cover image Gary Gianni’s Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

Gary Gianni’s Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

Gary Gianni. ark Horse, $19.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-50670-480-7

This splendid collection from veteran cartoonist Gianni (Hellboy: Into the Seven Seas) pays homage to classic storytelling and to the gorgeous pen-and-ink work of illustrators such as J. Allen St. John and Bernie Wrightson. The book’s first part is a gathering of psychic detective yarns that first appeared as backup stories in Hellboy comics, all featuring urbane sleuth Benedict, usually clad in a tux and a helmet from a suit of armor, who calmly dispatches assorted ghosts and demons. Benedict’s companion in adventure, horror movie director Lawrence St. George, attracts the malevolent entities; then Benedict promptly disposes of them. Though the plots may be routine, the art is wonderfully energetic and inventive. Following this is a selection of antique spook stories by the likes of William Hope Hodgson and Clark Ashton Smith, illustrated and formatted to look like pages from an early-20th-century slick magazine. Gianni’s artistic skill and gusto for the material make the whole project exciting as well as technically dazzling. (Aug.)