Urban Monsters #1, February 2008, Image Comics
creator: Andrew Stroscher
writers: Will Wilson & Joanne Moore
artists: Tone Rodriguez & Rick Ross
colorist: Nei Ruffino
letterer: Bryan Senka
editor: Kristen Simon
Blogger's note: Entry for Saturday, March 1, 2008.
Bigfoot is in, baby. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, ever since the 1986 Childcraft Mysteries & Legends annual introduced me to the Sasquatchean lore when I was a kid. The thought of a creature that size eluding capture for so long appealed to my inner recluse, not to mention my blossoming sense of wonder for the fantastic and unknown. I suppose the mysteries of the real world were a gateway for me to embrace the more incredible tenants of science fiction and comic books.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. These recent years are well on their way to becoming comics’ Bigfoot Age, what with the big guy appearing in IDW’s 2005 Steve Niles/Rob Zombie/Richard Corben horror miniseries by the same name, to Viper Comics’ anthology Josh Howard Presents: Sasquatch, to Image’s Proof and The Perhapnauts, and now, Urban Monsters. Fortunately, avoiding Sasquatch saturation (Sasquatchuration? I called it!), Bigfoot is only one of four players in this dark comedy, joining a fish man, a satyr (half man/half goat), and a zombie on a road trip to Hollywood for an open monster casting call. Talk about your unconventional buddy story.
The premise of Urban Monsters is actually quite enthralling and frankly I wonder why it hasn’t been done before (at least, it hasn’t to my knowledge). The pitch must have been easy enough: “Imagine a world where monsters and creatures of fantasy exist openly alongside mankind!” From there, tales of horror, social inadequacy, and prejudice naturally unfold, and Urban Monsters manages to weave these themes into a very charming first issue. Indeed, each of our freakish foursome boasts unique motivations that bring them together and push them toward the road to Hollywood, from the Fishman and the Goatman’s passion to act, to the zombie’s impromptu predicament against law enforcement, to Bigfoot’s . . . well, Biggie’s really just along for the ride. He’s actually quite a lady’s man. I wonder why.
The issue takes a peculiar turn in its final few pages, as if, after the characters and their motives were sufficiently introduced, the writers had more story they wanted to cram into these inaugural pages. An ill-paced punchline about the zombie’s past created a few moments of confusion for me until I realized that it was supposed to be funny, but the pratfallish flashback panel about his unwillingness to eat brains with his zombie fraternity wasn’t distinct enough for me (i.e. no coloring or border change to indicate a different moment in time) to realize that it wasn’t a part of the page’s mainstream sequence. Suddenly, our gang is abducted by an inbred batch of werewolves that want Bigfoot to help further their race. The life of a monster really ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Which is why I can understand their reclusiveness. If you the paparazzi invade Britney’s life, and consequently ours with her manic runs to Starbucks and the gas station, imagine how they would treat Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster! I mean, the few pictures of these phenomena that we actually have are published so often it’s a wonder Bigfoot hasn’t finally come forward just to collect the residuals. He must look at urban world and, compared to his native terrain, think, “Man, it’s a jungle out there.”