[identity profile] hyaroo.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Happy Positive Comics Week! Today, I thought I'd share some scans from the brilliant Stanley and his Monster four-issue-miniseries from 1994, written and drawn by our old friend Phil Foglio.

Stanley and his Monster was originally a comic from the mid-1960s, not totally unlike a very early Calvin and Hobbes (though whether Bill Watterson ever read the comic or if the similarities are just a coincidence, I have no idea), in which an over-imaginative young boy -- the titular Stanley -- meets and befriends a big, shaggy (and pink!) monster. He keeps the monster as a "secret pet," and they get into all sorts of weird and wacky misadventures.

Foglio's revamp sets the story in the DC/Vertigo universe, and the monster is now revealed to be a demon who was kicked out of Hell for being too nice. Hey, it could happen.

The miniseries happens shortly after the Sandman storyline Season of Mists, as is evident by the prologue:

Meanwhile, on Earth, Stanley is preparing for a night out in his new treehouse together with a monster pal, and demonstrating his knowledge of the superheroes of the DC universe as he sneaks out the things he needs.

However, this idyll doesn't last past the first issue, because in the second issue, the monster's old lover, Nyx, shows up in order to take him back to Hell.

Lots of weirdness happens, causing Stanley's parents to go completely against every established stereotype in this sort of story, and actually discover what's going on in the third issue.

(No, the blonde guy is not John Constantine, just a two-bit lookalike by the name of Ambrose Bierce. He's mistaken for Constantine several times in the story, something which annoys him greatly.)

Unfortunately, while Nyx ultimately fails bringing her former lover back to Hell, the angels Remiel and Duma decide to take matters into their own hands and take him back themselves...

...so who shows up to lend a hand in the fourth and final issue?!

Yep, it's the Phantom Stranger! Who, after a bit of a false start (since Stanley refuses to talk to him) sends the boy out on a rescue mission after his friend. While this does mean that Stanley has to enter Hell to get the monster back, it turns out that, since in the DC/Vertigo universe "Hell is exactly what you think it is," he has a somewhat unusual effect on the place.

While trekking through a cartoonish slapstick version of Hell, Stanley and the monster come across and rescue Nyx, who has been confined to soplitary confinement as punishment for failing in her mission (and angering the angels). Her reaction is... slightly unexpected.

The answer is, of course, "a friend."

But after a few more misadventures and an almost-successful-escape, Remiel and Duma finally intervene once more:

And so, Stanley and his monster get to stay together, Remiel and Duma have renewed hope, Nyx might possibly become good sometime in the future, Ambrose Bierce wasn't mistaken for John Constantine even once in that last issue, and the Phantom Stranger got another cameo. How's that for a positive ending?

Date: 2009-08-16 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shanejayell.insanejournal.com

Yeah, this was back before DC firmly devived Vertigo and non-vertigo series. :)

Date: 2009-08-16 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fromtheaether.insanejournal.com
OTOH, in one scene of Stanley dreaming, Wesley Dodds appeared with Morpheus' speech balloons because DC wouldn't let Foglio use him. Gaiman has gone on record as saying he wouldn't have minded in this case.

This story is also the second published mention of the Heterodyne Boys (the first being a backup in Grimjack)

Date: 2010-09-19 10:56 pm (UTC)
leorising: (batvibe)
From: [personal profile] leorising
Strangely, I know of and enjoy all of the parties you've referenced. Would it be too much to ask for scans? :D

Date: 2009-08-16 12:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thandrak.insanejournal.com
Somehow, this makes perfect sense as a Vertigo comic. It has mature topics. Love. Friendship. Trust. Family.

Date: 2009-08-16 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hearthemvoices.insanejournal.com
Is this the same monster and kid who appeared in the Green Arrow: Quiver trade?

Date: 2009-08-16 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khaosworks.insanejournal.com
Don't. Just... don't. Trust me. You don't want to.

Date: 2009-08-16 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
Actually, I recently read it. First, great art by Phil Hester, but I've had time for him ever since his awesome(and criminally unreprinted) work on SWAMP THING. Second, I like Kevin Smith's method of bringing him back from the dead better than any of the other methods I've seen(I'm happy Hal is back, but my god, his convoluted return) as, for one thing, it says some things about who and what Ollie is besides someone kvetching all the time(you could argue that, in his personality, he's kind of a DC equivalent of Stark in the gap between what he practices and what he preaches and his degree of "flawed"). Third, the Stanley and his Monster stuff, while dark as hell, also, for me, worked. I cannot give it away. But it in fact is worthy of a Vertigo comic, is horrific, but also at least reaffirms and does not violate what the Monster is. (I like the idea he was a demon too nice for Hell)

I wouldn't say it's great, but I do think it's worth a read. The script is fairly witty(I'm not really a Smith fan, mind, but I do think superhero comics are just about the level he should stay at) and the conversation between Hawkman and Ollie is fun.

