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!


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