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Scooby Doo, Where Are You?: Woods or Wouldn’t?

“Why would a real forest spirit want to get rid of us? We’re trying to protect the forest” — Unnamed Environmental Activist, “Woods or Wouldn’t?”, n. pag.

Creator(s) Sholly Fisch (author), Walter Carzon (penciler), Horacio Ottolini (inker), Silvana Brys (colorer), Saida Temofonte (letterer)
PublisherDC Comics
Publication DateNovember 2017
GenreMystery, Fiction
Environmental Themes and Issues Animals in Danger, Anthropomorphism, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environmental Activism, Habitat Destruction
Protagonist’s Identity Scooby Doo: Anthropomorphic dog (Nonhuman/Animal)

Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, and Velma: White adult characters
Protagonist’s Level of Environmental AgencyLevel 5: High Environmental Agency and Activism
Target Audience Children
Settings California
Cover of Scooby Doo, Where Are You? #87

Environmental Themes

“Woods or Wouldn’t” appears in Scooby Doo, Where Are You? #87, alongside the reprinted comic “The Black Katz.” In “Woods or Wouldn’t?”, environmental activists and lumberjacks feud over a redwood forest that a corporation plans to cut down for lumber. The activists seek to protect endangered species that reside in the forest, including the fictional Three-Ringed Hawk. As they argue, a tree-like monster that calls itself the “Wraith of the Redwoods” emerges from the forest and interrupts their dispute by chasing away the activists and the lumberjacks. Later, both groups return to find their campsites mysteriously destroyed. Daphne, Fred, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, and Velma arrive to investigate the monster. The lumberjacks blame the protestors for the Wraith and the destruction of their camp, with their leader telling the Scooby gang, “Look, I want to take care of trees and animals, too. But what about people? People need wood to build houses and furniture and things. And we need to sell wood so we can feed and support our families… But those protestors don’t care about any of that, Daphne. It has to be them!” (Fisch n. pag.).

The Wraith of the Redwoods emerges from the forest in Scooby Doo, Where Are You? #87

Before the gang can investigate further, the Wraith reappears. Several of the environmental activists have chained themselves to trees, and the Wraith attempts to cut down one of these trees with a chainsaw. The activists and the lumberjacks work together to save the activist tied to the tree, and the gang captures and unmasks the Wraith. They discover that the monster is actually a jewelry thief who has stashed his loot in the forest and wanted to scare everyone away to protect his secret. Later, the activists and the lumberjacks work together to develop a compromise that will satisfy both sides. One of the activists states, “We’ll help you identify which parts of the forest are home to endangered species, so you can avoid them.” The lumberjack leader responds, “Then we’ll only cut down trees from other parts of the forest–and plant new saplings to replace them. That way, we can support our families and also make sure the forest will have plenty of trees and animals for generations to come” (Fisch n. pag.). While this supposedly “fair” compromise will still damage at least part of the forest, the comic does highlight the need for more responsible logging practices that protect endangered species. Additionally, the comic underscores the economic realities underlying logging and portrays the lumberjacks as family men seeking to make a living, rather than depicting them as evil caricatures who log out of a desire to harm the environment.

The Wraith of the Redwoods turns the lumberjacks’ chainsaw against an environmental activist in Scooby Doo, Where Are You? #87

Scooby Doo plays only a minor role in this narrative. The dog doesn’t have a single line of dialogue, and he merely runs away when confronted by the monster. As a result, the mystery is solved entirely through human agency.

Posted in Fiction, Mystery

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