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  • Jake Bonham

Upside Dawn by Jason/Monkey Meat:The First Batch by Juni Ba

If you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read that is just outside the bounds of normal, then do yourself a favor and check out Upside Dawn by Jason. Or you could take a look at Monkey Meat: The First Batch by Juni Ba. Honestly, you don’t have to make a tough choice here, you’ll have time to read both if you’re interested.

Jason is a veteran cartoonist from Norway who has won multiple awards for his minimalistic style featuring anthropomorphic animal protagonists. This newest collection, Upside Dawn, is a farcical blend of absurdist humor, pop culture references, homages to E.C. Comics standards, and slightly askew reinterpretations of literary and film classics. Jason’s 4 panel narrative style and the spare dialogue make for a quick, albeit uneven, read. While not all of the vignettes are successful, there are enough clever moments and goofy jokes (and sight gags) to make this worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of parody and absurd humor.

Monkey Meat: The First Batch is an anthology collection of the first 5 issues of Juni Ba’s new series. Ba is a writer, illustrator and comics artist who grew up in Senegal and now works in France. You might have already laid eyes on some of Ba’s dynamic, action packed work in well-known titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Black Panther, or Robin. Monkey Meat, however, is Ba’s own creation and we should count ourselves lucky that we have access to such a demented, exciting and imaginative world. The self-contained story of each issue is set on the mysterious, magical and mutated Monkey Meat Island, home to Monkey Meat Multinational and its labs and factories. Using thick line work, vibrant colors and unique characterizations, Ba presents 5 origin tales (of sorts), detailing the beginnings and motivations of both the heroes and monsters created by the shady experiments conducted by Monkey Meat Multinational. Plain and simple, this book is fun! An expert mix of satirical humor and explosive action, each story is highly engaging and seemingly better than the last. In a short 160 pages, Ba manages to establish a very intriguing and seemingly boundless new comic universe to explore the further adventures of the colorful cast he’s introduced. I don’t think that I’ll be the only one who is eager for another visit to Monkey Meat Island.

Both of these titles are available on the 1st floor of our library in the Graphic Novel section.

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