Thursday, May 21, 2009

Melvin Monster / Nancy # 1

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded. This time, a review of Melvin Monster / Nancy # 1 (Drawn & Quarterly, 2009).

Over at my Reprint This! blog, I've mentioned the forthcoming John Stanley Library from Drawn & Quarterly. To promote the books, the publisher released a neat 32-page flip book on Free Comic Book Day earlier this month. It gives you 16 pages of Melvin Monster and 16 pages of the comic book version of Ernie Bushmiller's strip Nancy and it is all kinds of fun.

I really don't remember ever seeing Melvin before. My son got hold of this comic before me and reported that Melvin was really funny and asked if I was going to be getting any more of it. Melvin apparently was released quarterly for only nine issues in the late sixties by Dell, and was clearly inspired by the Addams Family, the Munsters, the Groovy Ghoulies and their lovable type. Melvin really wants to be a good kid, which doesn't set well with his father ("Baddy"), or monster schoolteachers who don't want to be bothered teaching anybody anything. It's great stuff, with at least two wonderful gags on every page. I can't wait for the full edition, which should be out in a few weeks.

Nancy can't help but pale by comparison. It's still very entertaining stuff, and this sampler introduces the bizarre little girl Oona Goosepimple, who lives in a haunted house, but just not as grin-inducing as Melvin Monster. We'll have to see how the summer finances go before I can commit to the Nancy book, put it that way. The sampler also confirms that a collection of Stanley's Thirteen (Going on Eighteen) is due in the autumn. The books are all designed by Seth, and look wonderful. I'm looking forward to more, and recommend you check into getting a copy of this freebie comic for yourself to see what you think!

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