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The X-Files (Topps) #39 – Scum of the Earth (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

Scum of the Earth taps right into the sweet spot for John Rozum’s sensibilities.

Rozum’s work on Topps’ monthly X-Files comic book might not have been quite as ambitious as that of his predecessor, but he had his own areas of interest and recurring themes. Scum of the Earth provides the perfect intersection between the classic horror comic aesthetic of stories like The Kanashibari and Donor and the more environmentally-conscious storytelling of scripts like Skybuster or Cam Rahn Bay. It is essentially a retelling of The Blob starring Mulder and Scully, in which the blob is created by toxic waste and bio-terrorism.

The green death...

The green death…

Scum of the Earth is not particularly elegant in its storytelling. Rozum’s script covers a lot of ground in the space of a single issue, presenting Mulder and Scully with a crisis that could easily threaten the entirety of the United States. it genuinely feels like Mulder and Scully have wandered into some lost fifties b-movie, capturing a lot of the atmosphere to which Ivan Reitman seemed to aspire by casting David Duchovny in Evolution a few years later. Scum of the Earth is an exceedingly silly comic book, and unashamedly so.

It is also great fun, which is something that really can’t be undersold when you are talking about an X-Files tie-in comic book.

Swamp Thing!

Swamp Thing!

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Non-Review Review: The Blob (1958)

I’m surprised that The Blob doesn’t get more love as a late-fifties creature feature. It has all the right ingredients, from a compelling monster, a clever central metaphor and a dashing lead in Steve McQueen. Sure, the special effects haven’t aged well, and the movie occasionally veers into the realm of cheese, but it is a wonderful example of type of monster movies American studios used to churn out during the fifties – seemingly disposable little horrors that ended up a lot smarter and more sophisticated than most viewers took them for.

It came from outer space...

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