Don't forget to check out the classic Fred The Clown strips at the bottom of the page. Updated every Tuesday to Friday.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Showcase Presents: House of Mystery

Aaahhh!!! October is ending and I'm running out of time! I guess I just have to save some of the other good stuff for next year. With that said, this one made it to the cut of being prioritized to be shared now. Let's get to it.

"Showcase Presents:" is basically DC Comics' answer to Marvel's Essential line, which basically are tomes of black and white comic reprints spotlighting a specific character or title. The beauty with this format, beyond the very affordable cover price they offer for those 500 pages is that this line basically have brought back some really obscure works that would never have seen the light of day again otherwise.

For this particular work I'm featuring, I won't bother you much with a proper review as this is basically a reprint of 21 issues of a monthly anthology. I will just give you a quick briefing of details and why I consider this worthy of recommendation.

First, for basic info: This first volume reprints The House of Mystery issues #174 - 194. Basically the first 21 issues overseen by legendary editor Joe Orlando. Don't expect much on the quality of the stories within because they were all really simplistic which is easily understandable as they were intended to be nothing more than simple disposable entertainment. However, this collection is a veritable treasure chest of great classic comic illustration. Any aspiring artist or people who are just plain appreciative of good art should have this in their collection. I'm not joking, a short list of the artists who contributed here should easily impress you. Okay, from the top of my head that I can recall are: The editor himself Joe Orlando, Carmine Infantino, Mort Meskin, Neal Adams, Sergio Aragones, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Jack Sparling, Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson, Jerry Grandenetti, Alex Toth, Wayne Howard, Al Williamson, Tony DeZuniga, Jim Aparo, Gray Morrow, Russ Heath and Nestor Redondo. Trust me, I'm probably forgetting about a dozen more names from that list, besides that should impress you enough or I'd seriously doubt the quality of your taste anyway.

The only other detail I can add is how amazing the art reproduction of this volume has. The line art are really crisp, way better than basically every Marvel Essential I've ever seen. In fact, the reproduction is so good that a part of me honestly believe that it's presented better now than they were originally published in color, what with those off-registered marks, shoddy seperations, crude and garish limited palette of the obviously inferior printing technology back then.

I seriously urge you to look for this one, more support for this could lend to the immediacy of the release for the second volume, which I believe has even better stuff.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Swamp Thing: Roots

Written and painted by: Jon J. Muth

I honestly thought this would be one of my easiest and shortest reviews, I was totally wrong. This very short and simple story is also probably one of the most complex I've encountered. Not so much for new grounds ventured in literary achievement but more for artistic execution on a very well ventured subject. I had to re-read this piece 3 times just to refresh my memory because I realized the story was much more layered than I remember, trying to recall it just from memory will not cut it. I'm not even sure if I fully absorbed what it was trying to say in total. Not the fault of the author though, it is my own shortcoming for being limited in my comprehension. This work obviously challenges me and I like it.

In regards to the story, I'm not sure if this was set in "Elseworld" continuity from the regular series, or it's a brilliant attempt to play with the concept of the "plant elementals" and the "Parliament of Trees" first introduced by Alan Moore during his run on the regular series. That concept make stories like this and other potentially groundbreaking ones possible to be told.

The story set in 1947 on Indiana could probably classify this as a period piece. 4 years ago, back when I first bought and read this, I initially thought that this could be a simple yet powerful tale on its own without even being tied to the Swamp Thing concept, as the connection seemed very minimal. Back then I also had barely an inkling of what Alan Moore did to Swamp Thing. Now I know better, and I believe the story is much more powerful because of the connection. I honestly wonder though, is the character Aaron Hayley here part of the Parliament of Trees now or not? That's a curiosity that will probably linger in my head for a while now.

I will not spoil anything as usual, except that I will tell you that this is basically a story focusing on a broken "white" family from the south, a black man, their community and racial tension. This short Prestige Format comics published by Vertigo barely clocks in at 64 pages and yet is probably one of those that takes the longest time for me to digest. I'm glad that I had bought this, even if initially only for Jon J. Muth's painted art, who by the way is one of my favorite artists ever. He definitely delivered with this. Other comics may just look pretty because of the painted art, but this one has impeccable visual storytelling to accompany it. The story is actually the art, the art is actually the story, they are inseperable, which is just as it should be when it comes to comics.

Trust me, there are only very few works that I will ever give the utmost amount of confidence in recommending. This is one of them. There are no reservations in me when I say this is a good comic and that you should definitely read this!

