If you’ve been following my work here at Biff Bam Pop! you’ll know that I’m on something of a journey to discover comics that are beyond the limited spectrum of mainstream super hero books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a weekly reader of my favorite heroes and escapist adolescent power fantasies. In fact, I’m the first to argue that there’s some really great work being done by the Big Two publishers right now if you’re willing to look for it. However, I’m always left wanting more.
That’s where’s Clonsters from Amy Shand, Pat Shand, and Vanessa Cardinali and comes in. An all-ages book from Space Between Entertainment appeared in my inbox recently and given that I fall under the banner of all-ages I decided to give it a try. Did I find the “more” that I was looking for? Find out after the jump!
Clonsters is, in a word, adorable. From the press release, “Described by Amy and Pat as ‘Aaahh! Real Monsters meets Adventure Time,’ Clonsters imagines a whimsical world populates by various species of monsters made of clay.
With that strong opening salvo, how could I not be in to this? Based on polymer clay creations originally sculpted by Amy Shand, the characters in the book are wildly inventive and unique looking. At various points in the graphic novel I found myself wishing I could collect the Clonsters as Pop! Vinyl figures of some other variety of blind-box vinyl collectibles. Cardinali did an amazing job of translating Shand’s three-dimensional designs to two-dimensional cartoons. The art is fun, full of energy and the characters are expressive and endearing.
The story is a great all-ages tale as well. A quest to recover something lost, a journey of self discovery, and tiny monsters that communicate only in fart noises. The book does well with established themes that have been seen before in other all-ages books but it manages to make them fun and light in a way that would have big, Hollywood type producers and a teams of writers going insane trying to replicate.
This is where creator owned projects really do it for me. There’s a certain joy in each page of this book. It’s in the script and in the art. It’s a singular vision of a small group of people that wanted to make something cool that anyone could enjoy. Would I read this to my children? Yes. Because they’re cats and are illiterate (as far as I know). Would I gift this to friends and relatives with human children? Most definitely. Would this make a good animated movie and am I already fan-casting the character’s voices in my head? Yes and also yes.
Clonsters was successfully funded on Kickstarter in May, 2017 and the book will be officially released December, 20th 2017. Just in time for Christmas!