You ever read through something so fast that you feel like you didn’t read anything at all? It’s an odd feeling, to be sure. I sped through Monarch Monkey & Other Stories, a collection of the work of Doug De Rocher (in collaboration with Dan Mazur and Hyun Supul) upon my first reading. To be fair, all the stories contained within—there are four total—are pretty short, and rather sparse on the talking part, so it isn’t really all that surprising how easily it is to burn through. It’s also not that surprising how strongly you’ll probably be urged to go back and give another look. De Rocher makes his comics through collage techniques, his image are made with various arrangements of cut paper, and the results can be downright poetic. Whether it is in the rigid pacing of an almost entirely wordless introduction to the origins of the Monkey King—the titular story of the collection—or the bewildering whimsy of an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland called School in the Sea. The pages of Monarch Monkey are filled with really outstanding artwork.
The writing can get a bit simplistic, but it never draws away from De Rocher’s art that is really the focus here. By the time you get to the final story, The Greatest Time of All Time—an amusing take the Mayan’s and their “doomsday” prophecies—De Rocher’s talent will be brutally obvious.
I am certainly interested in seeing more from De Rocher, I would love to see him do a series about the Monkey King, as there is a great amount of legend to draw from. And more adaptations of Alice would certainly be welcome. Really, though, I would be interested to see any story he has a hand in creating, his collage’s are pretty darn neat and I’m very much interested in seeing how this style progresses.
TL;DR: Monarch Monkey will make you regret squandering your time in Arts and Crafts eating paste because Doug De Rocher’s collages are flippin’ sweet.
Monarch Monkey & Other Stories is written by Doug De Rocher, Dan Mazur, and Hyun Supul, with cut paper collage art by Doug De Rocher. It can be purchased from De Rocher’s store.
A digital review copy of Monarch Monkey & Other Stories was graciously provided to Spandexless by the creator.