Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures!
Posted 15 Nov 2009
Writer: Chris Wisnia
Artist: Chris Wisnia (with an all-star pinups section)
Ink: Chris Wisnia; Dick Ayers
4.00 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Adam McGovern
With America’s winning of the crossover event called World War II and the global domination that followed came a permanent sense of paranoia and pecking orders, with wide swaths of America checking the skies for flying saucers and going to the drive-in to get scared by giant monsters, all closing in to be even bigger than we were and take our stuff. It is in the ’50s/’60s golden age of free-floating anxiety that Chris Wisnia’s Doris Danger dwells and prowls.
The monster-abducted everywoman of not-all-it-seems America, she is an intrepid journalist who travels the world trying to prove that unearthly creatures exist and are out to get us. The thrills and cosmic slapstick that ensue are a kaleidoscope of Lee/Kirby midcentury monster-schlock, B-movie multiculturalism and superspy potboilerplate, all guided by the unerring accidents of creator Chris Wisnia’s free-associative word-processor and pencil. Sometimes the pen is provided by vintage Atlas-monster artist Dick Ayers himself, and Doris’ adventures are packed with backpage pinups by the finest names in funnybook horror, from John Severin to Mike Mignola.
It’s adventure and laughs so big it was meant to be stuffed into a five-by-seven digest, which is just what leading experts on the indescribable SLG have done with this bargain compendium of all Doris’ published archives to date. The format works for extending the series’ basement-printed, secretly-circulated ethos and the self-destruct style Wisnia brings to his headlong pulp-dada storylines.
Doris is caught in the crossfire of apocalyptic beasts and dystopian authorities and wise-yet-cryptic sages and simply-crass conspiracy nuts; lost on the road between the repressed fever dreams of the Eisenhower era and the rampant hallucinations of the counterculture; macheteing her way from perils-of-Pauline pre-feminism to the faroff era of Ripley and Steinem. But get entranced by enough of the twisted plots and crazed spectacle she encounters and you may find yourself no longer wanting to escape.