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Since the creation of motion picture over a century ago, countless filmmakers have used this medium to bring their imaginations to life. While fun to see, film is still ultimately an illusion. But what if there was more to it than just a little bit of movie magic? What if those creatures and monsters on the screen were more than just props and costumes? Monster World by American Gothic Press can help answer those questions for you.
Written by Philip Kim and Steve Niles with illustrations by Piotr Kowalski, Monster World #1 is the first of a four-part mini-series that centers on a series of strange disappearances at World Studios, a famous movie studio during 1933. For this tale, we follow Detective Henry Barrymore, a stereotypical private eye who points out that everything that is happening and is about to happen to him is just like something that you would see in a movie (although I’m not really sure how many detective noir films were out around the 1930’s, meh nitpicking). After being roughed up by some gangsters over money, Henry is visited by a beautiful woman. She hires him to help find her missing husband who just so happens to be the owner of said movie studio. Along the way, Henry does some typical detective work to get the bottom of the case until he comes across something that he hasn’t seen in a movie before, real monsters.
Really solid first issue here. Been a while since I read a good noir story. As I said before, this setup and cast of characters is pretty generic for a noir story but in actuality, there is something more sinister and feral lurking around the corners to upset the narrative of this tale. I’m definitely curious to see what the mystery for these creatures is going to be. Where did they come from and how are they linked to this studio?
I really enjoyed the art here. It does a great job of helping to set the tone for the story, provide some beautiful looking backgrounds, and give us terrifying looking werewolves. I especially liked how at the beginning of the story, the first few panels are in black and white—mimicking how things would normally have been seen back then through the lens of a camera–and then everything changes to color as soon as a monster appeared for the first kill.
Monster World #1 is a really cool change of pace for the noir genre with a pretty interesting case so far involving monsters and cinema. While not perfect, I’m curious to see where this mystery is going and I’m looking forward to seeing more action with these not so camera friendly Hollywood monsters.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5 out of 10