Mort Todd’s Monster Attack: The Ultimate Collection (book review).

I pulled ‘Mort Todd’s Monster Attack: The Ultimate Collection’ mostly because it contains art by John Severin. However, he was only one of its contributors. In his introduction, Mort Todd explains that he got ‘Monster Attack’ out under his publisher’s radar, got told to cancel it and then when they saw it sold half a million copies to continue. It didn’t last long after he left and the 4 issues he edited are in this book with only one last issue.

Todd’s connection to the early horror comicbooks and a joy to do was get many of the creative element to contribute. I have to confess to never hearing about ‘Monster Attack’ until now but thought it deserved a look. Essentially, it’s a mixture of comic strips of the horror variety, articles on horror films and such and I can see its appeal.

Apart from Severin, there are strips by Steve Ditko, Alex Toth and Gene Colan, the latter uninked which is a rare occurrence, amongst others. Obviously, the stories are horror based with enough pages to tell them. Todd takes a break for a piece explaining that Toth had originally drawn the story ‘Bookworm’ for Charlton off a Nick Cuti script but, not liking the fee, didn’t submit it. Years later, Todd bought it for use and shows the Charlton version by Charles Nicholas and Wayne Howard which gives an interesting comparison. For sheer art, I like the second version.

Toth’s art is still effective but more raw. Todd then goes on to give some more history about the work in the first ‘book’ before going on to the last two issues’ material, the contents of which are given on pages 120-121. I’m saying that cautiously because not all pages have numbers on them and clearly unorthodox. Nothing wrong with a desire to being radical but it can cause confusion when there is a need to identify particular creators quickly.

Of course, the main ingredient of horror stories is for the lead nasty character to get his comeuppance and the stories here do that in spades. Hmmm…perhaps that’s not the best word to use. Choosing favourites is down to taste or lack of it. ‘Cells’ drawn by Madman and ‘The Wake Of The Monster’ by Pat Boyette certainly hit their mark with a bit more than the standard plot.

I should point that there is also a good selection of horror articles ranging on topics from Akira to Darkman to Godzilla to Frankenstein. There’s even a checklist of the murders in the ‘Friday The 13th’ movies and Jason was certainly a busy boy as it took 4 pages.

There’s a certain appeal about the material here, catching the early flavour of Warren Publications with a touch of EC Comics. There’s a fair bet that completists of the artists mentioned above will have some of you reaching out to get this book. Ditko and Toth are more guttural in their approach to their art but it is still John Severin who is the main attraction.

GF Willmetts

April 2022

(pub: Charlton Neo/Comic Fix. 240 page illustrated large hardback. Price: You can pull a copy for about £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-0878-5618-6)

check out website: www.morttodd.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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