Acquired: DC Comics Presents #81

Price: $3.00
Where: Arch Enemy Comics, Boise, ID

I was recently re-reading my already-owned copy of this particular issue when I noticed a small tear on the back page that made me sad. It meant that I had to get another copy, and so I immediately put it on the list. Normally, I wouldn't bother picking up a spare copy of a practically valueless mid-80s comic that I already own in decent shape aside from a small tear. But with this one, I felt I needed to keep a extra, more flawless copy handy. It's special to me. Two copies would be nice.


Writer and Artist: Keith Giffin

Because it's the single greatest Ambush Bug story ever told!

And by the end of this, you'll agree!

The hi jinx's start with our intrepid protagonist enjoying a quiet round of golf. Well, considering that it's Ambush Bug we're talking about, "quiet" means plowing through the course and other players like a whirling dervish while making loud "Whoop! Whoop!" noises. After he slices his ball into the drink, he grabs his snorkel, dives in, and finally chips it into the hole!

He pops his way to the jewelery store where he has the "rare glowing gem" set into a necklace as a present for someone he recently had a falling out with.

(Superfriends Narrator Voice)

Meanwhile, at the Fortress of Solitude...

Superman is honing his punching skills with a game of Bombardment Ball. (Hey, it's in bold in the comic!) Being Superman, he can't be expected to do it the easy way though, and is just about to reach a blindfolded new high score when who-know-who pops in:

And that, dear readers, is a set-up and premise that would make me shoot bourbon spiked coffee out of my nose and onto Mr. Giffin were I in the pitch room.

After Superman (Ambush Bug) explains the situation to Ambush Bug (Superman), he (Ambush Bug .. I mean Superman .. I mean.. oh, nevermind!) decides that the world still needs a Superman and blasts off to continue the never-ending quest of defending truth, justice, and cream pies, despite his total ineptitude with the powers and leaving Superman (forget it!) stuck in the Fortress.

(Superfriends Narrator Voice)

Back in Metropolis, forty-four hours later...

...Kobra is after the secret to Ambush Bug's teleportation suit and tracks him to his detective agency:

Koko makes a quick exit leaving AB to wrap up a very lucrative Frank Miller deal. After a bit of thought, he figures out that the mysterious, bald stranger who just beat a hasty retreat had to be none other than Lex Luthor! And the chase is on!

(Superfriends Nar... aww.. you get it already!)

Meanwhile, back at the Fortress of Solitude...


Notice, if you will, Kobra's signal device: "Why.. Why.. Why..." That's funny, right there.


Ambush Bug eventually smacks into Kobra and proceeds to set fire to the entire waterfront when he figures out how his heat vision works. Kobra is seriously scared after concluding that Superman has gone crazy and breaks for his ark:

Meanwhile... Back at the Fortress of Solitude... Superman, stuck in Ambush Bug's body, tries to learn the secret to the suit's teleportation...

Soon after, the 48 hour Red Kryptonite effect wears off and our players switch bodies back again to the way things were. Superman (the real one now) lets Kobra get away in order to deal with the waterfront fire. Ambush Bug pops back to help just as Supes is creating a tidal wave to deal with the fire.

What follows this panel is probably the best in-joke splash page ever to see print. Not to be spoiled here. Go buy it yourself.

The story ends with a funny little wrap-up that leaves Superman in hysterics and Kobra plotting a course outside of the DC universe. Seriously.

I've read this issue at least 50 times since I bought it way back when it originally came out. Now I have two copies and can read and re-read my original torn one until I finally read it to tatters. I may do that.. it makes me laugh every time. I credit this particular comic with starting my love for wacky silver-age funny book craziness, which to this day still hangs on me like a Red Kryptonite necklace. Recommended.



SallyP said...

I must find this! Seriously, Keith Giffen is a GOD! The portrayal of Ambush Bug as Superman, flailing his arms and legs just cracks me up.

Captain Infinity said...

I only own three copies of DC Comics Presents and this in one of them.

Siskoid said...

Oh yeah baby! If there's one character I still tend to look at back issues for, it's Ambush Bug.

The very first comic I ever bought with my own money was DCP 59, with Buggy (still a villain then) and the Substitute Legion. I still don't have his first appearance, and nothing post 2000, I don't think. The last couple issues I managed to find were this one and the Supergirl appearance. I guess I'm not looking hard anymore, but I'm am looking.