Chloe Noonan 2 – more marvelous tales of a monster hunting teen
Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter issue 2
by Marc Ellerby
From Marc Ellerby’s website:
Chloe Noonan is a monster hunter (duh) but it’s tough being one when you don’t have any powers and you have to bring your friend along with you. She’s not even that bothered about saving the world really, as running around gives her a stitch. It’s a tongue in cheek look at fantasy and puts the b-list character in the foreground. It’s less about hunting monsters and more about getting the bus.
The first issue of Chloe Noonan (review) was, according to me: “15 pages of the best fun you may have all year“. And the only thing I’d change in that description for issue 2 is the page count – this one’s 28 pages of the best fun you may have all year.
After that first issue of Chloe Noonan, I’m sure Ellerby’s getting a little sick of comparisons to both Buffy and Scott Pilgrim, but hey, they’re rather unavoidable. The Buffy is just all too obvious – teenage schoolgirl who rather reluctantly finds herself battling all manner of monsters whilst trying to hold onto a semblance of a normal life (except Chloe doesn’t have any powers and is rather disinterested in the whole monster hunting thing anyway). And Scott Pilgrim gets in there mostly because of Bryan Lee O’Malleys obvious stylistic influence both on Ellerby’s art and his teenage slacker characters. But even though Chloe Noonan, and Marc Ellerby, may wear their influences on their sleeves, there’s just no getting away from the fact that this is a wonderfully funny, wonderfully fun little comic.
Starting with the cover – oh so lovely. The colours, the simple lines, the body language and Chloe’s monumentally pissed off look to the side, no doubt upset that her life is yet again being sidelined for her monster hunting duties. Even here, there are little touches that really add to the work – look at the chewing gum under the bench – it’s things like that that really make me smile, a lot, when I’m reading it.
(Chloe doing the moster hunting thing, taking a swift one in the guts from Pinchy, all against a backdrop of everyday life courtesy of Woolworths. And, although I mentioned Scott Lee O’Malley’s influence on Ellerby, would I be wrong in saying this page has a Paul Grist feel about it? From Chloe Noonan issue 2 by Marc Ellerby.)
Chloe spends this issue doing everything she doesn’t want to be doing; chasing down Skaldjur, a huge crab clawed, slobbery faced, permanently drunk monster (or Pinchy as Chloe likes to call him). After getting away from her on her night-time rounds Pinchy brings the fight onto Chloe’s home turf. Cue a manic chase through school, able assitance from her friend and the rest of the school thankfully putting all this action down to “the soddin’ theatre studies lot“.
Marc’s determined to make this comic more about Chloe’s desire for a normal life than the whole reluctant monster hunter thing and he grounds the high fantasy stuff in the everyday whenever he can – the closed up Woolworths in the background to Chloe’s fight with Pinchy, or Chloe’s oh so familiarly surburban house, everything about it is real, down to earth stuff (except for the 7 foot tall crab monster thing of course). And in grounding this high fantasy tale in real life he gets the chance to pull off some great funny stuff, just like this:
(The bag gag, part 1. Trusted assistant Zoe is charged with getting Chloe’s fighting staff)
(The bag gag part 2, several pages later, as Chloe’s running for her life through school, trusted assistant Zoe finds herself a touch distracted by Chloe’s scaf – some things are more important than minster hunting after all. It’s all about the great timing of the closing locker, reopening locker gag. Perfect stuff. From Chloe Noonan issue 2 by Marc Ellerby.)
The art – whether Ellerby works digitally or with old fashioned pen and inks I don’t know, but there’s some wonderfully old fashioned artistic touches here that remind me, old git that I am, of the great Eddie Campbell in his early days – the Letraset style backgrounds and fills, the sound effects with their deliberately off set shading. But more than that, Ellerby’s line is just so fine. In both senses of that phrase. His thin, very easy on the eye line style just makes the page look so beautifully simple. Best of all is the characterisation that comes out in the art; Chloe in particular manages to express everything she needs to with just a subtle movement of the eyes – again, just look at that cover. Ellerby gets it so right.
(More great gags right before the action – and that bottom left panel – what a look! From Chloe Noonan issue 2 by Marc Ellerby.)
This second issue is the end of the first Chloe Noonan tale. It’s just as much fun as the first, a guaranteed to put a smile on your face comic, full of great gags, wonderful artwork, well observed moments and some great tongue in cheek kick arse monster hunting action.
Now, for god’s sake, somebody give Marc Ellerby a book deal for Chloe Noonan and Ellerbisms. His work’s fresh, exciting and looks fantastic. He’s talented, young, and according to the women in the Bruton household, rather good looking. I should hate him but I can’t – not when his comics are this good.
Chloe Noonan issues 1 & 2, as well as his excellent autobiographical Ellerbisms comics are available at Ellerby’s website. Ellerbisms is also available, in full online at Ellerbisms.com. For previews of Chloe Noonan see here for issue 1 and here for issue 2. And now go and buy the things.
(And just in case you were wondering this issue’s almost obligatory Pixies lyric comes from Monkey Gone To Heaven.)