In stores launching right about at the time of writing this, issue #1 of AHOY Comics’ latest jam-packed anthology PROJECT: CRYPTID is a funny anthology about are-they or aren’t-they creatures and monsters from all across the world including Bigfoot, Nessie, a Mongolian Death Worm, and my local favorite: The Jersey Devil.
The series kicks off with three shorts ‘Ballroom of Death’, ‘Wormy and Me’, and a special first installment of THE ALL-STAR ANNUALLY CONVENING COZY DETECTIVES CLUB in PARTIALLY NAKED CAME THE CORPSE!. The latter is a thirteen-part epic that kicks off with an extra-long first installment by the bestselling writer Grant Morrison.
Having read this first issue, I will say there was a lot to like about ‘Wormy and Me’ and ‘Ballroom of Death’. Better yet, there’s a lot to enjoy about the piece by legendary Grant Morrison, which reads less like a comic, and a lot more like a short story. With images and a heck-of-a-lot of prose that readers will absolutely adore in terms of story craft.
It kicks off with ‘Ballroom of Death’, Mark Russell’s story where a wealthy executive wealthy-type goes on an impossible hike up a mountain forcing his belabored guides to reluctantly trek up the ‘Ballroom of Death’ path rather than the much safer ‘Candy Bar Alley’ pathway. A fun story with a twist that feels very ‘Tales From The Crypt’ like in terms of its plot and satisfying conclusion.
In ‘Wormy and Me’, we get a cryptid story that goes from zero to one hundred in terms of plot themes introducing elements and laughs galore. A fun, silly, and surprisingly littered cryptid tale that is sort of a play on buddy cop drama with a cryptid I didn’t even know about. Nor am super invested in learning more about, in so much as… this is really a funny comedy because of that shortage of information. Weird. Funny. With loads of memorable bizarre and hilarious art. A fantastic job making the purchase of this first issue worth it on its own, with major kudos to writer Paul Cornell for the pacing and PJ Holden for such cute and funny drawings of so many funny takes on cryptids.
Finally, there’s Grant Morrison’s story. A tale that is loaded, to say the least, in that it is verbose with his style of prose and a bit everywhere in execution. It’s a noir story. However, I don’t expect many to follow the plot that is kicking off this series of shorts. And while the artwork by Jon Proctor in this short is some divine use of line work, Morrison’s story is very hit-or-miss. A winner if you enjoy his style and the poetic loose-threaded words weaved. More an experience than a narrative.
Now, what AHOY is doing here by interweaving this serial throughout their upcoming projects, is such a brilliant take on the magazine-of-comics approach the company is well-known for establishing these past years. It’s a smart move in that it establishes a fandom across its titles. As for PROJECT: CRYPTID, I think this first issue is a solid comic fans will love for its wonderful take on your local monster stories.
PROJECT: CRYPTID #1
(W) Paul Cornell/Mark Russell/Grant Morrison
(A) PJ Holden/Jordi Perez
Cover A: PJ Holden/Jordi Perez
Cover B: Taki Soma
September 6, 2023