MattBrady 10-15-2003 06:08 AM


by Ryan McLelland

They say it's hard to keep a good man down so it should be no surprise that Ralph Snart Adventures, the comic published from 1986 to 1993 by Now Comics, is back. New and old fans alike will be delighted that the loveable, insane, beer-drinking psychotic has a new massive trade paperback and, after ten years, a new series on the way.

Now Comics was a force in the late 80's/early 90's as publishers of such properties as Speed Racer, Astro Boy, and Fright Night. It's longest running book happened to none of its famous icons but a book called Ralph Snart Adventures. Ralph Snart is the tale of a beer-chugging accountant who was locked away in a 'really insane' asylum after he went mad. Ralph would then escape, well, escape reality by entering a fantasy world. Between reality and fantasy, Ralph Snart and creator Marc Hansen would lead readers into five different series, a spin-off, and even a 3-D adventure.

Now Ralph Snart has returned, not only with a colossal 432-page trade paperback, but new adventures are coming from Hansen. Hansen hasn't drawn a comic page since the end of his Weird Melvin series back in 1995. After working in advertising and programming for a couple years, the rights for Ralph Snart landed back in Hansen's hands, who promptly launched the Ralph Snart website ( and put a pen back in his hand.

The trade paperback will reprint the original three comics from the first Ralph Snart mini-series, the entire ten issue run from Ralph Snart's Volume 2, and the 11 thru 16 issues from Volume 3 (for those who might wonder what happened to Volume 3 issues 1 thru 10, worry not. The first ten issues from Volume 3 merely reprinted Volume 2, but in color). The entirely black and white collection also sports a brand new Hansen cover. The best thing about this collection finally coming out for Snart's fans might be it's $24.95 price tag -- a pretty good price for a book with this many pages. Says Tony Caputo, publisher of the newly resurrected Now Comics, "I wanted a book that would sell forever, that would keep Ralph Snart Adventures alive and well in stores, shops, and everywhere."

"I'll get excited if it helps let old and new fans know that Ralph Snart is back," Hansen says about the new trade paperback. While the trade paperback will be found in comic stores and any store that sell trades, the new Ralph Snart comics won't be found at any comic store. Starting on November 17th, Ralph Snart subscribers will be able to read a new monthly 10-page issue of Ralph Snart, only available on the Ralph Snart webpage. "We can rule out my ever doing a regular monthly comic published on paper," says Hansen. "Publishing on the web is cheap, immediate, has a potentially wider audience and doesn't place you at the mercy of distributors. Feedback from the fans can also be immediate, I have a message board at my site just for that purpose."

"I can't remember exactly the catalyst for Ralph, probably the discovery of keggers during college," says Hansen on the creation of the character. Originally titled Ralph Snarf, the character first premiered in Hansen's college newspaper, where Hansen drew him in a couple dozen scripts. Snarf would later go on to a short story in Tony Caputo's FanGraphix, then onto a mini-series at Caputo's Now Comics. Because of a name clash with a book being put out by Kitchen Sink Press, the decision was made to change Snarf to Snart. The rest is history.

"The character has been around for about 20 years, but I don't think the character was clear in my mind until the later issues of volume 3. Right now, I'm having to rediscover the character again and figure out where I want to take him next. In the real world, he's a brain-damaged idiot. In his dream world, he tries to regain what control he's lost in reality, but never seems to succeed. Ralph Snart is more about making fun of situations, society, culture, politics, and Ralph is the tool I use to do it. Throw in some beer, and you've got Ralph Snart. As long as he's getting drunk and going crazy, I should be fine."

2004 will continue to see Hansen's work collected. The first trade paperback will have a hardcover version released with another brand new cover. Another Ralph Snart Adventures trade paperback will also be released next year as well as two Weird Melvin trades, the last book Hansen worked on before his sabbatical. The Weird Melvin series will reprint the entire mini-series along with including some never-before-seen material. No one is happier about that collection then Hansen himself, "I'm more excited, as far as print goes, by the prospect of seeing the Weird Melvin CBG comic strips and the comic book series collected into a volume."

So grab a beer you fatheads and head over to the web, because Ralph Snart is back in town. Games, a cartoon, cover pictures, and the new comics are all available at Ralph Snart's site. For those fans who can't wait for the new series to premiere on the web, the Ralph Snart Adventures trade paperback is now available at stores everywhere.

Spider-Bob 10-15-2003 08:45 AM

I fondly remember Ralph Snart and his cast of characters, especially Mr. Lizard. I bought most of these comics in a quarter box at a comics convention in Dallas in 1989 and have kept them to this day. I would like to see Hansen publish Ralph again, but given the current state of comics publishing can understand why he would stick to the web.

Captain Slinky 10-15-2003 12:06 PM

WHAT?!?!?! When did NOW COMICS become newly resurrected??? What titles will they be offering?? ? WILL THERE BE A NEW MARRIED WITH CHILDREN COMIC BOOK???

Did I just like totally miss the news item about NOW getting back in to the comic book industry? If so, could someone please point me towards the article?

Kurt Avery 10-15-2003 12:13 PM

I was kind of curious about this, too. I used to love Now Comics, and have good runs on FRIGHT NIGHT and TERMINATOR, both of which I really enjoyed, despite the often spotty art and schizophrenic stories.
I hope we can look forward to trade paperbacks of all of Now's series, including their TWILIGHT ZONE comic, which I understand was very good, and featured a lot of quality creators on both story and art. I'm not sure about the legalities of publishing collections of those licensed properties, but I'd love to see them nevertheless.

Kurt Avery

RyanMcLelland 10-15-2003 12:18 PM

For all those wondering when did Now Comics come back and what else they are doing other then Ralph Snart, just head on over to their site

Captain Slinky 10-15-2003 01:25 PM

BLESS YOU!!! This is the info I needed. Thanks ever so much!