It is still avalable through Amazon, you can buy it by clicking this link.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Corpse Bride

Directed by:
Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
Casts: Johnny Depp (Victor Van Dort)
Helena Bonham Carter (Emily, The Corpse Bride)
Emily Watson (Victoria Everglot)

When I first saw the trailer for this movie at the theater, my first reaction was complete apathy. I was a big fan of Tim Burton when I was younger but grew tired of his works later on as I've aged with his repititive prefference for certain motifs and visual quirks. It's nice for artists to have a sense of identity stamped in your work, however I feel that a signature should in no way overpower the work itself. That in my opinion is one of Mr. Burton's glaring weakness. I honestly thought at first glance that this was a sequel to Nightmare Before Christmas. That was not good, as afterall even when I realized that it really wasn't, after seeing the entirety of the trailer, whatever little interest I had due to curiosity had quickly faded away too. Unless you haven't seen any other Burton flicks, it feels old and a road already thread.

I would have completely lost any notion of the existence of this film had my sister not bought the DVD for me afew weeks ago. She just had assumed it was right up my alley, and I thank her and her thoughtfulness for that. Still my interest for that movie was nil at the time and I just stuff it in my pile of unwatched movies.

Then came my birthday and the kickass celebration I had this month. One big problem with me is my rollercoaster mood, if I'm too happy one day, it's a guarantee that I'll be somewhat depressed or guilty the next moment. So in that melancholic moment, I've decided to counter this by watching a DVD. It ended up being this movie. Now I'm not sure if it was just the great timing with my mood but I ended up really liking this movie. The plot is so basic and simple but the actual execution clicks. And as weird as it sounds, I really found the character Victoria cute. Reminds me of the standards of how a proper lady should be as told to me by my grandmother when I was a kid, heh. Also, I can't help but be reminded of Bettlejuice even if a little as I watched this, what with the "new arrival in the world of the dead" concept. The twist in the end can be easily recognized and deduced though, it was a bit reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow too though not as far out of the left field as it was. I guess this is still a standard Tim Burton flick then afterall. Ha ha!

Granted that this isn't some innovative masterpiece of cinema history, and it is chock full of the standard tropes that Burton likes to utilize, but it is a solid entertaining film. Something to be watched when not wearing your critical hat. Somthing I'd recommend just for fun.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In These Fantastic Pages You Will Meet...

I honestly can't remember anymore how I found out about Monster Blog, what I do know is being super excited about it when I did. I have already told you about you how I adore Jack Kirby's work, especially those campy monster comics he did just prior to the superhero boom at Marvel. Normally I would beat you senseless in the head by going on and on regarding the greatness of those comics, but I have now decided to save my lenghty diatribes exclusively to reviews of comics and whatnot only.

This blog is literally a haven for Kirby Monsters. Not only does it sport a gallery of all the covers of comics Kirby did for Marvel back in the '50s and '60s, everybody is welcome to put in their own reviews in the comment sections. Site owner Philip Parodayco even encourages you to beat him to the punch in posting reviews to comics that have yet to have one. It also features a listing and profiles of the various monsters complete with pics scanned from the comics themselves.

I'm really not sure if it is intentional by design or not though, as I kind of find navigating the site kind of tricky at first before I got the hang of it. I suggest you play around as I've found tons of cool stuff there that I guess we could consider as easter eggs.

This is a really wonderful site. If you're a big fan of Kirby, or even just monsters in general, this will definitely be a great resource for you.

Monster Kid Online Magazine

A self description coming from the Monster Kid site itself:
MONSTER KID magazine is intended as a fun and affectionate salute to the publications of the 1960s. Part of the look and feel of this site is inspired by the classic monster magazine traditions popularized by James Warren and Forrest J. Ackerman in the original FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and featured in various other magazines of that time. If MONSTER KID makes you recall memories the classic monster magazines of the past, then we are very gratified.

If you're online and bored, I suggest you visit this site. Tons of good reading materials for the horror fanatic. Issue 5 is currently up and is boasted as the most jam packed issue yet! I recommend issue 4 though as it is my favorite issue of the lot simply for the Jack Davis feature article. Yup, I always find a way to bring everything I talk about back into comics.

Go ahead, click this link to visit the site now.

Jay Stephens and Monsterama

It would seem I've lost a bit of my momentum. There are tons of stuff keeping me busy and it frustrates me because I still have tons of stuff I still want to post about this month in keeping with the Halloween theme. I don't think I can wait till next year to share all of them. I guess I'll just have to cut down on my talkativeness to afford multiple entries on the few remaining free time I have this month. Okay, enough with my introductory side tangent and let's move on.

