The Super-Scary Monster Show Featuring Little Gloomy
The Super-Scary Monster Show Featuring Little Gloomy is quite a big title for this digest-sized book. Writer Landry Walker and artist Eric Jones have tried several different formats for their tales of baby monsters, but this one may be the best yet, suitable for little hands sneaking it under the covers late at night.
Gloomy lives in an odd land populated by kid versions of the Universal monsters (Frank the Monster, Larry the Wolfman, the Mummy) and Carl Cthulhu, a young version of the eldritch monster who loves bunnies. (Don’t worry, an illustrated rhyming introduction explains all this to the new reader.) Carl’s an audience favorite, because his goal in life — “to completely subjugate every last living soul on the planet” — is so at odds with his personality.
Bad-tempered, vengeful Gloomy is a hoot to read. Upon nearly being flattened by a crashing flying saucer, her response is to yell at the alien visitor for destroying her garden. She’s unconcerned by the alien’s threats, because her entire world is out to get her. (I have days where I feel like that.) Her best friend is Evey, the Rotten Little Witch, who is also trying to kill her. And often, her straight-to-the-point attitude is the best defense she has.
The big-headed designs are adorable, and they contrast nicely with the underlying death and destruction behind many of the characters. The visible shading lines and newsprint paper give this a handmade feel, much like several of the monsters. Speaking of which, in a wordless story, Frank tries to improve himself the Frightsylvania way — by building a new body. But there are no shortcuts, as he finds out. The stories are short, just the right length to pack a punch (and a punchline), and cartoon-like in their setup and action. (Which might account for the creators’ desire to see it as an animated show.)
Walker and Jones will next be doing a new kids’ comic called Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade. (The publisher provided a review copy.)