This is the first of a ten-part semi-regular series looking back at some of the old Scooby comic stories. I’ll be going through Scooby-Doo: Surf’s Up! which is the fifth volume that reprints the comics from the original DC run.
This volume collects issues 21-25, without the original cover art, of that run.
Now lets get to it.
Revenge Of The Mudman Starring Scooby-Doo
Artwork by Joe Stanton.
I’ve always had a strange love-hate relationship with Joe Stanton’s art on this book, even from the beginning when I first read the Spring-Heeled Jack story (the first Scooby comic I remember reading, which if all goes well I’ll be reviewing in volume 6.). He draws Freddie with a chin so big that Jay Leno and Bruce Campbell are envious, Shaggy usually had a ball shaped nose, Daphne’s lips are so big and red it looks like she was in a kissing contest and her partner was a vacuum, and his Velma comes off kind of dowdy, almost a complete after thought.
Having said that, I love it, and not just for nostalgias sake…though admittedly I think that plays a small part. You’ve got to understand, I was like 8 or 9 when I first started reading this comic, which was also the time when the only new Scooby we got was 1 DTV (still in their infancy at this point) and 1 or 2 Gelsey books a year
These comics fed my newly forming Scooby love/addiction (in only it’s 2nd or 3rd year).
If I were an animation producer I’d put Joe Stanton on background detail because that is where he truly excels. Sure, he does the occasional “fading color” background, but the vast majority are well detailed and pretty great to look at. The monster looks good and the one-shot/day player characters fit seemlessly into the style of the world the he draws, this one is key as some Scooby artists really struggle with making it all fit together smoothly.
And the dude draws a pretty damn good Mystery Machine!
So, overall for this effort, it’s far from perfect but he has done way worse.
Story, Revenge Of The Mudman by Rurik Tyler
When a giant Mudman is spotted haunting the grounds of Ex-Millionaire Nathan Cumberland’s rundown mansion, Mystery Inc. is hired by the recluse’s Nephew to investigate the strange goings on. As the gang arrives, Mr. Cumberland’s Butler, Simmons, is leaving due to Cunberland not having “the funds for him anymore”, we later find out Cumberland forced him to leave.
Cumberland tells the sleuths the Mudman must be his Great-Uncle Eberhard (he knows it’s him because the creature is haunting the east wing, which was built during the Civil War) seeking revenge for ruining the family business.
This brings up my biggest problem, This is four pages in, there have been four mentions of not having money, either to pay somebody or fix something, and two mentions of the family business failing. Yet, there is no explanation, beyond “plantation”, of exactly what type of business Eberhard started. Now, I know I said it’s my biggest problem with the story, and I can hear you all asking how something so nit picky and trivial can be my biggest complaint…well, it’s elementary really, it’s my only complaint!
This is a damn good story, man.
It’s hard to nail down why, but these older stories capture the fun and mystery that has always been missing from the more recent stories in the main title.
And this time you can’t blame nostalgia because, as best as I can recall, I’ve never read this story before, so I have no emotional connection that I’m latched onto and longing to recapture. Again, as plainly and simply as I can say it, it’s just a good story.
So the Gang splits up, Fred and Daphne are going to try to catch up to Simmons and see what he knows, Velma goes to find the local Sheriff, and Shaggy & Scooby are told to stay at the mansion in case the monster returns.
Shag and Scoob grab a giant water gun and old timey water bottle (which I thought was pretty funny) and the rest of the Gang heads out to take care of their respective investigative tasks.
Then we get a 4-page chase sequence that sees the Mudman get blasted in the face by Shaggy’s water bazooka and Scooby’s bottle twice. Mudman chases them to the half decimated east wing where he starts chuckin’ cannon balls down a hill at them like he’s Donkey Kong and they’re coming for Princess Peach.
Where there’s cannon balls there’s usually a cannon…which soon makes it’s way down the hill toward them, they hop on and ride it down, jumping off just before it plunges into the marsh at the bottom of the hill. After the 2nd blast, the Mudman covers his face and runs away. Liking the idea, Shag and Scooby do the same in the opposite direction and promptly run into the rest of the Gang with Cumberland’s Nephew and the Sheriff in tow.
They all run to the marsh/lake where they spor a trail of bubbles heading to the other side. They rush to the other side and see the monster emerging from a Civil War era submarine with a bag of loot.
Fred tackles and unmasks him revealing…
****16 YEAR OLD SPOILER ALERT****
Who’d found a cache of Civil War artifacts under the east wing, explaining why Simmons didn’t want to leave the no paying job.
He wanted Cumberland gone so he could pilfer it all, mwahaha!
Simmons is arrested and carted away.
The mansion is being repaired as Mr. Cumberland’s Nephew explains their plans to sell and show the newly discovered relics.
Cumberland is facinated by Shaggy’s water gun and decides he’s going to start making them. The whole thing ends with Scooby and Shaggy chugging Root Beer as the Gang looks on and laughs.
Okay, I lied.
I have 1 other problem, and this goes to Scooby as a whole.
They really need to find a better way to end any and all Scooby stuff than Shaggy and Scooby do something mildly outrageous while the rest of the Gang and the day player characters laugh.
Fade to black. After all this time, it’s really boring and on the page it’s warts really show through.
Overall: the art works, the story is good, no reason not to check it out of you have the chance.