Did You Hear the One About ...

Famous Urban Legends
Are Illustrated in Comics

By J. Stephen Bolhafner
Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sunday, February 19, 1995

The Big Book of Urban Legends
Adapted from the works of Jan Harold Brunvand

NOTE: I included this review primarily because this was the first of the "Big Book" series from DC's Paradox Press.

YOU'VE HEARD some of the stories here. Probably the person who told you the story said it was true, that it happened to someone they knew. Some of these tales have even been printed in newspapers. But none of them are true.

They're urban legends, collected by Jan Harold Brunvand into several books over the years. Now comes "The Big Book of Urban Legends," which turns 200 of the best stories into one-page comics stories adapted by Robert Loren Fleming and Robert F. Boyd Jr., with different artists for each story.

The result is a smorgasbord of styles that fairly represents the variety to be seen in black-and-white comics (as opposed to the more familiar color comics, mostly featuring superheroes and mostly featuring a very limited range of artistic style).

There are veterans here like Dick Giordano, who has been doing comics since the '50s, and Trina Robbins, one of the founders of the underground comix movement.

There are also newcomers like Scott Cohn, who was not yet born when Trina Robbins published her first comic.

If you haven't read any of Brunvand's books, or even if you have, this book is a lot of fun. Since each page is a different story (actually, there are a few two-pagers), it makes a perfect bathroom book.

A warning for those with weak stomachs, though: a few of the tales are a bit grisly and are illustrated appropriately.