You know what they say. You can't have a picnic without ants. But can you have a black and white independently-published comic boom without ants? Turns out those ants are absolute necessary! We wouldn't make a statement like this without solid proof, and we definitely wouldn't make a statement like this unless it was the lead-in to one more look at somebody's rack-clogging, tree-killing, non-returnable attempt to capitalize on somebody else's four-word-titled animal-themed independent comic. Which is that now thing here, is. Here.
Are you rocking and rolling? Are you a miner? And, last question, are you an ant? Then you might be one of the stars of the Rockin' Rollin' Miner Ants, who had five whole issues of their very own comic book thirty years ago. What were you doing thirty years ago? I bet you weren't being chased by a giant mutant frog. Unless you were playing a Nintendo game that involved giant mutant frogs. And you might have been!
Look, it's tough to really nail that mutant frog figure pose. Comics creators want to get the most out of their labor. That's why re-using your cover as your splash page is a good, economical idea, and readers will totally not think you're a little lazy. Comics are hard work!
I get the feeling somebody involved with this comic book was traumatized as a child... and evidently wanted to pass that trauma on to its eventual readers.
Imagine, if you will, all the hard work frog poachers have to do to keep our schools supplied with frogs! I mean, first off, you have to find a place where catching frogs is against the law. And there aren't a lot of those places!
Ah yes, the Louisiana bog country, noted for its picturesque... hilly countryside? This is where classroom frogs are harvested, by what appear to be pro wrestlers who just pick frogs up with their hands, the good old fashioned way.
Uh oh, looks like the Boggy Creek creature has claimed another victim. Or maybe that's the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, or maybe the Honey Island Swamp Monster? So many to choose from!
Well, there you have it, it's the plot of the Ray Milland horror picture "Frogs," only with just one frog, and no Ray Milland. Not that I'm not sympathetic to Bogg Frog here. Leave the frogs alone, everybody.
Bogg-Frog will give representation to all frogs! How many seats in the Senate do frogs get? And can Bogg-Frog survive that combative Louisiana primary season?
Look, he's a giant frog out for revenge against all mankind. I don't think all that havoc is an accident, is what I'm saying.
So here on page 7 we finally get to see our heroes, the Rockin' Rollin' Miner Ants, who are flying through the air, as miner ants do (not), in some kind of Rockin' Rollin' Miner Antmobile.
Also I think Bogg-Frog is taking a dump down there on the left. Seriously, that's what it looks like.
The amazing Rockin' Rollin' Miner Antmobile is shaped like a hot dog with hairy spider legs, and it goes "FA-BOOM." When the kids see it under the Xmas tree this season, they'll... smash it with a rake!
The most prominent design feature of the Antmobile is the control room, which has been specifically laid out to accomodate important chunks of expository dialogue. This is how we meet the stars of our comic book. Or at least we meet the tops of their heads, and some of their forearms.
There was a video game back in the day called "Frog Bog" where you had to time a frog's jumps so that he'd leap up from his lily pad just in time to catch a bug. This panel reminds me of that video game, except it has more of a "sex act" vibe.
The comic that dares to break the heroes' vehicle AND the fourth wall.
Weirdly muscular ants are menaced by an identically weirdly muscular frog in a comic that we all want to run from, Pops
Ants do taste afwul! It's all the formic acid. Just remember to balance them out on your plate with a complimentary flavor, if and when you serve ants.
Nothing like a panel that foregrounds a really detailed tree to make the reader say "hey, weren't we in a city?"
We're back in what appears to be the pro-wrestler infested Louisiana swamp, and Bogg-Frog is back to being human-sized instead of Godzilla-sized. So no, it definitely doesn't look good. This comic, I mean.
COMIC ARTIST PRO TIP: remember to leave room in your panel compositions for things like word balloons, so they won't be crammed into the lower right corner like something you remembered you had to do at the last minute before dropping the artwork off at whatever rustic Down East print shop put this whole thing together
We still aren't sure who these characters are, or what they look like, or what they do. But here's one of them, butt first! Thanks, comic.
And we're on a road now! Because rollerblading, I guess.
"Whiz" is the Rockin Rollin Miner Ant who is fast, who carries around a length of knotted rope, and who apparently has a weirdly deformed arm. Poor guy.
It's important to stand around and remind each other how important your quest is, so very important, let's talk about it some more.
I'm sure this sequence made sense to somebody at some point. Right now, this whole giant frog about to eat an old man while the words "doom" fly around the air, well, it just doesn't work for me. More so than everything else, I mean.
Maybe what this confused comic needs is a time out to talk things over! And that's just what they do, two horizontal pages stacked together for a double page spread of dialogue that both expresses the main narrative thrust of the work AND helps to kick this extremely weak plot a little further on down the road.
This is how frogs sit, by the way, they sit like weightlifters resting after bench presses.
"Uh huh, we know we're confusing and dull and make you want to take a nap. What are you going to do about it?" - this comic, taunting us
Oh yeah, one of the Rockin Rollin Miner Ants is a girl, you can tell because of the poofy hair and the large breasts. It's amazing that a comic book so full of filler couldn't spend a page introducing its characters, but hey, it's comics, anything's possible!
Look, if the front edge of your three wheel scooter-cart - ants love 'em! - is honed to razor sharpness, you're going to get a "YIKES" every now and then. That thing is a threat to everyone!
Well, it's time for the big final confrontation between the frog and the ants, and you'd think that this would involve Rockin' or Rollin' or Mining. But you'd be wrong. It involves poles.
However, with one sweaty, wrinkled gesture of mercy from Pops, the poles are dropped. Bogg-Frog's life is spared!
Glutes and delts and traps all bulge as Bogg-Frog demonstrates the artist's ability to swipe from bodybuilding magazine poses, and our story concludes with the realization that while wiping out entire frog populations for purposes of classroom dissection is bad, swallowing people whole is bad too. Thank you comic, you've alerted us all to the threat of mutant frog revenge.
Now I know what you're thinking, that there's NO WAY these characters earned local Emmy nominations for starring in public service announcements! Well, again, you'd be wrong.
I'm going to leave it to one of our readers to locate a video of this PSA starring the Rockin' Rollin' Miner Ants. Believe me, I tried to find it! Hopefully it's a PSA about staying in school and out of the comic book business.
But local Emmys aside, I'm sure you're all snickering and joking about how silly "Bogg-Frog" was and how the character would never mean anything more to anyone.
Turns out Ben Cayford's dad saw a frog in a bog on the way to work, and he would always talk about that frog, and it was a wonderful family memory that we're honoring by sneering at and making fun of. Because we're awful, I guess.
But as awful as we are, at least we aren't trying to sell "pogs" to anybody. And that's the Mister Kitty promise. Frogs, not pogs.
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