If you're a comic and a horror fan and you don't know who Jay Stephens is, you should be ashamed. His comic work may not be staright up horror, but the influence, attention and interest are definitely visible though. Famous for his works like Jetcat, Tutenstein and my favorite The Land of Nod, he could be easily considered as one of the unique voices of comics today. Okay, to make this entry shorter, you can find out more about him on his personal website by clicking here.

His blog Monsterama is one of the inspirations that led to the existence of this very blog you read. It's chock full of fun stuff and links heavily similar to the interest of Genetic Freak Online, but probably with a broader scope as I tend to focus much on comics and hopefully someday movies and TV too. His focus on "cute creeps from popular culture" seriously appeals to the inner child within me. I sincerely hope you do check out one of my favorite haunts here on the internet.

Haha! "Haunts" get it? Tongue Out 7

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Just in case you didn't know. It is today.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Bones of Giants

Written by Chris Golden in collaboration with Mike Mignola. Featuring 70 plus of sweet black and white illustrations by Mike Mignola. Published by Dark Horse Novels.

After a seven year hiatus of buying comics, strangely enough the first thing I've bought while visiting an LCS back in 2001 was a prose novel. This one. I remember Hellboy and I had always been a fan of Mignola. I didn't even read the blurbs and texts at the back, I just picked it up and knew I wanted it based on the strength of the cover alone. I could say I'd lucked out that it was good but the fact is I always trust anything that has Mignola's name on the cover to be a solid read. However I did lucked out, as at the time, my interest for anything Norse mythology related was high. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out the story dealt exactly that.

As with the standard practice I've just developed, I will try to review much about this book with the least amount of spoiler I can muster. This is the second Hellboy prose work that writer Chris Golden (famous for various novels of different media properties including the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer franchise) has worked on, but this one is kind of special. Series and property creator Mike Mignola collaborates with him, throwing unused Hellboy ideas for him to play with. And played with it he did, crafting a very good and entertaining read.

Anybody who has had read the Hellboy comics knows that Mignola is a very dependable storyteller on his own with a very simple and nuanced touch on narrative structure, this aided by his weird (in a good way) and heavily stylized and exaggerated art seemingly designed to strongly invoke mood makes him one of the most unique and premiere cartoonists in genre fiction. Still, if the descriptions I gave are not enough to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, the sample artworks from the book I'm providing should give you a slight idea.

On the story within the book, if I've read the introductions and dedication page right, Mike had provided Chris a very outstanding prologue to kick off the story even before the first chapter starts. I literally said "wow!" as I was blown away. It may not have been an achievement of formalistic innovation in literature, but it pretty much guarantee to pique your interest and keep your attention for the rest of the book. I am seriously tempted to quote passages from the "prologue" to show you what it is that delights me about that and yet I hold myself as I feel people need to read that themselves. I don't want to ruin anything by giving even the slightest of inklings and you should just experience it yourself. I honestly believe it's that great.

Hellboy and all images here copyright Mike Mignola

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shigeru Mizuki and Yokai

I realize this could be a little bit confusing for people as most, except for a little niche outside of Japan actually knows who Shigeru Mizuki is or what Yokai really is.

Let's talk about Yokai first. Most people are more familiar on what a kaiju is as popularized by monsters such as Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera etc. Plus there is Kaiju Big Battel also giving more attention to it. The more popular Kaiju, which literally means "mysterious beast" in Japanese, could be considered the younger cousins of Yokai, well at least according to the Obakemono Project. So what is a Yokai exactly? Well I won't pretend I'm an expert and will just give you a quote from the Fantastic Shigeru Mizuki English Language Resource Page:
"Yōkai, or youkai, also known as obake or bakemono, are the folk monsters of Japan. They constitute a hundreds-strong menagerie of bizarre and varied creatures. They are magical, nebulous beings that exist in some strange state halfway between spirit and flesh, and are often the physical manifestations of extreme mental states, or the monstrous alteration of some ordinary object, animal, or person. They are just as varied in temperament as they are in form, and range from strange but personable goblins, to harmless pranksters that love scaring people, to dangerous ghouls that feast on human flesh."
Further information could be obtained at this link Obakemono Introduction Page should you be interested for more.

I strongly suggest you click the pages I linked above as it is a great resource for more detailed info in regards to Yokai. They have alphabetical entries for each different yokais including all pertinent infos, illustrations including the one shown on top and geographical locations.

