John Stanley Library: Melvin Monster v. 3
Written & Illustrated by John Stanley
Published by Drawn & Quarterly
Drawn & Quarterly brings readers another collection of John Stanley’s terrific Melvin Monster comics, originally published in the late 1960s. Melvin’s a young monster, living with his Baddy and Mummy in Monsterville, and he just doesn’t fit it. He’s very polite and wants to go to school – which makes him a very poor monster!
This third hardcover collects the final three issues of Melvin, and though the formula has become more obvious than ever (the increasing number of short gags suggest Stanley was running out of twists on his longer narratives), Stanley’s strong cartooning and sturdy scripting keep the series engaging and fun.
While it’s definitely a book for children, fans of quality cartooning will find plenty of reasons to appreciate Stanley’s terrific work. He’s able to move readers’ eyes confidently through pages, and his quirky, iconic character designs capture the core essence of each character so immediately that little dialogue is needed to enforce their personality.
Drawn & Quarterly, working with designer Seth, continue to knock it out of the park in the design and assembly of the Stanley Library tomes. Sturdy hardcovers, sewn bindings, flat solid pages – you can actually give these comics to their target audience! I’m almost disappointed to get to the end of Melvin Monster; it’s been a relentless fun, terrifically clever series. If you have kids, get all three books. If you don’t, you still owe it to yourself see why Stanley’s considered a master (I’d recommend the second book if you get only one – that’s where I felt Stanley’s voice felt strongest and freshest on this particular series).