Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where Goofiness Dwells!

Like most of you, I'd had a lifelong love affair with monsters (no, this is not a commentary on my past relationships), and one of my favorite comics as a kid was Marvel's classic reprint anthology, Where Monsters Dwell (and, in fact, the piece from Common Grounds that was nominated for Best Short Story was my homage to those wacky tales, "Where Monsters Dine"). Those plus-sized creatures really stirred my imagination, and left an indelible imprint on my various body parts. One of the wildest thing about them were the covers. Let's take a look at some of this wonderful, beautiful goofiness.

WMD #2 featured Sporr, who sounds like he'd be great to smear on an open wound. What grabs me about this cover image are the folks down front trying to bar the castle door so Sporr can't get out, when clearly his limbs are all over the place, and barring any great lack of upper body strength, I'm pretty sure he could lift his big red ass out of there. And you'll note the title features the popular "I Created..." statement. I think Stan liked having these guys be the architects of their own demise (though in the end they always seemed to outsmart the monsters; giant pseudo-octopi are scary, but not necessary Mensa members).

Here's WMD #3 with our old buddy Grottu. No, I'm not exactly sure why a giant ant would be called Grottu either, but then he probably doesn't know why a human would be called Englebert Humperdinck. Gotta love the caption: "You think it's a typical day. You walk down the street." Yeah, and then you come face to crotch with one gi-normous picnic pest! And like almost all of Marvel's big monsters, whatever their type, origin, etc., he's a bi-ped. I think at the end of the issue he's burned up by a giant bully with a magnifying glass or something. Hey, check out the girl on the bottom right; is it me, or does she look like the X-Men's Jubilee in her Robin-esque duds?

I tended to buy a lot of issues of WMD from the drugstore around the corner from my barber. My dad would take me to get my haircut, then let me run over and buy myself a funnybook, and they tended to be one of these. This one above, WMD #9, was one of those. I'm not even sure if "Bombu" looked anything like this in the story (I seem to recall being disappointed that he was just some jive-turkey witch doctor or somesuch). He doesn't look all THAT great on the cover. Check out his eyes; I think he's falling asleep in mid-menace!

WMD #8 - No, I'm not sure what's going on here, either. Apparently this loser has stumbled into the Crypt of the Four-Armed Men. Uh...if it's a crypt why are they ostensibly alive? And what's so intrinsically scary about dudes with a couple extra limbs? They can give you a beat-down twice as fast? He should have known they'd sense his presence, though, because as we all know, to be four-armed is to be forewarned...

Everyone knows Groot from WMD #6, and I'm pretty sure he's probably made recent appearances (in comics I don't have). Funny how a tree monster would be named "Groot," eh? Sure, quite a coincidence, but it beats the hell out of a giant ant named Grottu! Notable here is the guy who is apparently going to defeat Groot, a fella with the testicular fortitude to stand right in front of the Arborial Asskicker and TELL him not only that he's going to open up a can of weed killer on him, but WHEN he's going to do it! Apparently Groot's not the only one with some major wood...

WMD #10 was another of my barber shop comics, and I have such a memory of lying on the basement floor and reading this when I was probably five or so. Gigantus was a very cool sea monster of epic proportions (and I think maybe an alien), but I felt very embarrassed for him, given the way we puny humans defeated him. They got a special FX guy to build basically a paper mache version of an even BIGGER monster (who looked a bit like It the Living Colossus), and had it "tell" Gigantus that it and its kind were going to take over the planet, so Gigantus had to high tail it out of there. If Gigantus had just bothered to take a close look at this thing, he would've instantly seen it for what it was, but I guess he left his glasses in the briny deep.

In WMD #4, we have more in the "I Created" vein, and this goober apparently made a monster in his cellar. What seems strange about that notion is that he seems to be coming down the stairs with a flashlight, and is surprised by the creature. Hey, buddy, you just told us not only that you were responsible for it, but where it is! Don't plead ignorance now! By the way, I have to say that the monster in question does not exactly fill one with terror. He's kind of like a muppet that the Hensons left on some dressing room floor.

Finally, from WMD #11, we have...Gruto (all the nonsensical conglomerations of syllables in the world, and Stan gives us "Gruto," "Grottu," and "Groot"?). I have to call shenanigans on this one, though, as he's billed as "the creature from nowhere." Well, he seems to be clearly coming out of a hole, doesn't he? So isn't that where he's from? In their defense, though, I'm not sure I would've picked up a comic featuring "Gruto, the Creature Who Came Out of a Hole!" It also asks us to guess the strange secret of Gruto. I'm guessing probably psoriasis, halitosis, or possibly even mild incontinence.
Anyway, that's enough for now, but we'll revisit WMD soon, as there's lots more to see. Now get out there and save a small town from a giant eggplant, you slackers...


BrikHed said...

man i love those old covers - that is so funny to look back and see what use to be on the shelf at the five and dime

NuclearToast said...

I think that Grotu sounds like something out of Disturbing Grandma Tales #42.