Gross Point #11, May 1998, DC Comics
writer: Matt Wayne
penciller: Joe Stanton
inker/letterer: Roger Landridge
colorist: Ian Laughlin
editor: Martin Pasko
Don't judge a book by its cover. We've all heard it. Gross Point proves it. When I read the cover's teaser, "He turns into a monster at the touch of a pretty girl!" I assumed that Gross Point was a modern horror/humor comic, perhaps featuring two or three tale of macabre science fiction/fantasy. No way that concept could flesh out into a twenty-two page story, I thought. Yup. I was wrong.
Gross Point is a city (not to be confused with the real Grosse Point, Michigan, as a disclaimer carefully explains) with plenty of dirt, demons, and dilapidation, contrasted by the bright, clean neighborhood Collier Bluff. Meat (yes, that's his name) and Terri are from opposite sides of the street, but not the sides you would think. Terri is from Gross Point, but the only abnormality about her is her eagerness to take her relationship with Meat to the next level. Meat refuses to dare venture to even first base because, you guess it, "he turns into a monster at the touch of a pretty girl." He convinces Terri that he's in the drama club at school -- why this would sedate her, I have no idea -- so when Terri ditches school to confirm his claim, Meat quickly stumbles into his school's all girl performance of Julius Caesar. "Hilarity" ensues as Meat tries to avoid the grabby girls and the school bully, until he finally makes amends with Terri. Now, I don't mean he tells her the truth; he just comes up with another lame excuse to avoid her pesky touch, at least for another issue. The story is, as I surmised when I realized its length, pointless.
Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe Gross Point was intended for a younger audience. It is illustrated like a Mad Magazine strip. However, its narrative contains carefully scribbled expletives, which look more like the letterer's mistakes than strategic swearing. Even as a kid, I could've assumed which bad words the writer intended, using context clues. So is the creative team that careless, or was Gross Point really intended for the sophisticated, steadfast comic collector? Heck, this story references the title's own continuity more than some mainstream superhero books I've read, as if each issue isn't episodic. As if each issue didn't feature some goofy Gross Point freakshow. What I presumed to be a simple read became more complicated than I anticipated.
So, Gross Point was neither horrific or comedic. It was just plain disappointing. It barely falls under the "Halloween review" category -- all trick, no treat. Now I'm in a sour mood. "He turns into a grouch at the touch of a bad comic book!"