Back in the 1970s when I was a kid, I used to watch old Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes on my local television channel after school. I enjoyed said moose and squirrel, but the highlight of those episodes for me were the filler spots of the adventures of Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Call me crazy (many have), but those little bit of explorations into the history of mankind inspired me to break open the old encyclopedia afterward to get the real story of whatever topic that Peabody and Sherman were intertwined in during the show. I learned a lot and actually maintained a love of history that still permeates with me today some 35+ years later. That was a real creepy thing for me to say just now, but it's true. Like everything in entertainment, things cycle back around and what once was old becomes new again. This time around, it is my old childhood pals Mr. Peabody and Sherman. They have a new Dreamworks movie coming out real soon. And for about the past four months, a mini comic by IDW has been showing itself, acting as a primer for the upcoming movie that will be released in early March. Issue #4 is the last release before the movie and it features appropriately, a Valentine's Day theme of love sending our super smart dog and less than smart human sidekick back to the times of William Shakespeare and Cyrano de Bergerac as Mr. Peabody tries to show Sherman the essence of love and romance. Along their encounters, they find that both historical romantics are dealing with some "issues" that could negatively affect history. What ensues, are efforts to set things right and of course, puns o'plenty.
I really tried to not like this comic. I typically do not like my pleasant childhood memories getting soiled on by some reboot that loses its feel at the least and loses its soul at the worst. Scooby Doo and Speed Racer are two that come to mind. Oh yeah, the new G.I. Joe stuff too. I just don't like it. But here with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, at least for issue four, I enjoyed it. Sholly Fisch's writing was true to what I remember with the puns being a little bit goofy, but perfectly fitting with the spirit of the source material. Peabody and Sherman's banter were true to the characters as well and the writing pulled out the characters personality traits of Peabody being a highly confident egghead and Sherman being the dopey sidekick with strong opinions in spite of what Peabody tells him. Nice job.
I wasn't as impressed with the artwork as Jorge Monlongo's drawings seem to fall somewhere between the original cartoon and the highly digitized movie creation that I have seen in previews. It seems to not know what it wants to capture and I think it may have done better with trying to nail more of the past look rather the perfected present. Just my opinion, but these are my childhood memories dammit. Still, the art is competent and it doesn't impede on a forty something fanboy's memories enough to declare it garbage like I would with others. It holds up putting Monlongo's reasonable art onto Fisch's writing skeleton to allow me a brief moment of fun enjoyment of after school memories as well as reflections of Saturday mornings long ago, wearing pajamas, eating Captain Crunch cereal, and enjoying reruns of cartoons from the 1960s. I can only hope that the new movie will do the same when I watch it with my youngest son.
Writer: Sholly Fisch Artist: Jorge Monlongo Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/29/14