The Sequential Chronicles: Wesley vs. The Get Along Gang

Welcome to the second adventure into The Sequential Chronicles and yes you read the title right. This edition focuses on the Get Along Gang. I found an issue of it recently at a local convention and figured it would be perfect for this. Here’s fair warning, the story itself is fairly harmless. I mean it’s the Get Along Gang. For a lot of my younger readers though you may find it fascinating to learn a little more about this property. This was a show that aired all the time when I was a kid between syndication and cable stations. Nowadays no one airs this along with a lot of shows of the period. Enough of the intro and on with the adventure into the Get Along Gang #1 from Star/Marvel Comics. Where cartoon history and comic book history collide.

If you are a cartoon history fan you’re going to enjoy this look at the Get Along Gang. Even comic fans will enjoy this one as I will dive a little more into the Star Comics imprint Marvel had in the 80’s.

Let’s start with this, I had no idea the Get Along Gang was originally a series of greeting cards from American Greetings/Those Characters from Cleveland. My own experience with the Get Along Gang began with the animated series that aired initially on Nickelodeon for the pilot in 1984 and then from 1984-85 on CBS for 13 episodes. Now you may be wondering how I know of this show that aired in the mid 80’s and that is a valid question. Get Along Gang aired on The Family Channel/Freeform from 1990 to 1993 which was where I remember them from. They also later aired on Pax TV/Ion Television) from 1999 until 2001. Cable TV was wild in the 90’s and 00’s.

Oh and the original pilot on Nickelodeon for The Get Along Gang had songs by John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful and the theme song for Welcome Back, Kotter fame too. Which I shall link below.

Heck this aired along with all sorts of random programming on The Family Channel back in the day. Get Along Gang was just one of those shows on Cable TV for kids back in the day.

As for the Get Along Gang comic, it was a bi-monthly series from Marvel’s Star Comics imprint lasting six issues from 1985 to 1986. Now if you are unfamiliar with Star Comics, it was an imprint Marvel had from 1984 until 1988. Star focused on childrens comics that ranged from original properties to ones based off of animated series. If you are curious, yes I own more than a few comics from this line. Yes you will likely see them in future Sequential Chronicles. Animated series adaptations are a favorite of mine and I have lots of them hanging out in my collection.

As for my own story in owning this comic, I found it at a local record and comic expo. Needless to say this was the sort of comic that caught my eye because it has history to it. If a comic has some sort of history to it then it is something I will want to own. Considering during its height there were plushes, comic books, and more with the Get Along Gang and now it is rarely mentioned. Outside of oddball comic and animation nerds, like me, no one would ever think about the show. Which leads me to talk about this comic and after that talk about how it impacted pop culture, in some small way at least.

Get Along Gang #1 Cover

No I am not kidding, the Get Along Gang does have a weird place in pop culture. Stay tuned.

Now here’s the thing about the comic, it’s so harmless it’s not even funny. It is about the perfect kid friendly comic ever. I mean ever. Considering that Dave Manak, the writer went on to work at Archie Comics as the penciler for Sonic the Hedgehog comics amongst other things makes sense. As for the artist of this Carlos Garzon, he’s mostly done art for multitudes of companies, inks for DC and so on. That’s the one thing about these is a lot of these people have credits that aren’t as well known as say others out there. Yet I still feel knowing a little about these creators is good because in comics, everyone is important in their own way no matter how big or small. Even working on a comic like Get Along Gang, there’s still craft to it.

Now if you want to know a bit about the characters in the Get Along Gang, it’s not important but you’ll probably get a kick out of it anyway. I mean there’s a Moose named Montgomery “Good News” Moose who’s the leader of the gang and more characters, a dog, lamb, beaver, turtles, and more. This issue is about the gang having their own Winter Olympics. With the dastardly Catchum Crocodile and Leland Lizard trying to ruin their fun. Oh and control over their Clubhouse Caboose. This is the series my friends, this is how it rolls. It’s a kids show comic from the 80’s and it’s adorable and kind of silly. If any of you reading this are parents out there, you could show it to your kids and be fine.

