Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monster Zoo

In this graphic work by Douglas TenNapel, a day at the Los Angeles Zoo turns into a Jurassic Park-style nightmare for two teens unlucky enough to be there on the grand opening day of an exhibit featuring an ancient African artifact called Ungabe. Our teen protagonists, Ty and Carpo, seem somewhat unlikely friends. Ty is skinny, awkward, and shy, while Carpo is loud, obnoxious and just plain disgusting…think otter poop, soiled underwear, and gas aplenty. Although I chose Monster Zoo for the monster element…I finished the story with an appreciation for the human element of the story as well. TenNapel does an exemplary job of creating strong, likeable characters in Ty and Carpo that remain interesting even after a host of spectacular monsters enter the picture.

And the monsters are spectacular. I don’t want to spoil the story by giving away the hows and whys, so suffice it to say that the zoo animals are transformed into horrific man-eating abominations. Each species of animal turns into a unique style of monster. For instance, the monkeys grow scales, and spikes from their spines, while the unfortunate giraffes end up sprouting eyes and a gaping mouth full of razor sharp teeth where their chests should be.

Together with fellow classmate Rainy, the object of Ty’s affection, and a bizarre little African witch woman, Ty and Carpo attempt to escape from the zoo with their lives and possibly save the human race from an animal apocalypse.

Monster Zoo is loads of fun to read and, according to the Internet Movie Database, is scheduled to be released as a movie in 2010.

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