Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: COMICS: Saturday Night Live!

Comics: Saturday Night Live
Written by Chad Lambert
Art by Patricio Carbajal
Colors by Michael Langdale
Letters by Jaymes Reed
Cover by Rovel Yumul
Bluewater Productions
Release date: April 11, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

Like many pop culture fanatics, I was raised on television. An only child with few friends in my neighborhood, I watched a lot of TV. I was especially fond of late night television, even when I was just hearing the highlights from my mom talking about it with her friends. At church on Sunday mornings, I would hear the adults dish about Saturday Night Live, which aired the night before. Since then, anytime I get emotional about a given situation, I say, “I’m getting verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves.” SNL has not only been an institution in American television, but for me it’s been a teaching tool about humor, political commentary, and popular culture.

It was for this reason that I was delighted to read Comics: Saturday Night Live, written by JOhio native Chad Lambert. One thing that I instantly gathered from this book is that he knows SNL and is truly a fan of the show. This one shot by Bluewater Comics begins with Executive Producer Lorne Michaels preparing for a broadcast. He has exactly four minutes and he wants to reflect on the last 35+ years that has encompassed the history of Saturday Night Live  In doing so, Michaels, through the narrative written by Lambert, properly sums up the highs and lows of doing SNL for so long.

The story is interesting and educational, though as a committed fan of SNL  I knew much of the story from various special and things that I’d read. However, it was great to be able to relive these moments, as told by the show’s creator, and reflect on what stands out to me as the best of Saturday Night Live  Lambert’s own devotion to the show shines, but there’s so much attention paid to the beginning of the show, that once you get past 1985, the years fly by so quickly you almost miss things. As someone who grew up watching Lorne’s dream cast which included Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, and Chris Farley, I would love to have seen as much emphasis placed on their stories as was given to the original cast.

Since it is a biographical comic, artist Patricio Carbajal did have his work cut out for him in capturing the likenesses of the celebrities of which Lambert writes. Some of them were spot on, but I was a little bit fuzzy with some of the images and had to really use the context of the time period to recall who they were. One of the caricatures that stands out to me most was Chevy Chase. His likeness was one of the best of the book. My favorite part was being able to match up the memories with the images. For instance, Harry Shearer and Martin Short as male synchronized swimmers. You would truly have to know something about the show to be able to pick up on something like that. For someone who reveled in the Comedy Central reruns of SNL on weekend afternoons in the mid-1990s, this book was a delight.

I highly recommend Comics: Saturday Night Live to anyone who is interested in learning about the history of SNL  My one possibly negative takeaway is that the story moves so quickly at times that, coupled with the artwork, the page can seem a bit busy. Granted, this is a one shot comic trying to fit almost forty years of television history within around 25 pages, but I would have read on if they had decided to do even a mini-series with this one. This isn’t a major problem with the book, just an observation, and did not detract from my enjoyment at all. I think that it’s definitely a nice collectible comic and one that fans of popular culture as a whole will want to own. This was my first biographical comic book and I’m very glad that I read it!

Chad Lambert is a five-time Howard E. Day Memorial Award finalist and two-time Champion City Award nominee for his work in small press comics, including Possum At Large, Kill the Revisionist, and Return to Point Pleasant. Ray Bradbury referred to Return to Point Pleasant as “superb and frightening! Bravo!”  

Chad also appeared in the feature-length documentary Eyes of the Mothman, which explores the Appalachian folklore of paranormal activity in West Virginia. 

Chad is also one of the writers of the Megamind and Kung Fu Panda comics from Ape Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation, as well as BloodRayne for Digital Webbing Press.

Chad Lambert will be a featured guest at Tri-State Comic-Con in Huntington, WV on Saturday, April 6 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Tri-State Comic-Con
Big Sandy Superstore Arena
One Civic Center Plaza  Huntington, WV 25701
General Admission - $7 (purchase at the door!)
VIPs 9AM; Early Birds 9:30AM;
General Admission 10 AM
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Facebook Event

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