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English, Austin & McManus, Jesse – Spider Monkey #1

Website for Jesse McManus

Website for Austin English


Spider Monkey #1

Why hasn’t the world put Austin English (writer) and Jesse McManus (artist) together before now? Stuff like that always seems so easy in retrospect. I should also point out that this is the first issue of a series, that it came out in 2011 and that it is now the middle of 2014 without another issue in sight. And yes, there is a continuing story, so that’s annoying, but it’s easy enough to take this as a self-contained story. This one starts off with a young boy who is able to talk to animals. The method that he uses to talk to animals is a little hard to explain, so I’m not going to bother, but I’ll just say that it’s a unique solution to the problem. Granted, I didn’t understand why his sister heard him talking to his mouse friend and only heard a series of “meows”, but maybe that’s just how all people/animal conversation sound. His sister has a unique way of connecting with the house whenever she gets home, which should also be seen to be believed, and I realize I’m dangerously close to not fulfilling any sort of useful function as a reviewer here. How about if I point out that Jesse is the perfect artist to show both things: the infestation of black lines from the animal conversations and the way reality seems to bend around Spider’s sister after she completes her route. Anyway, these two live in a strange town of some kind where they can also go see a man who custom makes masks and tells stories in them and of them. It also appears that people can get their heads split open and fix up the wound with tape, which sounds like a cartoon, although in cartoons you can’t see their brains. Mix all this together, throw in a school, some history about a performer who worked in squiggly lines and a performance from the mask maker and you have yourself a comic. It’s all a bit more linear than I made it sound, and I do hope that this isn’t yet another series that never makes it past the first issue (as I do have questions that they seemed to be on their way to answering with future stories), but either way this is well worth your time to seek out. And for $5 for this much comic there’s really no reason not to!