August 5, 2008

Monsters Attack #1 [1989]

MONSTERS ATTACK was a black and white anthology comic book edited by Mort Todd and published by Globe Communications, the company that put out CRACKED. It lasted five issues and featured lots of comics by the likes of John Severin, Pat Boyette and Gray Morrow, plus some illustrated prose and articles on horror/monster movies (Romero's "Living Dead" trilogy (as it was then) in this first issue).

And of course Steve Ditko, who had a short story in every issue. This debut issue has the 6-page science fiction story "In Solid", very much a morality play in the vein of the old Marvel/Charlton work (in fact, it even has thematic echoes with the old Hamilton/Ditko "Stretching Things"). A criminal breaks into a science lab hoping to steal some notes, and ends up turning an experimental device on the scientist. This somehow makes the scientist's body absorb into the very fabric of the building, able to bring the walls or floors or machines to life. And of course, he's out for revenge.

This is a very strong story from Ditko, taking a clever visual idea and really running with it in the few pages he has. In fact, since Ditko in 3-D has been on my mind lately, I was briefly thinking how perfect this would have been as a back-up in SUBSTANCE a few years later, and then I realized that Ditko captured the 3-D look here without any need for special effects and glasses.

The scripting is also really good, capturing in very few words both the fear and confusion of the criminal and the anger and thirst for revenge of the scientist. If this had been in those old Marvel or Charlton comics of the 1950s, I think it would be considered one of the highlights of that era.

I hope at some point we see a collection of the various short pieces like this that Ditko owns the rights to (along with a collection of Mr. A). There's some good stuff in there that hasn't been widely seen.


  1. oh, nuts, how maddening--i can't find this book ANYWHERE!!! from the looks of the 1 page repro'd here, it is really worthwhile! might you be able to suggest a source???

  2. Sorry, it took me quite a bit of luck and some help to get all the issues of MONSTERS ATTACK. Keep an eye on ebay and maybe look for dealers at conventions who have a lot of b&w mags from the 1980s like CRACKED. And hope we see a reprint of the stories some day, since they are creator owned.

  3. I've been looking for it too - including my own issues that may be somewhere in my mom's attic still!!! My favorite story still to date from the series - if anyone else remembers - was the little kid vampire that feeds from the polio kid and dies paralyzed on the playground as the sun comes up. Good stuff!!!