‘Monsters & Gods Anthology’ Comic Review
Monsters & Gods, the new Kickstarter-funded anthology from Gemini Comics, takes the horror genre on a roadtrip through a wide variety of settings, proving that fear can be found anywhere and everywhere. Spearheaded by Ozzy Longoria, the anthology demonstrates that monsters and horror come in a lot of different flavors.
Anthologies have a long history in comics, often serving as a proving ground for aspiring comic professionals who have their work printed alongside current industry talents. Eisner award winning writer Mike Baron (Nexus, The Badger) headlines the project, while several other contributors have worked on books like The Punisher, Conan, and Spawn.
Anthologies are by their very nature a mixed bag with some stronger and some weaker stories, and Monsters and Gods is no different.
The comic puts its best foot forward, inserting the strongest story right up front. Longoria and Crisman Strunk formerly teamed up on books like IF-X and Sails & Blood, and their rapport shows in the Horror-Western tale The Myth of the Chupacabras. Colorist Dario Reyes delivers strong work as well, capturing rain-soaked vistas and lightening crashing across purples skies.
The story follows a man know only as The Walker as he hunts a monstrous chupacabra across New Mexico in the middle of a storm. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger arrives in a saloon on Dia de los Muertos, bringing with him a serious creepy vibe. Tapping into a long tradition of Weird Westerns that includes characters like Jonah Hex, a showdown is brewing between a brave gunslinger and the supernatural. As with much great horror, Myth of the Chupacabra saves a satisfying twist for the very end.
Baron contributes two stories, both sharing a common theme, that the biggest monsters are often human. The first story offers a satisfying “bad guys get what’s coming to them” resolution, while the second explores an all too common brand of paranoia pushed to its extreme.
The second half of the anthology collects a handful of superhero focused stories, including one which carefully tip-toes around copyright law to tell a dark story about familiar characters that could never be printed at a mainstream publisher. There’s a lot of fun to be had seeing how Longoria hides the identity of a seemingly familiar red caped hero and his league of justice seeking friends in The Promise. While superheros are woven into the stories, the end results always circle back around to the horror theme of the anthology.
In a world where mainstream comics struggle to wrap up any storyline in less than 5 issues (for better or worse), anthologies often have tight limitations on story length, pushing plots along at a breakneck pace. The result is that no story lasts long enough for a reader to get bored.
If supernatural horror is your jam, you can back the Monsters and Gods Kickerstarter here. $5 gets you a PDF of the 80 page comic (80 pages of story & art, unlike when the “Big 2” include ads in their page count). Admit it, there are worse ways you’ve spent $5. $16 gets you the digital and physical comic, shipped to you upon publication (estimated for October). The Kickstarter offers some pretty cool rewards at the higher backer levels as well, such as original art pages and covers from the comics, commissions, and t-shirts.
“The Media—Social Media, they’re all designed to give you a quick fix on content for your consuming habits. Even with these powers at your disposal, it’s still hard to find good content in the sea of content those services provide. I know it is for me. I wasted tons of time finding that great content, and I decided to give up. But it’s not all bad. This clarity allowed me to create an anthology called Monsters and Gods. Where during every page turn, you’ll find a story that either surpasses or equals the quality of the former. To ensure this quality I tout, I enlisted the help of great entertainers and storyteller to help realize this vision.”