Now that you people know more or less what a Yokai is, let's move on to talking about Shigeru Mizuki. First some basic info from Wikipedia:
Shigeru Mizuki ( Mizuki Shigeru), born March 8, 1922 in Sakaiminato, Tottori) is a Japanese manga author, most known for his shonen Japanese horror manga Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro. A specialist in stories of yokai, he is considered a master of the genre. To a lesser but still notable degree, he is also known for his World War II memoirs, as well as a writer and biographer.
There is also an online gallery of some of his painted works of Gegege No Kitaro in a Japanese website that can be found here. That is where I got most of the painted pics I'm using for this particular entry.

Obviously, I want to talk about his specialty in yokai in regard to his work, more specifically his most famous work Ge Ge Ge no Kitarou. There are tons of artists and mangas who tackle the horror genre, many of which are of superb quality in Japan, ironically however few have focused their attention on yokais like Mizuki. This is something I really found ironic since most of their literature and entertainment always has a strong sense of cultural pride and yet this particular part of it seem to have been mostly neglected.

I will admit something here, besides being a horror buff, I'm a sucker for myths and folklores. The more complex and rich they are, the better. I find this to be a healthy interest because this immediately helps me to be familiarized with other cultures besides my own. People always link the word "globalization" to economics, I link it to knowledge, technology and understanding. I seriously despise xenophobia, but I digress now. The concept of the supernatural in every folklore fascinates me. The overly fantastic and unexplainable (or the ridiculous by modern standards) appeals to me. The fact that fear even, in the slightest, is a common reaction for some things not fully understood by every person, brings us back full circle to me being a horror buff. I know, I've beaten that simple little factoid over and over into your heads already. So let us move on.


This is probably Mizuki's most widely known work at least in the english speaking market. Weirdly enough it has not been licensed or translated and distributed officially in english though. Take note though that some volumes had been released in a dual langauge format that includes english by Kodansha for international release, I'm not sure how well it sold though. Even with the current popularity of manga in the US, ecclectic and older titles like this are yet to be picked up by license importers probably due to its niche status and so only die hard fans are probably aware or are actually interested with this, which is a real shame.

Of course if you've reached this point of my particualr piece, you're probably interested too in this title and want more pertinent informations like story synopses, character bios, plot elements etc. Or to put it more bluntly, "where can you find scanslations?" hehehe.

Well you're in luck I guess, there are about 9 shorts (which most Gegege No Kitaro mangas are) available at the Fantastic Shigeru Mizuki English Language Resource Page for your enjoyment. It also has a chock full of informations and goodies more than I can provide you. So if I were you, I'd seriously thank all the hardcore fans who may have contributed and made that site possible.

Now before I leave, yes, like most shonen mangas, Gegege No Kitaro has been adapted into anime. In fact, it has been adapted multiple times, and since I like to spoil you, my readers(if I ever do have any) I've done the effort of searching for you, notwithstanding the fact that I want to see some of them myself. You can find them here. Please don't forget to thank the person who made that website possible like I have lazily done myself. What? I swear I had just forgotten and just remembered it now.

Well? That's it for now. Shoo! Go and enjoy the links I've posted.

Freak Show

Written by Bruce Jones and beautifully illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.

Continuing our horror theme for the whole month. I want to talk about this very special piece of work that had eluded my grasp, until I finally got lucky last year.

I rarely pay, dare I say almost never pay for overpriced hardcover comics, especially 15$ for a 64 paged comic. This particular one however is one of the extremely rare occasions that I break my personal rule. I've bought this as a personal gift for myself near Christmas time in 2005. This one is special.

I was not yet born when Warren Comics, the publisher, was still active during the '70s and I doubt there was even any distribution of them here in the Philipines at that time. I missed out on those black and white magazine type horror comics, giving them a sort of mystifying appeal to me. One of my favorite artists that I discovered from that era is Bernie Wrightson. His works have that moody energy that seems very apt for horror, exuding a mixture of an exeggerated stylized influence between Frazetta and Mucha (painting-wise for the latter).

In regards to this particular comic itself, I first got aware of it in an ad on the now defunct Continuity Comics, owned by famous penciller Neal Adams. They were reprinting it at the time I guess, as this was as I found out later on was originally published by Warren too back in the '70s. Continuity was just a small publisher and I guess they got the short end of the stick when it came down to international distribution. Adding the fact that I lack knowledge of the existence of the direct market in my youth, the publisher folded even before I managed to grab myself a copy.

