As our readers may be aware, we are all about independent, creator owned comics around these parts. From all ages-fun to the bizarre or hilarious, all the way to chaos and insanity, the world of independent comics is a wellspring of talented writers and artists telling unique stories in our favorite medium. Today we will be looking at David M. Brown‘s Modern Animals, which is in no way, shape or form intended for younger readers so bear that in mind if you plan to obtain your own copy by pledging to the Kickstarter campaign. So then, let’s take a spoiler-free look at Modern Animals!
I’m just going to say this right off the bat: this book is crazy. Told in nonlinear fashion, Modern Animals features tons of filthy language, brutal violence and torture, adult film stars (tee hee), drugs and alcohol, murder, guns, and a bunch of other cool- I mean, illegal and dangerous things. Yes friends, this book has it all and it’s a whole lot of fun.
The book is narrated by an unnamed protagonist and tells the story of said protagonist and his friend Bones, who both work in the adult film industry. Our hero works the lighting rig while Bones assists the actors as a “fluffer,” which is a profession that I will absolutely not go into detail on but that one could learn more about on the internet if one were so inclined. This all sounds relatively normal (no?) until we learn that our hero’s girlfriend Sally is the star of the show and as such, she has to…go to bed with a bunch of other men while on camera.
Complicating matters is that virtually everyone on the set of the film is hooked on drugs and therefore insane, and director “Jay Jay” Jiminez doesn’t take kindly to wasting film on the count of our protagonist (who he lovingly refers to as “homes”) constantly screwing up the lighting. With tensions building on the set, “Homes” suggests to Sally that she enter another line of work such as erotic dancing, or stripping. Sure, those are good alternatives (/sarcasm). We also meet Jiminez’ half brother Raul who is a pretty unsavory character, even when compared to Homes’ coworkers.
Homes and Bones (heh) live their lives in squalor and in a haze of narcotics and alcohol. Homes’ favorite household appliance? The toilet of course, since he spends much of his time hugging it after ingesting copious amounts of illegal drugs. One night while out on the town Bones meets some twin girls who agree to go back to their apartment for a little…”group activity” (I’m really trying to be good here), which seems to be going well until one of the girls accidentally overdoses on drugs. Instead of dealing with what could have been one accidental death, Bones decides to brain the other twin with a statue of the Virgin Mary (yeah, it’s like that), killing her instantly. Nice job Bones!
To their horror, our heroes discover that the twins have a very distinct connection to both Jiminez and Raul, which is really not a good thing at all. This sets in motion a chain of events that leads to some gruesome scenes of torture including a power drill and at least three surgical tools, some very unhappy campers that want Homes and Bones dead (like ASAP), and a whole bunch of mayhem. Capital!
The script in Modern Animals is excellent. The way Brown weaves the past and present together is seamless and really enriches the story. Nothing feels jolted or forced, and the narrative flows effortlessly despite being presented out of sequence. The dialogue is also superb and perfectly captures the underbelly of society, but be warned: there is a ton of language in this book. Personally I think it works very well for this sort of story, but if that’s not your thing then it’s certainly something to watch out for.
The artwork and colors are done by D.N.S. who does a spectacular job. The book has a noir aesthetic to it which perfectly complements Brown’s script, and the scenes of violence and torture are particularly brutal and well done, which is fantastic in my opinion. In a story like this where poor decisions lead to contact with dangerous characters, hardcore violence really helps to drive home the gravity of the consequences. Yes, I am serious about that. Deadly serious. The lettering in Modern Animals is handled by Mira Mortal who goes above and beyond what is typical of most letterers for this book, helping to add more depth and emotion to many of the scenes.
I can recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of dark, violent and sadistic stories, as long as they are of a certain age. Even when compared to some other non-superhero comics, Modern Animals comes off as quite realistic, raw and visceral, which is very refreshing in a way. The bottom line is, in stories like these there aren’t really any winners so if you’re into that sort of thing, Modern Animals will not disappoint. Get it, it’s awesome.
For more about Modern Animals visit Fifth Dimension Comics’ official website, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates. As always, make sure to get on down to the official Kickstarter campaign for Modern Animals and pledge for some cool rewards!
What did you think of Modern Animals? Let us know in the comments section and on our Twitter page!