NEWS & VIEWS

Lines Are Drawn Here

Galloway's Bob Petrecca contributes to new comic book

By Raymond Tyler
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 9, 2006

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The Cartoon Network may have pulled the plug on the hit show Justice League Unlimited, but the action and adventure (and great reading for kids) continues in the pages of the DC comic book of the same name.

As a comic book collector, a man who loves a great story, and someone who loves to recommend great stuff for kids, I proudly say run, don't walk, to the nearest comic shop and pick up No. 27 of the comic book.

One reason is that Galloway resident Bob Petrecca did the inking to Carlo Barberi's pencils on this issue and his ink lines are "far beyond the powers of mortal men."

The story called "Climb The Mountain," written by Adam Beechen, begins with great action and catches readers up with details. What I like about Justice League Unlimited as opposed to earlier Super Friends stories is that JLU explores almost every hero and villain in the DC universe. For instance, as a kid I remember Black Vulcan being on the team, but I can't remember him playing an important role, ever. JLU No. 27 starts off with a character that Black Vulcan was supposed to be in Super Friends: Black Lightning. The story is great and that's all I will say because you need to go and read it yourself - or better yet, buy one for the child in your life.

The artwork, too, is amazing. Barberi mixes the knowledge of sophisticated line drawing with uncomplicated, but very beautiful, cartoon-style art. What results are heroes that are not as exaggerated as they are in many comics, yet are way better looking than the stiff Superman from the 1960s and '70s comics.

In a style that is uniquely his own, Petrecca pours lines over his heroes like a thick armor of ink. Petrecca spent years working in "the bullpen" at Marvel Comics with legends like John Romita, Sr. (a major Spider Man artist and Marvel Comic's current head art director) and Neal Adams (the greatest Batman artist ever.)

Justice League Unlimited No. 27 just hit stores on Nov. 1. Keep your ears and eyes open and maybe Bob will sign a copy for you.




Modern-Day Heroes

As a child growing up before the Video Game Age, comic books were a welcome distraction and fuse to spark my imagination. Comic books helped me increase my vocabulary and fueled my love for writing and art through exploration of the worlds created for Spiderman, The Hulk, The Avengers and The X-Men.

I love that. Today, the comic series Justice League Unlimited gives kids and parents a book that they can read and enjoy together. Many of the books I grew up with, however, have become morbid, depressing and just a little too real for kids.

The extreme story lines used to involve villains with plans to rule the world. Occasionally writers would throw in a "say no to drugs" story line, or a story about a war vet getting mistreated by the government after a war. After the "special issue," however, it was back to villains with time machines, weather machines, and 50-foot robots. Now the extreme end of the comic stories are about double undercover conspiracies and "heroes" that drink until they stagger or beat their wives.

Also, in many of today's comics, stories that could be told in one issue are watered down with dialogue and sub-plots to expand to at least three issues because the publishers want to sell the story line in graphic novel form.

The kids are the biggest losers here. But maybe the world is harsher and the Avengers need a civil war to keep kids interested.

While I enjoy provocative story lines, I don't believe that a book has to be depressing or have a three-figure body count to be thought provoking. And for the kids today - and the kid I was and still am - I'd like my Superman to be a little more "super" than he is simply a man.

Raymond Tyler is a freelance writer who has written about varied subjects for several of the country's leading urban magazines.

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