Aliens, toilets, and monsters. Three things that are all relevant to my interests. So, am I going to be interested in reviewing a comic by Carol Zara and Eric Barnett called Alien Toilet Monsters? Hell yes I am. Did the book live up to all the fantastic images the title brought to my mind? Hit the jump and find out!
Alien Toilet Monsters (or ATM for short) completely sold me on the strength of the title. Much like a Sharknado or an Ice Spiders grabbed the attention of a fevered SyFy channel executive, so too did ATM grab my attention. Only, you know, not crappy.
People, myself included, are going to be hung up on the title… and that’s a brilliant move by Zara and Barnett. I can only imagine the amount of people seeing the title for the first time and instantly buying it. Then, once they get the book home and open it…
I’m having a hard time thinking of another instance of having my expectations set for one thing and then getting them completely blown out of the water. There’s just SO MUCH going on in the book and it took a couple of reads for me to even being to partially digest it.
Yes, there are alien monsters. There’s probably a toilet in there, too. But there are also other dimensions, virtual reality, internet fan rage, and even an appearance from one of the creators. There’s a lot of set up going on in the first issue, and world building, so much world building. It’s completely engrossing, and in the case of the alien monsters, gross.
The creature designs in the book were top notch and some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. Barnett did a great job of bringing these things to pulsating, gooey life and I don’t think I’ve been this grossed out by a monster since the first time I saw The Thing.
The writing of the book is also on-point. Something I’d like to call special attention to is how well Zara and Barnett encapsulate how fandoms treat the internet. Without giving too much away, a fan reacts to an actor being cast as a favorite character of theirs and, well, it’s a tale as old as America Online. It’s a moment I’m sure we’ve all had at some point in our less-enlightened years and the writers of ATM show that it still exists in the near future. And another dimension.
Alien Toilet Monsters is a definitely a book worth checking out if you’re looking for a fun and intelligent read. It’s most certainly worth your hard-earned money. While writing this I was trying to think of the last time I had to go back and reread a comic to make sure I was pulling every possible detail out of it and it was probably something by Grant Morrison. Don’t let that freak you out! It’s still totally fun and accessible.
If you visit their website you can find out if a comic shop in your area is carrying the book. If there aren’t any you’ll have the pleasure of making a phone call, like I did, and asking, “Hey, do you have Alien Toilet Monsters? Hello?”