Ahh, New Comic Book Day…nothing quite like it. Like many on the BBP! Masthead I, too, make the Wednesday Run to my local comic shop to collect my weekly books and stave off the shakes for another week. For me the main draws that get me out of my house are the ritual and the escapism. The older I’ve gotten the more heavily I tend to lean into the escapist aspect of comic book reading because being an adult sucks more often than it doesn’t.
It’s not all tights and flights that make up my weekly reading habits. I suppose that I’ve “matured” insomuch that I supplement my super hero reading with as many poignant, slice of life indie books that I can get my hands on. It’s been interesting to watch super hero books mature with me over the last couple of decades and there’s no doubt a larger discussion to be had here about the comics industry post-1990’s but it’s endless fascinating to me that books like Batman and X-Men have evolved to keep pace with today’s readers.
However, when I want to read a good and proper story of super heroics I always turn to books by Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek. The current run on World’s Finest by Waid is spectacular and Busiek’s long running and perpetually returning Astro City both deliver Silver Age thrills that are elevated for today’s readers.
But what of GIANT MONSTERS?
The post-WWII, Atomic Age comics genre of giant monsters didn’t much carry on beyond its golden age. Sure, the Fantastic Four and every other comic super team out there would need something to fight but the monsters had been pushed out of the spotlight in favor of the heroes who would handily beat them. The 1950’s and 60’s were a time that the monsters reigned supreme but sadly a time that would never come again…or would it?
That brings us to Doris Danger: GIANT MONSTERS AMOK by Chris Wisnia and Ricky Sprague from Fantagraphics Underground.
Here’s the blurb: Doris Danger is a parody and homage of Kirby and Lee’s GIANT MONSTER horror comics of the pre-superhero Atlas era (1950’s-early ‘60’s), as well as a comedic examination of conspiracy theories, and a pseudo-historical look at the “cheap, just-for-kids, make-a-quick-buck” business mentality of classic comics. The release of this graphic novel celebrates her 20th anniversary!
As is my custom, whenever I’m called upon to read a book for BBP! I go in as cold as possible so I can enjoy the book with no preconceived notions. Readers, I was not prepared for this book. I was not prepared for Ner-Nee-Nah! The Thing That Was Probably Alive, nor was I prepared for Gwuh-Gluh-Wee! The Thing With “Half” the Eyes of Normal Creatures! Similarly, I wasn’t ready for the metric ton of praise the book received from industry titans and I’m a little annoyed it’s taken this long for this book to cross my path.
It is simply astounding how indistinguishable Doris Danger is from other books of the era it’s homaging. If this book was placed in front of me with no explanation I’d have take it at face value that it was one of the countless monster books that was produced in the heyday of monsters.
Wisnia’s work on this book is fantastic and it’s something you absolutely have to check out for yourself. Doris Danger: Giant Monsters Amok is out May 24th.