Writer/Artist: Tony Millionaire
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Given that this is my first exposure to Sock Monkey, I found everything about this comic is to be slightly off-kilter. It features a little girl that talks to her stuffed animals, and while that might not be revolutionary, the idea that they are actually alive is more than a little different. Now Iím not sure if thatís the case, but you never saw Hobbes (from Calvin & Hobbes, of course) whip out a flamethrower and try to burn the planet down. Now why would a sock monkey feel the need to go on a rampage, you ask? The answer is simple: love.
Uncle Gabby (as the sock monkey goes by) is deeply in love with an old sock elephant. He reads her poetry by John Milton (which would never work in our reality), brings her peeled grapes, and generally waits on her hand and foot. The problem arises this issue when Ann-Louise, Uncle Gabbyís owner, brings home a store bought ďMonkey-WifeĒ for her doll and throws out the elephant. Gabby goes crazy, smashes the hell out of his new bride, and goes on a Al Pacino at the end of ďScarfaceĒ type tear complete with the a flamethrower and automatic rifle. Does that sound like any other comic youíve read? Me neither, and thatís what made this a wonderful read.
That description makes the book sound horribly violent, but I donít think thatís really the case. No one really gets hurt and when they do (the poor elephant gets torn apart) it happens off panel. Property is the only thing that gets damaged here, but itís a silly kind of violence that can only be perpetrated by a sock monkey. Thereís a sense of fun within these pages that isnít really coming across in this review because you have to take the whole issue in to really get the feel Iím talking about.
The art helps to foster this atmosphere because itís so wildly different from page to page. Itís dark and a little moody when Uncle Gabby romances his precious elephant, and takes a decidedly eerie and almost creepy turn when he decides to run riot on those that have wronged him. Gabby is drawn so differently the angrier he gets that I drew an immediate parallel with Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Gabby sports huge, expressive eyes and bug fang like teeth until he calms down, and the transformation is so implausible for what should be a static stuffed animal that I couldnít help but chuckle. Millionaire may not have been going for laughs, but that doesnít make it any less funny.
If youíre looking for something new and different in your comics, this book fits that bill. Tony Millionaireís Sock Monkey is a welcome departure from the traditional super hero books I normally read with a wicked sense of humor and fun that I havenít found in most four color comics.
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