Countdown to Ambush Bug Gets Encyclopedic

8 weeks to go... In the meantime, how about we respect Encyclopedia Week?

AMBUSH BUG #3, DC Comics, August 1985
After you've read all of Who's Who and Secret Files, what's left? Well, how about the stuff that the fine folks at DC want you to forget about? In the last few months of pre-Crisis continuity, Ambush Bug made sure we didn't forget.

Full title: The Ambush Bug History of the DC Universe

Strengths: Funny as hell. Peers into the hidden corners of the DCU. Bizarro Ambush Bug.

Weaknesses: Considering I laughed so hard, I broke all my furniture, I can't say a bad thing about this comic.

Ambush Bug is a personal favorite of mine because he's so totally crazy. Part of his insanity is that he believes he lives in a comic book and everything we know to be true behind the scenes is part of his delusion. It should probably be no coincidence that the late, great Julius Schwartz edited this project. He was one of the masterminds of the Silver Age, and oversaw the creation of such concepts as the multiple Earths, and breaking the fourth wall (usually by way of Superman winking at the reader). This issue of Ambush Bug is all about that.

Through the book, he tracks down a number of DC characters that have disappeared. All signs point to a mysterious continuity-obsessed woman who would have all done them in. Sometimes we get a hand-written entry, as with Ace the Bat-Hound:
He's one of many super-pets DC would have rather forgotten about. Super-Turtle, Itty and the Legion of Super-Pets are here too. You'll also find such bad ideas as Mopee, who was a magic imp responsible for all the heroes' origins; the infant Wonder Woman, Wonder Tot; Archie rip-off Binky; the sentient glue that fought the fab Teen Titans as Glop ("he's not a mop"); and more. At times, we'll get Ambush Bug in a trench coat, investigating things. My personal favorite is where he interviews an aged Richie Rich about the Green Team, a club of wealthy teens (except for their token black member who was dirt poor). And then there's Bat-Mite's explanation as to why he doesn't plague Batman with his magic pranks anymore:
Of course, a lot of this stuff DID eventually make it into post-Crisis continuity: Egg Fu, the House of Mystery, the Inferior Five, Itty, and even Ace the Bat-Hound. But you know what? Ambush Bug #3 may be single-handedly responsible for those. After all, are we to believe a writer was inspired to bring back some old lamo because of November 1965's Wonder Woman #157 or whatever? Or the 20-years-younger Ambush Bug #3? It's at least a reminder!

Since this is Ambush Bug, it's also got its share of stupid jokes, continuity references, digs at other writers and artists, fake ads, lollipops with kryptonite centers and letters answered by the Bug himself. Speaking of which, you'll find a letter by none other than 90s writer extraordinaire, Mark Waid, back when he was working on that Amazing Heroes fanzine.

In the final analysis, I'll be damned if this isn't the granddaddy of the comic book blog genre. It takes the same loving potshots at the absurdity of superhero comics we do daily.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I have this one!

rob! said...

best AB issue ever! "Whatever Happened to Binky" is pure comedy gold.

The Mutt said...

I just LOVED it that Julius Schwartz let them poke so much fun at him, and at the current state of DC.

This comic was so funny I...

Hold on, I've got a call from Al.


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