Monsters! and Other Stories

Monsters! and Other Stories

by Gustavo Duarte (artist and cover artist)

Bizarre, dark, humor. That sums up Monsters! and Other Stories quite well. In this 152 page trade paperback graphic novel, Gustavo Duarte lays out three stories that are an adventure for the eyes and the imagination. The thing is, there are no words. It’s a silent cartoon. Every word is told through the expressions emoted by the characters. Their actions tell the story. And yes, it does tell a story, three of them in fact.

“Có!” tells the story of a pig farmer enjoying a simple night in front of his tv with a bottle of vodka. Then something happens. The power goes out. Outside, there’s a bright light. The pigs begin yelling. He goes to investigate and what he sees begins a strange tale involving aliens, chickens and death. The artwork is beautiful in its own right. It’s a cartoon, but it evokes such emotion and detail, such character, that it’s a thing of beauty. Gustavo even manages to put the same level of expression in the pigs as he does the pig farmer. All if it done with barely any color. Throughout the entire graphic novel, there are only three colors used: black, white and teal. Yet with just those three colors, Gustavo is able to make the art pop and come to life off of the page.

Preview page from Dark Horse Comics showing the beginning of “Monsters!” Note the simplicity of the colors.

“Birds” follows a similar theme to “Có!”. The story starts with two cheery birds living life like normal humans. They live in houses, drive cars, wear clothes and go to work. But a normal day in the office turns into a nightmare as a body stumbles through the door and they begin seeing death at every turn. Like “Có!”, there’s dark humor. Yet the last panel is very intriguing in its imagery. It shows death on a park bench eating some food and watching two little birds similar to the ones that were humanized in the story. That one little image puts a different spin on what happened, and raises the possibility that the whole thing was just death having a daydream. Like many of the images, it’s thought provoking.

“Monsters!” wraps up the book by tapping into the iconic Godzilla. A giant monster runs amok on land, leaving destruction in its wake. But then there’s tentacles, and soon another giant monster pops up. And another. Chaotic scenes ensue. Then enters an unexpected hero: the bartender. With some ingenuitive resourcefulness, he deals with the monsters. As the story comes to an end, the plot thickens as they say, and the old man of Pinos Bar has yet one more story to add to his very eventful life.

Without any words, the images convey their own story. The expressive characters go a long way in telling that story. While the preview doesn’t show what happens, one fish leads to a bigger fish…that happens to be a Godzilla monster (as pictured on the cover).

All the three stories are fun, beautifully drawn, and have a wicked sense of humor. There’s an undeniable depth to the imagery, and it’s interesting to see the old silent tradition of storytelling being kept alive in such a enjoyable fashion. While Monsters! and Other Stories might not be for everyone, it’s still worth checking out. For some, you’ll want to study the style of the artwork. For others, you’ll simply want to stand back in awe at the craft. As a lover of art, I was certainly drawn in by it. The visuals really are outstanding. Yet all the imagery comes together to convey a story that’s one part Stephen King and two parts The Far Side. I give it a four out of five metal bikinis as a wonderful work of art and a fun collection of stories. Be sure to shop around online as there are some pretty good deals for it.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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