The Ruff & Reddy Show #2 – Howard Chaykin, Writer; Mac Rey, Artist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Meta-Commentary on Show Business
Ray: One of the best shows on Netflix – if you can handle it – is Bojack Horseman, a show about a talking horse that is actually a brutally dark Hollywood satire about the price of fading fame. Ruff & Reddy, which reinvents the classic Hanna-Barbera funnymen as Hollywood has-beens, seems to be trying for a similar vibe, but it’s not quite willing to commit to the darkness. As such, what we actually get is a screwball comedy that’s also a story about middle-age depression. When this issue starts out, their new agent Pamela convinces her boss to let her make a go of trying to revive their careers. It doesn’t go well, with neither of them wanting to go back to that period of their life. However, after Reddy is fired by an uncaring boss and Ruff finds out he’s broke due to a Fonzi scheme (not a misspelling), they soon rethink their options.
Soon enough, they’re on a plane heading to a con (which Chaykin has some unkind words for – don’t look for him to sign at NYCC next year, maybe?). They bicker, then they’re harassed by a pair of fellow funny-animal comics, which results in a massive brawl. Their agent, however, manages to spin the fight in their favor, and the next thing they know their career is on the rise again. It seems like we’re going to be following their slow comeback for the six issues, but there’s not much of a conflict driving the story beyond “These guys don’t like each other.” Maybe the problem is Chaykin himself, who seems interested in a satire of Golden-Age Hollywood but not so much in the history of the characters themselves. Someone like Mark Russell might have been able to embrace the concept more fully.
Corrina: It’s an interesting look at fame and how far one can fall from the inside of the Hollywood fishbowl but the addition of funny animals being real and walking around doesn’t seem to add nearly as much to the concept as it should. They’re played straight and so they might as well be human. Perhaps that why this doesn’t feel quite as fresh as it should because it could go crazier and farther out-there.
Mac Rey’s artwork takes on a realistic, painted tone that goes well with Chaykin’s story. I love that Chaykin committed himself to this idea but I wish, in practice, it was more compelling.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.