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Showcase Presents: Ambush Bug

Showcase Presents: Ambush Bug - Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, Paul Kupperberg, Paul Levitz, Robert Oksner, Carmine Infantino I started reading comic books back when I was about 12 or 13, and around that time, I discovered Ambush Bug. It was the perfect sort of reading for someone that age, since Ambush Bug was all about the silliness. What I didn't understand at the time was that a lot of the jokes were about the comic book industry, and since I was just starting to get into them, I had no idea what was going on. But like most cartoons that can appeal to kids and adults at the same time, what I did get was so silly and ludicrous that it never entered my mind that I was missing anything.

I still like silly humor, and got a big helping of nostalgia a few weeks ago that convinced me to order a copy of this collection. It’s a collection of every Ambush Bug story up to its point of publication, from his early start as a nuisance of a villain to Superman (sort of like Mister Mxyzptlk to Batman) to becoming the only character in the DC Universe who knows he's in a comic book. There's a lot of bending and breaking of the fourth wall in the series, to the point where the editor shows up as a character, and Ambush Bug talks directly to the writers of the comic.

It's hard to say whether or not I would like this collection as much as I do if I didn't already know about the character. It seems like this collection came out around the time when those of us who grew up with Ambush Bug would have picked up a copy out of nostalgia's sake. I wonder if it would have seen print otherwise, especially considering that it's now out of print. It seems like to really get the adult side of the humor as it poked fun at the comics industry, one would need to know more about 1980s comics. Then again, I didn't know a whole lot about it when I was reading it as a kid, so maybe it's not a prerequisite.

The long and short of it is that if you remember Ambush Bug, and liked the sense of humor that he embraced, then this is the collection for you. If not, but if you like silly humor a la "The Animaniacs" or "Better Off Ted," then you might still enjoy it. The rest of you probably ought to steer clear of it all together.