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The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

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03/30/23The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories(Blog) (Forum).Tim Burton.
Note: This review was posted on March 29, 2023. The earlier timestamp on the blog is because this is a recycled blog page. There were 99 views from the previous blog on this page. -cb
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, by Tim Burton.
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, by Tim Burton.

I bought this in 1997 shortly after it was released. Partly because it was by Tim Burton which made me curious, and partly because I used to love finding anything that sounded like it might be even marginally superhero-like. Um... well, score one for Tim Burton, because superheroes these ain't. Although of all of them, Mummy Boy has strong potential for it... or did until he went to the park. So sad, but y'know what, read the story and see for yourself.

"Story." About that...

Burton definitely experimented with that term here. This book is 117 pages with 23 stories, and although I haven't tried retyping it out, I bet it could all fit on 24-28 pages. Maybe less if you don't include the pictures.

"Really?" you're thinking.

Well, I couldn't remember if I had read it all, and I sat down and read the entire book in 15-30 minutes. So, yeah, really.

A couple of the stories were no more than a line of text with a picture. A couple were short, four-line rhymes. A few were rhymes spread out over a few pages, and some were just a picture on the left page, with a sentence-or-two on the right page. Much like a children's book, but with darker humor. Some of it was non-sensical, and some of it was there just to be weird and shocking. Nothing wrong with either of those, but looked at objectively, you just kind of go, "Huh?" Maybe I just needed to be in a different mood for them- I remember enjoying them before.

Mummy Boy
Mummy Boy

I do think one of the funniest things about the book is that "Staring Girl" is followed by "The Boy With Nails in His Eyes," and that is followed by "The Girl With Many Eyes." There's something supremely dark humored just about that arrangement. Following that, I'm surprised that "Voodoo Girl" isn't immediately followed by "The Pin Cushion Queen."

There are two stories each of Oyster Boy and Stain Boy, and those aren't together either. Thinking about this, and the odd assortment of characters, I'm left wondering what this would have been like if it had been done as an anthology-style graphic novel. Would it be the sort of cult-classic book favorite that it is today? Or would it be just another weird comic book from the Nineties? It would be cool if someone would pick it up to adapt it as a graphic novel now.

Oh! Before I forget: the score. I can't explain it, but this little hardcover is a satisfying weight and thickness- it makes you feel like you're reading something more substantial than it is. But... that's just it- there's not much there. It was fun and all, but I would have liked to have seen more Burton weirdness crammed into these 100+ pages. Minus one star for that. Final score: four stars.

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In the meantime, I think that in the back of my mind, I might have a fan-story brewing to continue Mummy Boy. Cheers.

Have you read The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories? Let me know!
Tell me if this works: .Mummy Boy, by Tim Burton (Revisited).