Cor!! & Buster is a good name for 2000 AD’s humor special. Besides paying homage to their humor comics of yore, it’s an accurate description of what you’ll be getting – an issue busting at the seams with excellence, that doesn’t repeat itself or rely on a single joke for material yet is consistently funny from start to finish. That’s not to say you’ll love all the strips the same but other than finding one slightly mean spirited, there are no major shifts in quality, and it all comes down to personal preference. The yarns in this anthology fall all over the map yet each tells a complete story that will tickle your funny bone and maybe even teach you something about the world.
Given that comedy’s so subjective, nothing about this anthology should be taken for granted, and while I’m 25 and getting a kick out of these stories, I would happily gift this issue to any child I know. It’s a great entry point for kids into comics, it doesn’t talk down to them, and the special pays tribute to its roots, with a special section by Lew Stringer on the history of these characters. Far from being stuck in the past, though, these characters ‘still got it,’ as gets proven when they appear together in a story written by John Freeman, with art by Stringer and letters by Leila O’Millar. With an amazing fourth wall break by the editor to set things off, “Who’s in Charge?” throws shade at how we’ve decided celebrities are the most fit to judge us in competitions.
Here are 5 more stories I feel represent the best of what Cor!! & Buster has to offer:
- Sweeny Toddler, The Demon Baby
What’s It About: Tom Paterson wrote and drew this story about a mischievous baby’s first day at nursery school, with letters credited to Jr. Senior.
Why It’s Wonderful: While the adults are definitely put through their paces, trying to take care of Sweeny, they never pass him off as a lost cause. They’re tired, but they’re not afraid of him, and Sweeny’s plans don’t always succeed. His nursery school teacher, Miss. Swellings, is old but holds her own in their power struggles and Paterson’s style, of labeling things and describing the action, creates a ton to look at on every page.
Favorite Part: Miss. Swelling and Sweeny’s standoff, over Sweeny “plopping” his pants.
- Kid Kong
What’s It About: Gran decides to take Kid Kong to Banana-Con for the day, a dream excursion for a gorilla, in this story by Alec Worley and artist, Tiernen Trevallion, with letters by A. Mann.
Why It’s Wonderful: A con devoted to bananas provides some pretty hilarious visuals (the image of a gawking crowd, consuming bananas like popcorn, for instance), and it doesn’t get more classic than a banana peel joke.
Favorite Part: How nonchalantly Gran goes from wearing Hells Angels gear to a French maid’s uniform.
What’s It About: Gums, the shark, doesn’t want Sophie, a marine biologist, to put a tracking device on him.
Why It’s Wonderful: Gums is able to address environmental issues without compromising the humor inherent in a story about a shark who wears dentures.
Favorite Part: When Gums calls a truce with an old enemy, and that enemy double crosses him. It would’ve been easy for writer, Lizzie Boyle, and artist, Abigail Bulmer, to breeze over this betrayal but Gums takes it really hard and by keeping the panel uncluttered letterer, Simon Bowland, lets us have the full, emotional beat.
- Hit Kid
What’s It About: News of Hit Kid’s retirement has spread and emboldened the bullies he kept at bay.
Why It’s Wonderful: Like Creed was for Rocky, Hit Kid is the perfect reboot story (I just haven’t been able to figure out whether it is an actual reboot or if Robin Etherington and artist, David Follett‘s, story is the first we’re hearing of him).
Favorite Part: Hit Kid’s explanation for why he announced his retirement.
- Captain Crucial vs Fuss Pot
What’s It About: When Fuss Pot’s rage melts the ice cube Captain Crucial was frozen in, can Crucial return the favor by cooling her down?
Why It’s Wonderful: Well, for one thing Captain Crucial was frozen in an ice cube. Every detail in this story is outrageous, wild fun as drawn by artist, Edward Whatley.
Favorite Part: Crucial’s funky dialogue (as written by Lee Langford and lettered by Oz) and Fuss Pot’s lack of filter (she uses the word “harangue” in a sentence!).
The Cor!! & Buster Humor Special goes on sale April 17th from 2000 AD.