“Where Monsters Dine” and “Lovelife”
In the ’70s Marvel had a whole line of “monsters gone wild” titles. “Where Creatures Roam,” “Where Monsters Dwell,” “The Monsters Are Coming… Beware” and others reprinted the often very campy monster stories that Lee, Ditko and Kirby created in the dark days before Fantastic Four #1. None of the stories were especially great, but they were always a lot of fun. Troy Hickman remembers those days, too, and writes a grand and hilarious tribute to them in the latest issue of his wonderful series “Common Grounds.”
In “where Monsters Dine”, Hickman introduces us to a group of monsters having a reunion in a remote section of Montana. We meet “Critorr, the behemoth who walks the Earth,” “Kkrapp, the garbage pile that walks like a man” and “Grondar, the unbelievable monster from Planet X.” Oh yeah, and Wang Dang Doodle, who’s, like, a dragon, so he’s all scary and stuff.
If you get the idea that Hickman doesn’t take all this too seriously, you’re right. The monsters are ridiculous and absurd, much like the original stories that inspired them. But Hickman gives these monsters the kind of twist that has become typical of this series. By the end of the tale, the weird giant monsters have taken on an odd sort of poignance, a feeling of, for want of a better word, humanity, that emanates from them.
And there’s why this comic is so wonderful: Hickman is one of us, a fan, someone who obviously has thought some of the same fanboy thoughts we all do. Unlike most of us, though, Hickman has thought his thoughts through. He has a fully developed world-view, and it’s reflected through his passionate love for comic books and super heroes. Any fan of super-hero comics owes it to him or herself to check this series out. Each issue stands alone, so you can start with any issue. Once you do, you’ll feel yourself swept away by Troy Hickman’s wonderful comic.