Welcome back to It Came From The Longbox, where I dig into my comics collection, pick out something I haven’t read in years and review it for you, our adoring public. For the most part, these books will be no less than five years old, though exceptions can (and probably will) be made.
Written and Drawn by: Ethan Van Sciver
Published by: Harris Comics
Alright…before you say “Great ANOTHER comic book with a giant talking frog with robotic parts and an attitude” let me just tell you… this book is different.
This giant talking frog with robotic parts and an attitude is also highly entertaining and has a great look to him.
In the 1990’s, comics had a certain feel to them. The girls all had big…hair and small waists while the guys had arms so big you wondered how they were able to wipe themselves. They also had guns the size of the Chrysler Building and more pouches than Spider-Man has costumes.
Then along came Cyberfrog, by a young writer/artist by the name of Ethan Van Sciver, and history was made. The story follows Cyberfrog (duh), who doesn’t know where he came from or what his purpose is. All he seems to know is he can’t help but aid the people of New York City, despite their disgust with him… and his hatred for them. See, he’d rather eat a bucket of KFC than save a woman who’s about to be raped. Well, he would if his conscience didn’t get in the way.
It seems he has a homing sense that doesn’t just lead him to trouble, but makes him go straight to it whether he wants to or not.
Somewhere in the city is a killer. He’s killing teenagers and leaving their partially digested bodies at the scene of the crime. What ticks off Cyberfrog is that the killer isn’t setting off his homing sense, and he wants to know why.
We find that the killer is Ben Riley. His is the power of a family curse. He has a hunger for human flesh and is searching for a bride. Oh, and he also turns into a fly from hell: Deathfly.
So it comes down to Ben wanting a bride to be with him forever. His woman of choice is a buxom lass named Heather Swain. It’s a story we all have heard before: Boy loves girl, girl hates boy, boy turns into a demonic fly and eats anyone he can, extraterrestrial frog kicks boy/fly’s butt, girl hangs out with frog… it’s a story as old as the hills.
Overall, this series is very much a product of its era. Everything from the dialogue to the art and over the top action just screams ’90s, but that is also part of the charm. There aren’t many characters who are very much heroes against their will.
He doesn’t like people and doesn’t want to help them, but something inside him forces him to do just that. Even his reason for wanting to fight Deathfly is selfish: He doesn’t like that Deathfly’s killing spree isn’t setting off his homing sense, so his solution is to track him down, figure out why and kill him.
Cyberfrog is everything Marvel’s Deadpool tries to be. He is aware of his existence, meaning he knows he’s in a comic book (in the fourth issue, Riley attacks Cyberfrog and says “…Would you like to meet your maker?” to which Cyberfrog replies ,” Who, Ethan? Nah, we’ve met…”). He makes jokes all the time, most of which are pretty bad, but they manage to be funny in spite of that. Unlike Deadpool, he doesn’t try to be a good guy. He simply doesn’t care for it. Nonetheless, he does it because, for some reason, he is forced to.
Also, one of the weapons in his arsenal is his tongue. Yeah, that sounds gross but get this: his tongue is covered in small bombs. When he flicks his tongue out and wraps it around someone’s head or licks them, he leaves these bombs on them. Let’s just say they have a short fuse but make a loud boom. And usually leave a mess.
Cyberfrog is, in a nutshell, ’90s escapist entertainment. But make no mistake, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially now, for two reasons: 1) Ethan is co-writing The Fury Of Firestorm as part of DC’s big universe wide reboot and 2) our own Jordamus Prime recently interviewed Ethan, and while Cyberfrog was totally ignored (which I’m sure was an honest oversight) there is some neat information about what Ethan’s been working on more recently and some information on the upcoming Firestorm series!
Now if we could only get a Cyberfrog collection!