Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.
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Image Comics is the new home for Grizzly Shark by Ryan Ottley. ComiConverse contributor, Darryll Robson, reviews the comic. Warning: this review contains spoilers.
Sometimes a comic comes along that is difficult to review because it is so wildly eccentric. However, even the most seemingly ‘throw away’ comics can have layers worth picking through.
A bunch of people get eaten by a shark. The shark lives in a forest.
Farmer Pete and his son, Donnie, go into the deep dark woods to hunt the creature that has been feeding on their cattle. As Pete points out, he knows shark bites when he sees them but obviously his son thinks the idea of a shark eating their cattle is a ridiculous notion. Pete hires a trained killer to hunt the beast. In no time Donnie is attacked and needs rescuing before he fills the inside of the great white, tree-dwelling shark.
Meanwhile the illustrious crew of hunters are preparing for the big kill. They have a van, a plan and, because the whole thing is already beyond ridiculous, they have a tub of cinnamon bear jubilee ice cream. However, this isn’t just daftness for daftness’ sake, the ice cream has an important part to play in the narrative.
The hunter’s few characteristics are apparent straight away. Only one of them appears to have any brain cells and he barely uses them, especially as he falls asleep at the wheel of the van as they head into the forest. What you have here is a trio of traditional ‘hicks’ out to prove how great they are. It has disaster written all over it but then again you are reading a comic called Grizzly Shark.
When all of our central characters meet up in the forest the chomp fest begins. Imagine a printed version of Sharknado or Mega Shark. Chomp, chomp goes the ever hungry shark through the cast of established characters, and a number of unwittingly bleeding bystanders. The comic comes to a fairly satisfactory end with a sort of unwitting hero, but on the whole the ending is just the bit where the chomping stops.
With a comic called Grizzly Shark, you might not expect that much from it. However, despite the trashy b-movie coating, this is actually an enjoyable, laugh-out-loud comic with a touch of self-knowing depth.
Ryan Ottley has used a cartoony style of art that matches the silliness of the narrative. The rural setting is well suited to the cheap horror movie vibe of the comic.
It would be too easy to dismiss this comic as a thoughtless gore fest when it is actually more of an homage to contemporary B-Movies, the type of film that Eli Roth would make or that the SyFy channel regularly shows. It is not as smartly crafted as Cabin In The Woods or the recent IDW Judge Dredd comic, but it deserves to find an audience that will appreciate its brand of humor. I haven’t laughed so much at a comic since I read the recent God Hates Astronauts series.
This comic is simply a romp full of chomps.
Darryll Robson is a contributor to ComiConverse. He barely understands his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson
A fun piece of B-Movie goriness for an audience who accept and enjoy low brow narratives.