Hanna-Barbera Scooby-Doo…Where Are You! #13 Review
This is by far the oldest comic I own, not to mention my oldest piece of Scooby merchandise. This is pretty cool for me, but! …is it any good?
The Cover: Yikes! This cover is all over the place!
I guess the Scooby-Doo logo we all know, or even something close to it, hadn’t been established by 1972? The characters look pretty close to how they did in the original series, so that’s good. The background is pretty damn bland and uninteresting. Plain color and a shadow aren’t very eye catching. But overall for a comic based on a Saturday Morning Cartoon in the early 70’s I can’t complain to much.
Interior Art: No Artist is credited.
Again, for the time period, it’s pretty good.
When the Artist puts in the effort the backgrounds are great! But for the most part the backgrounds are just blank color, which is something that has always bugged me, especially with new releases in this day and age. One panel that really sticks out for me, and even in context it comes off very strange, is one where in Velma and Daphne are getting ready for bed and someone starts beating on there door. It looks like Velma is trying to take Daphne’s bra off. It makes sense in the story but the blocking is way off. It’s just a very weird panel for a kids comic is all I’m saying, if I were the editor I would have called for a redo on that panel from a slightly different angle.
Something I noticed is that I’ve read Scooby comics in the last 15 years that have art in them that is WAY worse than this, which is very sad if you think about it. Digital art was supposed to make things so much easier and look so much better, what the hell happened??? So to put a pin in the Art, it’s not 100% perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it is vastly better than I expected.
The Story: Title: The Miniature Haunt by uncredited.
The Gang has gotten lost in the rain on the heavily wooded country roads after a picnic. Just before they are about to turn to head back the way they came, up ahead they see a car pull out of the woods and drive away quickly.
Finding it suspicious, they decide to pull to the side of the road and investigate where the car came from. Soon they find a mini doll mansion covered in a tarp. Fearing it will be ruined by the rain, they load the dollhouse into the Mystery Machine and continue down the road following in the wake of the mysterious car. Suddenly they hear a clock chiming followed by a ruckus all emanating from the mansion. Velma opens up the dollhouse and finds a tiny grandfather clock has fallen over and broken just as Fred drives up in front of the mansion the miniature is based upon. So they go inside and meet Mr. Stonecroft, owner of both mansions, and his Insurance Investigator Paxton. Paxton, it turns out, tried ditching the replica in the woods because he believes it’s haunted. The curse being every time something breaks in the small scale mansion it breaks in the actual mansion.
Just then the lights go out and when they come back on the grandfather clock has been destroyed! Soon after that Paxton heads up to bed as he has suddenly caught a cold, never to be seen, heard, or mentioned again.
At this point I have two problems, one with the writing and one with the actual story. First the writing issue, it seems as though whomever wrote this really hasn’t a clue as to how Scooby talks or what to do with him.
Almost every speech bubble for Scoob has him saying his name and/or something that rhymes with doo and it gets old fast. It comes off a little egotistical/crazy for him to constantly be saying his name or slipping it in to phrases. Everybody else fits character, Fred takes charge, Velma is logical, Shaggy is scared,…and Daphne is there too. For the vast majority of this 20 page story Scooby feels like an annoyed useless pet. He comes off a little crazy too, but thankfully that does pay off.
Now the story problem.
Paxton, he seems like to be more of a Butler than Insurance Investigator. He also seems useless. The only reason for him that I can see is to get the Gang to the mansion, other than that he is just a filler character. It’s not a huge flaw, but I do wonder why he couldn’t have played a bigger role or been used for a little misdirection. Because, while reading, it becomes painfully obvious very quickly who is behind the troubles in this house of destruction.
Back to the story.
After a painting is ripped to shreds, Scooby goes ballistic and attacks Mr. Stonecroft!
Very soon after a vase is broken in the mini mansion giving them all reason to worry about the big vase. The girls head to bed while Fred and Shag protect the vase and Scooby heads off all alone. Upstairs somebody starts rattling the doorknob to Daphne and Velma’s room (this is where that weird panel comes in). They swing the door open and quickly throw a blanket over the intruders head…which causes him to drop a bomb! Daphne runs downstairs and throws it to Shaggy where a spring pops it open. The “man” under the blanket turns out to be Scooby who stole the gag bomb from Stonecroft’s workbench.
Later all of a sudden Scoob goes bat crap crazy and starts growling at a moose head mounted on the wall, the vase breaks and Scooby punches moosehead. This is one of those instances where I haven’t a clue why, but that panel made me laugh madly. Mr. Stonecroft joins the Gang to lament the loss of yet another priceless family heirloom when suddenly Voo Doo Dolls of Mystery Inc appear in the dollhouse. The lights go out again and a dagger appears out off thin air so the Gang rushes out to the van only to realize Scooby-Doo is still back inside.
They run back in the house and find Scooby beating the hell out of the moose again, only this time they hear a very familiar voice screaming from the head for help. Fred and Shaggy bust Stonecroft in his workshop with his hand through the wall working the moose head puppet style. He gives his Bond villain explanation and it comes to light that he was behind the haunting from the start because his Uncle’s will stated he could never sell any of the priceless family treasures. So he rigged the house with devices so he could destroy the items and collect the insurance money.
Shaggy asks how Stonecroft shattered the vase, as he and Fred were sitting on either side of it, to which he replies with ice bullets fired from an air gun. They melt quick and leave no evidence. Suddenly he pulls said gun on the Gang and threatens to fire at them. Scooby goes to attack him again, he pulls the freakin’ trigger, water squirts out and Scooby tackles him. Scooby figured the bullets had melted. Stonecroft goes to jail, mystery solved, Scooby-Dooby-Doo!
Again, my biggest problem with the writing is how Scooby is written. Not once while reading this did I find him likeable, not even a little bit!
He seems annoyed by the Gang, I honestly wondered why he was with them. Everybody else seems true to form but he seems almost like Scrappy. It’s kinda like how you could tell in the Tim Burton movies that Burton was more interested in the villains than he was in Batman, because in those movies Batman doesn’t act very Batman-like. We get no trademark cowardice, no mention of food, all he has is an insatiable craving to solve the mystery and complain about being ignored by the gang. If this was how acted on the show I’m for damn sure the franchise never would have made it to it’s 45th anniversary!
Another thing of note for me was Mr. Stonecroft pulling a gun and basically threatening to kill our heroes. When you factor in their ages it makes it even more jarring as they are still teens.
So, to wrap this all up, for it’s time it’s not a complete waste of time. And when looking at it all combined, I think I’d actually like to see this animated…but only of Scooby is given a complete rewrite! This issue plays sorta like the movie Clue given all the running around in the mansion and the craziness. I know it sounds like I hate it but I really don’t, it’s just that the flaws are easy to spot. I really do think that today’s comics need to take note. This is a 20 page story but it is so dense I thought it was way longer. While Scooby-Doo Team-Up also has 20 page stories they feel stretched to make it to 20 pages and go by to quickly. If you have the chance pick up some of these old issues. Very interesting to say the least.