I was first introduced to the work of Menton III in 2011 when the band I tour with happened to get their album cover commissioned by him. They wanted someone who had done comic book artwork with a sense of haunted realism to it. I had never heard of him until I was asked to look him up to gauge my opinion on his work, since I was an avid comic reader among them. When I did, I really liked his work and their album cover came out pretty well. So naturally, years later I jumped at the chance to review his new comic called Memory Collectors.
The comic is supposedly about creatures that eat memories. I say supposedly because there is little to no semblance of story in this comic. There is dialogue and some instances of narrative alluding to a story, but the honest truth is I found no evidence of what this is supposed to be about. It starts off with 3 female characters that end up in battle with a cloaked figure that has a skull for a head, with some flashbacks thrown in between, and still not any idea of where this is going.Between the lack of story there are about 4 pages of this comic that are nothing but words with no pictures aka a book! I realize using prose is a stylistic choice, but frankly, it doesn’t suck in the reader like it should. It does the opposite.
It reminded me of my favorite comic of all time, The Watchmen. Even in that comic, I didn’t care to ever read the Under the Hood segments or anything but The Watchmen. I get it. It expands on the story in ways the panels and dialogue cant, but its honestly takes away from getting into what story there already is (I read comics for the sequential art, like I’m sure most people do not words like a book).Menton III is lucky he is an exceptionally talented artist, because that’s where the comic grabs you. I just hope that in the next 2 issues he delves more into the story and the characters much more deeply, because it all feels superficial.
It seems obvious this comic was nothing more than an art project with words, but a beautifully grim art project like all of Menton's stuff. The three main female characters are distinctive and original in their design. They are all pale in skin tone with dark S&M leather outfits with extremely tall high heels in their wardrobe. Evocatively beautiful in a somberly gloomy way is a term that comes to mind for these three characters. In fact, the art and mood for the whole comic has a bleak, dreary, and nefarious tone to it. This is where you can “feel” the world this story is set in, through the art. It’s portrayed through a very simple and limited color palette of blacks, whites, grays and reds. I simply love the way this comic is stylized and drawn. There’s such an ominous feeling to it all. But, I wish that came out through the story as well as the art. It may sound harsh, but I wouldn’t spend money on this for just the story or the writing, so its the art that sells this comic.