Markley’s Fevered Brain: Three Faces of Scooby

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #45

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #45


When I was young, I discovered a television show called Scooby-Doo. It was 1969, I was nine, and it involved four teens and a dog solving mysteries. To a nine year old this was a dream; traveling around solving mysteries with a dog and have a great time doing it. The second season they introduced a song every episode, not that the gang (Freddy, the jock; Shaggy, the hippy and my hero; Daphne, the pretty girl; Velma, the brains; and Scooby, the dog) sangthe songs, there was just a song that played during the chase scenes. I loved this. It quickly became my favorite cartoon alongside Jonny Quest, which was visually very different, but had the same sense of adventure and wonder. As the show went on they would add cohorts and other dogs which to me were never as good and I never liked any of the shows past the first two seasons. Because of my love of the television show, I started collecting the comics, not at the time in 1970, but later when I became a hardcore collector. Over the years I have found all the various comics that Scooby-Doo stared in, from all of the various publishers that published his adventures. Off the top of my head there are Scooby-Doo series from Gold Key, Charlton, Marvel, Harvey, Archie, and two runs from DC. Plus there are a number of foreign versions of Scooby-Doo with stories that have never seen print in America. I have a large collection of British Scooby comics that Marvel UK published for years long after Marvel US dropped the license. It is my intent in this blog to look at the three current Scooby-Doo comics. Yes, DC, currently publishes three different Scooby-Doo comics.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #18

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #18


Each month DC Comics publishes three monthly comics featuring very different versions of Scooby and the gang. There is the traditional Scooby-Doo, Where are You? which is a continuation (in linage, if not in numbering) from every Scooby series dating to the original Gold Key Scooby-Doo series that debuted in 1970. There is a monthly series called Scooby-Doo Team-Up which is a digital first comic (the digital version is up to #62, the print is at #33). In this book, Scooby and the gang team up with a different DC hero or Hanna-Barbara character. I have written many times how this is my favorite book DC publishes. It is brilliant month after month. The third monthly book comes from the mind of Jim Lee, and to be honest, I hated this book when it was announced and was not thrilled with it when it first came out, but now a year and half later, I realize I was wrong and I really enjoy this book, Scooby Apocalypse.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #89

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #89


Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? was originally published as a TV tie in by Gold Key comics in 1970. Gold Key was famous for doing almost all of the TV adaptations and tie-ins at the time period and if there was a comic about a cartoon, chances are Gold Key was the publisher. What makes these stories appealing is great art by the highly underrated Dan Spiegle. These are mostly full length adventures where the gang has to solve a single mystery. This basic format continued for many years under a number of different publishers. At times the names would slightly change, sometimes it was called Scooby-Doo Where are You? and at other times it would be called Scooby-Doo. Once you get past the Gold Key period, the book settles into a nice expectable pace of storytelling, much like the show. Fortunately, unlike the show, the comics rarely ventured off into all of the various family members of Scooby, who every other season were added to the TV show making it worse and worse. If you are a purist like me, then these comics are for you. The most recent run published by DC Comics, who have been doing it for a number of years now, has drifted into sort of a ho-hum rhythm, where there are two stories per issue, maybe a short Velma feature about a monster, and an occasional fun page, a puzzle, or something similar. It is obviously designed to be for young readers with not a lot of effort or thought being put into it. It is good for what it is but of the three Scooby-Doo books, it is the weakest. Just for the record, DC first published a Scooby-Doo book, titled Scooby-Doo, starting in 1997 and it ran 159 issues. Then in 2010 DC restarted the book under the name Scooby-Doo Where are You? and this title has 86 issues so far and still comes out monthly. DC did six digest sized collections of the first 30 issues of the first Scooby-Doo series (DC version) back in 2003 through 2006. I am not aware of any other American collection of the DC material. I would love to see collections of all of the early material from Gold Key, Charlton, Marvel, Archie, etc. but I do not have high hopes of ever seeing this material collected. (And while they’re at it they should collect all 13 issues of Marvel’s Laff-A-Lympics with Scooby and tons of other Hanna Barbara characters.)

