My mood.

*Oh, hello there. I love working through the weekend and biting my nails. I have a big deadline on Halloween. Someone out there has a spooky sense of humor I guess! I think the most fun of that day will be when children arrive at my door and I have to hide because I don’t have candy to give them. Hmmm, or maybe this is an environmentally conscious way to rid myself of all this stale snack food sitting around.

*Very important question here - which dvd should I watch first? The 1943 Batman serial (you know, the one where he doesn’t care much for the Japanese) or the shiny new half-decade in the making R1 release of Cannibal Holocaust (which somehow scored a cherry spot on Borders’ official ‘New Releases’ counter, directly below The Wizard of Oz and next to Herbie: Fully Loaded)? I’m leaning toward the latter, since that’s the sort of mood I’m in after today. Either one of them would be perfect fodder for a Halloween review post. I’m also paging through the new issue of zingmagazine, that twice-yearly, thick as a Sears catalog compendium of artistic stuff. Oh, there’s lots of nice visuals, and sequential pieces that sort of resemble comics, and photos of installations and parties, and a bonus cd, and I just flipped to a random page and Robert Crumb’s name got dropped. There’s a free poster and it’s a charcoal drawing of Betty Page being hugged by a sentient plush bunny rabbit. I think. It’s pretty.

*The best comic I’ve read recently? Dan Zettwoch’s odds ’n ends compilation Schematic Comics. A big, thick 48-page collection of thrillingly designed stuff, combining an appreciation for the nuts and bolts of how things work with a disarming atmosphere of suburban living. Zettwoch’s upcoming solo book from Buenaventura Press cannot arrive soon enough. Expect a more detailed review somewhere soon, but don’t hesitate to pick this up.

*Bissette Dept: Of course, the merest mention of European gore films is enough to make me think of Steve Bissette, devout scholar of all things horror and famous comics veteran. He’s been popping up a lot lately, like in this thread on the Comics Journal board, covering his long and ultimately troubled relationship with Alan Moore; I commend to you the Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman tribute book, which features a lengthy reminisce by Bissette on he and the magus’ many collaborations. I recall it being the only piece in the book besides Dave Sim’s that didn’t offer an entirely laudatory vision of Moore, and it’s very much worth reading. Also, I hope you’ve noticed Bissette’s own blog sitting in my sidebar for the past month or so - he recently posted a nice piece on (will ya look at that?!) the new Cannibal Holocaust dvd, and how its troubled production mirrored problems faced by Bissette’s late, great Taboo anthology (also: loads of political talk, for those allergic).

*A micro-review: Marvel Monsters: Monsters on the Prowl brings the concluding score of the Marvel Monsters theme month to about 2.5 out of 4, which isn’t too bad. A full point was given to both the gleefully absurd Devil Dinosaur and the perfectly toned all-ages fun of Fin Fang Four, and half a point for this final installment, which is a decent if nondescript fight book. Steve Niles (of ten billion horror comics) scripts, adopting a somewhat amusing narrative voice for the first few pages, which then fades away into completely standard superhero conversation, the wacky banter between the Thing and the Hulk submerged under the endless monster fisticuffs. This would make a good comparison to something like Shaolin Cowboy, which was also basically nothing but fighting, but also managed to be one of the most individual, even eccentric books to see release in the last few weeks. This one has the very good Duncan Fegredo drawing some nice, old-school monsters, and that splash page with Hulk doing some heavy lifting is a fine one, but nothing else really stands out at all. Still: ok as far as monster fighting goes, nothing particularly wrong.

The Jack Kirby/Christopher Rule back-up story is a pleasing bit of pointlessness, as a bunch of seamen get shipwrecked on an island, and wander into the plot of King Kong, only with a big turtle (something is lost in the substitution). Then one of the seamen has a fantasy sequence that approximates the New York ending of King Kong, and then he and his friends escape the island and discover The Biggest Turtle Ever swimming around, and they all remark on how big it is. And then they leave. The end! What can I say? It works as a back-up.

So yeah, pretty decent theme for the month. Certainly more of a success than that which it was meant to promote, that Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos book, which has debuted to reactions that can charitably be described as mixed (the mix being composed of ‘bad’ and ‘horrible’). It’ll all make for a swell trade in a few months, especially if they retain all of the vintage stuff. And slash the price a bit.