Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Here There Be Monsters, Part One: The Legion of Monsters, #1

 I'm in the middle of a short Monster-comic binge-read, dipping in and out of THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN and WEREWOLF BY NIGHT OMNIBUS, and I decided to pick up this Marvel Monster magazine on Comixology. (The other two books will be reviewed in due course, but this one pushed enough buttons that I decided to tackle it first.)

 First, the good: Beneath this classic Neal Adams cover, you get 42 pages of mostly enjoyable stuff.

 The book starts off with a gorgeous Frankenstein's Monster pin-up by Pablo Marcos, and is followed by a Doug Moench-penned tale of Frankenstein's Monster, which is gorgeously illustrated by the vastly underrated Val Mayerik. Continuing the creature's wanderings from his black-and-white MONSTERS UNLEASHED stories, this time he finds himself lurching by a mansion that is having a masquerade ball, and, of course, he is invited in by someone who thinks he's just a really tall partygoer with exceptional make-up. In short order, he finds himself framed for the murder of a young woman, and must confront the Police, as well as the real killer. A nice little one-off tale, which is elevated by the beautiful Mayerik artwork.

 Next up is the Marv Wolfman/Tony Isabella/Dave Cockrum Manphibian, which is way too convoluted for its own good. (I was especially disappointed to find that The Manphibian is NOT a swamp creature, but a stranded alien.) Nice Cockrum art, but the story was nothing special.

 Last, but not least, we get the oddly-placed seventh chapter of Roy Thomas & Dick Giordano's adaptation of Bram Stoker's DRACULA. (It was originally presented in a magazine that was cancelled after the sixth part saw print.) This is a historical curiosity, since it sat unfinished for decades, until someone at Marvel got Thomas and Giordano back together to finish it a decade of so ago. Not a bad story, but Marvel's Dracula just ain't right without Gene Colan artwork.....

 That's not a terrible package for the buck or two that I paid on Comixology......BUT...

 The bad! This is FAR from the complete issue. I own enough Marvel mags from that era to know that they didn't run 42 pages, including the front cover. Having already purchased the book legally via Comixology, I didn't have any qualms about seeking out scans of the issue online to get the rest of my money's worth. And, there a lot missing. And for no good reason, as far as I can tell.

 Stuff missing from the digital edition: The contents page, an editorial by Editor Tony Isabella, a great Marvel magazine subscription ad, a page of humorous monster comic strips, a Gerry Conway-scripted story entitled FLIES, an article about then-current and upcoming Horror movies and novels by COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE guiding lights Don and Maggie Thompson, and a bunch of pin-ups, as well as a page previewing the contents of the never-published second issue.

 Does Conway own the rights to FLIES...? Why omit the pin-up pages, the editorial, the next-issue page, the subscription ad, the article...? I have no clue. PLUS, two of the DRACULA pages were out of order in the digital book. It was a good read, and it looked great on my tablet, but just be aware that, if you purchase this digital edition, you're not getting the whole magazine.

 THE LEGION OF MONSTERS #1 gets a creepy seven out of ten Vampire Bats:

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