And Then I Read: MELVIN MONSTER Vol. 2


Images © John Stanley Estate.

I liked this second volume better than the first one. Perhaps because I knew about what to expect, but I think more because in these comics from 1966-67 Stanley had established his characters: Melvin and his parents, the schoolteacher witch, Melvin’s guardian demon; and told stories about them without trying so hard to achieve the “everything’s the opposite of our world” gimmick. There’s also a new friend for Melvin, a girl witch named Little Horror, who I liked a lot. She reminded me of Little Lulu a bit, in the few stories about that other Stanley mainstay I’ve read.


The stories are still pretty simple, but the gags, like the one above, are often better, and while I didn’t laugh out loud at any of them, they did make me smile.

As before, the interior pages are designed to look like old comics, with a background of slightly tanned paper and faded colors. It’s not an approach I’d like on some old comics, but here it works fine for me. And if I can put myself back into the boy I was at, say, age ten, would I have enjoyed these comics? Definitely. Things have moved on, and I don’t know if today’s ten-year-olds would agree, but there’s certainly some entertainment to be found for us aging children in this volume. Recommended.

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