COMIC BOOK REVIEW: GRONK: A MONSTER’S STORY VOLUME TWO / AUTHOR: KATIE COOK / ARTIST: KATIE COOK / PUBLISHER: ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 31ST
Katie Cook’s Gronk is a pretty simple idea. Gronk is a child-like monster who isn’t very good at being scary and rather than terrifying passers-by, has moved in with a young woman called Dale to learn more about the world. Dale is assisted by her cat, Kitty, and an enormous Newfoundland Dog called Harli, who is a big ball of slobber and cute.
There’s something about four panel gag strips that make it easy to evoke a sense of whimsy. Though there is a plot of sorts, this is not an exercise in complex storytelling. For example, one of the story threads is about a pug puppy on loan to Dale. This is an excuse for lots of super-cute drawings of pugs and some silly jokes involving Gronk and a tiny wrinkly dog.
Cook is fully aware that this is a road well-trodden and gleefully references the likes of Family Circus and Calvin and Hobbes throughout her work. She also throws in plenty of geek culture nods as well; Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, Lord of The Rings and so on all get some sort of name check and this adds to the silly fun. The result is a fun ‘slice of life’ style strip, aimed at both the young and young-at-heart.
The book is also short but sweet. Every panel is illustrated with an equal measure of adorable joy and unfettered love. This means that it is rather nice but I suspect if this book was long the reader would overload on the cuteness over time. As it is, it does the job of bringing a smile to the face of the bitterest of hearts and then stops just before it gets too much.
Gronk: A Monster’s Story Volume Two is the kind of thing you can happily give to the most straight laced and none-geeky of friends, safe in the knowledge that they’ll find the themes of friendship and love entertaining. In the hands of geeky youngsters, however, it’s pretty much guaranteed to give them a big smile.
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