Look Out!! Monsters #1
Geoff Grogan, writer/artist
self-published, September 2008
Where did this thing come from? I was handed a copy of Look Out!! Monsters by creator Geoff Grogan’s wife at SPX, and they seemed like friendly, unassuming folks–certainly not the hipstery enfants terribles you might expect to be behind a comic like this. Meanwhile, Google tells me that Geoff Grogan is a cartoonist behind a Rat Pack pastiche called Nice Work, a Xeric Grant recipient for this very comic, and a writer-about-comics who penned this interesting essay challenging the artcomics approach of Kramers Ergot. As it turns out, his work in Look Out!! Monsters would fit nicely next to the Kramers volumes on your bookshelf. Like the best stuff in that anthology series, its art–painted over collaged pieces of The New York Times–calls attention to its own construction but is nevertheless harnessed to an emotionally rich narrative. It’s really impressive.
The nuts and bolts of the book feature Frankenstein’s monster appearing in the smoking crater left behind by an airstrike during what looks like World War I. The Monster assaults a trench full of soldiers in a thrillingly staged fight that evokes both Jack Kirby and David Mazzuchelli, before a cleverly constructed transition suddenly finds both us and the Monster whisked away to a Gothic cathedral. There things take a turn for the creepy, with the Monster mimicking a gargoyle’s disgorgement of water, before the comic gets all non-narrative on us, with huge splash pages and spreads of Frankensteinian lab equipment, Lee/Kirby unstable-molecule pseudo-scientific dot-printed epiphanies, images of unspecified violence and romance, the return of the Monster to assault a hapless victim, and finally the collapse of the Twin Towers. Beneath it all–literally, since the canvas consists of newspaper snippets–are hints of the chaos unleashed by that catastrophic attack, as terrifying and unpredictable as the creation of Frankenstein and the Fantastic Four, rough beasts slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. It’s beautiful to look at and very hard to shake; concept and execution are both very successful on a variety of levels. Do look out for it.