Happiness is a cold, cold puppy.
As anyone who knows me personally knows, I’m a huge Peanuts fan; I’m a grown man with stuffed Peanuts characters, the nickname Pigpen and a tattoo on my forearm of Charlie Brown finally kicking the damn football from that jerk Lucy. I was also a paperboy in my formative years, with a mean love of the Sunday funny pages. I had no previous experience with Weapon Brown, but when it was offered for review, how could I say no?
Weapon Brown, weighing in at more than 300 pages, is the brainchild of writer and artist, Jason Yungbluth, with contributions by Emil Novak, Gerry Coffey, and Jeff Eckleberry. In the preface, Yungbluth mentions his childhood lack of interest in Peanuts, but a love of Doonesbury and Bloom County, which he touches on as a bit odd. What started as a simple post-apocalyptic Peanuts story, has become an enormous Sunday comics strip crossover.
The first section of Weapon Brown, comprised of four chapters, is titled A Peanut Scorned. As a black-and-white book, the first page alone grabs your attention with “The birds that laid black eggs,” contrasted against the stark white sky, which shows how the world ended. Each member of the Peanuts supporting cast is brilliantly reimagined, from Schroeder playing piano at a saloon to Lucy becoming an actual doctor. My favorite cameo was from Woodstock. A Peanut Scorned is a great damsel-in-distress story, which finally casts Charlie Brown in a heroic light.
The majority of the book is made up of Blockhead’s War, where Weapon Brown takes on the rest of the comic strip universe. Spanning nine long chapters, we’re slowly introduced to the Syndicate’s evil plan, centering around Miss Bucksley. Weapon Brown reluctantly gets tangled up in the resistance and becomes its only saving grace.
The newspaper pages are a clever way to find out about life before the destruction. My favorite panel is of Snoop’s heaven dream sequence, where he imagines he’s a WWI ace, while my favorite character redesigns have to be Beetle Bailey, Garfield and Calvin. There are some impressive gags such as Calvin pissing on a ford and the Flash Gordon theme song reference. The final fight, which happens over nearly 100 pages, is some of the best-paced action and storytelling I’ve ever read.
A dark, mature amalgam of classic comic strips, I can’t recommend Weapon Brown
enough. It’s fun to identify character adaptations, but even for those unaware of the majority of them, this is still a gripping dystopian saga. Jason Yungbluth is a great artist, with an acute attention to detail, but an even better writer. With about a week left to go and already fully funded, pick up your copy at kickstarter here
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