Something Animal is the first original graphic novel produced by the team at Fanboy Comics . Adapted from a short story written by Ben Rhodes the 2011 work was writers Sam Rhodes’ and Bryant Dillon’s attempt to steer vampires back to their roots as supernatural creatures of horror rather than brooding, mysterious dates. Robert Burrows’ disturbing, detailed art style compliments the dark subject matter perfectly.
Jack, the protagonist, witnesses his sister’s brutal murder at the hands of a deranged killer and is injured at the scene. In the aftermath of Lily’s death, he struggles to recover, but the memories overwhelm him. To complicate matters Jack’s physical health declines due to a food aversion combined with an increasing desire for blood.
Something Animal is a hard graphic novel for me to review because while it challenges the reader and pushes several boundaries it’s not something that I can easily define my reaction to. Ultimately, I was left feeling disturbed, a little sad, and nervous about things that go bump in the night. At the same time it’s an extremely powerful piece that accomplishes its goal of presenting original classic style horror.
The majority of the story telling in Something Animal is visual, and only a quarter of the pages or fewer contain written dialogue. Burrows uses this opportunity fully and adds small details throughout that add to the atmosphere. The pages are almost entirely in black and white with a few splashes of blue-grey and sepia tones. The only true colour in the entire work is the bright red of blood, which is a recurring theme throughout the book.
The art also excels at showing Jack’s mental deterioration as the story progresses. By the finale I was left wondering if Jack had merely tapped into his animalistic nature, spiraled into deep mental illness due to trauma, or actually become a demonic blood sucker. There are no easy answers in Something Animal; each reader must decide an interpretation of Jack’s fate.
The photography inside the front and back covers of the graphic novel is gorgeous although spoilerish for one plot point. I will only say that it is not as meaningless as many modern horror stories.
Overall, Something Animal is not a graphic novel for everyone. It is mature, thought provoking, dark, and disturbing. However, if you enjoy horror that sticks with you after the last page is turn, give it a go! You may end up like me and want to see the upcoming short film even while knowing you won’t sleep well for a few nights after the viewing.
4 Blood Drenched Box Cutters out of 5
Something Animal is available for purchase through the Fanboy Comics Web Store.