Traditionally, graphic novels can be a bit hard to review and pick apart because each issue is its own individual little spice of life. But in this instance, Calla Cthulhu flowed together so flawlessly that I wouldn’t have noticed the separation of issues if there wasn’t a page dedicated to informing me what number book I was on.
I must cut right to the chase before the dissection: this story brings me such a gravitational amount of joy that I want to share it with everyone I care about. It’s one of those stories you want to talk about and even brag about although it’s not my creation, I am only the reader and feel absolutely privileged to be one.
The backstory of Calla Cthulhu could have been an easy one – young girl who is really Cthulhu, on no, what trouble will her tentacles get her into today? -laugh track- But instead, the dreamy teamy of Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer give us a story that is unique as much as it is lovable. We are figuring out Calla’s story as she is, and because of that, we feel like we’re friends with her from the start, but it’s a comforting friendship you get lost in as you read further to find out more and more. She’s a descendent of an ancient family line of Lovecraftian monsters and as if that wasn’t enough of a weight to bear, she has also lost her parents and is discovering life as a young woman. In a flash, she went from ordinary human to something that’s beyond a mere mortal.
This book is so well-written and I just have to give it to Sarah and Evan for their insane talent in tackling something that has to be both intriguing and likeable for a variety of ages. The words flow seamlessly that it almost feels like you’re watching the story instead of reading it, and it was merely impossible to stop until I got to the end. Calla is such a likable character and she is certifiably a strong woman who doesn’t need to show off the fact that she is one in an over-the-top manner with unnecessary violence and token traits that society typically assigns to males. She doesn’t need to be “one of the guys” or kill things while wearing female-specific clothes, and a variety of all those stereotypes we see again and again. Calla breaks so many rules of traditional female and women of color archetypes that there are simply no more complex words to describe her. She’s just plain awesome, she kicks ass, she’s strong, I love her.
The. Art. Sweet fudge bunnies, is it gorgeous. Erin Humiston takes the role as penciler and I am in love with the design of this world. Everything has so much movement and fluidity, and I find it particularly troubling when books have fight scenes where I can’t distinguish who is hitting who and where things are moving to and fro. In a static type of media such as this, getting the point across is key, and Erin nails it. I love the way he designed Calla’s features and her face is not one that you will see in any other book. I have expressed how I have an extremely distaste for comic book women with big eyes, plump lips, and a tiny nose with a little red ruddy mark on the end, and only the hair carrying on the sole role of distinguishing her with any differentiating personality traits. Each character in this book is so different from one another not only by their face but by their posture, their body type, and the way they move.
Mario A. Gonzales executes the next step in the artwork with bold and rich inkwork that really makes Erin’s art shine even brighter. His use of line weights feels so precise and right, no line is simply placed without purpose, and every single stroke feels right at home in Calla’s world. Nothing gets lost with the inking, only made bolder and brighter until it is handed off to master colorist, Bill Murdon. This book is bright, bold, beautiful, and so damn clean that I swear water could just roll right off of the pages. It’s pop art mixed with new school styles and the final product is just plain wonderful, and I need prints hanging on my walls ASAP.The shadowing is unapologetically purposeful and compliments the color palate from Calla’s green hair to her uncle’s predominately yellow ensemble. Each character has their own world contained in their color stories, and even the smallest setting details work well with each other. These three artists are a trio meant to be, and I could not be more joyous with the look of this book.
Calla Cthulhu is amazing, and each individual creator who went into making their ideas a fleshed-out reality should be beyond proud with themselves. Calla and her story are truly a masterpiece that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but will undoubtedly impact anyone who comes into her world for the better. 5 Stars for all!
Story: 5 Stars
Artwork: 5 Stars
Colors: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars
Writer: Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer
Penciller: Erin Humiston
Inker: Mario A. Gonzalez
Colorist: Bill Mudron
Cover Artist:Erin Humiston