I’d never heard of Glenn Jones. The blurb says that he only recently took up the banjo (which I assume means he has played the guitar for a long time?). Also, how funny is it that there are two banjo players in a row.
Jones plays 3 instrumental pieces “Tinka Marie” is a very pretty banjo instrumental (although I can’t help but feel that his high string is slightly out of tune—I find it a little jarring throughout the song). The banjo also sounds very compressed or tight or something. It’s unusual especially when compared to the expansive sound of the guitar in the other two songs.
Before “The Great Pacific Northwest,” he says that if he plays it right, “Mt. Rainier should burst right through the floor of this room.” He has a very interesting playing style. He has capoed the three bass strings, but not the higher strings. He then plays chords up and down the fretboard (leaving the capo where it is). The beginning of this song is a series of slowly played chords, which allow each individual string to sound. Then it picks up as he begins playing fast finger-picked (with a thumb pick for the bass strings) melodies.
“Of Its Own Kind” continue with that half capo style and finger picking. It has a really lovely melody, as do all three.
[READ: January 17, 2016] Melvin Monster Volume 2
Last year I really enjoyed the Moomin books which Drawn & Quarterly reprinted. Another artist that D+Q has reprinted is John Stanley. And they have made the appropriately titled The John Stanley Collection. This collection is somewhat confusingly labelled because there are collections of different characters (Nancy, Tubby, Melvin) each with multiple volumes, and it seems like maybe they are supposed to go in a certain order. And really it’s not that hard to figure out once you know the way it works, but it’s a but of puzzle if you see only a few books on the shelf at the library.
These books were originally printed as comic books. The title page says “Collected from the issues four to six of the Dell comic book series” And D+Q has retained that look perfectly. Even the paper that they have used for this beautiful book looks like comic book paper (although it is very heavy stock).
There are several stories in “Issue 4.” Baddy wants Melvin to be tough and to play football, but that doesn’t quite work out. Melvin really wants to go to school but the teacher Miss McGargoyle doesn’t want him (or any students) to come to class. She has a Beware sign in front of the Little Black School house. And yet Melvin keeps coming back.
Melvin has a neighbor/friend called Little Horror (the least clever name of the bunch). She is a witch and constantly takes Melvin on broom rides (which he hates). She is a wonderfully wicked character (so maybe her name is okay after all). Her broom takes them out of Monsterville into Humanbeanville where they frighten the populace.
Issue 5 introduces Mr Rosenose, a lodger who is very destructive. In the opening panel he is eating a sandwich that consists of two doors with Melvin in the middle. It’s up to Melvin to figure out how to get rid of him. There’s a lengthy story about a character named Crazy Klutch. Whenever Melvin misbehaves they threaten that they’ll give him to Crazy Klutch (who is revealed at the end in a good punchline). This issue also has the return of the Guardian demon Damon. Damon s a terrible guard, causing far more trouble that Melvin could ever get into on his own. Damon even eats Melvin’s ice cream.
Issue 6 begins with a very funny twist on the monster in the basement and then has a lengthy story about a mummy with no head who frightens both Melvin and Baddy–the extent of the jokes on this premise is really something and quite funny.