Dept of Monsterology #1
Written by: Gordon Rennie
Art by: PJ Holden,
Published by: Renegade Arts
Renegade Arts’ new mini-series Dept Of Monsterology sees Gordon Rennie and PJ Holden create a world where magic and monsters exist just below the surface of reality and where darkness hides disembodied brains driving robots, ghost girls, Japanese Vampires and black lagoon-esque monsters. And it’s all the better for it.
The book itself serves as an introduction to Dunsany College’s Department of Cryptozoology, Mythological Studies, Parapsychology and Fortean Phenomena. Or, more specifically, two branches of it. In the first half of the story we are in the South Pacific on a boat called the Derleth where Professor Javier De Tovar and Victor oversee Amelia Court who is exploring ruins that have collapsed into a vast pit on the ocean’s floor. A pit that seems to be home to a wave of unspeakable horrors.
The second half of the tale sees Samwi, a young girl exploring a mansion with a dark secret under the telepathic watchful eye of Belasco as well as Doctor Jan Sonam and Doctor Calvary. Of course, in a tale such as this, a lack of monsters in the dark would be disappointing… Rennie and Holden don’t disappoint.
Oh and both stories leave us on very different, but just as good, cliff hangers. Whether these two groups will interact down the line is unknown at this point…
The world created within the pages of Dept Of Monsterology is a sinister but undoubtedly fun one. On reading the Lovecraftian shenanigans of these teams I was instantly reminded of Mignola’s Hellboy and O’Neill and Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, such is the detail and care going into this story.
Rennie’s writing is classical with modern twists, we’ve seen a lot of this before, but that’s ok, it’s still fun when injected with this level of detail and enthusiasm.
But, as good as the writing is, it’s Holden’s art that really captures and holds the imagination – layered, detailed and cinematic, the first swarm of beasties to pour from the ocean’s floor is a wonder to behold with the details spilling off into the far distance.
As a first step this does everything it should. It gives us a fun, but mad, reality to get lost in, characters who are certainly interesting enough that we can see ourselves caring a great deal down the line, fantastical threats, monsters and situations that, despite the shear madness, totally capture the imagination.
As a four-part series, I already have a feeling I’m going to want much more once we get to the end…
4 out of 5 Nerds