Friday, September 5, 2014

You Should Buy A Zoo

Specifically, you should buy Grandpappy Cromdar's Whizbang Zoo! by David Lewis Johnson. You should buy it because it has a cool tone and design sensibilities, and because it has great art by David (you've seen some of his work here before). You should buy it because it looks like a fun and sort of funny little adventure. And finally, you should buy it because it's only 5 bucks.

Of course, I'm biased because David's art work is going to be all over Strange Stars. Sure, I'm a fan, but let me tell you (and give you a taste) of what I think is good about the Whizbang Zoo on my read through. First off, the whole thing has a vibe reminiscent of Eric Powell's The Goon  to it, in no small part due to the grotesquery that is Grandpappy Cromdar (he's like the bastard child of Poopdeck Pappy and Cousin Eerie), the founder of the now-out-of-control monster zoo, but also bolstered by the slightly off-color humor, nonsequiturs, and cheerful anachronisms. The whole effect isn't so much Weird or New Weird, as mildly psychotronic. Take a look at this excerpt:

This image grabbed from the pdf may not do David's art justice, but it gives a good feel for his realistically rendered, portmanteau creature style, like something out of a bestiary written by William S. Burroughs. Note the irreverent stat-blocks and anachronisms in the text. This ain't serious world-building; the tagline proclaims it a "beer and pretzels" thing. Still, like Adventure Time!, its farce and anachronism hides little details dropped in passing and links between creatures that suggests there is a world there--or at least there could be. Of course, that sort of thinking will naturally come easier after a few of those beers and more than a few handfuls of pretzels.

Check it out.