Naming Monsters

Hannah Eaton. Myriad Editions, $19.95 trade paper (176pp) ISBN 978-1-908434-21-0
U.K. cartoonist Eaton's debut graphic novel is a haunting mixed-media tale combining the fears inherent in world folklore with those of young adult fiction, an ambitious project executed with verve. Teen Fran is a cryptozoologist (or monsterologist?), cataloging the legends surrounding such mythical creatures as the boggart, the brag, and the kappa—some well known, some obscure, all from different corners of the world. Fran uses her knowledge to stave off the demons that plague her in the real world: her mother's recent death; her low self-esteem; her annoyingly pretentious boyfriend; her maddening day-to-day life with her maternal grandmother. Each page of monster facts is captured in clear black ink on white paper, while events in the real world are rendered in pencil on a gray background. Eaton uses crosshatching not merely to shade her panels, but to demonstrate emotion and physical sensations like panic ("monster") attacks. Though her lettering can slightly muddied and difficult to understand during "reality" segments, Eaton firmly establishes herself as a bold new voice in graphic fiction. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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