A pantomime is a terrible thing to waste.
I am sorry. When I picked up Monsters! and Other Stories, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Now, I won’t spoil anything, but I can’t talk about the comic without using words like “charming” and “surprising.” This won’t take anything away from your experience, but you won’t be quite so caught off guard as I was.
Gustavo Duarte is incredible. With no dialogue at all, he brings three very different stories to life. The first story, “Có!,” is a surreal, little tale of alien abduction and chickens. The second story, “Birds,” is a neat exploration of the notion of fate and bird businessmen attempting to escape it. Monsters! is an odd, little tale of giant monsters and the old man who is our only chance to stop them. While each of these stories has a strong plot, they are more interested in the comedy that can come from expressive characters in odd situations.
It is tempting to focus on the terrific art in these stories, but the stories are masterfully put together. The plots are tight and the characters are interesting, despite the total lack of dialogue or any other “writing.” This is the result of the brilliant art. What Duarte’s art has allowed him to do is cut out every extraneous word, until the whole story comes across with a glance or a clever, little panel.
This is a great example of what this medium can do. The stories here rely so completely on the art that they couldn’t work the same way anywhere else. I loved this collection.
Four and a Half Adorable Monsters! out of Five