I could not imagine a quicker way to appear to be a grumpy, fun-hating nonagenarian than to throw shade at The Amazing World of Gumball. And I'm not! I promise! At least not the actual show. It's just that you might want to skip this one comic, just this once, I'm sorry! I don't consider creativity to be a form of appeal in itself. I find creativity to be extremely important, and I mean ur-important. There's not a creative industry right now that couldn't stand to have about 80% of its current projects stop everything it's doing and go further off the beaten path than it already is. The problem is that creativity by itself isn't a form of appeal, though it may often be the shortest path to appeal.
A comic like, say, Watchmen or Scott Pilgrim, two extremely creative comics, are not good because they're creative. They're good because their creativity led them to make things that are both different and extremely well crafted. Creativity must follow craftsmanship. This is why it's not common for people to design their own bathrooms; if I designed my own bathroom, it would certainly be colorful and strange and it would feature the most wacked-out toilet of all time, but that toilet wouldn't necessarily flush.
I'm also a stickler for craftsmanship and so are you. It's why a perfectly functional story arc of Batman, such as, say, "Death of the Family", is still preferable to that horrible Brian Azzarello Joker comic. It's why I'll always prefer Pacific Rim to Monsters. The Amazing World of Gumball Grab Bag 2016 is perfectly creative but while the animated show has often left me in shaky giggling fits, I found myself reading this comic with the enthusiasm of a guy just trying to get his work done, which is exactly who I was in that moment and who I am right now.
Save for one visual gag of Gumball as a muscular presidential hopeful, each of the comic short stories rely on the gag of its concept, rather than moment-to-moment laughs and that's tough to pull of for any medium because it means pouring your hopes into a single joke, praying that it works and none of them do. Gumball and Darwin wrestling Anaise and Nicole for a set of 1000 crayons is a creative idea, perhaps parodying the vicious and stressful nature of back-to-school shopping (or perhaps not, the presentation is unclear) but it's not funny on its own, and the writing doesn't particularly provide jokes outside of this slightly lame concept.
The two other stories, Gumball and Darwin exploring the school's basement as if it was a spooky dungeon and Gumball desperately attempting to trade away a bad lunch without branding himself as "the guy with bad lunches" are, again, creative if nothing else.
I distinctly remember stories like this when I was a child, seeing strange and half-baked concepts of more well-regarded franchises thrown half-heartedly into the print run with Simpsons comics and Pokemon comics. Even then I noted the lack of variety and substance and it honestly trained me off of comics for a while.
So as much as I hate to bag on one of the best cartoons on TV currently, this Gumball comic is sadly flat, a little boring, and carries none of the charm and distinct comedic know-how of the TV series proper. In execution, it deserves maybe a 3/5 but for the propensity for harm done to the franchise by instilling myself and perhaps the misguided children who pick it up with apathy, I'm giving it a 2. Because I guess I'm a grumpy, fun-hating nonagenarian. Now get off my review, I'm trying to sleep here.
[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
The Amazing World Of Gumball Grab Bag 2016 Writer: Terry Blas, Katy Farina, Philip Murphy, Kate Sherron, Anne Szabla Artist: Mychal Amann, Laura Birdsall, Terry Blas, Katy Farina, Philip Murphy, Kate Sherron, Anne Szabla Publisher: BOOM!/KaBOOM Price: $4.99 Format: Special; Print/Digital