Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie #1 is a title Unlikely Heroes Studios previewed back in Elsewhere Volume 2. With the Kickstarter going on until November 5, now’s a good time to show everyone that it’s well worth following. Not only does this issue expand on the story from the anthology, it shows off the passions of this creative team.
Press Release Summary
From the official press release:
It’s 1963, and having a carnival of 666 monsters ain’t the draw it used to be. Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie is one of the last two Mythic shows left in the U.S., trucking from one backwater town to the next. It’s dirty work, and sometimes you barely make the nut, but America’s still the land of plenty (of rubes). For this season at least, Miss Medusa’s hiring, and you can still run away and join the circus!
Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie #1 Memo
Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie #1 builds up from the initial Elsewhere story in atmosphere and character. Through the POV character Sharon, the reader feels a strong sense of going into the unknown. Series writer Paul Hanley injects the issue with genuine wonder and the tension of sharing a space with monsters. Some of them, like the title character Gina Tatapolous, are surprisingly human. Along with their outgoing personalities, the financial struggles they face are all too relatable. Readers can feel Sharon’s need to be a part of the circus, in spite of Gina’s hustling.
The Most Colorful Detail
Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie #1 features the talents of several brilliant artists. In addition to being the writer, Hanley illustrates some very lively backgrounds. Matt Frank, meanwhile, has the honor of designing the larger-than-life monsters that populate these settings. Both of which entice readers to reread the issue to see the little things, hidden in each panel. Those elements tell stories independent of the main one. Fortunately, Frank’s bold inking around main characters keeps readers’ focus in case they wander too far.
The coloring in the meantime is a group effort which brings out the richness of the art. Rob Cloma works the flats, while Hanley and Jon Kutzer handles flourishes like shading and lighting. All of these together create an almost photorealistic appearance. It gives the feeling that the reader is looking at something that is actually happening.
All of this is to say nothing of the phenomenal lettering of Matt Krotzer. All of the captions and words over the microphone are in an all caps comic sans font. It makes the words sound as loud as they intend to be. Most of the regular dialogue meanwhile is in a smaller font, with a few exceptions. For example, a Harpy has a big scratchy font while fae folk speak with a fancier font. It’s also important not to forget the SFX for situations like a fairy dog’s barking or an artistic rendering of a crash sound.
Reserve Your Ticket For Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie #1
Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie #1 makes a grand first impression. To go along with the outrageous designs of the monsters and lively circus, there is a feeling of embracing the unknown. The characters feel very human in the best and worst ways. But the uncertainty of where it all goes is far too alluring to ignore.