« I grew up in a farm town in the Midwest, where not much exciting happened. I liked the idea of lives lived at night and the shadowy characters who lived in that demi-monde. — Michael Emerson
And our final slot goes to… the eminent Mr. Roger Langridge!
An average, ‘nuclear’ family moves to a small town in the Midwest, which turns out to be mind-numbingly strange… a fact entirely lost on the clueless parental units. Sound familiar?
It’s obvious, given the time frame (five years late), that Gross Point was, to be charitable, keenly influenced by the television show Eerie, Indiana (1991-92)… whose short run (just one season and a mere nineteen episodes… plus fifteen novels!) belies its lasting appeal and influence.
But, and there’s a sizeable ‘but’… both series provide considerable, often subversive entertainment, and come from a long line of high-concept, cœlacanth-out-of-aqua sagas. You might say that Gross Point stands as a darker, yet goofier Eerie, Indiana. Incredibly, it was still approved by the clearly-agonizing, utterly irrelevant Comics Code Authority!
The facetious small print:
Gross Point is a fictitious town, not to be confused with that differently-spelled one in Michigan. The magazine Gross Point is a work of satire. The stories, characters and incidents mentioned in this magazine are entirely fictional. No resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or comatose, deformed, deranged, disfigured, dismembered, disembodied, discarnate, decaying, reincarnated, undead, immortal, reanimated, telepathic, pyritic, telekinetic, magical, transformed, trans-channelled, enchanted, cursed, possessed, monstrous, cannibalistic, demonic, vampiric, reptilian, lycanthropic, subterranean, mummified, extra-terrestrial, or interdimensionally-stranded, is intended or implied, or should be inferred. Any similarity to same without satiric purpose is coincidental.
In Issue two, we are told that:
Gross Point differs from most new DC titles in recent memory in that it was internally created. The concept from the series was the brainchild of the internal development program of the Special Projects Group, headed by Group Editor Martin Pasko [ né Jean-Claude Rochefort, in Montréal, QC ], who is also this title’s editorial overseer.
In other words, Created by committee, which accounts for the utter lack of originality… which is yet no impediment to its ultimate worth.
However, and a big However it is, some savvy, enlightened creative moves were made, most of all by recruiting stupendous penciller/inker Langridge, as well as Sean ‘S.M’ Taggart (perhaps a bit of nepotism, what with him married to a DC editor, but never mind, he’s good) and writers Dan Slott and Matt Wayne, among others.
The series lasted a not-too-shabby fourteen issues, which you can still get your calloused mitts on dirt cheap online and in the quarter bins, as it’s never been collected. I daresay it might have been a smash hit… if, say, Scholastic had published it.
Well, that wraps up another year’s selection! If you’re craving more, then the 93 entries of the previous trio of Hallowe’en Countdowns are (un)naturally at your disposal.
First there was… Hallowe’en Countdown I
And it was followed by… Hallowe’en Countdown II!
then came… Hallowe’en Countdown III!
Have a good one, warts and all — just be cautious out there!
There is no other comic book artist who stands higher to me than Will Elder. In my world, anyway, Elder (along with Kutzman’s) work in Mad was as important to my development as Woody & Groucho (which seems fitting per the issue above). So, it’s nice to see the nod to his style. I looked on ebay and I might be able to snag a copy for about $5. I might have mentioned this before, but one of my great second-hand store finds was a copy of The Mad Playboy of Art. And after I had raced home to read it, I noticed that it had been signed by the great man himself!
LikeLiked by 2 people
Hi George! I agree, of course: Elder+Kurtzman+Woody+Groucho does read like a sublime equation for subversive hilarity. I just peeked at my copy of TMPOA, and rats… it ain’t signed. Can’t win them all! I was also blessed with such serendipity with books signed by Carmine Infantino, Joe Mugnaini and Ray Bradbury (and possibly a couple more currently escaping me), so I’ve no grounds to complain!
And no, you hadn’t mentioned your lucky find — I’d know, as it’s a striking anecdote. Who gets rid of such a treasure? At least it found a very appreciative home.
[ Oh, and mycomicshop.com has Gross Point no. 5 on offer in Near Mint for 2 bucks! ]
And a most frightfully joyous Hallowe’en to you and yours!
LikeLiked by 2 people
LikeLiked by 1 person