Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Comics Review: "ELVIRA in Monsterland Volume 1 #2" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood


STORY: David Avallone
ART: Kewber Baal
COLORS: Walter Pereya
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
EDITOR: Joseph Rybandt
COVER: Dave Acosta with Walter Pereya
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2023)

Rated Teen+

Chapter Two: “Frankie Goes to Hollywood”

In 1981, actress and model Cassandra Peterson created the “horror hostess character,” known as “Elvira.”  Elvira gradually grew in popularity and eventually became a brand name.  As Elvira, Peterson endorsed many products and became a pitch-woman, appearing in numerous television commercials throughout the 1980s.

Elvira also appeared in comic books, beginning in 1986 with the short-lived series from DC Comics, Elvira's House of Mystery.  In 2018, Elvira returned to comic books via Dynamite Entertainment.  Elvira's latest comic book series is Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1.  The series is written by David Avallone; drawn by Kewber Baal; colored by Walter Pereyra; and lettered by Taylor Esposito.  The series finds Elvira returning to the Multiverse of Movies (a bunch of “pocket dimensions” created by the existence of movies) in order to stop Vlad the Impaler and the creation of a monster army.

Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1 #2 (“Frankie Goes to Hollywood”) opens in the universe of director Carl Laemmle, Jr.'s 1931 film, Frankenstein.  And Elvira finds the hands of the title character around her neck, but she has bigger problems – believe it or not.

Elvira's arch-enemy, Vlad the Impaler – the original Count Dracula – is raiding the Multiverse of Movies in order to convince a bevy of famous film monsters into joining him in the creation of a monster army.  He is also willing to kidnap and snatch-up.  Can Elvira stop Vlad – this time – before he makes off with actor Boris Karloff as Frankenstein.  Meanwhile, Elvira begins to wonder if Vlad is really the mastermind behind this.

THE LOWDOWN:  Since July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department has been providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1 #2, one of many Dynamite/David Avallone Elvira comic books that I have read and enjoyed.

I like black and white horror movies, especially of the variety known as “Universal Monsters,” so I find myself delightfully entertained by “Frankie Goes to Hollywood.”  I also like how writer David Avallone makes even Vlad the Impaler a funny guy.  Obviously, he's the villain, but there is a dexterity in the way Avallone depicts him.  He's isn't just bad muscle.

Artist Kewber Baal's art perfectly captures the humor of Elvira, the witty dialogue of Elvira, and the cleavage of Elvira.  Avallone's Elvira's comic books are a high-spirited affair, and Baal's storytelling hits the heights.  Colorist Walter Pereyra and letterer Taylor Esposito also contribute to the liveliness of this funky chapter.

Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1 #2 offers a passing reference to Return of the Jedi (1983) in addition to the Universal references.  There is even a setup reference via An American Werewolf in London (1981).  So let's return for some more fun, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Elvira and of David Avallone's Elvira comic books will want to read Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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