Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dell Universal Monsters

How could this have gone so wrong? Of the above book, in the first image, I bought FRANKENSTEIN at WizardWorld when it was still the Chicago ComiCon (WW does not mention Chicago on their badges or ads, the dicks). When I was in my teens, there were those machines where you saw the comics displayed in a huge vending machine, much like the snack machines in the present. Whatever comic came sliding out, there'd be a different one now showing. Completely random. It might go from BEYOND THE UNKNOWN to LITTLE LULU. This is where I encountered those other nutty books, and I bought them strictly for the names, just as a lot of kids my age in 1972 did. The vending machines were at the now-demolished Fairway, which had always been closed for health violations, and the Zayre department store over dere by Southwest Highway and Mr. Shrimp. Frank N. Stone was a guy who was a superhero who fought wearing a green mask like his ancestor (?) and I think was a lawyer, too. Dracula is the goofiest of the bunch because his series last the longest, seven issues, although issues 5, 6, and 7, reprinted issues 1, 2, and 3 with the price hike from 12 to 15 cents. No reprint of issue 4 and no issue 8. Of course, back then it took longer to see the sales numbers come in, so it could be that by the time #4 was out, Dell realized that that series was doing the best of the three. WEREWOLF was the best, if you could call it that, because the guy was a secret agent and he wasn't a werewolf. But he had a German shepherd named Wolf. I think his series last two issues. It's crazy that I have most of these issues--if I really looked, I'll bet I'm missing three issues out of all the books--but I haven't run into the one-shots. Oh, I just remembered, I have THE CREATURE, too, but someone gave that to me. Oh, Dell, where did you go wrong? Well, even with bad artwork, at least WEREWOLF was worth it.