"I'm sure nobody will notice the difference."

ALF Annual #1

Marvel Comics (1988)

WRITER: Michael Gallagher
PENCILER: Dave Manak
LETTERER: Rick Parker
EDITOR: Sid Jacobson

For the annual, the number of stories were doubled. While the regular comic had three stories, this had six. It also didn’t use any Melmac stories, focusing on ALF’s actions on Earth.

The first story is “The Return of Rhonda!”, which references the TV episode where ALF had a chance to go home but decided to stay with the Tanners. (Never understood the reason why outside of keeping the series going. Story should have been saved for the finale–it might have been better than what we ended up with.) Rhonda decides to come back and give Gordon another chance to join her and Skip on New Melmac. You can guess the decision but in the meantime Rhonda seems a bit flaky compared to how she acted on the cartoon. (The cartoon character model was used for Rhonda in the comic.) The solution? Cloning machines come standard on her ship. Melmacian technology in Gallagher’s stories never make a lot of sense, just there for the story, and this is no exception. Otherwise, it’s a fun story although I prefer Rhonda on the cartoon.

“Back To Human Nature” has a similar idea to the “Jungle Trails” story from issue #2, only instead of a wild animal preserve the family goes camping with ALF at Yosemite National Park. Thanks to a stray bobcat ALF goes on another feeding frenzy, getting himself and Willie lost. Also, ALF prefers toasted sticks to toasted marshmellows. This is the weakest story in the annual and this book is where I began to realize Gallagher went to far out of his way to make Melmacians as alien as possible.

“Safe At Home” has the boys taking in a baseball game thanks to a tinted skybox. ALF’s antics are funny enough but once we learn that when Melmacians get too excited their “light blood cells” gather in their nose, causing them to glow bright, it’s an ending that falls short when ALF’s “nova nose” disrupts the game.

“You Give Me Fever” is one of the two stories where the differences between humans and Melmacians work better. ALF catches a disease (I’m willing to blame germs in Rhonda’s ship but it’s never referenced) that causes him to be influenced by media stimulation. Having seen the Patton movie starts the first personality, a tabloid the second, and Brian’s book report on Robin Hood the last. It’s a bit more believable than some of the other Melmacian hi-jinks in this story although it’s still just making stuff up for the sake of a story.

“A Campy Approach!” is more a cultural difference between the two planets and that makes it probably the best story in the annual. ALF is convinced that camps on Melmac, which were used to punish bad kids, are the same as summer camps on Earth, and plots to break Brian out. It’s a fun tale that also features a cameo by the High Evolutionary. Around this time the mainstream Marvel titles were taking part in a crossover event called The Evolutionary War and for some reason this comic tries to play off of that.

This mostly takes place in the final story, a short tale called “You Say You Want An Evolution?”. (Yes, this is where I got the title for a recent Friday Night Fight.) It’s just the High Evolutionary checking up on ALF after being surprised in the previous story to find a Melmacian on Earth. Decent enough story.

Overall this was no better or worse than the other two comics I’ve reviewed. I still can’t recommend going through a lot of effort looking for them, since they’re not that great, but they’re not bad, either.

Tomorrow’s (Old) Comic> ALF #32


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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