Monster Fun Easter Special (2022) – Various

3 out of 5

Bearing the same overall pluses and slight negatives of the preceding Halloween Special, the Monster Fun Easter Special pushes towards less single page gags and less scatology – both changes of which I’m definitely in favor. That doesn’t mean these are all ongoing stories, or that we’re avoiding boogers and farts completely, but it allows the creatives a bit more room to develop humor over 3-page strips, and the gross-out stuff is just a component of the otherwise energized art and goofy writing.

However, a couple of notes: this is an Easter Special in which only a couple of the stories actually mention Easter. I get that that wasn’t exactly the idea, but the Halloween Special was a natural fit for horror; if you’re not going to actually theme around a holiday, perhaps just calling it a Spring Special would be sufficient, and / or if this is actually going to be an ongoing title, determine some kind of naming scheme that works year ’round. The book talks up Easter in the lead-in, and some stories do deal with it, so it just feels a little loosey-goosey.

Also, I hate to nitpick on design, since some of that is very subjective, but the purple / orange scheme of the editorial / games pages is very offputting. I’m supposing it’s meant to be purposefully odd, and is rather box-of-crayons childish, but the exact tones used are just disruptive, and also somehow cheap looking – very flat. Enhancing this is the lettering that’s used, which is a font that crowds some letters together, and puts odd spaces after F’s and T’s. I really, really don’t understand this choice – again, I think it’s going for something playful? – as it makes some sections hard to read. That it’s also applied as the lettering in some of the strips just doubles down on it; it looks like an independently printed book as opposed to something put out by Rebellion.

Tack this on to the aforementioned pre-existing (slight) negatives of some strips flubbing the tone and having mismatched joke timing, and it’s slightly less exciting than the Halloween book. However, with some visual cleanup, I do think the longer strips and less gross-out based humor is the way to go.