Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monsters On The Prowl #30 (1974) - comic book review

another Halloween randomly selected horror comic review!

The Fright Zone's Halloween horror comic review countdown continues!

The next randomly selected horror comic from the Fright Zone female force field (the ceiling high pile of comic book boxes in the corner of my computer room), is the 1974 collection of pestilent parables, "Monsters On The Prowl" #30!

Just cracking open this terrible tome, whose cover warns us of the horror that is Diablo, the demon from the fifth dimension, sends a shiver down my spine, mostly due to the musty smell of rotting, cheap, thirty five year old Marvel Comics paper stock that instantly wafts through the air... dare I continue? Well, without me, who is going to give away the twisted twist endings to these
traumatic tales? Seriously though, this comic stinks extra bad... I sat it down on the table for just a minute to crack a beer and my cat
ran over and started huffing it so intensely that he made that weird "smelly" face cat's make when they find something dead, and they hang their mouth wide open and get a glazed over look in their eyes. I wish I could get a buzz from something so simple... This 22 of Ninkasi IPA cost me close to 6$!

But, I digress... you don't come here to hear about how my cat and I get high, you want to hear the skinny on some horror comics, and believe me "Monsters
On The Prowl" #30 provides the scares in full fucking force!

First off, we have the titular story "I saw Diablo - The Demon From The Fifth Dimension"! Our narrator, a handsome adventurer who for unknown reasons begins the tale in the Sierra Madre mountains is immediately warned by native Aztecs (who come off as bossy jerks which seems to be a re-occuring negative stereo type when it comes to Aztecs) about a "smoke demon" that lives in one of the mountains he wants to explore. A warning of a demon? Sounds
like superstitious bull shit to our hero. Does he care? Nope. You see, when us folks from the US of A travel around,
and the locals try and tell us what to do, we don't take kindly to it. In fact, we usually yell, buy pornography with a credit card, slather something with ketchup, and
then rudely do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the stupid foreigners told us not to. So, just as I would have done, our protagonist heads up the mountain and, inadvertently
frees Diablo, who it turns out was exiled General Zod style from another dimension millions of years ago and had become trapped in the mountain. Diablo seems pretty proud of his rather long winded back story, because he goes into it as soon as he's freed while our hero stands there and politely listens.

So, after some enjoyable exposition, Diablo announces that he is going to destroy mankind and sets about on a VERY entertaining voyage from major city to major city, causing death and destruction in landmark after landmark, destroying armies and toppling buildings like a game of Rampage at Ground Kontrol after too many tall boys, to make our planet more comfortable for smoke based beings. Diablo happily reveals that he soon will invite all his smoke monster friends here after he finishes the prep work, and then they will all mosh, get stoned (they are smoke monsters after all), drink beer and listen to Murphys Law's "Back With A Bong" (I actually just assumed that part... for as talkative as Diablo is, he doesn't really explain why he wants all his smoke brosephs to come live here on our humble planet).

Now, our narrator, to the horror of onlooking Aztecs, suddenly jumps from his hiding place and confronts Diablo (who has inexplicably returned to the scene of his former prison, maybe to gloat?) and warns him of an amazing power all Earth-men have that can easily stop him and his kind. Diablo scoffs and threatens to crush him, but first, out of sheer amusement he demands to see the weapon. Suddenly, Diablo is high tailing it off our planet with his tail between his legs, screaming about warning his homies to avoid Earth at all cost... you see (and here comes your HORRIBLE HALLOWEEN SPOILER!) our narrator had shown Diablo his bic lighter, and quickly blown out the flame and dispelled the smoke! Yup, pretty damn clever if you ask me! You see, he knew that just because Diablo was MADE of smoke, that doesn't mean that he understands how smoke or wind works, and that most likely Diablo is an easily scared moron. A twist ending that, in my opinion, is easily worthy of the finest M. Night Shamalan movie!

