The Sandman Saves Christmas

A campy good time awaits in this rare Kirby Christmas story!

Unusual Heroes: Dell's Dracula

Dell's Monster turned Superhero gimmick is campy fun.

Horror-Mood: On A Pale Horse

How would you like to have the Grim Reaper's job? Zane finds out!

Mystifying Marvels: Krull #1-2 (1983)

A forgotten 80's Sci-fi movie and it's forgotten comic adaptation!

DC Diversions: EKKO

Dr. Hawks dons the Ekko suit as murderballs and mayhem await!

Spotlight: Gene Day's Black Zeppelin

A plethora of hidden gems await in Day's dream anthology.

Unusual Heroes: Captain Zilog! #1

Ride the rails of insanely outdated computing technology with Captain Zilog!

Rockin' Bones #1

Monsters, Aliens and Punk Rockers...oh my!

Goin' Underground: Monolith

A couple of Larry's turn out an underrated comix gem.

Cult Classic Comics: Freakwave!

Get your Fog-Mask on, it's time to ride the Freakwave!

The Phenom of Phase

Fanzines never had this much firepower!

The Skull Killer

Pulp Fiction + Underground Comix = Classic

Saga of the Victims

70's exploitation at it's best.

The L.I.F.E. Brigade

Cheesy characters flourish within an underground art style.

Light Comitragies

A strange relic from the psychedelic era.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just Plain Strange: Agony (Raw, 1987)

Let me give this to you as straight and narrow as I can: Agony is the most depressing thing I've ever read. It's also one of the most hilarious books I've ever read, and some of the best/worst artwork I have ever seen. Confused yet?

Agony features Amy and Jordan, two friends who are fired from their jobs due to gross incompetence. They decide to go to a movie to cheer up, but the movie is too depressing. They leave the movie and all of the sudden a ghoul comes out of nowhere, rips Amy's head off, and throws it into a fish tank in a nearby aquarium. If that is not bad enough, Jordan attempts to save Amy's head and his legs are bitten off as he is swallowed by the fish! All of which happens in the first dozen pages or so...

The pair continue (after their respective heads and limbs are reattached) on numerous dreaded adventures, from visiting a native tribe and getting blown up then attacked by a bear, to Amy getting infected and having her flesh fall off and her head enlarged, to getting evicted and thrown in prison where they are beaten and tortured, and so on and so on. There is no chance for happiness for these people...ever.

Writer/Artist Mark Beyer's sense of style and approach really makes Agony stand out. Critics may easily write off the poor artwork (as it is amateur at best) and senseless plot, but they may be missing the point. Beyer gives hope to aspiring artists everywhere, whom may never have gotten past their stick-figure phase. Here, Beyer is showing us that almost anyone can draw as long as they can tell an engaging, effective, and hilarious story.

And what a great wake up call reading Agony was. Because in life, nothing ever goes the way you want it to. And while maybe not to the same extreme, we've all had our own Amy and Jordan moments.

If you have yet to read Agony, do yourself a favor and pick this up immediately. Your psyche will thank you for it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Plain Strange: Bunny Town #1 (Radio Comix, 2002)

Was it the sense of dread on Lonely Bunny's face as a lightning bolt came shooting at her? Or was it the cute style and presentation of Bunny Town #1's artwork that made this comic a must have? A little of both actually. Bunny Town was a two issue comic series by Radio Comix almost a decade ago now. The comic features Lonely Bunny who has just landed in Bunny Town, a city full of...sharks, bears, and cats...among other animals.

Lonely meets a shark named Malibu who proceeds to show her around town. From there, Malibu introduces Lonely to his friends Bollo the Bear and Blacksie the Cat...who have a habit for chewing on bunnies. Lonely uses her self-defense skills to take out Bollo's eye, and it only gets worse from here. The artwork by Will Allison is great, and he manages to mix cute animals with bloody action sequences that might even make an animal activist laugh.

 My favorite story in this issue is "Employment", where Lonely walks into a cosmetics building looking for a job. She is quickly hired and led through various disturbing rooms she is told to stay away from. She land in the testing room, where she will be a test subject. She is then subjected to testing by getting sprayed in the eyes with perfume. "Think of the children you've saved!", declares her supervisor...

The humor in Bunny Town is well done and hilarious, without going too over the top. It's a good blend of cutesy animal action and the right amount of blood and gore that does the trick and cues the laughs at opportune moments. Sadly the series only lasted two issues, but they can be found for cheap in your local bargain bins. Worth picking up!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Unusual Heroes: Weird Melvin #1 (Marc Hansen Stuff, 1995)

It seems fitting to start this blog off right by sharing the first alternative comic I ever purchased. Back in 1995, I stepped into a local comic shop searching for something different. Sick of men in tights and the same ol' save the day stories, I was looking for something new, unknown...and completely weird. It took some searching, but I eventually found Weird Melvin #1 hiding in the back of a stack of Wonder Woman comics.

What initially appealed to me right off the bat was the Ed Roth-styled hot rod monster, as I've always loved Roth's art style and figured I'd be in the same boat with this. I was pleasantly surprised by Marc Hansen's artwork in this issue as well as the Weird Melvin's origin is up there as the absolute strangest origin tale I've ever read.

The story revolves around a young comic book fan and an obsession with his favorite hero...Weird Melvin. Melvin crash lands into the kids bedroom where he is begged by the boy to tell his origin story, which involves beginning life as a child-eating monster. The other monsters are jealous of all the children Melvin is consuming, so they devise a plan to make a decoy filled with peanut butter...cursed peanut butter, that is. Melvin falls for it and becomes a weakling, and quickly succumbs to being beaten into a puddle of ooze by the other monsters. To make matters worse, the souls of all the kids Melvin had slain somehow traject to the moon in an act of vengeance, and reflect back to the puddle of ooze that was Melvin to transform him guessed it...Weird Melvin.

Now that Weird Melvin is a hero...he needs an arch-nemesis to fight. Enter Syclops, a one-eyed monster hell-bent on finding a way to destroying Weird Melvin once and for all. He gets his ideas from reading old Weird Melvin comics, and after discovering that Melvin was almost killed by a blast of moon dust to the face, Syclops quickly devises a plan to get to the moon and collect the precious dust.

The story climaxes with Syclops busting through the bedroom to face-off Weird Melvin with his bottle of moon dust, to the delight of the boy. Syclops "thoops" the dust straight into Melvin's nose...and he sneezes (yep, that's his power). The sneeze causes a nuclear explosion which destroys everything in it's path. Hours later the kid wakes up to find his comic collection has survived in his steel-reinforced concrete bin...but everything else lies in ruins. He finds a note from Weird Melvin saying thanks and "see you in twenty or thirty years".

The rest of the comic features a strip-style story about the "creation" of Weird Melvin in 1952, by a fictional character named Lloyd Gorpon. Gorpon supposedly hung himself after low sales of the comic, and his corpse is brought back to life by a crazed fan and forced to create a new issue. Meanwhile, another fan finds a Weird Melvin page used as lining in a kitty-litter box in the back of his favorite comic shop...and proceeds on a mission to find the rarest Weird Melvin issue ever made: Weird Melvin Giant-Sized Special!

 These strips are my favorite part of the book, the art is amazing and the stories hold up really well. For a first issue I'd say Weird Melvin #1 did a great job, not only in telling a story that is way out there from what I was used to reading, but also in hooking me into a love for alternative and underground comics that has proceeded to this day. So to Marc Hansen...thank you for that!

Here are a few more strips to check out...enjoy!