Harrell, Rob – Monster on the Hill

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Monster on the Hill

As a general rule, when a graphic novel has glowing quotes from Jeff Smith and Neil Gaiman on the back, chances are that I’m going to love it. If that’s true for you, save yourself some time and just go out and by this book, because it’s delightful. Things start off with a horrific monster attack, as a large green beast terrorizes a town and chases some citizens into a cellar. They wait it out, the smoke clears… and the people cheer for the excellent job that the monster has done in terrorizing them. They admire the quality of the destruction, sell souvenirs, and generally bask in the attack that they just went through. Meanwhile, in another town, the people there are dejected because it’s been well over a year since they’ve had a monster attack (from Rayburn, the town monster), and even then it wasn’t a particularly good attack. They hatch a plan to have the resident scientist “fix” the monster, but the local newspaper boy smuggles himself along, and together they all set out to seek advice from another monster in how to get back to properly terrifying people. What Rayburn doesn’t realize is that leaving a town without a monster is something that the worst monster of them all will sense, and that monster (called The Murk) doesn’t mess around. He doesn’t just terrorize a town, he tears it down and eats the citizens. The rest of the graphic novel is a race against time and some big monstery battles. This is one of those rarest of graphic novels: an all-ages story that’s just as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids. I laughed out loud more than a few times, and having it set in 1867 brings up a simpler time when there actually were towns that were organized and had town pride, even if the pride was about the quality of the monster attacks. This is fantastic book that should be read by all humans with a sense of wonder and/or humor. If you’re looking for grim and gritty, you have plenty of other options, but this book is a delight through and through. $20

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