Hello, my friends. Though the hint of disease and decay is ever present within our world, we must still take the time to enjoy the ghoulish delights of years past as we push forward towards a hauntingly good future. As such, welcome one and all to our…
For this string of reviews that I’ve dug up from my comic book crypt, I think that we deserve some levity from our exhausting lives. As such, the majority of my run will cover a four-part tale of familiar monsters who’ve aged gracefully within our minds and hearts, but not as much within their world. With that in mind, let’s begin out lumbering trek with my thoughts on…
Published in November 2003, this series was created & written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. For this venture, they would be joined by Guillermo Mendoza & Paco Cavero who would handle the art work. Upon its release, the inaugural issue would sell 3,043 copies. So, what can we expect from this kind of quirky tale? Let us rise out of our cobwebbed slumber and find out.
We open at a rest home called “Rest In Peace”, which is “a retirement care facility for mature monsters with special needs”. As he relaxes on a rocking chair out on the main deck, an elderly mummy named Puhotep narrates about how much the world has changed, especially since his time as a newly-formed corpse that lumbered around and haunted those who either infiltrated his tomb or was simply a beautiful woman. Nowadays, his bandaging has gotten so withered that mice are able to wiggle inside him and create their own nests to his depressive embarrassment.
Elsewhere around the nursing home, an elderly vampire (Count) is eating some “specially-buffered blood Jello” without his fanged dentures, a werewolf (Wolf-Man) is playing checkers with an invisible man and a Frankenstein Monster watching an exercise program with beautiful women. However, the nurse shuts the TV off in order for the monster to “burn out” his parts. As such, she has him relax to the classical sounds of Beethoven.
Later, the medical staff is responding to a potential emergency down by the pond. Our five main monsters wonder about the situation, so they head over to an overlooking window as the vampire says that the “creature” (a.k.a. Gill-Man) is lying belly-up over in the lagoon. As the group exclaim how these sudden travesties have been recently occurring to other famous horror icons, they’re suddenly approached by Nurse Wrentch who tells them that there’s “nothing to see here”. As Gill-Man gets carted in, he suddenly wakes up from the shock of being given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and simply walks off. An orderly is confused on the recovery since the creature was floating belly-up, to which Nurse Wrentch tells him “He’s An Amphibian, You Idiot!”.
Later, our five main monsters are playing poker with each other. During the game, Count attempts to retell his tale about his past fight with the infamous outlaw Jesse James. However, Wolf-Man says that he’s heard this several times already and that it was actually Dr. Frankenstein’s daughter who fought the gunman and not his batty friend. After the invisible man wins the game, they’re then greeted with the arrival of a little girl named Tiffany Frankenstein. After promising Nurse Wrentch that she “won’t be a bother” to them, she proceeds to give them several helpful items from her basket.
Later, they take their leave to more private quarters as Puhotep shares his appreciation towards her visiting them out of respective remembrance to him and his haunting colleagues. As Tiffany says that she wouldn’t miss any of this, she starts crying and says that they’re the only friends that she can lean on for support these days. The Count then asks what exactly is bother her, to which she takes out some blueprints and explains that the Van Helsing Corporation is going to demolish Castle Frankenstein and build some luxury condos in its place. All five monsters faint from the shock of the news as Tiffany also takes out some pamphlets and brochures for the upcoming complex called Transylvania Shores. She especially bummed this since her she spent every past Summer at her late grandfather’s castle and asks what they’re going to do about it. As Wolf-Man and the Frankenstein Monster nostalgically remember a past brawl that they shared at said castle, Tiffany tells the legendary beings that they must come up with a plan. However, Issue 1 ends with the invisible man saying that it won’t be easy before Puhotep adds onto the fact that they must escape from the rest home before they attempt to save her grandfather’s castle.
Overall, this inaugural issue provides a quaint start to the overall tale. The first-half set up gives some general ideas of our main group’s individual personalities, as well as the somewhat strict medial staff that they put up with. With Tiffany, she serves as their healthy connection to humanity, especially with her family connection. She also sets up out main conflict and is fairly good with her emotional delivery during said moment. As for the artwork, it’s colorful and gives off a family-friendly/child-like feel and tone to the story, which fits with the humble humor that it delivers. The only complaint that I can find is that the pacing somewhat suffers due to the set-up taking up over half of the book. Puhotep’s backstory does a nice job in setting up his character, but the other monsters have their introductions and interactions be nothing more than quirky jokes. Not to mention, it’s not sure at this point if Gill-Man will make a significant return. Maybe he will, but it initially added on to the padding problem that I had. Even still, it’s a nice start to the story that’s backed by nice-looking art, a recognizable cast of characters and a simple situation for our main group to deal with. It makes for an interesting read, especially in how the ghoulish gang will attempt to save their friend’s childhood haunt and what kind of shenanigans they’ll get themselves in on the way. With that in mind, come back next time as I give my thoughts on the haunted hijinks to come. Until then, stay safe and spooky everyone.
Grumpy Old Monsters (created by Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta) is owned by Idea & Design Works Publishing.