Comic Review: “Josh Howard Presents – Sasquatch” (Festival of Dread Special)
Welcome back to the Festival of Dread, The Splintering’s month-long celebration of all things that lurk in the woods…
Today, I have once again decided to take on the unfortunate task of reviewing an anthology book, which often don’t get the same attention as other comics and graphic novels. Why is it unfortunate? Because they almost always include stories and artwork by multiple creative teams, making it a bit of a trick to discuss them as an overall package.
Josh Howard Presents: Sasquatch is no different. Published in 2007 by Viper Comics, Sasquatch is a girthy, 240-page anthology book featuring the work of dozens of different creators. The cover price is a fairly hefty $24.95, though I recently scored my own copy second-hand for five bucks at a resale shop. I hadn’t researched the book before snagging it up- I simply saw Josh Howard’s name on the cover. Being a fan of his work on T-Bird and Throttle, paying that price was a no-brainer to me.
To my disappointment, I soon realized that Sasquatch was not a full graphic novel written and illustrated by Howard, though he did contribute a couple of the short comics included in the anthology. There are more contributors than it makes sense to list, but a couple of notable names that I recognized include Bryan Baugh (Wulf & Batsy) and Otis Frampton (Oddly Normal).
As the title implies, all of the stories in the book are centered around the Sasquatch. Or Bigfoot. Or Yeti. It all depends on the story at hand. It’s an interesting theme, albeit one that seems to be more limiting than genre-based anthologies (centered around horror, fantasy, etc.).
As it turns out, the tales told in Sasquatch are span a broad spectrum of genres, including comedy, futuristic sci-fi, horror, bizarre fantasy, war, and heart-wrenching tales of irony. Of course, there are a few “standard” Bigfoot stories, too, and there are even multiple shorts featuring Santa Claus and the Yeti/Abominable Snowman – so many that I considered pushing this review to December for our Jolly Jinglings event.
There is a wide array of storytelling and art styles on display, too. That means the good news is that you will likely find a few stories that are to your liking. The flip side, of course, is that you are just as likely to find stories that aren’t your thing. My own personal favorites include David Hartman’s Sawmill Terror, which featured a more traditional Bigfoot and a super-violent fight for survival, Josh Howard’s The Hunt, which I appreciated as a War on Terror veteran, and P.J. Kryfko and Martin Abel’s A Good Scout, which was a morality tale delivered by a sexy redhead.
One of the more interesting divides between many of these stories is the age of the intended audience. There are certainly tales that are far too violent for young readers, and others that are clearly written for young kids. Certainly other anthologies run a similar gamut, but it seemed more striking in this case.
Overall, Josh Howard Presents: Sasquatch is an interesting curio as an anthology, and there are a lot of enjoyable stories included. However, the age range makes it difficult to wholeheartedly recommend without reservation, and the theme surrounding Bigfoot seems to limit the audience even more. I have to expect that the most interested of target audiences would have to be cryptozoology buffs. For everyone else, with many different creators and styles it’s pretty likely that there will be some stories to your liking. It’s a great “sitting-on-the-toilet” book, perhaps a perfect one if you have a cabin in the woods.
Thanks for reading!
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