Saturday, August 25, 2012

Melvin the Monster

One of the greatest of John Stanley's creations was the humor comic book MELVIN MONSTER. I don't know if Dell Comics called upon Stanley to create something to capitalize off of the TV monster craze of the mid-60s, or if the creator approached Dell with the project first. However it came about, he ended up penning one of the funniest kid's comics I read as a youth.

Melvin chronicled the adventures of the title character, a little monster boy who lived in Monsterville with his Baddy and Mummy and their pet crocodile,  Cleopatra (who was forever trying to eat Melvin).

Here was Stanley at his finest. He could capture with a few deft lines what so many cartoonists could not duplicate with the most detailed effort. Here was humor that a little kid could understand and enjoy. The book enjoyed modest success and the title ran for ten issues as a quarterly publication. Of course the tenth and final issue was just a reprinting of the first issue, so that there were only nine full issues of original stories of Melvin and his cohorts.

When I started reading these books at the age of nine I found them slightly familiar. That was because I had read and adored Stanley's Witch Hazel yarns that appeared as backups in the Little Lulu titles he was creating for Dell in the older 1950s-era books that I was gathering up from my dad's vast collection. I'd already encountered Stanley's wry take on misfit horrors, but this was something new and benefited from his growing skill as a writer and artist.

I've been trying to complete a full set of MELVIN for some years and have yet to do so. I'm still missing issue numbers 3, 6, and 7. I'll keep searching for them.



The DPS Kid said...




HemlockMan said...

Thanks! I always keep my eyes on the Ebay auctions.