Sunday, September 29, 2013

Comics Within Comics Month, Day 29: Well, that solves the mystery of the missing comic book

Panels from Fanboy #5 (July 1999), script by Mark Evanier, pencils and inks by Sergio Aragones, colors by Tom Luth, letters by Todd Klein

Cover of Batman (1940 series) #1 (Spring 1940), pencils by Bob Kane

There lots of comics within comics in the six-issue miniseries Fanboy, which features great art by the always-wonderful Sergio Aragonés but also multiple fantasy sequences in each book drawn by other big-name comics artists: Dave Gibbons and HGil Kane in a Green Lantern pastiche, Jerry Ordway in a Superman parody, Wendy Pini does a take-off on Elfquest...and in this Batman-focused issue, Dick Sprang, Jim Mooney, Joe Giella, Neal Adams, Frank miller and Bruce Timm, all in the style of their own Batman era-comics! It's not just the all-star line-up that makes Fanboy #5 my fave issue of the limited series, though: it's also the fair-play, you-to-can-solve-it Adventure of the Burgled Batman!

It was a dark and stormy knight! Er, well, dark at least. When our hero Finster the comic store clerk returns to the shop after turning the lights back on, he discovers the crime of the century:

Let's let Finster examine the scene of the crime and see if there are any clues or impossible alibis:

It's an Ellery Queen-style classic locked room mystery! Nobody went in or out, and the comic can't be found on the scene, but it has clearly been stolen! Where's Jim Hutton when you need him?

You have all the clues now...can you solve the crime? Okay, we'll give you one more big clue in the next set of panels, and then match wits with Finster and see if you can find out...whodunnit!

We're just in time for the solution to the mystery...not to mention another Comic Within a Comic! And whadaya's a new installment of Let's Destroy a Copy of Detective Comics #27!

Cover of Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), pencils and inks by Bob Kane

If this were a TV drama, this would be where we'd insert the "da-da-DAH!" musical stinger. Finster Explains It All For You™:

And, by the way, here's the cover of Fanboy #5. Look familiar?

Cover of Fanboy #5 (July 1999), pencils and inks by Bob Kane and Sergio Aragonés

My point, and I do have one, is that Fanboy is a pretty fun series and if you missed it, it's well worth picking up, especially if you're a fan of Sergio (and who isn't?...commies, that's who.). Check your local comic book store for the inexpensive back issues! If you want the trade paperback...well, it's out of print, but you can pick up used copies for pennies on the dollar at

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