I did think about writing a more detailed plot thing with the Get Along Gang but then I realized, it was the Get Along Gang.

It’s a well made comic for being a licensed comic based off a kids show meant to teach children valuable lessons in the 80’s. The goal of the show is to teach kids to go with the crowd and to get along. Which is also kind of horrible at the same time instead of you know compromising and talking things over, nope you make sure you get along with the crowd. It’s a strange series. If you’re wondering how the Winter Olympics ended for them, the boys and girls had a fight and over meddling from the villains. Then it ended in everyone getting along in the end and having a good time once more. Yeah there’s not much more to it but there is a reason why the Get Along Gang have a weird place in pop culture.

See now this is where I tie everything together. This is a big part why I did this article to begin with. I present to you The Buddy Bears from Garfield and Friends. They never disagree, they always get along, and if you complain you are just causing problems. They’re also hyper educational and are meant to be the safest characters ever. Mark Evanier created them as his way to parody The Ger Along Gang and also apparently Care Bears too. I’m going to post the theme they sing below and you’ll understand what I mean about The Buddy Bears. They were his stress valve dealing with all the cheesy cartoons and by golly it shows, it really does.

 

Prepare yourselves for this song to get as stuck in your head forever as it is in mine. Once you hear The Buddy Bears theme you never forget it. Ever. Never Ever.

It’s weird that I didn’t have more to say on the comic but there we are. Sometimes in The Sequential Chronicles you can only get so much out of something. I’m still figuring this all out as I go along anyway. I swear I wrote about this to talk about The Buddy Bears and Star Comics, I can own that. You will see many more Star Comics books in this too. Anyway, thank you all out there for reading this and I hope you all have a good one. Take care and I shall see you all next time for the next installment of The Sequential Chronicles.

Oh and I also managed to get over 1,200 words on the freaking Get Along Gang. I deserve a medal or a cookie. A cookie medal would work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sequential Chronicles: The New Avengers/Transformers Journey

If you’re someone who has a particularly large comic collection what do you do? Apparently you come up with the idea of talking about your collection on the Internet. In my weird magical adventures online I have always searched for an article that screams me. The Sequential Chronicles seems to be fitting. How strangely appropriate that I’m going to talk about New Avengers/Transofrmers for my first piece in this journey. These won’t really be reviews in any normal sense of the word. Just me talking about my experience and my adventure with it. The journey will be a little strange and weird on occasion but roll with it. In this inaugural piece let’s see how the New Avengers and Transformers get along. On with the roller coaster ride! The thrills, chills, and some giant robot fun along the way.  Time to have some fun.

If you have ever seen my Twitter you know giant robots are part of my aesthetic. How appropriate that New Avengers/Transformers starts me on my collection journey.

New Avengers Transformers #4 Cover

I have had these four issues in my collection for awhile after discovering them at my local Half Price Books. Somehow these books slipped by me back in the day. I knew nothing about the story outside of some fun covers. I note the covers because there are some cool talents on them, Jim Cheung on #1, Jason Pearson on #2, Ed McGuiness on #3, and Tom Raney on #4, which are all fun to see. It’s weird that not much has been said about it outside of an old interview Stuart Moore gave for IGN back in 2007 and that’s it. It must not have done that well as I couldn’t find anything on the Comichron for it in 2007. I guess it has become obscure over the years. Strange huh?

It’s hard to believe that none of the comic sites have done something with this. Crazy huh?

Now the creative team for this book is as I mentioned Stuart Moore, who wrote the entire miniseries. Then this is where I get a little amused. New Avengers/Transformers is a Marvel and IDW crossover but then in issue three the art is done by Top Cow Productions, Inc. as artist Tyler Kirkham and inker Sal Regla worked there. Which technically means three different companies were involved in this. Yes I know Top Cow was just helping on art but I get a kick out of seeing three companies involved in this. Annette Kwok is the colorist for the series with Blond assisting on issue two and Todd Klein handles the lettering here. It’s a solid team overall but prepare yourself as we dive into the story. It’s going to get weird from here kids.

