Obese Alice & Cannabis-smoking Caterpillar in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle

Meyer's Take by Tom Meyer

The Joker, the Hatter, & an armed Alaskan Alice

    The buzz from the DC universe is that the Batman spinoff, The Joker’s Asylum II, June 16th, 2010, “is devoted to the Mad Hatter and his Alice obsession” (thanks, Devra Kunin.) The incredible cover art is by Bill Sienkiewicz, written by Landry Walker. The DC website explains The Joker’s Asylum as “a special month-long, weekly series of one-shots starring the greatest villains in Batman’s rogues gallery.”

    On other shelves in other shops, the June 12th-18th Economist picked up the “mad” Tea Party theme on its cover, this time with Palin as Alice, Glenn Beck as the Hatter again, and I’m assuming the cigar is supposed to imply that Rush Limbaugh is the Hare. (He was the Cheshire Cat in The Nation.) I’m not sure how to interpret FoxNews as the dormouse.

    Heart No Kuni No Alice now available in English

    Translating a Japanese manga cartoon into English must be a trip down the rabbit hole itself. Thankfully, some unknown hero has taken the plunge and translations of all three volumes of Heart No Kuni No Alice or Alice in the Country of Hearts (by author Quinrose and artist Hoshino Soumei) are being published this spring. Volumes One and Two are available now and Volume Three will be released on June 1st.

    Buy two and preorder one from the publisher Tokyopop, or from Amazon.

    Tea Party gone mad, Part Two

    In follow up to the picture of Glenn Beck as the Hatter, Gary Trudeau made the same play on “tea party” in the April 1st, 2010, Doonesbury strip:

    Jabberwock sighting in a new Graphic Novel

    Andrew Ogus warns us: “The delightful graphic novel  Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale, sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge, includes Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch guards around the giants’ stronghold. Bloomsbury, New York, $19.99.”

    One review (at Booktrust) gives this synopsis: “The book relocates the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk to a Wild West populated by Native Americans, giants, ogres and a devilish creature called the Jabberwock, and turns it into a breathless crime caper full of action and suspense in the process.”

    “Larry in Wonderland” & “Pearls in Wonderland” in the daily comics

    Pearls Before Swine, a nationally syndicated comic strip which runs in more than 400 papers, had an Alice in Wonderland-inspired sequence at the end of October 2009. The decade-old cartoon is written & drawn by San Franciscan Stephen Pastis. (The internet home of Pearls Before Swine is at the United Feature Syndicate website here: comics.com/pearls_before_swine, where I’ve copied the strips below from.) They reminded me of Walt Kelly’s illustrations for “Who Stole the Tarts?” using similar anthropomorphic characters from his mid-century newspaper comic Pogo. If they’re too small to read, click on the image and it will redirect you to the strip at comics.com.

    An interesting twist in the scenario: instead of it being “such a curious dream”, the surreal wonderland adventures were the result of one of the other characters usurping the composition of the comic strip. Like the Red King’s dream, was the rat drawing the cartoonist or the cartoonist drawing the rat?

    Betty in Wonderland

    Fans of comics from the 1950s might appreciate the Betty and Veronica Digest, No. 195 (June 2009), which leads with “Betty in Wonderland” (pp. 1-21). Betty is babysitting for the Anderson kids, who beg her to read Alice in Wonderland every night. This time she changes the story a little. Betty (Alice) chases Archie down a big hole to Wonderland, where she meets the Cheshire Dog and other characters. Milkshakes and burgers make her shrink and grow, respectively. Veronica appears as the Red Queen who wants to take Archie from Betty, sticking her with Dee and Dum. Instead of croquet, Alice/Betty and Veronica/Red Queen have a bowling contest with Archie as prize. Betty loses, but fortunately Veronica’s parents appear and help Betty escape from Wonderland.

    Thanks for the heads up, Clare!

    Alice vs… Batwoman?

    DC Comics’ Detective Comics #854 (June 24), 855 (July 29), 856 (August 26), and 857 (September 2) cover the storyline “Elegy,” in which Batwoman runs up against Alice, “a madwoman who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable extras” and who speaks only in lines from Lewis Carroll.