Comic books you should read: Something Animal & Identity Thief
Whenever I go to the comic book store or a comic book convention, I look for my favorites and then for ones that aren’t on the mainstream “to read” list. Pouring over shelves, drawers and boxes of comic books is Zen to me. Finding gems in a storeful of books is a thing of beauty. I decided to share my scavenger hunt adventures and findings with you so you can enjoy these prizes as well. You may agree with my find, you may not. That’s part of the fun. This is the start of a Hub series on comics and graphic novels you should read.
First up for review are two graphic novels: Something Animal and Identity Thief. Released by Fanboy Comics in 2011 and 2012, respectively, I picked up these two at Wondercon in March 2012 where I met Bryant Dillon who wrote both of the novels (Something Animal with Sam Rhodes) and graciously signed both my copies, as many artists do at comic book conventions. The art in Something Animal was done by Robert Burrows while Identity Thief was done by Meaghan O’Keefe.
When I walk through the aisles of a comic book convention or search through a comic book store, for me to purchase a book certain things must catch my attention. The cover art, obviously, is a big draw for me as it is for most. The title is just as important. If these two things manage to grab hold then I flip open and read the first page. If I’m still entranced, then the comic book creator(s) just made a sale. When I first saw Something Animal and Identity Thief, I didn’t even need to open the books to know I had to have them. The cover alone belies that there is a sinister tale contained within the pages. The artwork from the cover holds true throughout the graphic novels: gritty black and white with highlights of blues and yellows and bright, erratic splashes of red. The sometimes elongated and exaggerated limbs of the characters and other objects streak down the pages like flowing blood. It is a truly beautiful phenomenon when horror is so well captured in a drawing that it jumps off the page and chills the reader, who cannot help but catch their breath in their throat at the sight.
Something Animal is the tale of Jack Peterson, a seemingly normal guy. After leaving a movie with his sister (Daredevil, as a little joke) they are suddenly attacked by a creature. Jack is bitten in the attack and his life is dramatically altered. The story follows Jack as strange things happen and he spirals into a world most of us would like to believe doesn’t exist. There is very little dialogue in Something Animal, and that suits the graphic novel perfectly. Any more dialogue and the story would have been ruined. Instead the art balances out the lack of dialogue and leads in the storytelling. The expressions of the characters give the reader everything they need to know. When the last page is turned, the reader wants more. That’s the sign of a well-developed graphic novel.
Identity Thief is just as wonderful. While the cover grabbed me immediately, the first page got me more. A bare yellow light bulb dangling at the top right of the page opens up endless questions. The next thing noticeable about Identity Thief is it has considerably more dialogue than Something Animal. The graphic novel retains the beautiful artwork of Something Animal, and if pressed to choose a favorite it would be Identity Thief. The terror contained within the pages is enough to make me wish I hadn’t read it at night alone. As for the story: Craig and Daphne are a couple with problems, and they move into a new apartment hoping to start a new life. Craig discovers an attic hatch in the apartment that troubles him. It’s what comes out of the hatch that is even more troubling. The suspenseful and riveting tale is perfectly woven and keeps the reader turning the page to the very last, possibly without breathing.
I highly recommend these two graphic novels. If you like a little fear with your Cheerios, you can’t go wrong with Something Animal and Identity Thief. My only question for Fanboy Comics is when is the next one coming out?
These graphic novels are available from Fanboy Comics, at limited comic book stores, and at comic book conventions that they attend. Something Animal has also been made into a short film that is being released soon according to Fanboy Comics' website.
Purchase Something Animal (signed copy) from Fanboy Comics: http://fanboycomics.ecrater.com/p/13375010/something-animal-signed-copy
Purchase Identity Thief (signed copy) from Fanboy Comics: http://fanboycomics.ecrater.com/p/16074610/identity-thief-signed-copy