November 19, 2011

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Dust off the Panels: All Flee!

Written by Gavin Burrows
Illustrated by Simon Gane
Top Shelf

Monsters have to go to school, too, taught by the masters of the destruction genre.  But has this new generation gone too far?  Follow the adventures of a disgruntled old city-smasher as he works in a world that's no longer his.  Can anything sooth the savage beast?  Also, beware the musical stylings and rampage of The Dorks!  Plus: Actual not-real ads!  It's all here in...All Flee!

This is a fun little book that knows when to end a joke before it becomes tiresome.  None of the stories last more than they should, and each one is filled with plenty of sight gags, verbal conflict, and just enough plot to stay interesting for the reader.  There are little touches everywhere, from mini-Godzillas with nose rings and oversized guns to the casual destruction of cities as the monsters move through their daily lives.  There are shout outs to movies and other cultural references.  In the Dorks story, we get a vision of the world where unhipness takes over, rather than the punk invasion of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

These set pieces are deftly drawn by Simon Gane, whose work reminds me favorably of Jim Mahfood.  There's an emphasis on the joke, rather than on technical drawing skills, and everything is angular in a way that's just about physically impossible.  Characters flow all over the page in almost anarchy, but they manage to get the point across in a way that works better than those with superior drawing skills.  Not a single inch of panel space is wasted, with action in every nook and cranny, making for some cool visual gags if you take the time to look.

All Flee! is a comedy with a bit of social satire, using big old monsters and social rejects to tweak the nose of the world we live in today.  If you like reading satire, you'll enjoy this mini a lot.  If you're a fan of Japanese horror monsters, so much the better.  All Flee! is a hidden gem in the Top Shelf catalog, and I'd love to see it as part of the digital line.  It definitely deserves a new set of eyes.  Keep your eyes peeled for it, and enjoy!