Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ALF #23

ALF #23, December 1989, Marvel Comics
writer: Michael Gallagher
penciller: Dave Manak
inker/colorist: Marie Severin
letterer: Rick Parker
editor: Sid Jacobson
EIC: Tom De Falco

When industry professionals pontificate about the legitimacy of comic books as a literary artform, oftentimes Superman is cited as an allegorical example of the immigrant paradigm, rocket-flight to Earth from the dying planet Krypton compared to the immigrant's perception of America as a land of opportunity and vibrancy. The parallel is vivid and optimistic . . . and I wonder why more folks don't liken the imagery to another critical figure in modern fictional literature: Alf. Alf, which we all know is short for "Alien Life Form," was abandoned on Earth, too, never to return to his beloved homeworld Melmac. However, in this Marvel Comic adaptation of Alf's classic television series, we get a glimpse of some Melmacian technology, a Meleporter, that accidentally whisks Alf away to various corners of the globe. While his patented wit enables him to endure, the really sympathetic character here is Willy, who would like all of us to believe Alf is the bane of his existence, but without the furry little cat eater, the poor guy succumbs to almost instant strife. Fortunately, when the Meleporter realizes that it's no longer on Melmac, it returns Alf to Willy and family, much to their relief. Truly, Alf's brief respite around the globe is another indication of the immigrant's international plight, and a subtle indication of the real promise of America.

Of course, I'm kidding. This issue was barely readable and I dragged myself through it during Thank God You're Here commercial breaks. Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of this issue was its ads, promoting those old Saturday morning cartoons. With a December 1989 copyright date, this issue effectively marks the end of the oft dubbed Reagan years. As a child of that era, I feel like an immigrant in my own time, over here. Thanks for reminding me, Alf. Go eat a tennis racket or something, eh?

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