Saturday, July 4, 2015

Where Monsters Dwell (Vol. 2) #1 & #2

The plan for the holiday weekend was for a lot of running and at least one day of graphic indulgence. (Last month I got out of the habit of a Friday-night scanning of pages from the prior weekend's reading. I'm reading fewer comic books, some weeks none at all, as I attempt to read at least two books a month.)

Yesterday, following a morning run in the July heat, I made the error of picking up Occupy Comics #2 off the top of a stack. I say error because the three issues of Occupy Comics are not light reads. At the center of each are segments of Alan Moore's detailed history of the comic-book industry. So instead of sitting down with my runner's high to a rejuvenating smorgasbord of colored panels I chewed through Moore's description of the shady foundations and reprehensibly exploitative practices of corporate comics.

The drop off in posts on current Marvel titles corresponds with a hiatus in the Where Monsters Dwell (Vol. 1) project I have been pursuing sporadically. Where Monsters Dwell was a Bronze Age Marvel reprint series of material, chiefly Kirby and Ditko work, from the company's pre-superhero Silver Age. The last post published was in early April. I am working my way backward, and I hit a hole in my collection, Where Monsters Dwell #13, and I have run into trouble finding a copy.

Fortunately, as part of a tie-in with the latest crossover, Secret Wars, Marvel has resurrected the title after the last issue appeared 40 years ago.

The story -- penned by Garth Ennis; art by Russ Braun, with fantastic colors by Dono Sanchez Almara -- is a throwback to the pulp magazines of the 1930s, out of which the modern comic-book industry grew, with the interesting tweak that the leading man biplane pilot is an alcoholic coward afflicted by satyriasis, while the female sidekick, no mere eye-candy appendage, is the one who actually fights and wears the pants.

Below you will find scans of the opening pages to Where Monsters Dwell #1. The poltroon flying ace Karl Kaufmann skips out on the jungle princess who holds in her belly the fruit of his loins. These four scans are followed by the cover of Where Monsters Dwell #2 followed by the concluding pages to that issue.

What adolescent can resist a death struggle between a gigantic great white shark and a super-sized alligator (both from the age of dinosaurs), topped off by the appearance of a troop of Amazons?

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