Mar 9, 2017
The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 37 - The Griff, 2011
Christopher Moore is absolutely one of my favourite novelists. His book Lamb is one of the most wonderful takes on Biblical myth that I've ever read, and his debut novel Practical Demonkeeping has H.P. Lovecraft as a supporting character, serving at a bar of all things. He's down with the ridiculous and the surreal, but always manages to weave some actual emotion and thought into his works. It's been a while since I've read any of his books, but when I came across this little gem in a thrift shop a couple of weeks ago, I knew it had to come home with me.
I will say, though, that it's not quite as good as his novels. There's something a bit clunky to the story, and this may be a case of when a writer is really good in one medium, but not quite so great in another. Michael Chabon and his Escapist comics is another example that springs to mind. Now this is not to say that the story is bad by any means. A race of aliens drops onto Earth and proceeds to devour (yes, acutally eat) billions upon billions of people. Called the Griff, for their supposed resemblance to griffins, the story follows a number of the survivors of this apocalypse in their quest to stop the invasion. First problem: the depictions of the Griff actually look waaaay more like dragons that griffins. I don't know if this was a miscommunication between artist and writers, but they're literally just dragons. I have no problem with this, but it's an example of the clunkiness of the storytelling that I was referring to.
In the introduction, Moore says that this was originally conceived as a screenplay, which I can see, and which makes its adaptation into comics a little easier. I think it would have made a really cool movie, actually, with some lovely set pieces of deserted cities with mythological creatures soaring overhead, and the main cast of characters are all likeable and interesting enough that watching them battle these alien-dragon-griffins would have been neat. But as a graphic novel, it just...falls flat somehow.
Which, unsurprisingly, is the case sometimes. Onward!