Sergio Aragones Funnies #8 (2013) Cover

Sergio Aragonés Funnies #8, art by Sergio Aragonés

Sergio Aragonés Funnies #8

Written by Sergio Aragonés
Art by Sergio Aragonés
Color by Tom Luth
Letters by Karen Bates
Edited by Nathan Kane

Published by Bongo Comics

32 pages / Color and B&W / $3.50

Having sold his first comic feature to MAD Magazine in 1963, Sergio Aragonés has been a part of the comic book landscape for fifty years. Between his “A MAD Look at…” feature and his “MAD Marginals,” Aragonés is best known for his pantomime storytelling in which humor is conveyed without dialogue. As English is his second language after Spanish, he came to find that the easiest way to express his point of view in the beginning of his American comics career was without words. While he has done work on a great number of projects, many of his narrative works were co-written with his longtime collaborator Mark Evanier. However, when Sergio Aragonés Funnies launched in 2011, it was an entirely solo affair.

Funnies is an all-ages book featuring new material by an old master. Each issue contains at least one stand-alone humorous tale complete with dialogue. Also in each issue, Aragonés shares a story of his past, which turns out to have been quite colorful. The son of a Mexican film maker, he spent his youth in the Mexican movie business with his father while attempting to be a storyteller in his own right. Between tales of his youth in Mexico, his travels around the world while being the camera assistant of his friend Dick Young, and his time working for America publishers, Aragonés seems full to bursting with stories. In between these biographical stories and other tales are black-and-white pantomime comic strips seemingly ripped from the pages of MAD and a few image-based activities aimed at kids, such as seek-and-find pages and mazes.

Sergio Aragones Funnies #8 (2013)This series was chugging right along in 2011. However, in January of 2012, issue #7 hit but the follow up issue, which was solicited, never materialized. Finally, after nearly a year and a half of waiting, issue #8 is finally being released. On the opening page, Aragonés explains that his back gave out, forcing him to undergo surgeries and to spend a large amount of time in the hospital. While he says he’s fine now, he does say that his previous 14 hour workdays are going to be a thing of the past. Funnies should be back on a regular schedule, but it will now be bimonthly.

Much of this latest issue was apparently outlined before Aragonés’ back problems struck him, as the stories in this issue were briefly mentioned in the back of issue #7. As has been the case with every other issue in the series, this book is broken into short stories. The first long piece is a story titled ‘The Bank Robbers’ about a pair of thieves who try to make money the easiest way they can. The only other long piece in the book is an autobiographical story about a trip to Mexico that Aragonés planned for the writers, artists, and editors of MAD Magazine. Surrounding this main content are more dialogue-free gags and games.

For a writer who has spent the majority of his career either keeping his stories completely silent or allowing a collaborator to help with the writing, it may surprise readers that Aragonés’ dialogue is believable. Though his stories are short, they tend to meander a bit away from the main spine of the plot. For a storyteller known to get straight to the point in as small amount of time possible, usually a few panels or less, Aragonés is using the comic book format to allow himself to go down amusing branches and moments that he wouldn’t normally show. It makes for an amiable, if not exactly scintillating, read.

Sergio Aragonés himself is actually a character in the book. As has been the case with each issue, a Sergio surrogate greets readers on the first page, offering them an entry point into his stories. He is the Rod Sterling of his own series, happy to give a compass point to the reader new to the series. It’s an easy in to the issue and introduces not only Aragonés as a creator but also the feel of the book, which is very warm.

Sergio Aragones Funnies #8 (2013) 3It’s in the art that this book truly shines. Aragonés is a master of cartooning. His way with facial expressions and body language have been honed over fifty years and it shows. From the acting of the cowboy gang to the caricatures of his fellow MAD employees, the fluidity of the lines make everyone seem alive. There is so much joy in the book, especially in the autobiographical tale. Everyone is constantly smiling and having such a good time that it’s hard not to respond in kind. However, the bank robbers story ends on a cynical note, which is where the story’s comedy lies but is of a different tone from the rest of the book.

The multi-page stories in the book are fully colored by Tom Luth, a longtime collaborator of Aragonés who works with him over in the pages of MAD. The colors pair well with Aragonés’ art. They help give a roundness to the often exaggerated world that is created with just the pencils and inks. The colors ground the story. Choosing to color only the narrative stories in the issue and keep the gags black-and-white signals to the reader that a richer experience is happening on these pages. It causes the narratives to appear weightier and more thought-out. The black-and-white pages could easily be dismissed as kids stuff, but spending time looking at the puzzles Aragonés has laid out for his readers shows a level of detail that gets lost in the colors. These pages may be more geared for the younger set, but they shouldn’t be dismissed by fans of Aragonés’ art.

As an overall package, this is a very enjoyable comic. It’s great to see Sergio Aragonés back on store shelves. It’s been too long.

Story: 4 / Art: 5 / Overall: 4

(Out of 5 Stars)

Sergio Aragonés Funnies #8 is due in stores on June 19th.


  1. I am really excited this series is coming back. Sorry to hear about Sergio’s injury. I remember reading Mad Magazine in the barbershop when I grew up and loved it. His storytelling was always so clear that the jokes came across with no words and no confusion at all. The longer form stories in this is like listening to an older relative tell you a story.

  2. I’ve been meaning to look to something more lighthearted than what I usually read which is so heavy. Something like Popeye, Archie, but since S.A.’s Funnies seem to be self-contained issues I’m inclined to try it out.

  3. Great news! Glad to hear Aragonés is doing well after his back surgery. Sergio Aragonés is a living legend and it’s nice to see him back doing what he does best!

  4. I’d love to see another Groo series, along with the Conan/Groo crossover that was supposed to come out some time ago.

    • Absolutely!! I still read my old Groo comics and would love anothe series.

    • Groo was and still is great..
      Ya what happened to that crossover.. im dying for a new groos series too..
      Funnies is really good to.

    • I had read that the delay was with Sergio finishing the artwork because of an injury-I imagine it was the same back injury mentioned in the article above.

      Dark Horse also solicited the first Groo Treasury volume a few years ago and we’ve yet to see it either. The only character that I am a completionist with is Groo-to my knowledge I own every comic he has appeared in, but I was still going to collect the treasury series as well.

      Anyway, looks like I’ll pick up Funnies #8 to help tide me over.

  5. You know how you can eat pizza forever without getting full? That’s how I’ve always felt about Aragonés’ art: I never get tired of looking at his pages. I started buying this book for my son, who became a fan in his own right reading MAD magazine, so I look forward to being able to start getting this book for him again.