The Monstrous Collection by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson (graphic novel review).

November 12, 2020 | By | Reply More

I pulled a copy of ‘The Monstrous Collection’ to have a closer look at the late Bernie Wrightson’s art completed, according to the copyright around 2011. When it comes to horror, like fantasy, it can get a bit closer to the probably wouldn’t happen like that in real life and yet, a few tweaks with the viable options, could have gotten away with them. This is also my first encounter with Steve Niles writing as far as I can recall, so not sure where the blame really lies.

Take the first story, ‘Dead, She Said’, a private detective called Coogan wakes up and realises not only has been shot but is also dead and slowly putrefying. I’m not entirely convinced a shot wound to abdomen would leave intestines coming out both sides of the body. Biologically, a gut would be pushing in not out. Behind the intestines there is a thick muscle wall and even the biggest dum-dum bullet wouldn’t leave a hole big enough for intestines to fall out his back. I doubt if even a single knife stabbing could do any better.

Still, this is supposed to be horror so visceral is the way. Even so, a bit of knowledge of forensics could have made the same point and probably even more gory. Other than that and the solution to his dead body going off, this is essentially a detective story with a gory ending.

It becomes obvious with the second story, ‘The Ghoul’, that they are all in the same reality. Detective Lieutenant Lloyd Klimpt needs help to sort out a possible supernatural menace and waits at LA Airport for a particular specialist, Kevin…sorry the Ghoul, who is 12 feet tall and you have to wonder who did his wardrobe. Before he helps Klimpt, though, he needs help with another menace of demons and the introduction of Doc Macabre, who I really thought was female until the third story. A double menace that fills out the story.

The third story, ‘Doc Macabre’, focuses on the young genius and his robot helper, Lloyd, that resembles an angle-poise lamp. Considering his environmental suit has some of the attributes of Robbie the Robot, no doubt there are other in-jokes here. Doc Macabre gets money up front before solving problems and in this story, discovers more than he bargained for.

Finally, there is a Bernie Wrightson Art Gallery, much of it from the 1970s and even one colour print.

Looking at Wrightson’s technique for detail, reminds me he had a flair for cchiaroscuro, especially in the third story that had more settings in a natural light. In many respects, Bernie Wrightson brought fine art to comicbooks and greatly influenced the medium. He was as good towards the end of his career as he was at the beginning with ‘Swamp Thing’. It’s worth a look.

GF Willmetts

November 2020

(pub: IDW Publishing, 2017. 176 page softcover graphic novel. Price: I pulled my copy for £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-68405-030-7)

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Category: Comics, Horror

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About UncleGeoff

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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