Two points to make already with New Avengers/Transformers: A solid team on paper but it gets a little messy on some aspects. Second point is that the story really is a mess but worth it, strangely enough.

I mean bless Stuart Moore’s heart in having to deal with a crossover story like this, these are not easy to pull off. That this works as much as it does is amazing in its own right. The first issue is sort of your litmus test for the story. The New Avengers are acting all sorts of out of character and not going to lie, it was jarring. You are thrown straight into the story with the Avengers in Latveria and left trying to figure out what is happening. The characterization is a mess for the first and second issues as to how the Avengers relate to each other. Spider-Man and Iron Man are the only two that have some sort of consistent character throughout the first part of the story. It makes reading the first two issues frustrating.

Prepare yourself if you dive into this as it is a frustrating read for at least two issues. Though Spider-Man and Iron Man are fine so that’s cool.

New Avengers Transformers Iron Man Cool Giant Robot Suit

Of course when you learn the reason why the team is acting so weird it all makes sense. It’s caused by some sort of Psycho-Prism that Doctor Doom had in his lab as to why the Avengers were so off kilter. It’s strange and kind of silly but hey it works. That’s how the Transformers come into play as the Autobots help in getting everyone calmed down. Then that’s how you learn why the Decepticons are here. They are trying to get Energon and the Autobots are trying to stop them. Then there’s the threat of war hovering around them as this is going on. A lot of moving parts to this crazy crossover.

You know even trying to streamline the story of this crossover is crazy in its own right.

As this is all happening Spider-Man gets captured and Megatron uses his abilities to supercharge the Decepticons for reasons not made very clear. I’m not going to spoil too much but you do get Iron Man in a cool giant robot suit and that’s neat. The Autobots have their battles with the Decepticons in this too and Doctor Doom plays a role in a confusing but fun way. I think Moore was throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what stuck which fits for this story. I can only do this so much justice as some of this you just need to experience for yourself. Embrace the madness.

Isn’t this a cool splash page?

New Avengers Transformers Splash Page Issue 1

Yeah I think it is a cool splash page by golly.

No I’m not going to spoil it all for you as well, I don’t think I could do aspects of this justice. It’s such an odd story that I was hesitant if I was going to make it through with issue one. Yet by issue four it wasn’t too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

Now if you’re wanting a detailed look into art and so on, Kirkham’s art ranges from kind of rough to solid when it comes to drawing the robots especially. Regla’s inking helps a lot in smoothing out the rough edges of Kirkham’s pencils for sure. Kwok’s coloring is strong throughout the four issues along with Blond’s assist for  #2 and Todd Klein’s lettering is amazing as always. As the story itself serviced in bringing these properties together in a disjointed but fun way, at least by the end. Stuart Moore did well in making this work and also being sure to let the fellow members of his creative team shine via his script. It’s a mess at points but a worthwhile adventure if I do say so myself.

Yeah I’m not writing these to replace the issues here. This is a loose summary into the four issues. Fair warning, Starscream isn’t in this as I read in the IGN interview he was dead at the time. After we get past the lack of Starscream, I say give these a look. You won’t find them on any digital market so you are either going to go back issue bin diving or buying them online at any fine online comic book store. The trade is out of print but you can find it via online sellers, I saw it for under $15. The single issues are the way to go here in my opinion, they are easy to get your hands on.

I cannot state this enough, go with the single issues if you can unless you find the trade for cheaper than $15. If you find this trade for ten bucks, sure go for it but otherwise stick with the singles.

This is the first of The Sequential Chronicles so let me know what you think out there in comic land. Tell me what works and what doesn’t and so on. I’m still working out some stuff with this so any feedback is appreciated. Leave me a comment below, say hi to me on Twitter, and I will catch you all in the next part of this journey. Because the next part of this is an adventure into 80’s cartoon wonderland, see you then.

(Side note: This is so my weird iCandy piece once more too. As in I’m likely the only person even remotely diving into this. This is my life.)