perhaps the planet (!) and our man wants it. To get it, however… he’s gonna have to win a raffle.
The girls are confused by Grunge’s fixation with the funnybook… but Anna (the robotic housekeeper) drops some knowledge… these comic books are a great investment! The one in question is now worth (approximately) $79.95… and appreciating at 10%/month. Ooh baby! I think they’re in the wrong half of the 1990’s to play this completely straight… but I’ll allow it.
Anyhoo, Rainmaker and Burnout mock Grunge for being a manchild, and Roxy comes to his aid. Grunge, being a manchild, thinks Roxy is mocking him as well, and he stomps off to buy his Captain Pyro raffle ticket. The next page shows that he loses out to a stereotypical nerd. Fairchild tells Grunge he should maybe try getting into comics from the Indie scene… but Grunge is all “no capes, no buys”.
Later on, the gang grabs a bite at
The Max Oh Boy Burger. Grunge is complaining about losing out to “some geek fan-boy”… hey big guy, quit projecting… he’s so distraught, he can hardly eat… but he eats anyway. It is soon made disturbingly clear that the burger did not agree with his belly… and classy guy that he is, he excuses himself to the restroom…
… where he meets a creepy dude. Not just any old creepy dude, however… a creepy dude with a chromium copy of Captain Pyro! He offers it to Grunge for the low low price of… his mortal soul. Grunge, being an idiot, quickly takes him up on his offer. When he returns to his friends… he collapses to the floor.
He is awakened by a tiny pixie, a mix of Tinkerbell and Roxy who calls herself Tinker Fall (get it? Roxy’s code name is Freefall, wonk wonk). She tells him he is in the Land of Sequential Art and she was sent by the Good Witch to meet with the Great Wizard. To find the Great Wizard he’s going to need to speak with a certain bunch of kids at Riverdale High School. Whaaaaa?
After a brief and awkward introduction, Archie and the gang bring Grunge/Ronnie over to Pops for a bite to eat. Here we learn that even his appetite is no match for Jughead’s. He spies the jukebox and asks Betty and Veronica to put on some “B***H*** Surfers”… which dates this book something horrendous, don’t it? For those who don’t remember, The Butthole Surfers were a nominally popular band back then, and (if I’m remembering correctly) there was a bit of an uproar from “concerned citizens” that their album, Electriclarryland was stocked at K-Mart. This made it so they had to make special cover art with the asterisks in the band name. I’ll try and track down pics to include below. Anyhoo… the gals head off… and we’re given a peek at them in Grunge vision… which is how they’d look if J. Scott Campbell drew them in his normal style. We also get a glimpse of the fellas.
We wrap up with Grunge trying to hit on Betty and Veronica… he gets slaps to both cheeks. Then our old pal Reggie tells him how to go about finding the Great Wizard (that’s not a Klan thing, right?). He says to head to the Valley of the Dolls. This makes Archie a bit nervous… because ya see, the Valley of the Dolls is home to “The Bad Girls”… uh-oh.
Okay… this was fun and dumb at the same time. For whatever reason… okay, a pretty obvious reason… this isn’t really a book I want to have the wife look over my shoulder while I’m reading. I can’t even fake it and say that there’s some really deep or meaningful story inside. It’s just dumb fun… and takes me back to a dumb and fun time in my life. That having been said, my account of this issue may be a bit biased.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first… the art. It’s great. I know it’s cheesecake… I know, I know… but it’s still really nice. I think Campbell is talented enough an artist that he can do cheesecake and not have it seem (totally) gratuitous. He also draws great fellas… and somehow, even great Archie-style characters… go figure! I gotta also mention… the coloring. It is ridiculously pretty. Even if DC bought WildStorm solely for their coloring (which I’m not saying they did)… I think they made a good purchase!
The story… like I said… is dumb. This being something of a gimmick issue, I think I can forgive the silliness. This is what it is… and doesn’t dare pretend to be anything more. It’s unrepentant for it’s late 90’s-ness… and I find it quite endearing. I’m sure this is probably a bit of rose-colored goggles on my part… but whattaya gonna do, right? It was fun hanging out with the gang again… especially after we got that tease in issue #33 of New-52 Supergirl.
This book isn’t for everybody, that much is clear. If you’re currently in your thirties… I think you’ll dig this. Above or below your thirties? You still may like it… but nostalgia probably won’t come into play for you. Sadly, to my knowledge, this isn’t available digitally… but, with WildStorm becoming a “thing” again… ya never know. It may not be long before we get the entire run up there. Can’t say this is one you need to track down… but seeing one of the most “nineties” characters put to paper have lunch with the Riverdale gang is quite the novelty.
Here are the different versions of the ‘Surfers album:
Had quite a bit of fun with this one… may have to consider venturing deeper into DC’s pantheon of imprints in the future.
(Ya call that a) Letters Page: