Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Comic #6
Mike Manley, Todd Nauck, Jack Pollock, Mimi Simon (art); Wes Dzioba, Mike Manley, Jack Pollock, Mimi Simon (colors); Wes Dzioba, Todd Nauck (cover); Michael Heisler (letters); Harold Buchholz, Joel Hodgson, Matt McGinnis, Mary Robinson, Seth Robinson, Sharon Volpe (writing)
May 29th, 2019
Dark Horse Comics
All good things must come to an end, and so must MST3K: The Comic. Though, as Joel said in the interview I conducted with him last month, the door is open for more books in the series, the first arc ends here, and with the kind of meta-tastic twist that one comes to expect from MST3K.
As Kinga tells us in the opening recap, the SOL gang have been separated and thrust into three different comic universes. Tom has turned “Johnny Jason” into “Tom Server: Teen Reporter” and managed to be caught up in a kidnapping scheme alongside his glamorous girlfriend, actress Shelley Marx. Jonah is living in “Black Cat”, where his life as a reporter-slash-DJ has been just as exciting (and where Max has fallen head over heels for the titular heroine herself).
Crow, meanwhile, has been stuck in the goopy horror comic “Horrific” where he doles out tale of suspense as a dealer of evil deeds. The other bots have popped in between the stories with feckless ease, as have Kinga and Max, via various Bubb-ulator-related inventions and interjections. Kinga knows it’s time to wrap up all of the series’ dangling plot threads, which means Jonah has to resolve his percolating tension with Linda and help her foil a theft, Tom and Shelley must make their way back to civilization, and Crow must help a pianist find brand new, evil hands when his own are amputated—and/or save the city when Kinga’s Totinos Pizza Rollcano begins erupting.
My previous misgivings about the comic were laid to rest with this issue; the writing is super sharp for this outing, and brings satisfying conclusions to both Kinga’s quest for glory and the guys’ journeys into the comic world. My favorite segments are still the Black Cat sections, which are sassy and fun—though Tom’s last day as a teen reporter has its amusing points too. Crow’s moment as a Totino Pizza Roll—defeating, all-knowing god—provided the book’s best art moment, and looks downright spooky. I still wish that Gypsy had been given her own story, but the other minor characters are used decently.
The layout is still delightful. The faded colors—mocked up to look like newsprint that’s been physically pressed and then weathered over time—look just like a beloved comic book that’s been left in the sun. The book perfectly captures the feeling of reading a time-tested comic, paging through those loose volumes with a sense of proud enjoyment.
Along the way, the comic’s parody of ad inserts has somehow managed to become a genuine endorsement from Totinos Pizza Rolls. They sponsored a live reading of the comic recently, and continue to be a highlight of the series—self-knowing and self-mocking.
And mocking’s exactly what you want in a MST3K comic. Hopefully Dark Horse will allow them to riff on for further volumes, but if not the current run ends in an appealing way.