March 4, 2012

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Monsters Are Just Like Us

Written by Super Ugly
Illustrated by Super Ugly
Action Lab

You may think that monsters have an easy life, free from every day concerns.  But you would be dead wrong!  Writer-artist Super Ugly shows many people the error of their ways in this short graphic novel that proves that monsters are just like us!

I picked up a Super Ugly sketchbook last year at the Comics Geek Speak convention, and I really enjoyed his offbeat drawing style and sense of the absurd. His drawings, which echo the kind of illustrations you might find in a children's book, work perfectly in this premise.  The monsters here are appropriate for all ages, with laughter coming from both the drawings themselves and the situations that Super Ugly chooses for them.

Each monster is paired with a situation that reminds us of a common human failing, such as overcooking the hamburgers or wearing improper clothing when working out.  My personal favorite is the one I selected to go along with this review, about paper jams in copiers.  Who knew that monsters were just as unthinking as some human co-workers can be?

Super Ugly crafts his monsters to look like they all belong in the same world, but, as with human beings, they come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, based on a template that makes them a cross between Where the Wild Things Are and some of the Sesame Street Muppet Monsters.  All of the colors are bright and eye-catching, making the monsters pop from their background settings and draw the reader's eye to them.  They are also given pretty expressive features, all while silently displaying the familiar scene given to them.

In some ways, this is like a sketchbook with a theme and a smattering of text.  Given how much fun Super Ugly's creatures are to look at, I have no problem with that premise at all.  This is not so much a comic book as it is a set of illustrations, which is why the comparison to a children's picture book is so apt.  In fact, my only mild qualm about giving this book to a youngster to read is the use of beer in one of the situations.  Some parents may want to look this over first before giving it to a younger reader.  Otherwise, it is just about note perfect as an all-ages title.

Filled with fun monsters and subtle humor, Monsters are Just Like Us is a cute book that deserves a place on your shelf.  My understanding is that it is available now for ordering.  Why not starting finding out how similar you are to a monster today?

A big thanks to Action Lab for providing me a copy of this book for review purposes.  If you are interested in having me review a comic for you, please drop me a line at trebro@gmail.com.