Get ready for Dark Horse Comics’ latest skin-crawling graphic novel! GARY GIANNI’S MONSTERMEN AND OTHER SCARY STORIES by Gary Gianni follows two men as they battle the forces of evil. Benedict, wearing his signature knight’s helmet, is a seasoned monster hunter. St. Lawrence, a horror film director, is his less experienced side kick. Together, the two face yetis, soul-sucking ghouls, and vengeful ghosts. But while MONSTERMEN is full of fun and horror, it also makes you wonder what’s lurking in real life shadows.

The Dark Knight and the Filmmaker

Contrary to the title, MONSTERMEN isn’t completely terrifying. Though the illustrations are meticulously gut-wrenching at times, the writing will settle your stomach. Gianni has a knack for dry humor, and you can definitely see that wit through Benedict. Even while fighting flying demons and ancient vampires, he remains nonchalant. He’s clearly seen his fair share of creatures, but fending off demons and other monsters isn’t an easy task for one man.

Therefore, St. Lawrence joins Benedict in the first story, “Silent as the Grave.” Nobody believes Lawrence when he claims to see a womanly specter in one of his films. Little does he know; the ghost is part of a much bigger Hollywood scandal.

READ: Support more spooky comics and check out GOTHIC TALES OF HAUNTED LOVE’S Kickstarter!

monstermen
Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

Lawrence’s inexperience mixed with Benedict’s stoic skill made me laugh out loud a few times. Luckily, the two characters don’t stick to rigid character tropes. They grow over the course of the five stories, which keeps them from getting stale. Though they’re both headstrong and bicker at times, they don’t underestimate each other. Benedict, though a master in his field, does mess up a lot. He’s not a classic masculine hero who gets everything right just because he’s the protagonist. Benedict’s miscalculations make the stories much more exciting.

Perfectly Chilling Illustrations in MONSTERMEN

Gianni’s art style is perfect for the horror genre. The line work is absolutely amazing and reminds me of illustrations in antique novels. The heavy black ink and meticulous hatching bring the images to life in a gruesome way. The drawings themselves are pretty realistic, but they’re still stylized enough to be interesting and original. Gianni illustrated HELLBOY: INTO THE SILENT SEA with Mike Mignola as well, so he’s no stranger to grim and dark.

 

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

But one of the most impressive aspects of the art is that Gianni can still make Benedict expressive without ever showing his face. Posture and hands are just as important as facial cues, so the art is even more fluid. Settings and backgrounds also get as much attention as characters. It’s almost as if the scenery has a life of its own and can manipulate the panels to further suspend your disbelief.

CLICK: Love Gianni’s style? Check out Gou Tanabe’s work in H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE HOUND AND OTHER STORIES!

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

What Goes Bump in the Night

This series of stories includes some especially heinous creatures. Some are your average horror story monsters, like vampires and ghosts. But even these characters have some kind of twist, whether it be a different take on design or how they function. However, the comics don’t rely on shock factor. The five stories connect, but they also tell independent narratives in a “monster of the week” fashion.

Usually, the monsters are part of a bigger problem with humanity: greed, prejudice, jealousy, and overzealous pride. Benedict often grapples with the idea that humans usually create their own problems and blame it on unseen creatures or each other. And that thought makes it difficult to justify saving them at all.

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

Overall, I’d highly recommend MONSTERMEN AND OTHER SCARY STORIES for any horror fan, especially those who enjoy some light-hearted humor sprinkled in. The characters are easy to discern, the art is fantastic, and the stories keep your attention. And if the five MONSTERMEN stories aren’t enough, you can enjoy an additional five scary stories in the second half of the book.

Preorder MONSTERMEN AND OTHER SCARY STORIES through Dark Horse or pick it up August 9th!

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GARY GIANNI'S MONSTERMEN AND OTHER SCARY STORIES by Gary Gianni
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
GARY GIANNI'S MONSTERMEN AND OTHER SCARY STORIES is a great mix of off-color humor and downright macabre.
95 %
not just doom and gloom

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