I don’t know how spooky I was as a small child. Not very, I guess. My cousin’s KISS posters scared me so badly that she would have to shut her bedroom door so that I couldn’t see her walls when I was in the house; the monsters of the week on Scooby Doo gave me nightmares (even though they were usually, like, old man McGillicuddy under a mask or something), and I had actually a fit of hysterics after a particularly upsetting episode of Benson with a dream sequence murder. Scary things and monsters were not my bag until all of a sudden they were. And then, hoo boy. It was vampires and werewolves and zombies and elder gods and Lovecraftian horrors 24/7. And I still haven’t grown out of it.
Russel Nohelty, publisher of Wannabe Press (a small press that makes “weird books for weird people”) has a similar fierce love for the monster in all of its myriad forms. You might even say he’s a bit obsessed with them — psychological monsters, horrific monsters, religious monsters, mythological monsters, fantastical monsters, and everything in between. He’s never met a monster he didn’t like.”What if,” he thought, “I went to my favorite creators, ones that I knew loved monsters as much as me, and put together an amazing monster anthology where all of us could tell our favorite monster stories? It would be a love letter to monsters.”
Created by monster-lovers for monster-lovers, Monsters and Other Scary Shit celebrates everything awesome about monsters. And when else to present to the world your glorious ode to the things you love best in life? Valentines Day, of course! Monsters and Other Scary Shit was launched via Kickstarter on February 14th, Valentine’s Day 2017. (The campaign has reached its goal, but runs until April 7th–so there’s still time to grab a copy for yourself, and to fill that monster-shaped hole in your own heart.)
The 224-page monster anthology is organized and edited by Russell himself, is printed on high quality, glossy art paper and bound in beautiful hardcover, with cover art by Aaron Alexovich, indie comic creator and artist for Invader Zim. The comics are “…written and illustrated by one of the thirty different professional teams who have credits ranging from Marvel, DC, Vertigo, Oni, and Image, to brands like Star Wars, The Simpsons, Transformers, Invader Zim, and more. ” As well as an entry from Unquiet Things favorite, Christie Shinn!
Even though monsters are in every form of storytelling on the planet, they are often lumped into the horror genre. But monsters are so much more than horror. They are sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, drama, and everything in between. Notes Russell, “I love monsters because they can represent ANYTHING. They can represent people, places, things, or ideas. You can use them to tell a deep story or a fun one. I love Monsters Inc as much as I love Hellraiser, and I wanted to curate and anthology that showed my love of all types of monsters.”
The monstrosities that stalk these pages range from over the hill Sesame Street type monsters to demonic robot overlords to world-swallowing beasts; humorous and unsettling and sometimes creepy as hell, there is literally something in here for everyone. In reading through the tales, there are quite a few that I would have liked to continue reading, there was a definitely feel that there was more story to be explored; some that felt just exactly right, and of course, as in all anthologies, there’s always a few that left me scratching my head, or simply ambivalent. On the whole, though, I am reminded of two other somewhat monstrous anthologies that I’ve read in the past few years and found myself enjoying–The Sleep of Reason and The Other Side: An Anthology of Queer Romance …so, if either of those titles appealed to you, you’ll probably dig Monsters And Other Scary Shit, as well!
See below for a handful of images from the book, and get on over to the Kickstarter page for more details and a closer look!