The Austin Chronicle

Even If You Think You Wouldn't Like A Comic Book Called 'Monsters!'

By Wayne Alan Brenner, February 5, 2014, 3:00pm, Under the Covers

Listen: This new book's humor is more gut-busting than a punch in the belly from the fist of Gojira.

It's brilliant in the way that Chuck Jones was brilliant, here with panel after panel of cartoon stories perfectly drawn and paced, like some symbiotic amalgam of Kyle Baker and Albert Uderzo working with an enchanted pen – and without any words at all. You want to devour this volume immediately before or after seeing Guillermo Del Toro's kaiju masterpiece Pacific Rim, and you want to be careful about scaring the neighbors with your involuntary bursts of laughter.

Listen: This Brazilian guy Gustavo Duarte, he's got cartoon narrative skills like Tex Avery's more talented brother from the 14th Chorp dimension – with the slightest hint of Al Columbia's macabre delights thrown in for tastier measure.

*takes deep breath*

OK, you get the idea of how highly I'm recommending this perfect-bound funnybook? Good. And, if that means anything to you, you're already on your way to purchase a copy from somewhere in town or online? Even better, because the world will be a happier place.

But, to drive the point home all intimate-like, to maybe amplify the sentiments at play here … you have time for a little background?

OK, so a few days ago I'm sitting at my paper-strewn, pixel-stained desk in the aerie of the Austin Chronicle's fabled "Westicle" building. I'm sitting there, swigging some dark & delicious Third Coast brew, and I get one of the usual emailed pitches from the Dark Horse Comics PR dudes. The email's telling me about this thing called Monsters!, some title they'd like to give a little extra boost to, and so maybe I'd take a gander at the pdf.s and see if I'd be willing to provide some journo-style pimpage …?

And I'm like, yeah, I dunno, that whole kaiju thing isn't really my cup of tea. And cartoony kaiju, well, c'mon, I'm a serious sort of person, I don't want a bunch of goofy, kiddie-comic antics bothering the carefully curated insides of my head. Y'know? And Dark Horse … ah, shouldn't they be sticking to the usual superhero folderol or more obvious movie tie-ins or whatever?

Sometimes I'm one hell of a dismissive motherfucker, yeah.

But, OK, so I'm already procrastinating three deadlines when the PR hits my inbox. And I really really really need to get back to work.

So, of course, what the hell, I click the link to give the pitch a look-see. And you've already read the beginning of this blogpost, so you already know What Happens Next.

Lesson: Never underestimate the power of the Dark Horse. Especially because they've also released a couple of other – totally unrelated – things: A couple of new books that are loaded with underground history and scholarly reporting and a wealth of artwork … new books that are also worth checking out.

But I'd better tell you about those things later.

Because the deadlines, friend: OMG, they're baaaaaaack.

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