Big Boy Magazine #506
When I was a kid, I used to get the Big Boy and Captain D's comics that those restaurants gave away. I wish, wish, wish I still had them, because they were a lot of fun, but alas, they were damaged in storage at some point, and have been gone for many years. So back in 2002, in a visit to a Shoney's (aka Bob's Big Boy), I checked to see if they still gave away these free kids comics. The answer was no, the comics I remember are no longer available. However, there's a modern version of it called Big Boy Magazine, so wanting to see if I could get a nostalgia fix, I took my big adult butt up to the cashier's counter and grabbed me a copy of issue #506.
I've got to say, I was pretty disappointed. I don't remember full details of the older comics, but what I recall were full comics (probably eight to sixteen pages, at the time), and pretty epic adventures for a company icon. This current issue saw Big Boy giving way to Bigger Boy, who taught some bullies a lesson by causing them to lose in Bonk Ball. It was what I call "pablum," but that's not really a fair assessment.
This comic is designed for kids- mainly very young kids- so the story is generally not going to be stellar (it's questionable whether the old comics' stories were better, but I remember them as better). This was a short story teaching kids a quick life lesson, and while that makes adult me roll my eyes (because why does everything for kids have to teach a lesson? Can't it just be entertaining?) it's not actually a bad thing. It's a confidence booster type of lesson, so let's call it good.
The cover feature is the article with Erik Per Sullivan from Malcolm in the Middle, which comes after the Bigger Boy story, and for a short little two page interview, it was surprisingly good. Again, not stellar, but I tried to let the kid inside of me read it, so eight year old me thought it was pretty cool. Did you know the kid had a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do at seven years old? Or that he lives in both Boston and Los Angeles? Cool stuff!
Throw in a page of games, a page of trivia, a letters page and the kids' menu, and bang, that's your issue!
For the rating... it's actually kind of tough to rate this. It's by no means the action packed super epic that I tend to like, and it's not even the best kids' comic I've ever read, but for free, this is actually pretty solid entertainment. Keep in mind that this isn't art for art's sake. This is business, and a family restaurant like Bob's Big Boy/Shoney's wants to put something out that's completely unoffensive, but will still hold a child's attention while they wait for their meal (or even the attention of the eight year old inside of an adult).
So okay, back to the rating. It's a solid book, as far as entertaining hungry children goes. It's got a short Big Boy/ Bigger Boy comic, and a cool interview with a TV personality. So let's call that three stars for three solid items. But I remember much more epic comics from back in the day, and I'm disappointed that this wasn't that. So deduct a full star for my disappointment. Give back a half star, because it's not really fair to compare this mag with its predecessor. Still, I am pretty disappointed... so take the half star back. Final score: two stars. Which is pretty funny, because there are a couple superhero books I've rated at one star.