Department of Monsterology part 1 of 4
Published by Renegade Arts Entertainment
Writer: Gordon Rennie
Artist: PJ Holden
Colours: Steven Denton
Letters: Jim Campbell
Firstly, as I know people have asked, the logo was created by PJ Holden. Feast your eyes on that cover.
I’m familiar with the works of these creators. I suppose several readers of the blog are also familiar with them. Gordon Rennie and PJ Holden are frequent contributors to 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine – I regularly review 2000AD. I’ve reviewed work by Steven Denton in The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel and Jim Campbell in Hoax Hunters & Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht. This isn’t to show any bias, it just shows I like what they do.
And what are they doing here? Well the obvious comparisons that people will make is to the Hell Boy spin-off, BPRD. Also you could compare it to the TV series Sanctuary. Or indeed to the afore-mentioned Hoax Hunters. Or X-Files (in its early days). Don’t let that detract you from this work, as it isn’t a rip off of anything. I’m just mentioning these things as others will surely do so.
What we have here is a refreshingly easy introduction to quite a large cast for a 4 parter. We are introduced to two teams from the same Department, though of what officialdom for which they are a Department. UN maybe? No, they are from Dunsany College’s Department of Cryptozoology, Mythological Studies, Parapsychology and Fortean Phenomena. Or the Department of Monsterology for short,
The cast is as I say large. It includes several academics and their protegés.
The first team, Team Challenger have among them for example, Amelia Court, specialist in ‘Field Work’ who features on the cover of this issue, she’s the diver that looks like an athletic young lady, not the crazy fishy looking dudes. There is also the battle-armour wearing Professor Harry Wilmington. There is Cryptozoologist Professor Victor Trondheim, I’m not sure but I’d go out on a limb here and say he isn’t from Kansas. Rounding out the team is Cryptogeographer of Salamanca University, seconded to Dunsay College, Javier De Tovar.
The second team, Team Carnacki consist of Doctor Jang Sonam, late of the 10th Gurkha Rifles and his protegé Samwi. Doctor Michael Calvary, Parapdychology and Occult Studies. With Dominic Belasco, Psychic, Magician and Necronauht (according to his own website).
The two teams are in different locals on different missions. Team Challenger are in the South Pacific and Team Carnacki are in Budapest. What connections there are in the two teams studies I cannot fathom, pardon the pun. But as this is a four-parter I assume we will discover a connection, though in some ways why should we?
A very interesting opening.
The pacing of what we see both teams being involved in is excellent. They sit apart so in some ways it does feel like an anthology, albeit only two strips. In this introduction there is enough for us to get a hook in to most of the characters.
The art is visually pleasing and flows wonderfully, that wasn’t intended as another water joke by the way. PJ’s lines are excellent and Stephen’s colours are bold but not jarring. Between the two there is obvious difference between below water and above.
Jim Campbell’s lettering is as ever expertly done. Lettering is so often overlooked. The skill comes with drawing your eye through the panels and in not getting in the way. Jim does a great job here, especially as some panels give him a lot to fit in. Page 12 is a prime example if what a letterer can add to a story. There is on panel speech in one panel with inaudible off-panel speech. The next panel has audible off-panel speech all are shown differently and help to explain what is being ‘heard’.
Great issue! Go preorder it!