Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Who's the Best...Monster Comic?

Karen: We're talking comics, not magazines, and it must feature a monster -so no anthologies!


J.A. Morris said...

I'm going with 'Tomb Of Dracula' here. The stories were solid if not great, but Gene Colan's pencils are what separate this title from the pack.

Colin Jones said...

I'd say Tomb Of Dracula too mainly because of Gene Colan's art but Marvel UK's Dracula Lives comic featured not just Dracula but also Frankenstein, Werewolf By Night, the Man-Thing, Ghost Rider and the Living Mummy among others in its' brief run (October '74 to June '76) which is an anthology I suppose but it was a great monster comic and is 40 years old this week.

Humanbelly said...

That's a batch of really first-rate covers, I have to say. WWBN worked so well w/ Mike Ploog's idiosyncratic style-- his drawing had an incredibly retro (even for the early 70's) look to it, but with a kinetic sense and cinematic style that was much more of-the-moment. It certainly masked how dead-end the plot potential for the book was-- which was kinda heavy on the Dark Shadows soap-opera contrivances and angst. Boy, I did love that book, though.

But it wasn't the best.

No, I'd definitely go with Alan Moore's run on SWAMP THING (and much of the run of his successors), hands down. I suppose an argument could be made that Swampie wasn't really a "monster" comic by that point-- it was sort of its own genre of macabre/horror/fantasy or something-- but it was still rooted in ol' Alex's being turned into that big tuber (heh- unintended play on words, I swear!).

What are some of the others that fit into this heading, you think? W/out expanding the field too broadly? Keeping it strictly as an on-going, "monster" lead character, yes? (So no Chamber of Darkness or House of Secrets, say.) Definitely a comic (ruling out the B&W magazine lines).
"Traditional" (i.e. "supernatural") monsters, as opposed to science-fiction/superhero oriented ones? (I'm thinking of the Hulk and Deathlok in particular-- but then we sort of lose both swamp monsters, don't we-?).

There's the Living Mummy feature from Supernatural Thrillers (which wasn't bad).
Man-Wolf from Creatures on the Loose (which was really only good when Starlin turned it into science fiction).
Marvel's FRANKENSTEIN was also not bad at all.
Never read Morbius-- but he was an odd hybrid of non-supernatural monster operating as though he really was one.

Aaaaaaah th' heck w/ it-- I'm stickin' with Swampie. . .


Edo Bosnar said...

For me it's a toss-up between Moore's Swamp Thing and Gerber's Man-Thing (and yes, I realize that entire sentence reads like a really bad double-entendre). Don't ask me to pick a favorite.

david_b said...


Gerber had some great stories as well with his 'Giant-Size Man-Thing'..

(just goadin' ya..)

Humanbelly said...

Although I recognize how beloved it is by many, I could never surrender to Gerber's Man-Thing (O lord, this thread is NEVER gonna survive the impossible-to-suppress snickering, is it-?). I just can't get past the fact that the central figure in the book doesn't actually rise to the level of even being a character at all. ZERO depth. . . NO personality at all. I get that it was a fun exercise for the writer(s), and it gave him a ton of creative freedom--- but I do want to care about the central character, y'know? Call me old-fashioned, but when the supporting cast becomes the driving force, I feel like I've been the victim of a bait & switch. A much different book many years later that took this to an even further extreme was New England Comics' MAN-EATING COW. The cow was barely even her own sub-plot, really.


Anonymous said...

The only monster comic I read was Werewolf By Night. It was the first Marvel comic that I can say pulled me in by the cover. I bought issue 32 and 33, the two part Moon Knight story and then I was hit and miss from there on in.

I don't know if I ever learned to appreciate Marvel's Monster line. I've heard some really great stuff about what they did with Dracula. Enough stuff to make me think about the Essentials collection.

So in conclusion I would have to say Gerber's Man-Thing always got me going.... Nah, I'm just kidding. I kid, it's a cry for help. I was trying my hand on double-entendres. And poking a little bit of fun at HB.

The Prowler (still trying to slip Sally through the alley).

pfgavigan said...

Tomb of Dracula was a book I could really sink my teeth into.

With Swamp Thing and Man-Thing the story telling could get really murky.

And Werewolf by Night tended to wax and wane and was sometimes howlingly


Humanbelly said...

Here's the thing, Prowl-- the first sentence of my post above? That was straightforward-- no double-entanythings. And then when I re-read it, I was forced to bury my face in my hands. . .

I mean, the stuff literally WRITES ITSELF, y'know??

pfg-- I'm afraid you need to go spend some alone time out in the garage and reeeeeeally think about these choices you're making. . . (sweet Fancy Moses. . .)

I think I've said it before, but Prowl's observation is right on-- WWBN really did benefit from more than its fair share of quite good covers. I picked up #18 from the spinner rack on the strength of the cover alone. And then opened the book at home to discover interior art by. . . Don Perlin. A long-faded Don Perlin. It's like biting into a slice of 7-11 pizza: it looks incredibly tasty and soft and appetizing. . . but it proves to be as stiff and flavorless as a tongue-depressor. . .


pfgavigan said...

pfg-- I'm afraid you need to go spend some alone time out in the garage and reeeeeeally think about these choices you're making. . . (sweet Fancy Moses. . .)

Aw c'mon, what better way to comment on monster comics than monstrous puns.

You should have seen the ones I didn't use.


Humanbelly said...

Y'know, I think you're making a good case. I have utterly reversed my thinking. I mean, what was the HALLMARK of the lighter commentary in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND-? Ackerman's absolutely shameless and horrendous punning!

Dude, come back in from the garage. . . all is forgiven. . . !


William Preston said...

The only one I read was Dracula, which I came to rather late. I don't even recall why I started reading it, though it may have been the Colon art. I thought Marv was horrible on both Spidey and the FF--he nearly killed both comics (I'm not sure Spidey ever recovered)--so I was stunned at how good Dracula was. There was both a wildness to the stories and a strength to the characterization that I hadn't seen elsewhere from Wolfman.

Anonymous said...

Gotta go with the majority here and say Tomb of Dracula. The combination of Gene Colan's art (OK Tom Palmer's moody inks contributed a lot too!) and Marvelous Marv Wolfman's scripts was like capturing comics lightning in a bottle.

Like William Preston, I'm more familiar with TOD than say, Swamp Thing or Werewolf by Night. What elevates the last two were the gorgeous art by the masters Berni Wrightson and Mike Ploog respectively.

- Mike 'sees a horror story every time I look in a mirror' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Edo Bosnar said...

Ah, man, Mike, we must have the same mirror...

Garett said...

I'm going with the original Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing. Wrightson's art is just outstanding, and I love the stories and characters. While I did read Moore's Swamp Thing and enjoyed it at the time, I haven't been able to get back into it again like the Wein/Wrightson comics. And while Bissette and Totleben did some interesting art with an original style, they aren't in Wrightson's league.

Colan and Palmer are in Wrightson's league on Tomb of Dracula, and that series I'd put in a solid second place. I read the whole series all together in the Essential books---great stuff with a great mood. For me, Colan's best work and Drac is the character most appropriate to his style. Nice writing by Wolfman, and interesting that he could do so well on this and New Teen Titans, horror to teen superheroes.

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