Project Cryptid #7 by Joseph Illidge, and A.A. Rubin (magazine review).

‘Project: Cryptid’ is a comic book from Ahoy Comics and must be doing okay because this is the seventh issue. It’s an anthology of short stories about cryptids, which, according to Wikipedia, are ‘animals that cryptozoologists believe may exist somewhere in the wild but whose present existence is disputed or unsubstantiated by science’.

The first story is ‘John Crow’, written by Joseph Illidge, illustrated by Jamal Igle and Juan Castro, and lettered by Rob Steen. The first-person narrator and protagonist, who isn’t named, is shown to be scared of crows as a young boy in Jamaica, for they are associated with death in local folklore. He moves to Brooklyn, New York, with his mother and becomes a roofer. He feels safe up high, looking down on the world, but the crows are still there. The black-and-white art suits the subject; that sense of menace about corvids is conveyed, and the ending is sufficiently spooky. Nice, clean art and good panel-to-panel storytelling.

On a lighter note, there’s ‘The Monster in the Window’, written by A.A. Rubin, illustrated and coloured by Richard Pace, and lettered by Rob Steen. This is a parallel-worlds story, cleverly told by showing our Earth on the left side of the page and the other one on the right. In ours, a father takes his kids into the forest and sends them to look for wood to make a fire. Meanwhile, over on the right side of the pages, two hairy kids are sent by their dad to look for berries. This is a nice, quirky little tale, and the sketchy art with pastel colours suits it fine.

The final item in this issue is ‘Bessie and Nessie’ by James Finn Garner, a text piece with an illustration by Jake Posh. Literature professors from Penn State University at Behrend recently intercepted a poetic correspondence between South Bay Bessie, the cryptid beast of Lake Erie, and the Loch Ness Monster. It seems that Bessie is more poetic and romantic than Nessie. This is an original idea and quite funny.

I’m grateful for the review copy, but there’s only so much you can say about a 29-page comic, which is why I tend to avoid them in favour of bigger collections. Oddly, on the first reading, I thought ‘ho-hum’, but on the second closer look to write the review, I decided it was pretty good. ‘Project: Cryptid’ isn’t my sort of thing, really, but it’s well done, quirky, and worth the price of a coffee, which is all it costs.

Eamonn Murphy

March 2024

(pub: AHOY Comics, 2024. 29 page comicbook. Price: $ 3.99 (US), £ 2.55 (UK))

check out websites: http://comicsahoy.com/  and https://comicsahoy.com/comics/project-cryptid-7

Eamonn Murphy

Eamonn Murphy reviews books for sfcrowsnest and writes short stories for small press magazines. His eBooks are available at all good retailers or see his website: https://eamonnmurphywriter298729969.wordpress.com/

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