Archie Comics (July, 1996)
“The Really Big Show”
WRITER: Mark Evanier
ARTIST: Dan Spiegle
The gang decide to enter Scooby into the “silly pet stunt” segment of The Stan Fleckman Show, but Stan is being haunted by the ghost of Ned Chandler, the star host the theater is named after. As Scooby and Shaggy find themselves running from lions and tigers and Velma tries to find clues Fred and Daphne stumble upon the real culprits, trying to get into the bank vault next door. Scooby manages to save them while Velma deals with the lions. The show is saved.
What they got right: Evanier used to write for both the show and the comics, so he does a far better job of getting the characters’ voices right as well as how the series is supposed to work. The story takes cues from David Letterman moving his show to the old Ed Sullivan theater but you don’t need that information to enjoy the story as it isn’t part of any joke, just inspiration for the story. Plus it’s all one story rather than two stories of the same gimmick. I know the series has a formula and for the most part it’s done well here, but the usual writer found a way to make it even more formulaic with the lame undercover jokes. This feels more like a Scooby-Doo story.
What they got wrong: I’m not complaining about Spiegle’s art itself as it is really good. However he’s interpreting the characters and the Mystery Machine into his own art style rather than match the show, the only thing the usual team does right. The mystery is still a bit weak. There’s only one clue, which Fred uses to finger both suspects somehow, and we the readers don’t get to try to solve along, which is usually the point of the show. I’m also disappointed that Evanier, who is in part responsible for Scrappy-Doo, doesn’t use him here. Given what the regular team did to him I was hoping to see Scrappy done right, but he only shows up in the Hanna-Barbera branding on the cover.
Recommendation: I wish the regular writer approached this series the way Evanier does. This becomes one of the few issues of the Archie run worth checking out. There are a few more coming but not enough considering most of the series is a wash.