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They never warned me about this at the Academy… – Adam-12 #8

April 18, 2010

Over the last year I’ve been watching occasional episodes of Dragnet and Adam-12 on either TV or Hulu.  They’re the kinds of shows that don’t hold up all that well to more modern sensibilities, but they definitely still retain a certain enjoyment factor.  While both programs labor under the straight law and order ethos of any Jack Webb production, there’s something very endearing about watching the two cop duos navigate the changing world of late-60’s/early 70’s Los Angeles.  Of the two shows, Adam-12 is definitely more palatable to today’s audiences – unlike Dragnet it isn’t weighed down by Webb’s stiff editing techniques or his stolid narration (though I have warm affection for both of those “flaws”).

So I was happy today when I stumbled across this comic:

I’ve been looking to pick up an issue or two of this series for a while now, so I when I saw this one I snatched it right up.  I laughed out loud at the idea of Officers Malloy and Reed confronting “a frightened baboon” – I don’t know what it is about that line, but it makes me chuckle.  Maybe “baboon” is just a funny sounding word.  Whatever.  I’m even laughing a little bit as I write this.  Though I guess if you’ve seen the pictures of the poor lady who was torn apart by that chimp up in Connecticut last year, being attacked by a pissed off primate is no laughing matter.  So I might be tempting fate here.

As it turns out, the cover nemesis is a lady baboon named Godiva.  Malloy and Reed manage to subdue her without killing her and at the same time catch a bad guy and save a passed out girl.  Not bad for a day’s work.  In the other story they crack a case with the help of an aging actor.  Neither plot really grabbed me, but I enjoyed flipping through this ish – like I said, I’ve been wanting to pick one up from this run.  Jack Sparling was the artist on this title, and while I’m not overly enthused about his work, I do think he handles action (cars swerving, etc.) quite well.  But the whole endeavor kind of suffers from the Gold Key Star Trek diffculty- it’s hard to divorce the actors’ faces from what your mind tells you their comic depictions are supposed to look like.  I didn’t really see Malloy and Reed in the faces as drawn by Sparling, and it doesn’t help matters that their flesh and blood mugs are right there on the cover.  I know that this is my problem, not the artist’s, but still, it’s a problem.

In a cursory internet search I found that there was a Dragnet comic strip in the 50’s, but it doesn’t seem that there was ever a comic book based on the show.  I love watching the later Dragnet episodes and seeing poor Jack Webb as the well-intentioned but stiff as a board Joe Friday trying to deal with the societal maelstrom that was the counterculture.  Something tells me a Webb-penned comic from the 70’s would provide me with a few more warm chuckles.  And it’s likely he wouldn’t even have to have a baboon in the mix to do so.

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