Created by Dick Briefer
“I hate complicated cases. Dey gimme a migraine.”
We’re way out of the woods with this one, folks.
One-eyed, fedora-and-trenchcoat wearing MIKE MONSTER, billed as “the most monstrous shamus of all!” was concocted to satisfy the allegedly “red-blooded, ferocious” readers of ZANY (a would-be rival of MAD Magazine back in the fifties, who might not be satisfied by the “wishy-washy or panty-waisted” P.I.s of the time.
Just in case the giant orb in the middle of his forehead didn’t make him distinctive enough, artist Dick Briefer made Mike an over-sized galoot who was anywhere from seven to maybe ten feet tall (depending on the panel).
His one appearance, “Mike Monster–Private Eye” was all very Spillane-ish, narrated in prose so over-boiled purple Prince would be jealous, and top-loaded to jokes, puns and non-sequitirs laid on so thick in its three pages you could probably read them with your fingers. It was some crazy nonsense about, well… just read the damn thing.
Another Mike monster story was promised on the mock-pulp cover title page, with the promising title of “The Victim Who Was Murdered Four Times” (and credited to “Mickey Spitoone”) but of course it was yes, just another gag.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Assuming Dick Briefer didn’t just draw the Mike Monster, but also wrote it, that is…he’s famous among comic nerds as one of the best and most innovative cartoonists of the Golden Age, the bulk of his fame resting squarely on his three very different interpretations of Frankenstein’s Monster. But Briefer also deserves kudos for creating Keri Krane, arguably the first hard-boiled female private eye in comics.
(1958-59, Candar Publishing)
Black & white
- “The Case of the Screaming Chicken Flicker” (March 1959, Zany #3; aka “Mike Monster–Private Eye.”)
- The Horrors of It All
“A celebration and appreciation of 50’s Pre-Code Comic Horro and More.” You can read the story here.
- MAD About You Department: What, me shamus?
Parodies and satires of TV Eyes in MAD Magazine
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Kudos to the guys at THOIA for re-unleashing this madness upon the world.