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Tales to Demolish #1
posted April 19, 2003

Creator: Eric Haven
Publishing Info: Sparkplug Comic Books
Ordering Numbers:

Tales to Demolish evokes memories of the pre-hero comics published by Martin Goodman in the late 1950s/early 1960s, light science fiction shorts heavy on the monsters that editor Stan Lee later pooh-poohed in the course of building his largely distorted Marvel superhero legend. Readers have since re-discovered those comics, as both kitschy entertainment and effective showcases for talented Goodman artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Tales to Demolish gets to the heart of the Larry Lieber-written monster story in "The Glacier." A scientist studying the effects of tremors within a large glacier discovers the source is a gigantic, phallic alien. In language not understood by the scientist but translated for the reader at home, humankind was put on Earth as foodstuffs for the alien. Lucky for us and unlucky for our progeny a few million years from now when this guy wakes up even hungrier, 21st century man is not quite ripe enough for the eating.

For "The Glacier" to be more than clever homage, the art would have to be on roughly the same scale of effectiveness as that in those original stories. But while the visual approach is fun -- a very moody, textured look and rubbery human figures -- cartoonist Eric Haven doesn't quite convey the visceral punch this sort of material demands. The art also suffers from its context as a 21st century art object. It's easier to find value in artwork that stands out as quirky or idiosyncratic against a backdrop of coldly crafted mainstream product, but the stakes are higher in a solo effort. Tales to Demolish needs to work on its own, and as realized this first issue falls short. Hopefully, stories in future installments will move towards a greater depth than the comics that they recall, and the execution will improve from interesting to exceptional. It's a good idea for a comic, another editorially sound effort from the new Portland-based publisher -- all that's left is the follow-through.