Originally posted on Irish Comic News (22/Feb/2019)
Monochrome Menace #2
Turncoat Press return with the latest instalment of the Monochrome Menace anthology and its particular mixture of horror and humour.
The anthology opens with ‘Tomb It May Concern’ by Emmet O’Brien (writing) and David Butler (art and lettering). The creative team clearly like a challenge (or torturing themselves!) with the story located in the darkness of neighbouring cemetery plots. The story follows the six-feet under neighbours as they attempt to come to terms with their current situation. Between the enjoyable dialogue and a variety of angles used throughout the story, things avoid become dull which could easily happen. The story doesn’t have any action sequences or a variety backgrounds to make use of. The team have to make the most of what they can within the limitations the story places upon them. A good start to the anthology.
‘Long Overdue’ is next up. Written by Emmet O’Brien, with art by Keith Kennedy and letters provided by Charlie Aabo. This one is a one-page story where a summoning goes awry due to unforeseen circumstances. The lettering does well with providing the reader with an immediate cue that the summoning has gone awry. Equally the art is changed ever so slightly with how areas of black are applied to change the atmosphere of the room. I did chuckle at the final panel and how the summoning of some unholy creature was ultimately thwarted.
The anthology feature a number of ‘Last Zombie on Earth’ single panel gags/jokes (written by Emmet O’Brien and drawn by Brian Walsh). I liked the art style for theses panels. It really works well with the tone of the jokes. Bit of a mixed bag of jokes but it has the potential to run and run (as zombies tend to do!) over future instalments of the anthology.
Dylan Fitzgerald takes over writing duties on ‘Nibbles’ with Brian Walsh providing the art and lettering. It was interesting to see Walsh change their style from that of the ‘Last Zombie on Earth’ artwork. There’s a good contrast in the art between the quieter moments and those where the horror is dialled up. The story takes place one year after the ‘ani-pocalypse’, an event where animals became feral as a result of a diet consisting of ‘Anim-all’ pet food. The story follows events as two men arrive at Mrs. Hacketts home to test her dog Scamp after it ate Anim-all but remained tame. Some of the dialogue was little confusing on first read as it gave the impression in some panels that the three characters were each having monologues rather than engaging in conversation. That said I did enjoy how the story played out. The art also had some really good panels that conveyed a strong sense of horror and dread.
‘Under The Hammer Horror’ changes things up with illustrated poetry. Written by Emmet O’Brien, illustrated by Cethan Leahy, with letters and design by Alice Coleman. The poem sees Dracula attempting to sell his estate due to financial difficulties. There’s plenty of wordplay throughout the poem to provide the humour for this entry in the anthology. The page design and accompanying illustrations really help the poem feel like it’s part of the book rather than stick out like a sore thumb.
The last story of the anthology is ‘Murder Charge’. Written by Emmet O’Brien with art and lettering by Vasco Georgiev. This one is a two page story that sees a man pursued by a cyborg/android. It’s a really well drawn story with some really nice angles used for some of the panels. I did enjoy how survival was only possible due to poor design of the cyborg/android.
Monochrome Menace offers quite a variety of stories in issue two. No two stories are the same, and the visuals equally have good mix of different styles on offer.
It’s great to see small press anthologies have so many people involved and to be given some flexibility on how they interpret the theme.
Monochrome Menace #2 is available to buy in both Comic Vault and Waterstones in Cork city. To order the book online, you can make contact via the Spook Screen Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.