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average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Monday Funnies 1 _ Monday Funnies 2 _ Monday Funnies 3 _ Monday Funnies 4
Monday Funnies #1
Monday Funnies #2 Monday Funnies #3 Monday Funnies #4
Monday Funnies

1977 / Monday Funnies

There were two comic anthologies titled Monday Funnies, one based out of Portland and one out of San Francisco, and though they launched less than three years apart, they are unrelated to each other. The first of these two anthologies was based in San Francisco and ran four issues in 1977, all of them printed in a tabloid newprint format.

The San Francisco Monday Funnies was an amateur-driven publication and on that level, it's a pretty decent one. The artists are mostly competent and sometimes much better than competent and some of the writing is pretty funny. In my estimation, the series improved with every issue and it's a shame it didn't continue publishing.

Wes Jenkins, who went on to a very successful, multidimensional design career, provides some fine comic illustrations in the book, though his comic strip stories are rather average. Raffaelo (yes, just one name) is an accomplished illustrator as well, though his appearances in Monday Funnies have little to do with comics. David and Julene Deluca contribute a bizarre serial comic story called "The Adventures of Mr. Noseholes," which features photo montage with clumsy but somehow endearing inkwork, starring an offbeat character with oversized nostrils. This might have developed a cult following if it had run longer and gotten more widespread exposure.

Two recurring comic strips are the most "comic strippy" things in Monday Funnies. One is Jim Pearson's "Those Madcap Monsters," a spoof featuring Frankenstein's monster and a werewolf as ordinary guys...except of course they're still monsters. The strips start out as four-panel strips with one joke and expand to a full-page (tabloid-size) stories in the second issue. There's some decent stuff to be found in Pearson's work.

My favorite strip is "Business Man" by Mark Rademacher, which begins in issue two and also appears on page three of the final two issues. It stars Millard Milvan, a timid company clerk who can change into the powerful superhero Business Man by ingesting a radiation-infused Maalox tablet. When he changes into Business Man, he is capable of anything, from saving his company from financial ruin to sweeping women off their feet. But Millard only has eyes for the beautiful Lora Linsky, who naturally is not interested in the milquetoast Millard at all, but is easy prey for co-worker and ladies man Bert Verile. (The word milquetoast, by the way, is derived from a comic book character from the 1920s!)

"Business Man" is well-plotted and the Rademacher's artwork improves with each issue (and he was clearly talented from the beginning). It really is a shame that the Rademacher did not continue this comic strip in some other publication, as it had the foundation to develop into a very interesting satire. In fact, I am still pining to know what happened after Business Man cradled a drunk Lora in his arms after the office Christmas party!

Monday Funnies doesn't get a great review score because, like so many underground anthologies, the weaker work brings the score down, but the parts of it that stand out are certainly worth reading. In the final issue, there is also a hint of Art Brut-style stuff invading the comic, which might have led to more intriguing possibilities had the series continued.