October 28, 2021

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Halloween Horror: Rebellion's Monster Fun Special is Just That: Fun!


Monster Fun Special:
Written, Illustrated, and Lettered by Various Creators
Published by Rebellion/2000AD

Not going to lie--I was a little skeptical about this Monster Fun Special. The cover looked like the kind of gross-out all ages humor that honestly just isn't my thing. Well, there's definitely some of that going on inside, but there's also great slapstick, clever short-shorts, and even a nice set of Easter eggs in the opening story.

It's hard to believe how much they packed into this special (20, I think if my math is right) and how many worked well. The special opens with a banger in Frankie Stein Monster of the Year (by Cavan Scott, John Lucas, Gary Caldwell, and Amber Cee). A really bumbling version of the creature ends up beating out his competition by being unintentionally scary via some awesome wordplay and physical comedy. It helps that that this one featured some very familiar Mad Scientists, no doubt hatching an evil scheme. Lucas did such a great job on the likeness, I picked up the reference based on the actor's signature grin alone. Combined with the ability to comedically exaggerate everything that Frankie does, this was definitely my favorite of the collection, and a great opener.

Other stories I enjoyed included:

  • Draculass (by Cavan Scott, Rositsa Vangelova, and Kay Nines), where a young vampiress thinks she's attacking humans in costume, but gets a rather nasty surprise. Vangelova's facial expressions are amazing on this one and it features my favorite line in the issue, "Come back and face the music of the night!" I literally laughed out loud
  • Teddy Scare! (by Maura McHugh, Steve May, and Ferre Schultz) features a mysterious market where items are more than they appear and a kid teased for being too childish gets to show the power of imagination (with a little help from magic!). May's style is very reminiscent to me of early 2000s Nickelodeon cartoons and it works well for the story being told.
  • Tokoloshe (by Ned Hartley, Juni Ba, and Leila Jess) is a great little mash-up of an old legend and modern woes, blending them into an awesome final panel that should probably be a meme. Ba packs more into two pages than some artists manage in ten, keeping everything together in a tight romp that hearkens back to things like Gremlins without feeling like a copy.
  • The Lame Halloween (by Doug Graves, Edward Whatley, and Pioro Dziob) tweaks the nose of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, featuring Batman/Robin/Batgirl analogues and even a cameo by a parody of Superman as they fight a Solomon Grundy-style villain who speaks potty humor doggerel while they fail to stop him by traditional means. Only thinking outside the boxer can save the city! This one definitely has a bunch of jokes that might land better with adults like me but the story itself is fun, and Whatley's art style is heroic, but in the Mad Magazine way. This would have felt right at home there.
  • Wiz War (by Kek-W, Lew Stringer, and Kreig Zauberer) also evokes Mad to me, in a fight between wizards that reminded me of Spy vs Spy. Using different items in a magic store, the two duel to a comedic ending. 

Those are just some of the treats and tricks in store for you. Kid Kong, where the protagonist tries to capture movie glory from a bygone era, had some great moments, and Leopard of Line Street was a solid story that sets up more, even if it felt a little out of place among the jokes. That's the fun of so many stories--everyone will have their own favorites.

Monster Fun Special is a great way to close out my Halloween Horror selections, and if you haven't gotten your copy yet to read with your little ghouls (or even just yourself!), there's still plenty of time to snag a copy and enjoy!