I’m a little late for reviewing this comic, but even though it is promoted as a “Halloween Spooktacular” it really can be enjoyed at anytime of year. After the ambitious variety of specials released by Rebellion last year, we only get a couple this year. This is the first Monster Fun special released (for the new generation) but it is really a follow up to the previously released Cor!! Buster specials under a “new” name. Nearly half the stories here, the new incarnations have appeared in the other specials, most with the same creative teams too, such as Gums, Sweeney Toddler and Creature Teacher to name a few. The Monster Fun name is more fitting for Halloween, and also I think more appealing for a new audience for an ongoing comic. Cor!! Buster is a bit more clunkier if you aren’t aware of the history of comics, and wouldn’t mean a lot to young readers, whereas a book advertising as fun with monsters I can see it enticing the readers. The exciting thing is this is becoming a regular comic beginning in April 2022, it will be coming out every 2 months. Way back in 2017 when the first Misty & Scream! Special came out, I speculated that if things went well we may see the return of regular issues, although it is not Misty & Scream it is heartening to see a new British comic ongoing. Monster Fun will be joining The Phoenix and Beano as another choice for young readers.
As for the contents themself, this is all strong stuff and jam packed with stories (20 in total), mostly shorter humour strips but we also get a longer more drama tale with The Leopard From Lime Street (by Simon Furman and Laurent Lefauvre). The return of teen Billy Farmer as the leopard was one of my favourites here, it quickly gives a run down of how Billy got his powers, introduces his family and friends, then sets a new plot with the villain Totem. It was nice that they kept the classic title banner as well. Fans of Tom Paterson will be delighted to see he is not only responsible for the cover but 3 stories inside as well, Sweeny Toddler, Gah! The Gobblin’ Goblin and Grimly Feendish, my personal favourite being the latter as Grimly’s plan to sneak monsters into Funstation 5 console boxes to give to people doesn’t go quite as planned. Hell’s Angel (by Chris Garbutt) is also a fun strip where cute little demon Helly causes her dad trouble by being to nice in Hell. Frankie Stein (by Cavan Scott and John Lucas), introduces the book as the editor and also gets the first strip of the book where he is entered into a Monster of the Year competition at the Evil Scientist Convention. Part of the fun of that story is spotting all the background characters at the convention, including Missy (Doctor Who), Willy Wonka, Dr Evil, The Spider and The Monarch and Dr Girlfriend (The Venture Brothers).
That’s only a small selection of the stories on offer, in the comic, there’s plenty of other good reads in here. It is aimed at an 8-13 age range, and there is young humour (plenty of puns) as well as modern references (mobiles and social media are very present), but certainly older readers can enjoy it too. I hope that the ongoing will gather support and be successful as it is high quality and nice to see more ongoing comics available for young readers. The subscription to the new comic (or if you want to buy just the Halloween comic to check it out) is available here: https://monsterfun.co.uk/