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Friday, April 06, 2018

Reader's Diary #1784- Various writers and artists: DC Meets Looney Tunes

If you take the "Most Published DC Comics Most Published Characters Quiz" over at Sporcle, you may be surprised to find Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters on the list. However, their comic book rights have belonged to DC for some time and in that sense, I don't really consider DC Meets Looney Tunes to be a true crossover. One of the things I enjoy about crossovers is the behind-the-scenes goodwill that is implied when two publishers come together on a project. If DC already owns all of these characters, it seems more like a marketing ploy than a creative endeavour.

But still, the meeting of their superheroes and Looney Tunes funny characters don't often meet and you can tell many of the artists and writers here gave it their creative all.

I tend to like crossovers best when I know both halves of the equation fairly well. I thought I'd have more of a shot with this collection, but it turned out I knew the Looney Tunes world far better than the DC heroes world. For one story, Bugs Bunny, for instance, is paired with the Legion of Super Heroes, whom I've never even heard of. For another, Wile E. Coyote is partnered with Lobo whom I've only vaguely heard of. And while these were okay, I appreciated the ones most where the superheroes were more popular (Wonder Woman and Batman, for example).

I liked the set-up overall, whereby none of the stories mattered to the others. A Looney Tunes character would be paired with a superhero (or team) for two tales, one told and drawn in the style of a superhero comic, another told and drawn in the style of a Looney Tunes cartoon. One writer's interpretation had no bearing on another. For instance, when Bugs meets the Legion of Super Heroes, he's drawn in the usual anthropomorphic rabbit style whereas in the Elmer Fudd meets Batman story (by far the best in the collection), Bugs appears as a human with bucked teeth.

This last point is important to note as it implies that none of these stories are canon and indeed, when the writers accepted that the mashups worked best. When they didn't, the writers tended to rely on generic crossover tropes involving multiverses and whatnot.

One huge misstep in the collection came in the Yosemite Sam meets Jonah Hex story. The writer, Jimmy Palmiotti seems to be setting up Sam as a bit more of a sympathetic character than we're used to, which is fine, but then out of the blue and completely irrelevant to the larger story, he punches a prostitute in the face. Worse still, it's played for a cheap laugh. I'm still kind of shocked by it actually. Even more shocking and disappointing is how little mention this scene has gotten in most of the reviews I've read. Thankfully J. Caleb Mozzocco calls the writer out and in far better detail than I'm doing here.

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