Small Press Sunday: Strange Kids Club
Here at Comic Booked, one of our main goals is to spotlight some great small press publishers. That is what Small Press Sunday is all about. This week, we enter some territory that should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the 1980’s and yet this take on things is a little bit different. Strange Kids Club is the magazine that connects the dots between childhood and adulthood bu taking the toys, TV, and movies of our childhood and creating the perfect combination of art, farts, boogers, and fun.
Rondal Scott, the creator of Strange Kid and editor of Strange Kids Club Magazine, sent me copies of issue #3 and #4 to review. When I opened them, I was really not sure what to expect. As I read through each one, I was amazed at the feelings that came back to me about the toys and things that I enjoyed when I was a kid. Everything from He-Man to Teddy Ruxpin to ALF to Rambo is either discussed, parodied, or in some other way molested in this series. The content is high quality and funny but also dark and scary at times, kind of like those recesses of our minds where we know these thoughts hide but could never bring our selves to admit to their existence.
From the cover of Strange Kid Comix Magazine #3, I knew that this was going to be a trip through my childhood. The characters of Hulk Hogan, Lion-O, ALF, Skeletor, and Inspector Gadget brought back the memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons. Once I opened the cover, all that changed. The mix of stories and cartoons was intense. A story from the Twin Peaks universe featuring Strange Kid’s boogers, twisted adver-tainment with such things as Monster Lab and Kool-Aid, and even some informational tidbits and interviews made this an all around great read. There were two awesome comics combining Ghostbusters with other characters like Strange Kid and Beetlejuice, and it was nothing but gross fun.
Issue #4 had a name change to Strange Kids Club Magazine and was definitely darker. I thoroughly enjoyed the articles reviewing the wonderful toys of the 80’s like Monster Lab and Madballs. The interview with James Groman, the designer behind Madballs, Barnyard Commandos, and My Pet Monster, was equally interesting.
The best part of Issue #4 was definitely the story “Cassette Death”. This twisted and gruesome tale combines the innate creepiness of Teddy Ruxpin, a battery operated teddy bear that moved and talked when you placed a special cassette tape in a player on its back, and satanic heavy metal. The artwork is so cool, both gruesome and intricate. The story was straight from the fears that every child had that, one day, the toys would come to life… and then what? I loved the fact that Ruxpin grows spider legs and uses a Rubix Cube like a cynobite puzzlebox to release Hell into the world. A morbid romp through the media culture of the 1980’s and ending with a variation of John McClane’s classic line:
I really enjoyed these issues and would recommend them for any child of the 80’s. I would even recommend this for children of the children of the 80’s, because then, just maybe, you will understand some of the references that your parents make without questioning their sanity… well, you may still question it, but Strange Kids Club Magazine may just answer the question of how we got that way in the first place. You can check out more about Strange Kids Club online.