Date: 2009-08-16 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxhack.insanejournal.com
Actually, some of us don't like what they did to Stanley and the Monster there. In fact, I absofuckinglutely hated what Smith did to them.

Date: 2009-08-16 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kagome654.insanejournal.com
Yeah, I actually liked Quiver quite a bit, but I think Smith's take on Stanley and his Monster was needlessly dark. I'd be fine with it if they were just pastiches, but it seems that they were intended to be the actual characters, and I don't think Smith did them any favors.

Date: 2009-08-18 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
Yup, I thought the Quiver treatment was an abomination. To those who remember the original, it's a kick in the groin with a pointed steel boot, for anyone else it's not relevant enough to register, so the only people who would get the joke are those most likely to not be amused by it.

Date: 2009-08-16 12:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lonewolf23k.insanejournal.com
No. This version was actually a good story. http://www.instantrimshot.com/

Date: 2009-08-16 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aaron_bourque.insanejournal.com
Sort of. It references the "demon kicked out of hell for being too nice" thing. But the Quiver monster isn't pink.

And horrible things happened to Stanley.

Date: 2009-08-18 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lurkslikefox.insanejournal.com
Wait, so that lovely happy calvin-type boy was stuck in a jar and...


Date: 2009-08-16 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yotsuba123.insanejournal.com
Another reason to love the Foglios. This is AWESOME. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2009-08-16 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jkcarrier.insanejournal.com
IIRC, Foglio wanted to use John Constantine, but the Vertigo editor said no. Then he planned to use Willoughby Kipling (the character Morrison came up with when HE wasn't allowed to use Constantine), but they said no to that too. So finally he just created a "new" character to fill the role. Hence the jokes about everyone thinking he's Constantine, because for all intents and purposes, he is.

Date: 2009-08-16 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thokstar.insanejournal.com
I recognize those teeth: Stanley's a proto-Jaeger!

(But sadly, with no hat.)

Date: 2009-08-16 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seriousfic.insanejournal.com
He must've come up with a bad plan.

Date: 2009-08-16 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tavella.insanejournal.com
God, I loved this series. It really was a perfect reinterpretation of the idea.

Date: 2009-08-16 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mullon.insanejournal.com
Non-Girl Genius Foglio work always makes me think wrong things. Still, I would like to see him get work on a DC title, after he finishes Girl Genius.

Date: 2009-08-16 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magus_69.insanejournal.com
Your mother darns socks in Hell!

I'm sorry, but that amuses me far more than it should.

Date: 2009-08-17 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gamerguy.insanejournal.com
Loved how Kevin Smith managed to work in Stanley and his Monster into Green Arrow's revival.

Date: 2009-08-17 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joysweeper.insanejournal.com
I like Nyx's feet and horns/lekku/whatever. Also, this is just cute in general.

Date: 2009-08-17 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red_cyclone.insanejournal.com
I wonder if this is suitable for a five year old, my little brother is called Stanley and has an obsession with monsters, he'd love it. Though maybe the original would be more child-friendly

Date: 2009-08-18 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
I love the Dr. Seuss-meets-Saturday-morning-cartoons version of Hell that Stanley dreams up. It's especially clever because this is a direct result of the monster sugarcoating what the place is ACTUALLY like so his li'l buddy wouldn't get nightmares. In other words, this is one instance where filling a kid's head full of misguided notions is actually a GOOD thing - if he'd been told the truth, he wouldn't have lasted for five minutes.
Also, I have a fair amount of sympathy for Nyx. As the monster pointed out, she's a 'creature of 'evil''; she has no comprehension of any other way. Having her lover suddenly become all cuddly and family-friendly and up and leave her must have been more than just infuriating, it must have been completely baffling. As demons usually perceive things, she obviously DID love the monster - it would've been like a slap in the face for her to discover that she'd been left for the sake of a moral quality that neither she nor anyone else around her could comprehend.
Overall, good stuff. Is there any chance of scanning some of the original 'Stanley and his Monster'?

Date: 2009-08-18 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
My love of this series is unalloyed. It's a thing of beauty, charm, wit and hilarity.

Date: 2009-11-18 09:38 pm (UTC)
crabby_lioness: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crabby_lioness
Why has this not been collected?


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