Panels From Beyond the Grave #18

Part-time Random Reviews contributor Bob Ignizio is back with another installment of Panels From Beyond the Grave.  Bob is stationed in Cleveland, Ohio.  As such, he specializes in covering local media, be it musical or cinematic (click HERE to visit his tubular movie blog).  Today's review subject was hatched from the bustling "cool people" scene in Cleveland, and as a matter of fact, it deals with a nearby body of water.  I plan on picking up a copy myself.  Read on to find out why.

PS-Why can't my state have a "cool people" scene?

THE LAKE ERIE MONSTER (#1, Spring 2012)

John G. and Jake Kelly's The Lake Erie Monster #1 utilizes the structure of old school horror anthology books like Tales From the Crypt and its watered-down descendants like House of Secrets. Monster even goes so far as to include a cadaverous host character who introduces each story with morbid wisecracks (in this case, a zombified Commodore Perry...look him up). The two artists' styles, however, have more in common with underground comics from the 70's and some of the weirder books to come out of the self-publishing boom of the 80's.

The main feature is the first part of The Lake Erie Monster itself. Written by Kelly and illustrated by John G., Cleveland's own counterpart to the Loch Ness Monster gets re-envisioned as a kissing cousin to the sort of hokey monsters that inhabited drive-in schlock like The Horror of Party Beach and The Monster of Piedras Blancas. Set during the early 70's, the story takes full advantage of Lake Erie's less-than-pristine state at the time, as well as the post-hippie rock 'n' roll subculture of the era. As is appropriate for the first act of a monster movie, we don't see much of the monster, although his violent handiwork is displayed in some detail. John G.'s style is a bit soft around the edges, but he still brings a good amount of detail to images like a severed, waterlogged head.

Kelly handles both art and writing chores on the back-up feature, "Thousand Legger ." This one definitely strikes a nerve with me. I wouldn't say I have a full-blown phobia, but there's just something about the titular creepy-crawlies that sends shivers down my spine whenever I see one. Now imagine the nasty critter is giant size. Kelly's artwork is more defined and solid-looking than John G.'s, reminding me a bit of Charles Burns' work.

Aside from the two stories, there's also a one-page installment of “Commodore's Cleveland,” a segment that will apparently serve to inform readers of various urban legends and grisly happenings from Cleveland's past in each issue. As a fun bonus, the artists have also created ads for various Cleveland area businesses in the style of old 70's comic book ads.

These guys aren't trying to produce the great American graphic novel here; they're just having fun playing with some tried-and-true formulas and adding a Cleveland-centric twist. For my money, I'd say they've succeeded. Don't take my word for it, though; check out a few pages on the Lake Erie Monster blog (link below). You can also order a copy of the rag for yourself. Even if you aren't a resident of the “mistake by the lake,” I think you'll dig it.

No comments:

Post a Comment