Melvin Monster

9 Jan

Melvin Monster!  This was my favourite present when I woke up on Christmas morning. My ever adoring husband bought it for me knowing how much I 1) love monsters and 2) eat up comics such as these.  Like the Nancy book, this is also one from the John Stanley library.  Stanley, who is best known for his Little Lulu comic strip, was an artist and writer who worked on numerous comics in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  I was attracted to the book immediately because of it’s green and black colour pattern and the cover drawing of Melvin.  There he is, like a cheeky round gremlin, strutting around the page while chomping on a big ole bone.  The strips inside follow the life of Melvin, a young monster who is much too pleasant and mild-mannered to be considered a true monster by his hijinks-loving parents, Baddy and Mommy.  Against their wishes, Melvin enjoys attending school, helping others and playing safe.  His time at home is spent outwitting his families pet crocodile, Cleopatra, who is constantly trying to eat Melvin.  The illustrations have a classic vintage feel, with sharp lines, faded primary colours, and a traditional grid layout.  The family dynamics are an interesting spin on 1960s culture, with a focus on pure and simple fun.  An innocent book with zero controversial content, Melvin Monster is old-fashioned, leaving the reader craving horn-rimmed glasses, black and white television, and crock-pot meals followed by grape jello.

Nancy by John Stanley

7 Dec

After reading various Ernie Bushmiller Nancy comic strips, and the Nancy Eats book, I came across this gem of a compilation at a local used book store.  The book itself has a beautiful vintage feel to it.  A sturdy hardcover is the perfect medium to display Stanley’s iconic illustration.  The texture completes the handling experience, with a slightly raised fabric covering brushing the readers fingers as if to say, “Read me!”

Inside is what you would expect for a compilation volume.  Hundreds of comic strips, faded to perfection, and always featuring the pleasantly plump Nancy.  Her faithful friend and sidekick, Sluggo, is also present in many of the strips.  His retro-punk attire completes his “wrong side of the tracks” image, as do his one liners such as, “I’m bored – I’ll think I’ll be become a beatnik.”

I love this book.  You probably will too.