I was not aware of Desperado Publishing, of who they were and what they publish. This all changed late last year. I just picked up a stack of 4 issues of NYX, All Star Batman and Robin and a bunch of other stuff when I accidentally saw it displayed a top the adult section at my LCS. That unmistakeable Wrightson artwork on the cover and those freakish character designs. Needless to say, I blew my budget that night. I should have felt guilty, instead I really felt satisfied. It was the first thing I read when I got home.

As I had expected, it was beautiful and it was glorious! Bruce Jones, the writer as of late had been getting much of a negative press on the internet for his more mainstream (meaning superhero) work in comics. Whether those are warranted or not, I really don't know as I haven't read much of his current output. This I could say though, I agree with his statement that perhaps, the main character of Freak Show is one of his best creations. In fact, from his works I've read, this is one of the best I've seen. In just one short story, I managed to feel the grief and horror he was trying to effectively embue. Perhaps, the artwork helped a lot with this. However, Freak Show was not a story long enough to fill in an entire 64 page book. Desperado made a great solution by adding quite a number of short stories illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, and all I can say was this, from that lot, Freak Show had the best story. With that, I'm giving the kudos to Bruce Jones and his talent.

You can check out a 5 page review at the Desperado website by clicking here to see what I'm raving about, in case you're interested.

FREAK SHOW and all images featured copyright Bruce Jones and Bernie Wrightson, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Marvel Monster Comics

Its October!!! YAY!

My favorite month of all simply because I'm quite the horror buff. There are literally tons of topics I could discuss this month just because of the Halloween theme.

Last year, Marvel Comics did a 5th week event that really made me a happy camper. They released 4 one shot comics under the banner of the "Marvel Monster Group" reviving 4 classic monster titles. Not only did each title contained interpretations of classic "Kirby (the "King" of comics) Monsters" by current active and established pros, they also included re-mastered reprints of some original Kirby comics inside them. Plus each one had gorgeous covers drawn by the famous Eric Powell (of The Goon fame). I'm really not sure how successful this venture was, but here I am, one year later still feeling that those were some of the best purchase worth their cover price I ever had when it comes to comics.

The following are non spoilerish reviews of those said titles:

Barring the reprints added in the latter half of each title, this is the only one of those four that could be considered an anthology. This 48 paged comic features 3 seperate stories featuring such classic monsters as Bombu, Manoo and Monstrollo and a reprint of "I Was Trapped By Titano: The Monster That Time Forgot" by Jack Kirby.

The Bombu story was done by what we can consider as an All Star line up of creators. Written and pencilled by Keith Giffen, inked by Mike Alrred and colored by Lovern Kindzierski (who by the way is my favorite colorist of all time), this humorous continuation of the original story published decades ago is probably my favorite in this title for the sheer fact it made me chuckle out loud as I was reading it. Even if you haven't read the original story this was based on (like I did when I originally read this story), as long as you have an idea on how corny sometimes those old comics read, you'd definitely get the whole impact of the humor of this story.

The Monstrollo story was written by Peter David, with art by Arnold Pander and colored by Val Staples. Just like the first story, this was a humorous attempt of continuing the original story published decades ago. It's a decent story, however I did felt nothing special about this one. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad story in itself as I've said, but the one preceding it was just much better. Perhaps it's the common theme that it shared with the first one that had kind of dampen my enthusiasm, but it's no fault of the creators involved if I did set my expectations a tad too high after the first story. The effort obviously done for this is apparently far from lackluster, and I'm honestly not making excuses for it.

The Manoo story, which is the last new material, was written by Jeff Parker, pencilled by Russel Braun, inked by Jimmy Palmiotti and colored by Sotocolor's J. Brown. This particular one deviates from the theme of the first two stories, as it is not a humorous continuation of the original source material. In fact, it is a straight up retelling, with slight changes for a more modern twist. I really do like this one as it oozes old school pulp entertainment.

Overll, Where Monsters Dwell is probably my 2nd favorite out of all the titles released in this particular 5th week event by Marvel. This seriously felt like a genuine horror anthology title like the ones I've enjoyed from my youth.

Featuring: too many monsters that I don't have the patience to list one by one. Yes that many monsters!!! Classic reprint featured is Jack Kirby's "We Found The Ninth Wonder Of The World!".

Written by Steve Niles, who in the past few years had acquired the niche reputation of being "the" horror writer in comics, this comic had art done by Duncan Fegredo and colors by Moose Baumann.

