Written by: Matt Molgaard
Every once in a while a graphic novel comes along that offers a bit of everything, far surpasses expectations and leaves us chomping at the bit, burning for just one more page. For me, that sensation tends to ride the wake of extremely dark, gruesome tales aimed at an older demographic and designed to leave the brain a bit overactive in unconciousness. But Patrick D. Pidgeon’s Creeple Peeple is the exception to the rule. It’s not wildly intense or profoundly extreme, and it does admittedly start a bit slow. But it makes for an entertaining read and it’s aimed at an extremely wide range of readers, which could see the book one day propelled to a higher rung of the pop culture ladder. And it’s an absolutely blast.
The story arc is surprisingly grand, focusing initially on a trio of dedicated science students who decide to play God for a good cause: to save their science department, which is set to get the axe after their curriculum is done away with. But in the process the small group inadvertantly create a handful of wild troll-like creatures. One munch on the wrong house plant later and the Creeple’s take a sudden turn, becoming savage menaces capable of animating inanimate objects. They also hold the key to a much greater evil, which the resident dean, along with his growing cult, plan on summoning. At the end of the day, it’s up to our three unlikely-to-be heroic science geeks to save the day. It sure as hell won’t be easy.
It’s a far out story, but Patrick D. Pidgeon and Matt Anderson put together a pretty tight-knit story that toys with a number of different layers and degrees of intensity. They do it with a cool combination of class and wit, and every page beyond the first 20 – which is the one area of the story which seems to lag – is completely infectious. These two nurture the character development ensuring that we actually give a damn about the personalities within the book, and yes, that does thwart a bullrush lead in to the story as a whole, but the action lull and seemingly pointless chatter in the earlier pages of the story eventually pay off. Pidgeon and Anderson successfully weave a very thorough narrative through a needle that could have easily betrayed the thread (and for a brief moment it seems it might) had either Pidgeon or Anderson missed a single beat. They got it right.
And the artwork… this is great stuff. Tim Lattie keeps things looking crisp and slightly cartoonish, which is exactly what this kind of story really needs. To go too silly wouldn’t fit the intelligence of the narrative and to go too dark would diminish the childlike essense of the majority of the story. Creeple Peeple feels like a mix between Ghostbusters and Frankenstein and Lattie’s work is pitch-perfect for the material. Combined with Pidgeon and Anderson’s work, this is a dream team trio.
If you’re anything like me, you’re likely to feel as though the first quarter of the book drags, stretching thin to thinner until an unexpected turn opens the doorway for action and the real meat on the bone. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll likely recognize that what you minutes ago considered utterly inconsequential, was actually rather important. Without those slow moments, we don’t likely grow to care for our protagonists half as much as we eventually do. And if you’re really anything like me, you’re probably going to fall in love with this inspired and entertaining tale.