You should have a pretty easy time knowing whether or not you’d be inclined to like this book from the title alone, and I’m happy to tell you that the contents more than live up to it. Emi has been doing mini comics on this theme for a few years now, and she took her chance to edit this anthology and ran with it, doing a really fantastic job of picking out/accepting these stories. I should say up front that I have no patience for those stupid “ghost hunting” shows with the shaky cams and the loud noises and won’t believe that aliens have visited us until I see solid proof (which is not the same thing as declaring that no other life exists in the universe), but overall this isn’t that type of book. These are all, as Emi says in the introduction, unsolved mysteries, so the reader doesn’t get the satisfaction of getting the story neatly tied up in a bow by the end. Instead you’re left wondering what the hell happened for these 32 stories. If you’re a naturally curious person and/or at all interested in the weird and bizarre then you’ve probably already stopped reading this and ordered a copy. For those of who are too polite to quit reading in the middle of the review (and it’s OK if you do, I’ll never know), subjects include a mysterious gelatinous goo that rained down on a town, the monster with 21 faces, an unexplained shower of meat from the sky, an arcade game that quickly came and went in 1981 under mysterious circumstances, a tumor that was bigger than the carrier, Gef (of which I will say no more but this may have been the most intriguing tale in the book), that weird hum in the air that some people can hear all the time, the Nain Rouge and his continuing destruction of Detroit, the money pit of Oak Island (which some bored billionaire should look into), creepy kids with black eyes trying to enter homes, the Leatherman and theories of who he might have been, unsolved murders at a campsite, the former Prime Minister of Australia vanishing while swimming, the missing body of Addie Mae Collins, why 9 campers in Siberia ran from the safety of their tent (sometimes barefoot) and why they never went back to it, two bodies and their lead masks, Rasputin (an oldie but a goodie), Frederick Valentich and the UFO that seemed to by toying with him, D.B. Cooper and his disappearance (it’s an ever funnier story to anybody who watched Justified this season), a bridge where 600 dogs have committed suicide, the Axeman, and a serious skeleton in the closet of Orson Welles (possibly). DC comics used to do a series of “Big Books” on various subjects, and after seeing this I’d suggest that they start it up again and put Emi in charge. Not every story was perfect, granted, but good luck not having several of these stories haunt your dreams. Also good luck on not taking to the internet to learn more about them, as I already know how I’m spending the rest of my afternoon. And look at that pile of talent in the tags section! Why would you possibly need any more convincing to check this out? $12
The Mystery of the Light Shining Out of That Tower For Some Reason
You know, pseudonyms in small press comics probably aren’t a bad idea these days. It’s easy enough to find way too much information about just about anybody through a simple Google search, so there are bound to be a few things that you put into comics in your 20’s that you might not want people to see when you’re in your 40’s. That’s just my roundabout way of confirming that “Bobby Mono” is not the real name of this man. Or woman, as it isn’t his/her real name. Anyway, that title is one for the ages, and the back cover keeps the illusion going that this is part of a series of books aimed at children aged 10-14, complete with several other fake titles of other volumes. I’m not going to spoil a single one of them here, but there are some real doozies in that pile. Now that we’ve established what this comic is not (and I loved his note on the inside cover apologizing for the deception), what exactly is it? It’s a pile of short comics, most of which are in full color. Stories in here include George Washington and his cherry tree (if his dad had different punishment methods), an utterly unexpected version of Bobby looking for love in all the wrong places, the actual ending of “A Christmas Carol,” the Beard Fairy determining who gets to have a beard, a story about a ninja (which you’ll enjoy for the ending, or not, depending purely on what you find funny), “this is no tunnel,” babies in trouble and some mildly realistic Super Mario Bros. action. There’s also a handy chart on which beards have been deemed acceptable by Bobby, but you may be dismayed to learn that the only two options are a regular moustache or no facial hair at all. This lazy shaver would disagree, but I’m far too lazy about such things to make a fuss. What about the accidental beard? I guess that mostly happens to hobos. Overall this is a pile of funny stuff, and the guy obviously has enough love for the old video games that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Yes, I am shallow, but the other funny stuff should help the rest of you folks along. $6, unless you see him at a convention or something. Full color books aren’t cheap.