Comics Time: Monstrosity Mini

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Monstrosity Mini

Jorge Diaz, writer/artist

self-published, 2009

12 pages

Free

Read it under the title Special Report at JorgeComics.com

There are pros and cons to be found in this one. Let’s start with the pros. As Alan Moore understood when constructing the punchline for his big shaggy-dog joke at the superhero genre’s expense, the giant-monster horror/sci-fi subgenre is ripe for comedic exploitation, not in the sense of creating funny-looking Mighty Morphin Power Rangers-style creatures, but in the sense of “How the hell does something of that size and disposition appear out of nowhere, anyway?” Cartoonist Jorge Diaz milks the most out of that “no one expects the Spanish Inquisition giant monsters!” idea by piling one on top of another in this brief teaser for his longer Monstrosity anthology: an irradiated meteor creates one giant monster, our military response to that giant monster attracts two more giant monsters from outer space, our military response to those giant monsters unleashes another giant monster from a parallel dimension, and we deliberately unleash still another giant monster to combat the first three. Meanwhile, those giant monsters are, in turn, a “Squirrelzilla,” two massive alien environmentalists, a skeletal fish-god, and a giant hummingbird summoned by two tiny, elderly Japanese former-schoolgirls. It’s all cockamamie, but no more cockamamie than, well, any giant-monster movie or comic you’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, the story is presented in recap by a harried news anchorman in a deadpan recitation that further emphasizes the ridiculousness of it all–as does the material’s presentation in this tiny minicomic, which shrinks each TV-monitor panel down to a meticulous-looking grid and serves as an ideal showcase for Diaz’s tight, cartoony line and design work.

The cons, by now, might be obvious to you–most so, “Squirrelzilla” and two giant alien environmentalists just aren’t that funny a pair of gags. Nor is the plot’s resolution, which involves luring the beasts to a Monster Island-type destination with sonic rhythms that cause them to hump each other. It’s broad stuff, overly so. But by contrast, the design for the giant hummingbird is both funny and strong–its tail twirls off behind it in strands, casting off stars and hearts and other beautiful illustrative super-kawaii filigrees. So too is the design of the diminutive, antennae’d Japanese ladies who summon him, all stooped shoulders and wrinkled, benevolent faces. The image of a giant fish skeleton wreaking havoc manages to be both amusing and genuinely weird. There’s also a great throwaway panel of a herd of elephants dancing in line thanks to that sonic frequency thing. In essence, the more Diaz tries to nail down very specific ideas and images rather than playing to the cheap seats, the better he both looks and reads.