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #28

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #28


Scooby-Doo Team-Up is easily my favorite DC comic month after month, and may be my favorite comic period. It is written by Sholly Fisch and are generally drawn by Dario Brizuela, with occasional fill in artists. The premise of the book is each issue Scooby and the Gang team up with a DC hero or a Hanna-Barbara character. These books are written in such a way that young reader would enjoy them, or old fogies, such as myself would love them as they are filled with inside jokes about DCs rich history which is generally ignored. For example, in a recent issue the gang team up with the Challengers of the Unknown, and within the story, the original Cave Carson (without a cybernetic eye), Sea Devils and Secret Six all show up. A great nod to DC’s rich history. Plus in this world when a DC hero shows up, such as the Challengers, it is the version that originally appeared, in this case it is the Challengers from the late 1950s as Jack Kirby originally did them. Another example is a recent issue where the gang met Jonah Hex, not the movie version, not the version that the last series left off with (which just debased everything that made Jonah what he was), but the original bounty hunter who was not a nice person. But there was a great twist where it was not the gang we know from the cartoons, but it was Freddy’s great grandfather and his friends (and dog) in the 1800s, all who had an amazing resemblance to the modern Scooby gang. Plus the story was great. Every story is great, no matter if the guest star is Wonder Woman or Top Cat or Batman or Secret Squirrel, every issue from the first page to the last is a brilliant piece of comic book storytelling. There are three trade collections of the first 18 issues out so far (six issues per trade) and I cannot not recommend them highly enough to the parent looking for a book for their young child or the oldest true DC fan. This book brings me joy month after month.

Scooby Apocalypse #1

Scooby Apocalypse #1


Finally we have Scooby Apocalypse. This book was originally written by Jim Lee, J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen and was drawn by Howard Porter. The premise is in the near future Velma is a scientist working on giving dogs technological implants that upgrade their intelligence. The company she works for also has developed nano-technology that goes wrong and turns most of the human population into monsters. You have Daphne as a once prestigious TV reporter that has been reduced to do a cable TV show about monsters, Freddy, her assistant who is madly in love with her, and Shaggy who is a lab worker with Velma and is Scooby’s handler. When this book was first announced and the original artwork was released I was disgusted. This was nothing like Scooby-Doo I knew and loved. Scooby has a cybernetic eye glass for God’s sake (almost like a monocle.) But DC has now released the first twelve issues in two trades and I recently sat down and read them. Once I got beyond the original shock of “this is not Scooby,” I found I really enjoyed this book. The stories are formula, multi-part story arcs where they group is confronted by a new monster or is trapped in a town, or a lab, or on the road, but the characterization and the interaction between the characters has really won me over. The book does remind me a lot of the formula of The Walking Dead (plug in monsters for zombies), but by the time I finished the two trades I went and read all the issues since (#13-18), and they are really good. They slowly expand the universe they are in, and introduce an actual bearable version of Scrappy Doo, and are able to create some suspense as the stories roll out. As much as I never thought I would ever type these words, this book is very good. It is not for young readers, but it is a good book for fans of post-apocalyptic or survival stories. I found myself also really enjoying these new version of the Scooby Gang (re-imaginations might be a better word) that I have loved for the last 40 years. Well worth checking out and having a read.

Scooby Apocalypse #17

Scooby Apocalypse #17


This is it for this time. So far there are close to 300 different Scooby-Doo comics that have been published in America. There are also versions I have seen in England, Sweden, Spain, and I am sure many other countries and languages. While I think the main Scooby-Doo book is the weakest, I think that both Team-Up and Apocalypse more than make up for the weakness in the main title. I highly recommend every DC fan of any age read or at least try Scooby-Doo Team-Up, and older readers, and fans looking for something different should try Scooby Apocalypse. Have you read any of these books? Did you once read them and stop? What do you think of these books or DCs other takes on the Hanna-Barbara world for that matter? I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. As usual everything I have written here is my opinion and does not reflect the thoughts or Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.

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