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I’m back to Image Comics today with a book that I grabbed on my comics/graphic novel sale excursion this weekend. I’m always finding gems on sale…one of the ways I’m able to afford all of these books I review, in case you were wondering.
Title: Monster Zoo
Author(s): Doug TenNaple
Publisher: Image Comics (2008)
Age Rating: 13+
The start of this book gives off some serious Jaws vibes. A man, in search of a way to financially save his zoo, excavates some crazy large cursed animal artifact from Africa, and brings it back to his zoo as a main attraction. His greed does bring people through the gates, but the artifact ultimately infects many of the animals in the zoo, causing them to become crazy dangerous powerful beasts. Ahhh…greed.
The cast of characters comes straight out of a bad horror film: the protagonist duo of shy nerd and gross, farting friend; the nerd’s high school crush and the tough guy she happens to be with on a date at the zoo; a mysterious woman trying to help the kids survive; and monsters. And when I say bad horror film, I do not mean that as a bad thing; we all enjoy a mindless romp through fart jokes and monster attacks from time to time.
What makes this book stand out is the art. Todd McFarlane writes an introduction to the book, and he states, “A thousand brush strokes are not necessary if a dozen will suffice. Doug knows this simple truth and has honed it to near perfection.” I completely agree. This book serves as a lesson for young artists looking to minimize their crafting of line. TenNapel shades when necessary, uses heavy black when necessary, and splashes amazing silhouettes throughout the book for dramatic effect. It’s great. May I compare it to Scorsese directing some old campy monster story? TenNapel brings a bit of flare and originality to a genre that is usually a little stale.
Check this one out for the black and white art, y’all! And while it’s about zoo animals becoming monsters and attacking folks, it’s very PG-13, so don’t fear this one in your classroom. Unless you are against fart jokes because there are a good number of those.
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