Comedy is one of the harder things to pull off in comic books in my mind because it can go against the grain in a weird way with the shared universe. There aren’t a lot of these types of books in general in from the Big Two publishers, though the “recent” Power Girl series with how it used its humor worked well. But, I’m also a fan of the old Forbush Man material from the ’80s and other comedy books of the time. I also have an undying love for Ambush Bug and all that he represents when he gets to cut loose.
But the series that always gets me and gets me to re-read it as a long work kind of comedy, it’s the Justice League International series that Keith Giffen worked on with JM DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire back in the late 80’s. After so much serious and world ending material in the Justice League books for so long, the group took the team in a new direction of having fun with some of the larger than life characters, and ejecting most of the big names out of the book entirely for the most part. With Batman operating as the straight man with his own dark sense of humor coming into play, they worked with a second-tier kind of range of heroes that just made it an utter delight to watch. From Guy Gardner getting his ass handed to him by Batman regularly to the shenanigans that Booster Gold and Blue Beetle got into. Add in the silliness that Fire and Ice added, our favorite Russian and more characters – including Max before he turned into the wrong type of character, and it was the kind of series that made you grin from ear to ear month after month.
The title also spawned the Justice League Europe series, which added more low name recognition characters and employed the same kind of humor in a great way. Between the two series, there was such a laid back and relaxed atmosphere about it, sometimes giving us pages and pages of the gang just sitting around together riffing on each other, that you couldn’t help but to laugh. Because it humanized the characters in a great way, making them even more real and accessible. It was the side that was kept from the reader in far too many series for far too long and having it all packed into one book a month made it a must-read property.
What’s your favorite actually funnybook?