Melvin Monster reviewed by CBR

“Robot reviews: Melvin Monster and Moomin” / Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources / Chris Mautner / June 9, 2009

Melvin Monster is a bonafide hoot; the kind of comic that, though intended for kids, can be enjoyed thoroughly by adults without an ounce of embarrassment or awkwardness. This is the rare book that actually lives up to its “all ages” description.

What’s interesting for me is just how frenzied and manic these stories are, especially compared to the comics Stanley is better known for, mainly the Little Lulu series. While those classic tales are equally funny, they have a bit more of a structured feel to them. An equal amount of time is spent in the set-up as it is in the delivery of the gag.

Here Stanley just piles one gag on top of another in the best Mad magazine tradition. That suits the book’s fanciful premise (little boy monster wants only to be nice, horrifying his parents — and the larger monster community — in the process) just fine, and leads to some inspired and thoroughly ridiculous bits, as when Melvin inadvertently blows up his school, much to the joy of his “Mummy” and “Baddy.” A lot of the jokes move along familiar lines and stereotypes — the dull-witted sidekick who says “duh” a lot for example — but Stanley’s talent and sense of timing make it all seem fresh and engaging.

My only gripe is the lack of any background information or introduction. Seth’s design is lovely and I appreciated the decision to give the reproduction a yellowed look, as though you were reading the original, aged comics, but I was frustrated that I wasn’t provided any insight, however minuscule, into the origins of this series. Was Melvin a point of pride for the author or just one more comic out of hundreds of others? It would have been nice to know.

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