Dan, the Unharmable #1
Story by David Lapham & Art by Rafael Ortiz
The wraparound cover does NOT make one want to read the cover as it is ugly, but since I love Lapham’s humor, I’ll always give his new stories a try. Mike and Joe are investigating the brutal murder of Jillian Hickenlooper, single mother of four, who has been slightly dismembered and had one breast liberated from her torso.
Mike hopes this murder mystery makes his career a la The Black Dahlia, but when a report comes in that the boyfriend of the victim confessed and is in possession of the aforementioned breast, he is severely disappointed. We sling shot 3 weeks into the future and we meet Dan, a rotund, hairy man surrounded by a 5 girl harem, one of them offering her “pie”. If you think this is some sort of delusional dream, you’d be correct as Dan is actually passed out in a park, being spoon fed actual pie by a fellow possible hobo, Tober. The Discman listening Dan brushes off Tober’s request to help a girl in the park, claiming he has two “jobs” set up already, one apparently involving his ass getting kicked as he attempts to retrieve some “art films” from some unsavory guy at a bar.
As he is confronted by said guy (a gangster named Digalliano), there seems to be some miscommunication and Dan is shot and set on fire….well, they TRY to do this. Dan escapes unscathed and returns to the coed for his payment, who feigns being broke and offers herself, which Dan gladly accepts. As he leaves her home, he is approached by the brunette from the park Tober wanted him to help and she abruptly tells him she might be his daughter on the walk to his place…and the daughter of murder victim Jillian Hickenlooper. The comic ends with Dan in disbelief and as they enter his place, we see poor, sweet Tober murdered on the bed. As much as my heart squished at this scene, the over all comic was just okay.
Frankenstein Alive, Alive #1
Story by Steve Niles & Art by Bernie Wrightson
The cover of this comic is certainly pretty enough, even if it’s scary as fuck at first glance. The story takes some place in the distant past at a side show in a circus with the narrative from Frankenstein’s Monster waxing poetic about his lot in life. He is torn between disappointed at not being what people expect when they pay to see him and reveling in their fear. He provides colorful detail about the little things in his life, delighting in the fact he is well cared for but without a name of his own.
He starts to ponder on what his response would be when he’s asked (everyone just takes the liberty of calling him Frank), and all he has to say is the terrible truth. His creator shunned him in revulsion upon birth and “Frank” was left to wander the country and to fall into a sad, solitary existence. He ended up depressed to the point to where he craved death and sought it out numerous times but to no avail. As he traveled further and further, Frankenstein’s ghost began to haunt him and he fell into a deeper despair over the people he had once killed out of fear. The comic ends on a somber note with Frank attempting to commit suicide by lava. The black and white art normally is off-putting to me, but when paired with a sad take on the most monstrous of tales…I thought it was beautiful.