Monster Engine

Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
By: Darren

Cover of Monster Engine Creator(s): Toby Craig
Publishers: Little Engine Studios (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $6 (US)

A mix of strange creatures get together in this anthology that looks like a cute children's' book except for all the strange and spooky going on.. and the catfish car on the front.

There's all kinds of monsters in here - a giant pumpkin headed devil fights a dragon while a couple of vampires look on while they express regret at having broken that seal. Pedro Boyd creates destruction on a grand scale with a fragile, fairy tale approach to the artwork.

An ice cream loving, art faking demon is uncovered is unmasked by some equally charming police in Brain Canny and Toby Craig's contribution. Then we get some horror of the body material that would gross out David Cronenberg when Peter Conrad presents a skinless zombie who tries to recall exactly he died. He can't, though we get to see a wide range of possible death scenes.

Jim Rugg adapts the story of Jonah and the Whale (or is a giant goldfish?) in a way that displays just how arbitrary the guy up stairs can be. First he send Jonah off to a city to preach its doom. Jonah tries to get out of the task but you don't quite on the big guy, so he ends up in the city. Then things start getting complicated. The story had a dead pan humor to it, with the events spiralling out of control and become more and more frustrating for Jonah.

Dalton Webb constructs a funny story that contains real sting in its tale, while Todd Webb assembles a chilling cartoon that proves that kids are right to fear the dark places in their bedrooms. You'll laugh out loud at this one.. honest.

The anthology finishes off with a night in a bar where we find some friends getting drunk and the soon to be married Tim hits on a transsexual. His friends are appalled, he's proud of being open-minded and supportive. It's not clear just who the monster here is, which I think is a very good thing.

From traditional to experimental, there is an interesting range of material here none of which are truly monstrous. Some are rather cute in fact, and deserve a place in a loving and caring home.

In a Word: Tuned.

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