Friday, September 14, 2018

Retro Review: Saved by the Bell Summer Break #1 (1993) - "Racing Fever" & "Weighting for Love"

Hey, hey, hey, WHAT is going on here?!?

Writer - Angelo De Cesare
Penciller - Hy Rosen
Inker - Ken Selig
Letterers - Jorge Pacheco & Grace Kremer
Colorist - Rayme nee
Publisher: Harvey Comics

Review by: Chris

Now, you don't need me to tell you that the Internet can be an awful, depraved, and terrifying place.  I mean, where else can you find out that the term "A.C. Slater" is not only a proper noun... but also a verb.  As in, if one were so inclined, they may engage in the act of "A.C. Slatering".  I've recently heard folks make passing reference to this in conversation at one of my normal online haunts... now just what in the hell does it mean?  Does it mean you act sexist toward your frizzy-haired drug-addict "Momma"?  Does it mean you bake the meanest boxed birthday cake in class?  Or does it mean you repeatedly point to your crotch while "dancing"?

Well, against my better judgment, I decided to go ahead down the rabbit hole... head first.  I come to find out that in Internet-vernacular, "A.C Slatering" is the act of sitting backward while using the toilet... as in, you're sitting there, doing your business... while facing the tank.  Ya know, just like ol' Albert Clifford would!  So, now I know... and wish I didn't.

On the bright side, you now know too...

It's summertime, and the living is cheesy for Zack and the gang.  We open with Slater snapping some pictures of the rest crew posing in Derek Morris' bad-ass rental car.  We get the impression that perhaps A.C. was dumped on his head one too many times by Marvin Nedick, as he refers to Jessie as Kelly.  I mean, really A.C., that's your Momma... how'd you screw that up?  This is also Jessie's ONLY line of dialogue for the entire issue... and it's attributed to Kelly... is it any wonder she turned to drugs and Showgirl-ing?

Zack's pop rushes into the scene to shew the gaggle of teens away from his prized rented Maniac XYZ.  Zack tries to impress upon his dad how cool it would be if he could borrow his whip for the day... but Derek ain't having none of it.  After their brief discussion, Mr. Morris excuses himself, in order to give Zack's mom "a ride"... which somehow causes Zack to stroke his non-existent beard in satisfaction.

Over the next few days, Zack chips away at his pop's defenses and patience... badgering him over and over about taking the Maniac for a spin.  Finally, ol' D-rik relents, and tosses his boy the keys.  He's allowed to drive to school (I thought it was summer vacation?) only, and so he picks up his bosom buds Slater and Screech.

The boys are hungry, so they hit up the Bayside-approximation of a 7-11... where the clerk wears a paper hat, the likes of which I haven't seen since Archie last entered the malt shoppe.  While they're filling their Big Gulps there is a loud crashing noise in the parking lot.  The Maniac XYZ has been smashed up but good!

Apparently, the news of "Crash" Morris has made it to Bayside before the man himself gets there.  Kelly Kapowski dives into Zack's arms to express her concern for her blonde Tom Cruise.

Hey, hey, hey... WHAT is going on here?!?  Mr. Belding is on the scene.  It is assumed that Zack's wrecked rig was due to his reckless speeding despite Zack's steadfast insistence to the contrary.  Belding takes Zack to the Driver's Ed teacher for instruction... wait a minute... this old man isn't the Driver's Ed teacher, just where in the hell is Mr. Tuttle???

That afternoon, Zack and the Gang are hanging out at The Max.  We actually get a look at the outside of the restaurant to boot!  Gang confidant and professional pervert, Max, tells Zack that she should get a job as a valet parking attendant to show his dad that he truly is a reliable driver.

That weekend, the male half of the gang all starts their new gig of valeting.  While working, they meet a drunken individual who insists on driving while inebriated.  They're handling the subject of drunken driving as something of an afterthought.  You'd figure this would be made a bigger deal, but they really play it for laughs.  Anyhoo, it turns out this drunk is the same fella who crashed into the Maniac XYZ.  The truth comes out, and the good name of Zachary Morris is cleared.  The end.

Our next story is Slater-centric... and for that I'm thankful.  The male-half of the gang is getting their sweat on at Strainer's Gym... and A.C. is trying to keep his mulleted machismo in check.  He spies a female weightlifter called Alexis, and can't keep his eyes off of her.  Unfortunately, she appears to be spoken for by the true "Hero of the Beach" who rather than kicking sand in the boys' faces... lobs what I can only assume is a PG-Rated masturbation joke in their direction.  He soon learns that karma's a bitch when he drops a weight on his foot.

Slater offers to be Alexa's new partner for an upcoming bodybuilding competition... and she begrudgingly agrees.  All A.C. needs to do is pose with her held aloft over his head... and despite several practice sessions and a training montage, drops her on the stage.  Must have not wiped the jheri curl residue off his hands that morning!  They may have lost the competition... but they just might have found love.  There was no Jessie in this story, so I guess it's okay.  If it wasn't for the two-panel Kelly Kapowski cameo, I could have written the entire thing off as having taken place during the "Tori year".

The issue ends with a two-page spread beach scene where we can point out everything that's "wrong" with the picture...

What in the... our old friend Albert Clifford appears to be making it with a shark?!?  Well, if Slater kernoodling with a shark is wrong... then Momma, I don't wanna be right!

This was both a wonderful and horrendous issue of a comic book.  It would have been nice to have more of the characters in the forefront... but really, for what it is, whattayagonnado? The female half of the gang gets precious little "screen time", but are still prominently shown emerging from a giant granola bar in their bikinis in an ad for an upcoming issue.

This was dumb fun, not offensive... or interesting.  Just kinda there.  If you're a fan of the show, you now know (if you didn't already) it had a short-lived comic book series from the bastions of early-90's hip, Harvey Comics.  For me, it finally made me look up exactly what it means to engage in an act of "A.C. Slatering".  I've decided to reject the "real" definition, and replace it with my own.  The below gif is what "A.C. Slatering" will forever mean to me!

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