New Reviews of Old Comics
No, this isn’t the original X-Men #88, it’s The X-Men #88, which reprints X-Men #40. Yeah, I admit I didn’t look it over before I bought it and did have hopes this was the original X-Men #88. I would have bought it anyway because I like reading the old stories. This apparently this falls under the heading of “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
“The Mark of the Monster” was written by Roy Thomas with art by Don Heck. An alternate title could easily have been “The X-Men Meet the Frankenstein Monster” because that’s pretty much what it is. According to this issue Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t just a book and movie, but an actual event that was the basis of Mary Shelley’s book and subsequent movies. An expedition from the City Museum of New York has pulled the monster out of the arctic ice. For a minute there I thought I might have been reading an early Avengers issue. So Professor X has figured out the monster was not really a monster but an android and the X-Men need to stop him because a new mad scientist is about to revive him. What would super heroes do without mad scientists? The rest of the issue is the monster pounding the tar out of the X-Men until Bobby freezes him back into an ice block. Professor X knew the monster was not only an android, but also an alien android from a tropical planet and they can’t tolerate cold. All in all, not the worst story going, but it seemed more like filler than anything that enhanced the overall X-Men continuity. The one thing I never understood is why genius mad scientists always want to create monsters and unleash upon the world because it never seems to work out very well for them. Don’t they have conventions or at least journals to compare notes and learn from each other’s successes and failures? These guys are supposed to geniuses, but they can’t learn from each other? Must be a genius ego thing. Also every time I see a story with a Frankenstein monster I think of the late Phil Hartman on Saturday Night Live; “Bread good, fire bad.” A monster who wanted to be a baker; that always cracked me up.
There is also a short story called “Thru the Lens” originally presented in Venus #16. An alien in a galaxy far, far away in the far distant future is looking into the night sky and observing. On Earth a scientist has invented a water based fuel. When a disgruntled worker breaks into the scientist’s house and destroys his water fuel machine he inadvertently kicks off a process that results in the end of the world. The alien, a thousand years away, sees the light and thinks nothing of it because it happens all the time. Oh the irony. Hey, is this a House of Mystery story?
Best Ads: This is a new one for me. The Blair Division of Chap Stick Co, located in Lynchburg, VA had an ad for “Love Spray Perfume.” By sending in 25 cents (in coin) the reader will get the perfume and complete information about how to easily make extra money (who doesn’t love a 40% commission). This was a $4 value. Even in 1974 I have to image a $4 perfume must be really nasty, like Aqua Velva meets Shalimar. My allergies are kicking in just thinking about it. I’m just glad they didn’t put those scented magazine inserts into comic books. It would ruin the whole experience. Give me that musty, moldy, deteriorating comic book paper smell over cheap, stinky perfume any day! And let’s face it, you can’t beat the smell of a comic book that’s been sitting on a drug store spinner rack, or a brand new issue of Cerebus. Not sure what Dave Sim’s printer did with ink and paper, but I used to love the smell of a Cerebus comic.