Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor
Fanboy Comics first graphic novel: Something Animal is an intense psychological look into a man’s vampiric metamorphosis. This book is dark. The subject of transformation hasn’t been told like this in a graphic novel. The artwork bleeds black ink, it creeps out like a Francis Bacon painting. Shockingly, Something Animal is a scary surprise.
Fanboy Comics is a website similar to CC2K. We both review comics and sci-fi but Fanboy also publishes youtube videos and now their first graphic novel: Something Animal. SA is about uncontrollable heavy change. The main character is named Jack yet his name serves little purpose. We only get a glimpse of who Jack is, what we do get to see is what Jack becomes. Jack and sister are attacked one night. His sister gets brutally stabbed through the neck. The killer gulps down on her neck while Jack gets bitten, bruised, and shockingly can’t save his sister (he doesn’t give up but is drawn as in shock). He has no one to depend on, so he copes with this disturbing aftermath alone. Unable to eat and scared, Jack’s psyche spirals into a chaotic mess. Thankfully, artist Robert Burrows nails these scenes. Jack starts to crave. He doesn’t know what he craves but he keeps seeing his sister’s killer’s face and those bizarre teeth. Blood lust and sanity deprived, Jack crumbles and becomes something new. A mirror image of his sister’s killer.
This graphic is delirious and that’s not meant as a bad thing. Just holding this dark, black, disturbingly painted book made my hands feel like they were covered and oozing in ink. It’s what a psychological graphic novel should be. It’s something dark and disturbing and you feel a bit dirty for holding it. It’s riddled with questions, it delights in the bizarre, and It’s a graphic that can’t be read just once. It’s about 76 pages, which could have been shortened. There is a scene or two that wasn’t necessary but that doesn’t really hurt the book. The book’s pace is remarkable. The artwork and story are always on point. I never once had to reread a word bubble or double take on a scene to know where I was. Even with Burrows’s scary imagery I knew what was meant to be real and what was meant to be a peek into the mind of a newly turned vampire.
My only real criticism with this book is it’s word bubbles. That sounds weird because every graphic novel is typically strong with it’s writing. I’m not saying that the story isn’t strong, it is. It’s just that the written dialogue almost feels unnecessary. The script is strong, the story board is on key, and the artwork meshes perfectly. It’s just that there are a few sound effects and word bubbles that were edited in that aren’t needed. Within SA, Burrows adds in his own sound effects, but there must have been he a few he missed. Those missing sounds were added in and don’t flow with the artwork. Also, before my first read through, i decided to skim the book and skip through all the word bubbles. I was able to follow the story almost perfectly (minus a scene or two) without reading any dialogue. That’s a sign of a great artist but it’s a problem when the writers/editors don’t notice that. I’m not saying that the book doesn’t need words, i’m just saying you could really edit a lot out of this book and it wouldn’t take away anything. Here’s an example:
Jack is in his early stages of his metamorphosis. He owns a cat and is now craving blood. In the book there are word bubbles that say “here kitty kitty.” The reader does not need these. Burrows gives Jack those creepy eyes and sinister grin. We know what’s happening. It’s actually creepier for Jack to just attack his cat.
The breakout star of this graphic novel is Robert Burrows. Burrows isn’t a typical illustrator. His background is layered in paint and his approach is heavy horror infused. In Something Animal, Robert Burrows’s artwork mimics that of 30 days of night artist Ben Templesmith. Which makes sense since both are vampire tales. However, where Templesmith uses an array of colors, Burrows’s design are very ink heavy (not a bad thing) and boxy. His characters structure can come off as less curvy and straight forth but Burrows seems to always redeem himself with an emotional terror infused scene where he lacks realistic design. Using his strong talent of paint and psychological terror Burrows’s brings this graphic novel to life. As said before, his artwork and pace should be praised (in SA) since you can literally skip every word bubble and follow the story completely. That’s a true sign of a great artist. You won’t see Robert Burrows drawing a superhero story any time soon but companies like IDW and DarkHorse could take notice if they are ever looking to publish a new Hellraiser comic.
Something Animal is a great first piece for FanBoy Comics. Hopefully this book opens doors for their publishing company to flourish. SA is wonderfully gruesome. Even with my critiques, i couldn’t put this story down and i reread a few times. If you’re a fan of the disturbing then this one is for you.
4.0 out of 5.0
Gary is a husband, father, fireman, comic reader, gamer, body builder, and rocker. He also is a co-owner of a bakery in upstate NY. He likes to tell everyone his favorite band is the Beatles, when his actual favorite band is the Alkaline Trio.