Mike Gold: Sugar & Spike v Guido Crepax – Dawn of Decision
Dichotomies. Every day brings hundreds if not thousands of choices. The red blouse vs. the blue blouse. Filet mignon vs. butt steak. Marvel vs. DC. Sugar and Spike vs. Guido Crepax. Which to pick?
Right now I’m struggling between writing about two totally different types of comics, and here “totally” is an understatement. Fantagraphics just released a beautiful reprint of Guido Crepax’s work, titled The Complete Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein, And Other Horror Stories. It weighs in at over six pounds. Meanwhile, DC Comics has released the first issue of its new anthology series Legends of Tomorrow, taking the name but only one character from the CW teevee series. I’m thinking of discussing only one of the four features therein, Keith Giffen and Bilquis Evely’s Sugar and Spike.
That’s Crepax art on the left, and that’s Sugar and Spike art on the right. I’d like to think this is the first time somebody has used Guido Crepax and Keith Giffen together in on sentence, but I’m probably mistaken about that. Hmmmm… What to do? What to do?
Well, Keith wins. DC has endured a fair degree of public grief over its incessant rebooting and wandering storylines, some of that from ComicMix, and, well, gee, some of that from me. I don’t want to give the impression that I in any way dislike the company, at least not until I’ve seen Dawn of Justice. Besides, DC always has led the industry in experimenting with new formats and new packages. Dan DiDio and friends maintain my respect for Wednesday Comics.
Besides, of all the stuff released by the company during the past several years much of what I’ve truly enjoyed carries Keith Giffen’s byline – one sometimes shared with Publisher DiDio. So when it was announced that Shelly Meyer’s classic creation Sugar and Spike was going to be brought into contemporary times as young private detectives, I recoiled in fear of a Dark Sugar and Spikeseid. Then I noticed Keith’s name and decided that, at the very least, this should be at least as interesting as it is non-commercial.
I cannot state with authority that the Sugar and Spike in Legends of Tomorrow are in any way related to Shelly’s paramount creation. His name isn’t on it, and for all I know the young man / young woman duo with similar hair color and physical features with the exact same names is the latter-day version of Meyer’s toddlers. It could be just a remarkable coincidence. That’s why we produce lawyers, guns and money. But if it is, well, it’s not a reboot as it does not contradict anything from the original series. I suppose we shall see.
Here, Sugar and Spike are young detectives who hire themselves out to, let’s say, the super-powered community to do stuff that the Powers (heroes and villains alike) would be too embarrassed to do.
It’s a cute concept – not as “cute” as the original, but the original was about a couple of extremely young children who did not have P.I. licenses. And it’s executed in a highly enjoyable manner, with nifty dialog between our heroes and the bad guy and, later, our heroes and their client. Spoiler alert: beware of misdirection!
But for the aging comic book fan the real fun is in trying to figure out how those two darling toddlers became young adults who are enveloped within the rest of the DC universe. I hope this series lasts long enough for the creators to give us some clues.
Besides, I seriously doubt that I’ll be seeing that “Sugar and Spike Omnibus” any time soon. Such a tome would outweigh both Sugar and Spike.