Monday Mashup 20: The horror, the HORROR!

I descend into the crypt for this week’s Mashup, where I take one (and only one) panel from each of ten randomly selected comic books and attempt to create a coherent story. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy putting it together for you!

And now I feel the cold hand of Death reaching for me as I type, spinning out this tale of woe and evil …


A dark house on a quiet suburban street, a strange invitation for an all-neighborhood gathering, a hesitant knock …

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More guests arrive, unsuspecting and yet hesitant, wondering where the other guests for the “pool party” are hiding …

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Neighborhood children, unaware of their parents’ growing uneasiness, fascinated by the bones and shards left on display …

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And suddenly, there, behind the skulls and bizarre runes carved into mysterious stones, hanging in a hidden alcove from a hook like a butcher’s display case, the child finds the horrible secret of this grim house.

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With realization comes the fear, the blood freezing in veins, the whimper …

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… too late.

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A panicked rush to the door, the desperate bid for freedom, the sweet smell of open air immediately overcome by the foul stench of what chases them, and then — a glimpse, a glimmer of hope …

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… a flash of primary colors and a ragged battle cry that in other circumstances would sound forced or false, but to these ears, newly escaped from the bowels of a terrible damnation, sweeter than a mother’s lullaby!

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Unable to withstand the bright light of hope and power, the sinister monster corps slinks back in loathing and dread …

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And so the minions of evil slink away, to heal and plan and hate …

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… for the day when they return, for return they shall, to plague our dreams and haunt our hearts, until once again a proud and courageous few take up the mantle of “super-hero” to save us all.


Note: I’m introducing a new featurelet this week, where I talk about the issues that make up the Mashup after the story’s complete. Hope you like it.

This week’s batch of ten was in some ways the strangest yet. I found three of the four “Jack Kirby’s TeenAgents” awaiting me, but with three separate copies of issue number 3. Sometimes I struggle to find even one good panel in an issue, so I was a bit nervous about having to pull three from just this one. Luckily the page count is high and the story entertaining, so I didn’t have too much trouble.

Of far more concern was the “Barbi Twins 16 Month Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar”, put out by Topps. How this abomination ever got into print is beyond me … no, wait, that’s not true. Strangely proportioned women with abnormally large breasts paired with bikinis and comic book illustrations? I’m surprised they don’t have one every year. Truly awful, though, even considering that the Barbi twins are pretty much already cartoons in real life. And how do you incorporate a no-dialog pinup calendar illustration in something like this? That pretty much set the tone for the whole installment, since I knew I had only one decent choice from that set to work with. I lucked out and found a month drawn by John freakin’ Byrne, slumming it like no one else can.

I also found myself with four issues of “Ray Bradbury Comics”, which feature comic book adaptations of short stories from the sci-fi master. I’ve done three of these issues before, which was a challenge because I don’t like re-using panels if I can avoid it. And the issues each contain two to three different stories by different artists, so getting anything coherent that matches anything else is tough.

Finally, I was pleased to see the adaptation of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, not because I liked the movie (I didn’t) but because the comic is illustrated by the great Mike Mignola. I hadn’t realized that his film experience included this movie, long before “Hellboy” made it to the big screen. Mignola also illustrated one of the Ray Bradbury stories, and the guy’s intense shadows and almost stained-glass-cutout artwork suits both tales admirably. I love his clean, sharp, terrifying inks and layouts, the guy’s just incredible.

In fact, looking back over it, for a random batch of comics I managed to score some really huge talents. Ray Bradbury, Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, John Byrne, Matt Wagner, and Harvey Kurtzman are all giants in the industry, it’s really neat to find them lurking in an unmarked group of books like this.

Anyway, on to your credits. The panels above are from the following materials, in order of appearance:

  1. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, Vol. 1, No. 1, ©1992, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Published by Topps, script by Roy Thomas, Pencils by Mike Mignola, inks by John Nyberg, colors by Mark Chiarrello, and letters by John Costanza.
  2. “Shane and Shia, the Barbi Twins, 16-Month Swimsuit Comic Art Calendar”, ©1995, The Barbi Twins, artist John Byrne (yes, that John Byrne!)
  3. “Ray Bradbury Comics”, Vol. 1, No. 3, ©1993 Byron Preiss Visual Publications Inc. Story featured here is “Besides a Dinosaur, Whatta Ya Wanna Be When You Grow Up?”, adapted by Mike Kucharski, Colored by Carla Feeny, Lettered by James Osten.
  4. “Ray Bradbury Comics”, Vol. 1, No. 2, ©1993 Byron Preiss Visual Publications Inc. Story featured here is “It Burns Me Up”, adapted by Harvey Kurtzman (of MAD Magazine fame) and Matt Wagner (of Mage), Lettered by Tim Sale.
  5. “Ray Bradbury Comics”, Vol. 1, No. 1, ©1993 Byron Preiss Visual Publications Inc. Story featured here is “A Sound of Thunder”, adapted by Richard Corben (of “Heavy Metal” fame), Lettered by George Roberts.
  6. “Ray Bradbury Comics”, Vol. 1, No. 4, ©1993 Byron Preiss Visual Publications Inc. Story featured here is “The City”, adapted by Mike Mignola (of “Hellboy” and “BPRD” fame), Lettered by Willie Schubert.
  7. “Jack Kirby’s TeenAgents”, Vol. 1, No. 1, ©1993, Jack Kirby. Written by legendary comics creator Kurt Busiek, penciled by Neil Vokes, inked by John Beatty, lettered by Starkinos/Gaushell, and colored by Carl Gafford.
  8. “Jack Kirby’s TeenAgents”, Vol. 1, No. 3, ©1993, Jack Kirby. Written by legendary comics creator Kurt Busiek, penciled by Neil Vokes, inked by John Beatty, lettered by Starkinos/Gaushell, and colored by Carl Gafford.
  9. “Jack Kirby’s TeenAgents”, Vol. 1, No. 3, ©1993, Jack Kirby. Written by legendary comics creator Kurt Busiek, penciled by Neil Vokes, inked by John Beatty, lettered by Starkinos/Gaushell, and colored by Carl Gafford.
  10. “Jack Kirby’s TeenAgents”, Vol. 1, No. 3, ©1993, Jack Kirby. Written by legendary comics creator Kurt Busiek, penciled by Neil Vokes, inked by John Beatty, lettered by Starkinos/Gaushell, and colored by Carl Gafford.

One Response to Monday Mashup 20: The horror, the HORROR!

  1. I like knowing more about where the set comes from.

    “Strangely proportioned women with abnormally large breasts paired with bikinis and comic book illustrations? I’m surprised they don’t have one every year.”

    Didn’t Marvel in fact put out a yearly Sports Illustrated style “Swimsuit Special” for a while in the 90’s, as a companion to its news-magazine knock off “Year in Review”? I think I used to have a couple…maybe I still do, if I checked the right storage box.