Next up we have the "The Strange Fate Of The Statue Maker"! In this tale, Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Steve Vai, Ziltoid, etc) is a mad scientist who creates a ray gun
that turns living things to stone. He cruelly tests it out on a beautiful temp worker he found an ad for in the paper when she unwittingly shows up for what she thinks is a job interview... but, after it works and creates a once living statue, it turns out that it the girl was Devin Townsend's soul mate! Oh the bitter irony!

So, the SYL frontman decides he has to re-animate her, but, in his frantic hurry to bring her back to the land of the living, he forgets that a mirror is on the wall right behind her, a common mistake with people/monsters that turn others into stone (a plot device that those in the business call "the basilisk's blunder"). So, after activating the ray gun, it blasts both girl and mirror which ends up re-animating her but... (HORRIBLE HALLOWEEN SPOILER ALERT!) turning himself into a statue!

The story ends with the beautiful 50s looking babe wondering why no one is here for the job interview... and what the deal is with the strange Devin Townsend statue it the corner! Ah, just deserts! How petrifyingly perfect! Not only did this story chill me to my very core, but it also made me think about Gene Hoglan and wish I had "Darkness Descends" on vinyl. How stupid is it that I don't have that record? I call myself a thrash fan... pitiful! Maybe I will spookily order that fancy 180 gram version of it sometime soon... moo-hahahaha! (evil laughter).

On the next page, we find an ad for an "exciting, romantic and impressive" looking set of fake facial hair you can order for a unbelievably low price! Now, my significant other doesn't really like it when I forget to shave for very long (she claims it feels scratchy, and that it looks gross), and I have to admit, that I've never been able to grow that impressive of a beard and mustache. Considering how amazing this set looks in the artists rendition (you get the full beard, moustache and van dyke set for only 6$!), and that it easily applies so you can wear it as is, or trim it to a personal style, I think I may
just order it. I have a feeling Abby's tune might change when she see's me with a full, 70s cop style solid black mustache, sideburns and van dyke! Plus, the next time I have a job interview or jury duty or what not, I think that having the confidence that comes with a strong, solid set of spirit gum applied facial hair might be just the thing that will allow me to stand up and get people to finally give me the respect that I deserve! Anyways, if anyone is interested go ahead and let me know in the comments section, I'll let you know how it goes, I'll probably order later today.

Lastly, but most certainly not leastly, we have the Arthur Machen-esque tale of "The Little People" a 3 page story in which two FBI agents travel to Ireland to investigate reports of "little people" in the hills. This story is actually the basis of the second X-files movie (the one that had Billy Connoly in it as a pedophile leprechaun), and if you've seen that movie, it's a pretty faithful translation of this story. The agents spot some little people, but they escape, and then the feds encounter an old man who whittles tiny statues. They figure that he must somehow make the statues come to life (a natural assumption), so they arrest him and take him back to Gitmo. This all happens in about 5 break kneck panels. No sense beating around the bush when you have a story that can move along at a freight train clip like this one does!

Anyhoo, once there, they keep him under constant observation as he whittles tiny figurine after tiny figurine, but, to the FBI agents dismay, strangely none of them come to life. Alright, get ready for the twist! (HORRIBLE HALLOWEEN SPOILER ALERT!) The little people they saw were actually LEPRECHAUNS! Not only that, but the leprechauns took the tiny statues and used them for a world famous (among leprechauns and brownies) art gallery! Pretty good twist ending, huh? I think the X-files movie changed that ending a bit actually (stupid suits always fucking things up), but let's hope the dvd restored this original twist ending from the comic story.

In the end I give "Monsters On The Prowl" # 30 a positive score of 8 out of 10 fucking Oscars. Hope you're paying attention M. Knight, because right here, this is how you a do a twist ending! Alright gentle reader, until next time, head out to your local Barnes and Nobles or Borders and grab a copy of "MOTP" 30 today before they're all gone! Perfect Fright Zone approved Halloween reading!

now playing -
Lizzy Borden - "Love You To Pieces" LP
Machetazo - "Necrocovered" 10 inch EP (Parasitic Records)
The Golers - "2nd Generation" LP


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