Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > CR Reviews

Nick Mag Presents: Best of Comics
posted March 2, 2005

Creators: (spelling theirs via the magic of cut and paste) Scott McCloud, Aaron Augenblick, Craig Thompson, Scott Cunningham, Dan Moynihan, Mark Martin, Terry Laban, Ellen Forney, Michael Kupperman, Scott Roberts, Andi Watson, Bobby London, Charice Mericle, Sam Henderson, Jef Czekaj, Chris Duffy, Pat Moriarity, John Accurso, James Kochalka, Bill Alger, Ian Baker, Corey Barba, Kieron Dwyer, Gary Fields, Tim Hamilton, Stuart Immonen , Mark Martin, Mark Newgarden, Jenny Nixon, Johnny Ryan, Steve Weissman, Ron Barrett, Dynamic Duo Studio, Rollin McGrail, David Moyers, Mitch O'Connell, Robert Prince, Robert Leighton, Derek Drymon, Carl Greenblatt, Sherm Cohen, Jay Lender, Stephen DeStefano, Craig Boldman, Sean Carolan, Jennifer Moore, Craig Bartett, Gustave Verbeck.
Publishing Info: 58 pages, Viacoom, $4.95
Ordering Numbers: (ISBN), (Diamond)

This is a quality, slick-looking comics anthology, although I imagine that may people will engage with it as a kind of ambassador to the world of children, something many feel the industry needs right now. What's odd about that is that most of the work in here has been done years ago, meaning that Nickelodeon has done less talking about how to try and seize the kids market and more just publishing comics for their readers, who happen to be kids. If there's anything of value to note about their mostly successful efforts in doing some kids comics in their pages, it's that they use a lot of talent that within the realm of American comic book don't really sell all that well, indicating a slight disconnect between this magazine's efforts and the rest of the comics world's.

Without chldren of my own and with my inner child locked in a basement somewhere, it's hard for me to gauge how effective these comics work as entertainment. Many of them are quality comics, though. I particularly liked the loose, fun efforts from Craig Thompson, the solidly constructed silent stories from Sam Henderson, Jeff Czekaj's work, a panel or two from Gary Fields and a page of half-recycled Michael Kupperman jokes. I guess "The Manister" is funny if you're four and full of sugar or if you're 40 and perhaps stoned. The production quality really makes a difference on the book in general. The level of craft on display is generally high, one guesses due to the ability to work on high-quality paper and a decent paycheck, and with a talented cartoonist like Terry LaBan, say, who rarely gets to cut loose, this can be a kind of joy in itself.

I felt the absence of longer works, and my memory is that Nickelodeon does publish some slightly longer stories. . This publication misses the weight a really sustained effort can bring, even if not totally successful.