Admittingly, I probably consider this my least favorite of all this one shots. I'm not even sure if I could put into words the reason why or if I even do have a logical reason. I don't hate it per se, but this one just did not click to me as well as the others did. It would be hypocritical for me to say that it's because this one feels more of a superhero story than a genuine horror/monster comic, when you could easily read my praise for the next two titles immediately after this. I really don't know.

On to the premise of the story. Unlike the first one, Where Monsters Dwell, this, just like the rest of the titles in the line is done as one longform comic instead of an anthology of many shorter stories. As stated before this was more of a "superhero story" than an actual monster one, albeit in the form of a "hidden years/untold tales" type one. Meaning it is set in the past, it's just that we haven't seen it before.

This comic is jam packed full of monsters, trying to fit in literally almost all the classic Marvel Monsters of yesteryear, which of course relegated plenty to just one or a few panel of cameos. According to the story it would seem that most giant monsters not inhabiting Monster Isle were captured by The Collector at one time in the past and were imprisoned somwhere under Canada, however the Mole Man also desired those said monsters. The struggle between the two villains accidentally set free all those monsters again. Now with all the rampaging monsters set loose at once on NYC, it just so happened that there were not much heroes available to save that day. Except for a few who probably can be considered monsters themselves I guess. Apologies if I spoiled much of the story premise, but there really wasn't much to begin with here, there is no such thing as subtlety or nuances with this comic. This was more about slugfests and monster vs. monster action. You'd definitely enjoy this if you like those kind of stuff.

Featured monsters are: Fin Fang Foom, Elektro, Gorgilla and Googam, Son of Goom! and also reprinting the classic first apearance of Fin Fang Foom!

Co-written by Scott Gray with artist Roger Langridge and colored by Sotocolor's J. Brown. This is my favorite of the bunch, one big reason is I'm an admirer of Roger Langridge's art. He has this knack in really capturing the essence of certain time periods. In my view his cartooning could actually fool people that it's an old comic they're looking at if he wants too. It's not that because he's just old school with his approaches but he does it intentionally from the various works of his that I've seen.

That particular talent works for this project because, I actually felt that I was reading an old Fantastic Four comic with this. The story, seemingly set in contemporary time (though most probably placed outside of continuity) exudes a classic silver age comic aesthetic, which in my opinion could make this seemingly pulpish and disposable story timeless in years to come. The wit and pun from the characters' dialogue are quite funny and do serve as a meta commentary easily visible to people who are familiar with the history of the trends and quirks in American comics in general. I'm not trying to make this comic seem smart than it really is, it is a smart comic.

The basic premise is that from all the monsters captured throughout the years by superheroes, Reed Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic, has offered a reformation project that could help them integrate with modern human society in a more productive and peaceful manner. He has chosen 4 subjects, Fin Fang Foom, Elektro, Gorgilla and Googam, the stars of this book to participate in this experiment. I won't elaborate much more on their background as it will probably spoil details of the story.

The group didn't literally assumed the title Fin Fang Four as the name of their group in the story, but they did however assume the role of superheroes by saving the city while the Fantastic Four were gone. It wasn't for noble intentions either, though Fin Fang Foom did it for a sense of pride and responsibility as one of them actually caused all the hijinks in the first place. This is truly a fun story that I can strongly recommend with full confidence to anybody and everybody.

Featuring The Incredible Hulk and Devil Dinosaur. Reprints the classic "I Was A Slave Of The Living Hulk" by Jack Kirby.

Co-written by Tom Sniegoski with artist Eric Powell and colored by J. D Mettler. This is yet again one of those untold tales type stories but I do feel this one was better than Monsters On The Prowl as I found this way more funnier and the story a bit more meatier. It's basically the same concept of the monster vs. monster all out brawl, but with a better focus by spolighting only two main characters (or monsters if you prefer). Not really much of a great story, but still considered a worthy purchase because of the great fun factor. Plus the art done by Eric Powell is magnificent, just like the Fin Fang 4 book, this comic exudes silver age fun goofiness if simply because of the presentation. The twist at the end regarding the Celestials involved in the story, though not entirely shocking nor surpriseing is really quite funny. I guess I can't say much about this one except that it is really a solid book all around. I have to reiterate though that the artwork is really beautiful, at least in my eyes. Besides, like all the titles in this series, this has been a welcome breath of fresh air from Marvel. I do wish that they had made this an annual tradition doing these monster themed comics.

For those interested in reading these comics, I just found out that they are collected into a one volume compilation and are still available through Amazon both in hardcover format and in trade paperback.

note: all images are copyright Marvel Comics.